Vernon Coleman and Self-Publishing

Vernon Coleman

When I last looked, Wikipedia was describing me as a self-published author.

I could almost smell the sneer.

The implication seems to me to be that my books are worthless because I publish some of them myself.

Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Wikipedia seems to be distorting the truth. Here are a few facts.

1. In the UK my books have been published by Arrow, Pan, Penguin, Macmillan, Sidgwick and Jackson, Mandarin, Star, Century, Thames and Hudson and many more. This information is not hidden. It is on my website. My books have also been published by large print and audio publishers.

2. My books have been translated into 25 languages. I never self-publish in foreign languages. I donít speak any foreign languages well enough to do so. My books are published by leading publishers in the appropriate countries.

3. My self-published novel Mrs Caldicotís Cabbage War was turned into a very successful movie.

4. I self-publish some books (such as Betrayal of Trust and The Benzos Story) because commercial publishers regard them as too risky. I subsidise those books with more commercial books such as Aliceís Diary.

5. History is littered with examples of authors who have, for many different reasons, published books which they have written themselves and which have subsequently become bestselling classics. Beatrix Potter, Walter Scott, J.M. Barrie, Lewis Carroll, T.S.Elliot, Virginia Woolf, Stephen Leacock, John Buchan, Mark Twain and Lawrence Block are just a few self-publishing authors who spring to mind.

I am, I confess, puzzled by the rather old-fashioned notion that there is something rather odd or distasteful about an author publishing his own work. Indeed, I am convinced that the author/publisher will, in the future, become a figure in the same mould as the actor/manager of the theatre of a few decades ago. It is, of course, already considered acceptable for musicians to produce their own music and for independent film directors to finance and produce their own movies.

Copyright Vernon Coleman April 2020