October 30, 2017
By: Karen Silver

By choosing to self-publish, authors are given full creative control and the assurance of self-expression in their works. Scott Bartlett, a Newfoundland author and recipient of the Percy James First Novel Award and the Lawrence Jackson Writers Award, has self-published twelve novels. On October 15, he hosted a self-publishing workshop in St. John’s through The Writer’s Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador to talk about his experiences in self-publishing and his latest book.

Bartlett will kick off the release of the fourth installment of his Ixan Prophecies series, Infliction, on Monday, October 30. The three preceding books in Bartlett’s science fiction collection are Supercarrier, Juggernaut, and Reckoning (which was released in September of this year).

Bartlett, like many authors, had some setbacks and concerns when it came to traditional publishing and ultimately decided to pursue his goals through self-publishing for several reasons. “Creative control is very important to me,” said Bartlett. “I did not like the idea of having to change my vision for publishing.” Successful authors will have to conform to genre expectations to some degree, but self-publishing allows for a balance of new and old concepts, as well as room for creative flexibility that might not be available in a traditional publishing route.

Additional benefits of self-publishing include having the ability to choose team members, such as editors, revisers, and proofreaders. Self-publishing also lets the author work at their own pace, which can result in a less demanding environment.

Bartlett began his career as a published novelist in 2011 and has been working full-time writing and promoting his work since 2013. “I was eager to get my writing career moving, and that was the best way that I could do it,” Bartlett said. His notable self-published works include his 2011 medieval comedy Royal Flush, which earned him the H.R. (Bill) Percy Prize, and his 2013 contemporary novel Taking Stock, which received funding from the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.

According to Bartlett, most independent writers have success on digital platforms, including e-book and audio sales. Although he has self-published most of his works under Engen Books and focuses primarily on print, Bartlett also has a vast clientele in digital sales of e-books and audio books. Currently, he has an exclusive deal with Amazon for his digital sales. “I was not one hundred percent comfortable with having all of my corporate eggs in one basket, but working exclusively with Amazon has some great benefits,” said Bartlett

He will be promoting his newest release, Infliction throughout November, but then will be quick to move on to his next project shortly thereafter because the industry favors quick releases. Initially, Bartlett worried that speeding up releases of his novels might sacrifice the quality of his work, but in practice he has found it to be almost the opposite. “Once you are in that flow state, in the zone, it is almost a distraction free state,” he said. Bartlett felt that by not having too much time to dwell on editing and changing the content, the story ends up being more authentic to his original vision.

Bartlett’s current goal is to release two books annually, but Infliction will be his sixth release of 2017. Infliction will be available in print in stores and online, and digital copies will be available online exclusively through Amazon here.

For more information on grants and funding for local arts projects, visit the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council at nlac.ca, and for more information on workshops, information sessions, or to become a member of The Writers Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador visit wanl.ca.

Photo by Cecily McKeever