I’ve taken the plunge

Sun, water and crags

The ponds in front of the Scottish Parliament with Salisbury Crags in the background.

A number of years ago I reached the stage of attracting a publisher’s interest in a biography, researched over many years, but sadly nothing came of it. Disappointment, but deep breaths. Round other possible publishers, but no success. I gave up and threw myself into writing a novel. Enjoyed the experience but saw it as a learning process. Followed that with two others, the last one of which is now published. The launch is next week, hence the trip to Edinburgh to grab some photos for my presentation.

I have seen the frustrations of other writers, the time spent wooing agents and publishers. At the same time I have followed the growth of self- publishing, avidly reading about the experiences of those who took the plunge, and the satisfaction achieved. Attendance at a workshop on self-publishing persuaded me I should follow that route and go for it.

Parliament and crags

The Scottish Parliament is said to resemble a marina of upturned boats. The building was controversial (isn’t all modern architecture!) but the situation is dramatic.

Initially as I talked myself into it I mulled over publishing under a pseudonym – after all, if J K Rowling can do it… That way if my book is a total flop then I can disown it. Not mine! No idea who the writer is! But as time has trundled on and I’ve become enmeshed in the process, the feeling I want to be associated with it has grown. Scary – jumping without the safety net of editor or publisher to darn the rents and smooth the wrinkles in the fabric of my story. But at the same time I am enjoying a sense of achievement that, with help from my husband, the product is all my own work, and along the way I have learnt new skills.

Parliament and poems

The Scottish Parliament’s poetry wall where quotes from some of our best poets are set in stone.

Climbing the editing mountain was arduous and time consuming. Yes, I know all the gurus advise paying for a professional edit, warn that your work is your brand on which you will be judged, but having looked at costs I decided it was out of the question. A very significant number of books need to be sold before the cost is recouped. Though perhaps next time… So it was down to reading and re-reading, and aware of how easy it is to miss mistakes in your own writing, persuading my husband to read it over again with a critical eye.

Apart from that, the most difficult part of the process was sorting out the American tax number – husband phoned the States, hung on in a thirty minute telephone queue, then spent twenty minutes having the necessary form completed. Job done – at a cost of sixty pence thanks to Skype. Shudder to think of the cost otherwise.

Stevenson quote

Bright is the ring of words — a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson.

Eventually, I was able to spend a number of days sitting in the sun, checking the printed proof of my paperback, complete with cover designed by myself with my name standing out proud. A real, thick, six inches by nine inches paperback. Result.

Despite the thoroughness of my editing and checking I picked up one or two changes to be made. These were easier to pick up reading the actual book than on screen or in a printout. With my read-through finished, I made changes to my InDesign and ebook documents and uploaded them on CreateSpace and Amazon Kindle.

Bright are the columns

Bright are the columns. The Royal Scottish Academy. Grabbed the shot through the windscreen of the car moving rapidly onto Princes Street, as didn’t want to miss a shot of the coloured columns.

With the process finalised my book, In the Wake of the Coup, is available in a special Caledon edition at www.twinlawpublishing.co.uk and as a paperback and ebook from Amazon. I have added a page to my blog with more details here.

Another manuscript on file and nearly seventy thousands words into another. Anyone else who is thinking of self-publishing – go for it, enjoy the experience and let’s compare notes.


About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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12 Responses to I’ve taken the plunge

  1. mybrightlife says:

    Fabulous. Well done. Will be purchasing a copy for my Kindle!

  2. mybrightlife says:

    Also, the Scottish Parliament Buildings? Would never have guessed. Not in my wildest dreams.

    • The Parliament building was, and still is, controversial partly because of the design and partly because it came in well above (a plucked from the air) budget. It was designed by a Spanish architect who sadly died before it was completed, and was opened ten years ago. I must admit to getting a thrill when I see it lying behind the shallow ponds with the crags behind, on the edge of Holyrood Park, at the foot of the Royal Mile, and across the road from the Palace of Holyrood House. An unapologetically modern building amidst old ones. But I think it works magically.

      • mybrightlife says:

        Hope I get to see it one day!

      • Me too. The wonderful benefit of Amazon is that books are available in so many different countries and being able to download books to a Kindle or other tablet with just a click makes it possible for people self-publishing to reach a much wider audience that they could ever have dreamed of before.

      • mybrightlife says:

        Was refering to the Gov Buildings in this comment (I think) – Have bought your book. Looking forward to the read.

      • All the photos are of the Scottish Parliament except the last one which is a gallery. I rather like the fact it often uses the Corinthian columns at the front to advertise its exhibitions. The Scottish Parliament sometimes hosts exhibitions too. I read recently it has attracted a Warhol exhibition – don’t know when though. And during the festival a festival of politics was held there with all kinds of discussions around politics and things political, Scottish and worldwide. Hope you do get to see it someday. I feel it has a special atmosphere.

  3. Kathleen Mansfield says:

    Fantastic news Dorothy. Brave and fulfilling and terrifying all at once. Many, many congratulations! X

    • Thank you, Cath. For me your words sum up the journey extremely well, though I would probably add frustrating to the list. It’s been interesting — bit of a roller-coaster at times — but interesting. For the launch I’ve put together a quirky, and hopefully fun presentation on what sparked the idea for the book (does the name Gus O’Donnell ring a bell?), with a bit of a romp through it using some of my photographs. It would be great if you could make it.X

  4. Carol Breslin says:

    I love your writing style, and for sure, I will buy your book. Not sure if I should do ebook or a real book.

    • Thank you so much. Guess when it come to a choice of ebook or paperback it’s a matter or personal preference. I buy both and read both depending on whether I come across a book online or in a shop. Whichever you opt for I hope you enjoy it.

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