Is this the shelf life? Is this just fantasy?

Midleton Books1I remember the day I pressed ‘publish’ and imagined a tiny pulse of electricity leaving my laptop, flashing along optical cables, bouncing off a satellite and changing a ‘0’ to a ‘1’ somewhere in Amazon HQ. Suddenly, my book was available online, in the largest digital bookstore in the world.

There was no fanfare, no applause; not even a satisfying beep to signal what I had done. Later, a multitude of Facebook likes and shares, Twitter retweets and (now) old-fashioned text messages helped me realise that the single click of a mouse button had really sent my novel out into the big bad publishing market.

Today, I watched a nice lady Midleton Books2at my local bookstore – Midleton, Co Cork, Ireland – make some room on an eye-level shelf in the Fantasy & Sci-Fi section. Squeezed between Orson Scott Card and David Eddings she nestled copies of Mrs God. I snapped a pic to prove it was true.

As I left the bookstore, I felt much more excited than that day in front of my laptop. Amazon has perhaps 140 million titles for sale; my local bookshop possesses maybe 0.00001% of this number. But still, the achievement of having a real book on sale in a real bookshop, sitting there on a real shelf, ready to be really handled by browsers, made the whole self-publishing project more…



UPDATE: My book is now available in my home city, too. A great bookshop called Liam Russell’s in Cork City has just taken delivery of copies of Mrs God.


  1. Jean Grainger · · Reply

    Hi Mark,
    Just checking in to say hi after reading your nice piece in the Examiner this morning. I’m an indie publisher as well, my fifth book will be available later this month hopefully (blood sweat etc…notwithstanding!) anyway I live in Cloughduv and I teach in Macroom so just thought I’d drop a line to make contact. I’m planning on doing Mark Dawson’s course later this year on FB advertising so if you ever want to meet up and swap ideas etc I’m happy to do so.

    1. Hi Jean,
      Great to hear from you. Thank you for reading my article and taking the time to get in contact. I’m sure you’d agree that getting feedback on anything you write helps to keep the fire lit!
      I’m interested to hear how you cracked doing two versions of your books – one digital and one paperback. I find it eats up precious time. The entire marketing of books is difficult, even with the reach of Twitter and FB.
      In the end, ebooks and their paper equivalents find readers the old-fashioned way… via word of mouth. Of course, the odd testimonial from celeb wouldn’t hurt.
      Anyway, thanks for dropping by. I’ll keep in touch. Best of luck with the FB ad course.

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