For a long time I resisted the call of self publishing. For a start it seemed like a lot of work – working platforms, building brands, learning how to format books into epub and mobi and all the other formats out there. I could see the attraction but I couldn’t face all the hard work.
Not that I don’t like hard work. I work fulltime in a job totally unrelated to writing and I write in my spare time. “Spare time” – that’s a misnomer if I ever heard one!
But then the publisher of my book “Where the Flag Floats” closed unexpectedly and I was forced to consider the fact that, if I wanted to be published, I was probably going to have to it by myself as I could no longer rely on other people to do it for me.
That meant learning a whole new skill set, like how to format a book for epub and mobi; how to convert a file to pdf.; how to hyperlink my chapters; how to get the books that were sitting in boxes in my study out into the world.
I wilted. It all seemed too much to do. How was I going to learn all this? Well the same way you eat an elephant – one bite at a time. (Not that I would eat an elephant, there’s too few of them left in this world!)
When the rights to In Too Deep, my first published book, reverted back to me I started the process of converting it to an ebook. It was my practice piece and I took it a step at a time, following word for word the style guide provided. It took two afternoons of a long weekend and I was done.
There was some satisfaction in seeing that up as an ebook. I’d done it! I listed it for free and sat back and watched the download numbers climb. I promised myself that when it reached 100 downloads, I would upload the next in the series – Three Times Dead.
I uploaded the next book a month later.
I started experimenting with Print on Demand. Using Createspace I managed to produce a fairly presentable print edition. There’s nothing like having the actual print edition in your hand.
A chance encounter at an evening function introduced me to my book distributor. Not afraid of taking on a book by a self published author, they soon exhausted my stock of books produced by the now defunct publisher and I was forced (in the nicest possible way) to reprint my own edition of Where the Flag Floats with a new ISBN.
This year I have started by producing another book making a total now of three in twelve months. When I look back now at those first unsteady steps I took in June, I’m amazed at how far I have come but aware that I have still more to learn. It is still ‘one bite at a time’ stuff and as one task is accomplished, I find another one looms but as each is learnt, practised and mastered, I feel more and more empowered.
To round it all off, on 29 March the book that started it all – Where the Flag Floats won a Notable Book Award from Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust in the Junior Fiction category. The publisher was noted as “now defunct” but the demise of the publisher in June last year was a beginning not an end and I have now come to the conclusion that losing my publisher last year could possibly be one of the best things that happened to me, not that I realised it at the time.