They say that everyone has at least one good book in them. Well thanks to the rise of the e-book reader we can all dream of being JK Rowling.
Known as self-publishing, the budding author no longer has to take “no” for an answer from the traditional publishers if they want to have their words turned into a book. Once correctly formatted, you simply upload your book to sites like Amazon for people to buy and read on their Kindles.
Most of us 40-somethings have contemplated writing a book. It’s cheaper than the other traditional cures for a midlife crisis: Porsches, Harleys, divorce.
Most only get as far as deciding on a title, usually along the lines of “Life’s a bitch and then you die”.
It’s surprising how many actually find the time to pen a manuscript or the modern equivalent, typing complete tomes into Microsoft Word. But now, this is no longer a purely cathartic exercise and millions of unpublished manuscripts are finally seeing the light of day.
Unsurprisingly most of them are rubbish, many are outright schemes to make fast cash and have titles and authors designed to mislead – no better than spam.
A recent survey suggests that most self-publishers make no more than $500 from their ebook although some, like EL James, author of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey (an erotic novel) made six figure sums and, maybe more importantly, in her case landed an advance from a mainstream publisher and a film deal.
The survey also discovered that the most successful demographic for self-publishing were 40-year-old, educated women.
However, if you are over 40, you may feel an ebook is not the same as leaving an actual printed legacy.
So you can sign up for a ‘Print On Demand’ service where a copy of the book is printed only when someone orders it (usually the author).
This avoids you, or the publisher, sitting on a load of unwanted books, but is not as much fun when bonfire night comes round.
* Chris Tomlinson is managing director of social media and online PR consultancy Friend Digital