To Self-Publish or not to Self-Publish, that is the question?!

Autumn greetings! Back in 2012, when I quit drinking and smoking and started writing the addiction diary which ultimately became my first book The Fox and the Scorpion meet Cold Turkey it is fair to say that I didn’t give much thought to publishing. That seemed a long way off and to be honest as an aspiring writer my expectations were low and I was just delighted I had been able to commit to being disciplined about a regular writing practice.

However, after a few weeks of regular writing and feeling more confident, I had realised that my diary, which was not only cathartic but also therapeutic in nature, was going to become a book, and I started to join writers’ groups on social media channels where I could connect with other writers around the world.

Before long, I was confronted with the question above. Self-publishing. What were the pros and cons? I received good advice from complete strangers. Well-meaning but kind strangers in these writing groups. Some were editors, some were writers some were well-known, some were not. They said I could avail of an agent and court publishing companies, but that would require time and money.

The reality of my situation was that I was an unknown guy, and although my ego didn’t want to hear it, presumably people wouldn’t be that interested in me or my story. Furthermore, I was a family man, with four children, three dogs and a crazy cat. A day job and a part-time hustle doing pc repair for cash in hand. I simply couldn’t afford to have the time to court the publishing houses, and “accumulate the rejection slips”.

Was I the next JK Rowling? Evidently not! But if I was writing high quality science-fiction to a potential audience of teenagers worldwide, rather than personal memoir, and documenting my journey through addictions, depression, and lack of self-love, it could have been different in the way it affected my decision-making process.

Whether you intend to self-publish or not will depend upon physical resources and intention. Where do you see yourself with your book? Have you decided whether to self-publish ot not already?

We would be delighted if you could join us on Weds 25th October at 7pm for an online Write Coach masterclass with guest speaker Jeremy Murphy, from JM agency in Listowel.

Jeremy has helped many writers realise their dreams by helping them publish, and will be happy to join us to answer any questions which you may have about the publishing process! Do go and check out his website here.

For me, self-publishing was the route I would take from the get-go. And then book launches at local locations to promote mental health awareness issues. Fortunately, I attracted some great guest speakers, at some fantastic local locations, and was happy with that.

Sourcing a good graphic designer for the book cover was my only problem, once I could upload my book in the form of a document the self-publishing channels required. I met a local guy in County Clare and liked what he produced for me. Plus he didn’t cost a fortune. Bingo. Sorted.

Did I make money from selling books? A little, but not as much as I spent on book launches, paying for self-publishing, graphic design and other costs which were incurred gradually.

But money was not my driver. The sense of achievement was more important, and the finishing of a four-year project where I could touch, hold, feel and smell my own book. It was no mean feat! It also became evident that once I had produced my first book, there would be more, and if people bought them and I made a few quid, it would simply be a bonus. The crux of my writings was honesty and truth. Telling it like it is, and speaking my truth. Being heard. Having my expression validated. And of course, the embarking on a healing path.

To me there were much more important things at stake than making money. However, if a future book could sell a few million copies and I make a few million bob, I wouldn’t grumble!

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday 25th October at 7pm Irish time. And greetings to you, wherever in the world you may be, from Tipperary!

In the meantime, if you would like to avail of a free guide or a free session, pls book in at

“I love being a writer. I just cannot stand the paperwork!” Peter de Vries.

Carl J Ashley

October 2023