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Weekly Write-Up: 5th August 2020

Welcome to the SPF Weekly Write-Up, where each Wednesday we collect together the self-publishing news of the week so you don’t have to.

This week: a VICE journalist discovers that self-publishing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, and the importance of doing thorough research.

Self-Publishing – Get Rich Quick?

To cut a long story (/article) short, no. A VICE journalist wondered if self-publishing was just another way of making money without the usual effort of building a career, and so set out to write and release a short book all about… you guessed it, making money online.

Talking to a couple of indie experts, Hayden quickly discovers that a lot more goes into self-publishing than he thought – particularly when it comes to marketing. He’s quite pleased with the small amount of sales (and low rankings) he achieves, and thus walks away with an understanding of how much time and effort goes into achieving actual long-term success. It’s not as easy as it looks (though it’s much easier once you learn how, hint hint).

As an indie author, it’s quite a satisfying read. You can do that here.

Historical Fiction – Do Your Research

Do your research for any genre, to be honest. But with historical fiction, readers do expect some of the historical details to be factual… not accidentally nicked from a video game.

That’s what happened to John Boyne with his new book, A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom. One of his characters, wishing to dye an item of clothing, uses “the tail of the red lizalfos and four Hylian shrooms”. If this sounds as familiar to you as it did to me, there’s good reason: it’s a clothes-dying recipe from Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.


John Boyne seems to be taking the news well, though. You can read more about the mistake here.

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford is a professional copywriter, author of numerous dark fantasy and sci-fi novels, and the Head of Content at the Self Publishing Formula Blog. His books include the Blackwater trilogy and the Checking Out series.

He lives in London with his wife, in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Find out more about Tom here.