The first question you have to ask yourself is whether the project you are about to embark on is worth it. The answer depends on what your definition of success is going to be. If you expect to publish a best-selling novel and earn loads of money then you may want to reconsider. If you will be satisfied with seeing your book on the shelf in your local Waterstones and not be too worried that you blew a couple of grand to achieve that, then you should proceed.
The bottom line is that you are unlikely to make money from this. We have managed to sell 30,000 copies of our book, which retails at £6.50, which isn't a bad effort, but the financial return does not give us the option to give up any day jobs. It's basically a hobby that pays.
You should start by considering that this will cost you a few thousand pounds that you will never see again. Any improvement on this is a bonus.
Apart from the money - you will need to spend an awful lot of time on your book. It's not just a case of writing it - that is where you will probably spend least time. To make this succeed you will need to do a lot of research, planning, paperwork, editing, negotiating, designing, telephoning, marketing and hopefully selling. Our little tome takes an hour a day minimum to maintain in the market and that's after we have done all the hard work. Do not underestimate the time you will need to dedicate to this.
The positive aspect is that we have found the sales of the book are directly proportional to the time we spend on it. So the more time you put in, the more you get out.
I first concluded that it was worth it when I got my first call from a friend who had seen a pile of our books in WH Smith at Waterloo station and was calling to see if it was really us! And the other thing that just gives the most amazing buzz - even after three years, is seeing your book on the shelf, on a till point, on a feature table in a bookshop. It really does make you proud!
Before going any further you may want to read up what you can on self-publishing. There are books of course but there are also a lot of other resources available on the web. One word of warning, publishing in the UK is different to the US and most of the resources are aimed at the US. The general advice is common but some specifics will clearly be different.
In this little section on each page I will explain what happened to us along the way, so you can avoid the errors we made and hopefully repeat the things that worked well.
Our book started life as a little joke amongst friends when we moved to Austin, Texas. We lived in a street called Tossa Lane, which, as you can imagine caused more than its fair share of embarrassment amongst our British friends, let alone the banks and other companies we had to change addresses with. It did, however, point out that there were a list of words that whilst you would not say them out loud in public, meant absolutely nothing to our American chums, and vice versa.
Of course we all know about fag and fanny pack and so on but the longer we lived in the US, the more words we found that caused embarrassment or were otherwise humorous.
So our little website appeared - to share our findings with our chums at home and abroad. The web address of the site was so obscure I can't even remember what it was - it was based on one of those freebie sites that teach the novice (like me) to learn html and get on the web.
Somewhat surprisingly - our little site received a lot of visitors and the content grew day by day until after about a year, someone suggested we turn it into a book. After a lot of thinking I finally printed it all off and sent it to loads of publishers in New York and got loads of letters back telling me it was rubbish. Politely of course!
Anyway - we returned to England and the project took on a new life when we moved the whole lot to our own little domain - effingpot.com - another story in itself (it's on the site if you are interested). We rose up to the top of the search engine rankings, the visits increased and so did the requests for a printed version.
And so the quest to self-publish began. At first I scoured the net, bookshops and other resources for clues on how to do it and basically found a reasonable book. It was full of fluff and not much real life stuff but with that and what we found out for ourselves we managed to do it. This site attempts to help you through the things we found out the hard way. And it's free!