I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately.  This is partly because Wolf Hall is proving to be the slowest book I’ve ever read – that book is like rich Christmas cake, unable to be devoured and instead eaten in small, well-spaced, delicious slices.   This weekend I read a book I received as a Kickstarter reward on chasing tornados and then found myself, almost inexplicably, diving into several books on the self-publishing market.

I don’t think I would ever self-publish fiction, mostly because the act of being published by someone else answers my own internal self-doubt of whether I am good enough or not.  Someone else published it so it has to be’good’.  I don’t believe that makes traditional publishing ‘better’ than self-publishing but I do think certain methods are better suited – at least for me – for different things.  I think too often self-publishing gets seen and used as a route of last resort to publication.  But I think there are people using it as a viable alternative to traditional publication.
Take for example, some of my non-fiction ideas.  They are niche books for a niche market.  They’re never going to top the best seller charts even if everyone inside that niche bought them.  They are an impossible sell to a traditional publisher because they are just not commercial enough.  But I do think there is a market for this information and hence the lower production costs of self or indie publishing is much better suited for them.
So with these ideas recently brought to the fore again, I’ve found myself reading up about the non-fiction kindle market and partly because it is so foreign to me, finding it utterly fascinating.  What I’ve really found interesting is seeing how the writing and marketing go hand in hand.  It’s a different way of writing.  There’s quite a few people trying to pull a fast one, in it for a potential quick buck, but there are some who really pride themselves in their quality work.  And reading about their approaches to writing and marketing has been a little of an eye-opener.
I don’t think of myself as a marketer.  Whilst I’ve had success with my projects – including the website – the idea has always been about doing the best I can and hoping people like it and tell their friends.  It’s a crappy marketing plan and one I’m surprised ever worked once.
But what I read over the weekend not only gave me new direction for these non-fiction ideas but made me think about my own marketing.  I use the blog as a personal blog but do I need to be a little more focused on the writing? There’s certainly interest in my geocaching reports and leg-geddon updates but do those belong on a separate blog somewhere?  Does one generate interest in the other or does it dilute?  I’ll be honest, at this time I’m very conflicted.
It’s good sometimes to be challenged, though.  I enjoy reading things that leave me thinking about how I can incorporate the knowledge I’ve just learnt, even if tangentially to the subject I’ve just read.  I wouldn’t expect an indy publishing empire on the horizon (as it is I already have several fiction projects on the go) but I may play around with the blog content I put out over the next few weeks.