Many people think you just write the book and then hit the ‘Publish’ button if you go down the self-publishing route. Here’s Pam Lecky’s journey and it’s apt for any would-be-writer to take note of (and for our readers to understand that if it was THAT easy then EVERYBODY would be doing it!)
Pam Lecky’s Self-Publishing Journey
The publishing world is incredibly scary for the first-time author. You’ve produced your lovely book and have every right to feel proud of yourself. But what now? Do you try to get an agent or go directly to a publisher? The answer is: don’t do what I did if you want to be traditionally published.
I completed the first draft of my book in six months and thought I had a masterpiece on my hands. Little did I realise that typescript (which turned out to be draft one of about six hundred!), held every novice writer error it is possible to have. (I still cringe!) So in my innocence, I decided that the world definitely needed to see it and that an agent would bite my hand off to represent me. The response from the publishing world was polite but negative. Worst of all, I had burnt my bridges – a traditional book deal was dead in the water.
Feeling rather glum I sought advice from a published author friend. She recommended two things: get an editor and consider self-publishing. Invaluable advice as it turned out. I contacted Inkwell in Dublin and arranged for a structural edit of my book. This proved pivotal – the editor considered the story was strong, suggested changes, and told me how to eliminate those errors that blatantly proclaimed the script as a rookie effort. My confidence was boosted and I started to consider self-publishing seriously.
In the meantime, I attended the Dublin Book Festival and sat enthralled by authors, agents and publishers – I was starting to get a feel for the industry and how it all works. A Self-Publishing Day in the Irish Writers’ Centre clinched it for me and I could see that my dream could still be a reality. One of the speakers that day was author, Catherine Ryan Howard, who has written and blogged extensively in this area. I ran out and bought her book, “Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing” and I am very glad I did. Trust me, this book is the bible.
At this stage, I knew I had to have another more in-depth edit done, preferably by someone who had an interest in my genre. I sought recommendations from historical fiction Facebook groups and found Hilary Johnson in the UK, who did a copyedit on the book and was kind enough to encourage me to publish.
In the world of self-publishing Amazon is king, so you will have to tackle what that entails. Preparation and formatting for Kindle and Print on Demand (POD) isn’t easy. You really do need to have a good grasp of the techy stuff and plenty of wine on standby. But it is possible – hey I have managed it! And, if you feel that is beyond your skill, there are people out there who will format your typescript for you.
So if you are starting out and considering this option, my advice is to give it a go. My one proviso is, however, that whatever you publish must be as perfect as possible. Pay to have your book edited and proofed professionally. The quality of your ‘product’ should be so high that the buying public shouldn’t be able to tell that it wasn’t published in the traditional way.
Of course, then the task of promoting and marketing begins and I as I have found, this is the most difficult part of the job yet.
(ED – well at least you got there, Pam and thanks for sharing your travels in the publishing world. It’s just a question of being lucky isn’t it? Imagine you’re stood all alone at a bus stop and when it pulls up there is only room for one person – you – and lo and behold when you get on it’s full of agents and publishers and film producers and they ALL want you to sign on the dotted line!! We live in hope!)