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Self-Publishing and The Midlist.

Guest Post by  By Catherine Czerkawska

There has been a great deal of talk in publishing circles about the ‘midlist slump’. A couple of years ago, I even read reports confidently predicting the ‘death of the midlist’. With the rise in indie publishing, these appear to have been exaggerated.

If I were to define midlist, I suppose it would be that huge, fertile, centre ground of well-written fiction which doesn’t slot neatly into any particular genre. It might be written by authors who like to experiment with crossing the boundaries and don’t see why they should always have to change their names to do so, especially when the ‘voice’ remains much the same.

I write historical and contemporary fiction, but the style is undoubtedly mine. Midlist readers are often, but by no means exclusively, female, often middle aged or older. They seem to be voracious readers.

The midlist used to be the seed bed from which the occasional (almost always unpredictable) blockbuster would spring. Screenwriter William Goldman’s much quoted dictum that ‘nobody knows anything’ applies just as much to fiction as to film. If the publisher got lucky, it might be an author’s first or second book that made the breakthrough. More frequently it would be their fifth, sixth or seventh book. And if a book did become a bestseller or spawn a number of sequels, some of those profits would be ploughed back into nurturing other seedlings. Broadly speaking, that’s how it used to be, before the big corporations ate the smaller companies and changed the whole ethos of publishing in the process.

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Lightning Source Best for Self-Publishers?


Ben Galley

Today, in the third part of our ‘Which Distributor’ series where Alliance members share the experiences they’ve enjoyed with distributors, author Ben Galley gives us his take on Print on Demand (POD) company Lightning Source:

If your book were a delicious pie, distributors would be the ones who put it in the hands of the supermarkets.

It’s a very simple analogy, but it rings true. Distribution is the supply link between our printers and the bookstores, and without it, our books would simply never reach our readers’ hands. That’s a painful vision. And to me, so is keeping a veritable mountain of books in your garage, shipping one at a time, staring at the big hole in your bank account.

No, thank you, I want a different road.

With the advent of the digital revolution came Print on Demand, and with it came distribution relationships. Now, POD companies have forged relationships with the wholesaler distributors to allow us indies access to

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Guest Post: Independent Authors and Visibility by Linda Gillard

Linda knows how to be seen!


In an over-crowded marketplace, we assume it’s reviews that sell books and, predictably, it’s now possible to buy “honest reviews”. Could paid-for reviews be a good investment? Possibly, but I think we should be asking ourselves a different question—how do books find their readers? Or, to put it another way, what makes a book visible in the marketplace?

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