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.
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.
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.
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.
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.