Mary Matthews presents a talk on 'The Merits of Traditional v Self Publishing'.

01 Nov 2016

In Attendance:    Sally (Runham) – chair, John (Williams), Hazel (Newton), Frank (Burns), Mary (Matthews), Patricia (Burn), Sue (Worthington),), Olive (Cutting), John (Cutting) and David (Seaton).

Apologies were received from Ann (Wingfield) of Needingworth Scribblers, Zulma (Burgos-Dudgeon), Derek (Newton), Sue (Blyth) and Julia (Foley)


Guest speaker: Mary Matthews


Sally welcomed people to the meeting.


Notices and news

Hazel passed on news of Noel and she has his address. Noel is keen to set up a local writers’ group and misses our meetings.
Linda Ibbett has emailed people to let them know about her publication on Kindle “Tangled Emotions.”
David has been able to progress his contribution to the September competition about the history of the Huntingdon Writers’ Group through contacts of Patricia. The group congratulated David and Patricia for their collaboration. Patricia is in the team that publishes “Tales From The Perseus Arm”, an anthology of science fiction stories from authors around the world.
Mary mentioned  “Telling It” group will meet on December 10th at Huntingdon Library.


Main Event.

Sally then welcomed Mary and thanked her for her time. Mary presented her experiences of self-publishing and she published her first book in 2014. Sharing her skills led to an interactive discussion that lasted the whole evening.

Mary covered:

Introduction and planning to self-publish

“Self-publishing is competitive so write the best book you can and make it as perfect as you can  (with help from others’ expertise)” 1,500 books are published on Amazon self-publishing tools each week.

The continuously changing market for self-publishing and how established authors are using this method to retain control and have more flexibility

Planning ahead to save money and aim for quality

ISBN choices

Author name, or pen name

Author photo, biography

Book categories and keywords

Mary showed her short story “The Joker” as it is shown on Kindle ebooks (high up on the sales list)

The use of beta-readers (test readers)

Editing, proof-reading, formatting (Mary does this herself)

Cover Design. Front matter such as copyright, Back matter such as a review request

Recommendation to buy a Kindle to see your ebook

Deciding on exclusivity

Perks of publishing on Amazon

Marketing through social media platforms

Building up followers

Mary is also looking at the publishing of audiobooks

Marketing- see the blog posts


For further information please look at Mary’s website


The group enjoyed refreshments with home-baked scones and a lot of chat. Most discussion focused on Mary’s presentation. Patricia mentioned the problem of piracy. Mary has lost potential sales to this crime.


Sally ended the evening by thanking Mary who has waived her speaker’s fee and flowers were presented.


The next meeting on 6th December is the Christmas party and members are invited to bring light nibble buffet food and items (short or extracts of longer Christmas themed preferred) to read. There will be games of writing-based consequences. Please take time out from your usual writing targets to bring your entry for the competition, 250 words exactly of prose or poetry based on a popular song title or an instrumental tune. It will be judged at the February meeting as per the programme (giving guest readers chance to peruse first).


The meeting closed at 9.25 pm.

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