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Big old spanner!

Last night a big old giant rusty spanner was thrown in the works, which flipped my ideas of publishing on their head.

Despite a number of friends doing it successfully, I had convinced myself over the last year I absolutely did NOT want to self-publish. I don’t have anything against self-publishing…well that is a lie actually. I do! It is a ridiculous amount of work. I have three young kids, a hubby, a crazy nutter of a dog and an insatiable desire to write.

Where the heck am I meant to find the desire as well as the capacity and time to spend hours, days and nights studying the process & logistics. Not only of creating the e-book product but also the science behind becoming a successful author online, as well as building a social profile and marketing myself non-stop.

Let’s just stop all of this ridiculousness! Where are those darn fairies?

My argument thus far has been, flag it, I just want to write. And while that is still true, I realise I also want my books to be read. In a few months I will have three finished manuscripts, not counting my kids books hidden away. What use are they sitting on my desk?

So what changed? Why am I suddenly considering self-publishing?

We had a guest at Writers life group. A man who had been a successful part of the international publishing industry for seventeen years, and we got to ask him anything…

At first I was like ‘what the heck?’ ‘How could I possibly ask you everything I want to know about this whole business.’ The main thing I ended up asking was ‘how do we, as debut authors get our work into the hands of publishers.’

He smiled kindly and then pretty much told us it was near on impossible. Awesome. That's exactly what I needed to hear NOT! He went on to say, unless you have built a name and following or have a product that is so wild, they just have to have it – your work is not even likely to be read. Each publisher literally gets hundreds of manuscripts – EVERY WEEK. So they judge accordingly. If your cover letter or synopsis or first few lines or cover or social profile is nothing to write home about, onto the no pile you go.

So, what are we meant to do then?

  1. Keep writing.

  2. Build a social profile, a blog, facebook/twitter/Instagram etc. And then tell EVERYBODY about it – unashamedly. Invest in yourself, build your audience.

  3. Get your work to a professional standard, pay somebody to help. Invest in a quality cover.

  4. Study the process & science (there is one!), choose your platforms, glean off others who have gone before you. And then do it!

  5. Most importantly write because you love it and not to make money because 99% of books don’t make it. Harsh but true!

Despite what he said. Despite how ‘impossible’ he made it all sound, I was encouraged. I felt like I had permission to say ‘I can do this!’ and that self-publishing wasn't a failure on my part. For the first-time it didn’t look like such an ugly beast. I mean, I know – all that stuff at the top of this post is still true. It is still going to be a ridiculous amount of work and I am going to be mad because I have the crazy writer shakes and just want to write, but then I will suck it up and do it anyway.

There is this beautiful truth, that I will cling to through the crazy. If I self-publish, within six months I could be holding my first novel in hard copy in my hands. And that my friends is worth doing a little happy dance about. Come on somebody!

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