Self-publishing has given writers an incredible gift and great power, but sometimes it feels like a poison chalice. The rise of ebooks, print on demand and now audio books have been both the cause and the result of the slow but steady desiccation of the traditional publishing industry.

It has never been easier to take your written work to the world. So why does everyone still hang out for/drool over the coveted book deal? Especially considering they are as rare as hen’s teeth.

There are even writers who refuse to use all the tech at our disposal and are happy to wait years if necessary to score a deal or agent. They’ll get a shock when they realise that things have changed. By all accounts, Traditional publishing contracts rarely include a budget for marketing let alone an advance. It might have been okay ‘back in the day’ to focus on writing exclusively but now we need to allocate at least a few minutes a day to researching the best ways to market our work and creating a platform. I know, I know…the dreaded platform!

So what’s the attraction with trad publishing? It’s not the money. Apparently getting an advance is pretty rare these days. Sure people still fantasise about the 7-figure book deal for their debut novel, but that’s usually the writer who has just written ‘fin’ at the end of their labour of love. Or more often, the one who hasn’t quite finished their first manuscript.

Even if it was the money, it’s what the moolah stands for that everyone is craving. It’s the validation of having someone, anyone, but preferably Oprah, tell you how good your book is.

Is there anything better than selling something you made from nothing? I used to love painting but I love selling my paintings more.

I listen to the Beautiful Writers podcast and it’s interesting to hear the stories established writers tell about landing their first deal or agent. Interesting and thrilling because they’re all so different.

The common denominator is that they all wrote great books. Well, d’uh.

How do we know if we’ve written a great book unless readers tell us so?


I wrote this post in between helping my hubby change belts on a machine. We gotta do what we gotta do, and I’m following Seth Godin’s advice that daily blogging is one of the best ways to find your voice and your audience.


Ps. Originally I posted a picture of a trophy that my husband won at the Port Moresby Open Squash tournament in about 1989 or something. I had it restored for Father’s Day this year. I had to replace the photo because I suddenly remembered that I photographed in while wearing nothing but a t-shirt and knickers, which can be seen quite clearly in the reflection…

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