At least, financial independence. Dave W sent me to this fascinating article. I’ve been mulling for quite some time about how to go about a) getting some of my thoughts put out in book form (mainly this), and b) whether I might be able to generate some income out of my photo-hobby. On the latter score I did use lulu.com to create a calendar some time ago, but only one person bought it, and if her reaction was the same as mine it was of significant disappointment at the quality of the end-product (even if mine is still on the wall right next to me as I type this post).
It seems to me that one of the great benefits of the cultural shift that digital technology has opened up is that the middle-man isn’t needed any more. (Not in every sphere – I’m sure we’ll see the return of middle-men in food distribution as a result of Peak Oil). However, for some work, and especially creative work, the middle-man adds very little of value. See Radiohead’s recent experiment in that regard.
Now, with regard to a book, there are clearly some things which publishers are rather good at doing (Kim Paffenroth makes some good points here). But it’s also possible to pay people directly to do such things, and not go via a publisher. I am now committed to going the self-publishing route, partly because of practicalities and timing, but partly also because of the independence that it allows. I’m going to be using this company. So far as I can tell the single thing that an established publishing house can provide is help with publicity and marketing. Given that I don’t expect vast numbers of people to buy my book, and I think that I am plugged in to sufficient networks to be able to sell enough copies to make it financially viable (around 400 I guess) I see no need to amend what I write in order to sell more copies (I remain open to an editor saying that I need to rewrite something because it’s incoherent of course!)
I’ll let you know how it all goes – I hope to go to press after Easter.