Guest Post – A Journey into the Grey Zone – Ste Sharp

Today we welcome back Ste Sharp as our guest poster as he ruminates on the world of crowd funded publishing.

A Journey into the Grey Zone

In the time it will take you to read this, thirteen* authors across the world will type ‘THE END’ or ‘FIN’ as they complete their pride and joy novel. Three seconds later, as the champagne cork bounces off the ceiling and hits the cat, they will wonder what happens next.

They will recall words of encouragement from relatives and colleagues who, undoubtedly, mentioned JK Rowling in a way that suggests publishing books was all about luck rather than good ideas and hard graft, and they will dream of being published by a ‘real’ publisher. A future of literary agent rejections and a coffee addiction awaits them, followed by a choice of how to get their novel published: self-publish an e-book, pay a vanity press to print a paperback or win big and get published by a traditional, bricks and mortar, publisher.

Each has their pluses and minuses, but, after almost drowning in an ocean of agent rejections, I found a new method of getting published – somewhere in the grey zone between vanity and traditional – I am crowdfunding with Unbound Books.

It’s been four months since my sci-fi book, Darwin’s Soldiers, was accepted by Unbound and the journey has been far more entertaining than I had imagined. In essence, I ask future readers to buy an advance copy, which pays for the structural editing, copy-editing and cover-design of my novel. In return, the pledgers have their name in the book and, depending on the amount pledged, receive a poster of the cover art or can publish a short story at the back of the book.

For me, it’s been a crash-course in self-promotion and it’s been hard work, striving to build a following and bring in the pledges. People will love the book, you know that, but you need to boil the story down to its elements and transform it for the reader. Facebook, email, face-to-face, posters and Instagram – I now have a black belt in every discipline and have re-connected with many friends, who have been more generous than I dared dream.

Like a young kung-fu disciple I finally understand the way of Unbound, and it is genius.

It’s not just about the book.

Sure, Unbound pick well-written books with a good hook, but it’s actually all about the author and the readers.

Through the process of funding, the author is transformed from a writing-machine, pouring their ideas onto the page, to a promotion-machine, and if you look at any successful author, that’s exactly what they do. Promote.

With Unbound you also have an army of followers who want to promote your book – an army of readers who love creating something new.

Maybe they want a really good read?

Maybe they want to write their own book but don’t have the time?

Or maybe they love the idea of picking up a book in their local bookshop, flicking to the page where their name sits proudly and saying to the nearest person, ‘I made this happen.’


* This is a completely random number and probably not accurate at all.


Ste Sharp’s new novel, Darwin’s Soldiers, will be published by Unbound Books. To have your name in the book and receive other juicy rewards, you can buy an advance copy here.

Share your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s