Archive for the ‘publishing’ Category

Here is a long overdue blog post about things that have been happening with me. The unexpected side of being a published author – both positive and negative.

First of all this may seem like I am complaining – I absolutely am not complaining! I have been so happy lately I’m beginning to wonder if I can drag my mind back down to the depths I need to go to in order to finish the second book… I’m sure I will manage!

Getting Lucky

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So I ‘got lucky’ and got published. Suddenly I find myself on a ‘side’ – I didn’t know there were sides! I am very naive when it comes to the politics of these things because all I have done is keep my head down and write. I have faced a little resentment from a couple of people, probably because I seemingly came out of nowhere, because I got lucky and published my first book which then rocketed into the charts and has been doing steadily ever since. Its taken me a while to crack this writing malarkey and I have had my fair share of rejection – but I changed what I was writing and tried to get better every time, if you learn from rejection its not quite so bad! So being jealous or resentful because I am not out marketing myself at every turn, being annoyed that this is some kind of cake walk for me- is rather silly because it was not an easy path – yes the last year has been utterly phenomenal – but it took me a long time to get there. I really haven’t just walked into this, its been my dream for most of my adult life.

Overcoming Shyness

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Getting over my crippling shyness – this has been the biggest obstacle for me. Both in writing and in self promotion I am very secretive and ‘closed’ and so it took me a long time to send off for an agent, it took me a long time to have enough belief in myself to do that. I have had to let it go a little and just trust that other people who know what they are doing believe in me and so I should stop trying to self sabotage and start behaving like an author would (whatever that means!} The anxiety I first felt of how peoples perception of me would change after they had read my book is mostly gone now. I don’t think its something that will ever truly go as its such a private thing. If a little bit of your soul doesn’t go into everything you write then you just end up with a hollow mash of well constructed sentences. I personally think its important to write what’s uncomfortable. Write the dark things because those are the thoughts that people latch onto and identify with.

Getting reviews!

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Reviews! Getting reviews for my book has been both amazing and challenging at times. I have had a lot of 5 star reviews – over 200 now (over 300 4/5*) which I am stunned by. You see I wrote the book that I thought I would enjoy to read, and its nice to see so many other people enjoyed it too. I have around 50 one star reviews – either I’m pretentious or my grammar is so appalling they couldn’t possibly get past it! Some of the other less favourable reviews have mentioned my use of the word saline – instead of tears – my mother also mentioned this to me. Its not something that I would get my knickers in a twist over if I read it in someone else’s work but point taken, I wont use it again! Also my daughter is obsessed with my use of the word wainscotting, because apparently no one knows what that is. I know I should be grateful to even have reviews – and believe me – I am! I have learned to laugh at some of my reviews, especially one who referred to me as Katerina DIEmond (in exactly that way!) and try and take some pointers for the future from others. I am not averse to constructive criticism (as long as I agree with it!). Still hard to read a dismissive review when you have spent literally YEARS working on something. Dont even get me started on reviews with spoilers in them!!! grrrr!

Meeting great People!

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I have met some great people since being published – this is possibly partly due to the fact that I feel I have the right to call myself an author now, instead of muttering that I like to write stories – which people just don’t get or take seriously. Being a published author gives me a feeling of legitimacy. I think generally I have been more open to new friendships. The support I have received from other writers is just brilliant. I have so many questions all the time which must make me seem like I have been living under a rock for my entire life. For the most part I have been quite moved by the support and sense of community I am experiencing. Also the book bloggers (who I didn’t know existed) have been so supportive as well – some have even become friends. As mentioned before there are a couple of people who I sense some deep resentment from but I see that as their issue and not mine as almost everyone else has been great. I have had one person get the hump with me for not promoting their book online but the fact is, I barely like promoting my own book – I certainly don’t want to promote something that I haven’t read. I don’t mind retweeting things that other people ask me to retweet – but I feel newly constructed or written tweets should be FROM me, about things I want to say or feel passionate about! The marketing side of things does my head in a little bit, I am so pleased I am not in charge of that myself. I really admire anyone who has the ability to both write great books and market themselves successfully without being pushy and in your face – that would be my main concern! I absolutely LOATHE clickbait and couldn’t bring myself to post any – even when I repost clickbait I put a synopsis in my post! it just seems so damn dishonest!

Having a great Agent and Publishers.

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I was a total novice and this is where I truly believe I did get lucky. My agent Diane Banks saw something in my book that she liked. My publishers Avon felt the same way. I sent off to a few Agents, and my Agent sent off to a few publishers for me to have landed with the team of people that I did was incredibly good luck on my part. I get warm squishy feelings about all of them (and I am not a warm squishy person). I think this was the best possible outcome for me – on all fronts! I think it shows in both my sales and the great working partnership I feel I have with both my previous editor and my new one. I have heard so many horror stories from other writers about shocking behaviour from both agents and publishers I didn’t realise it could be so bad! I would be utterly USELESS as a self published author, I probably would have sold about 12 books by now, and that’s even less impressive when you consider the size of my family alone. As it stands I have been in the Sunday Times Best Seller list 3 weeks in a row (what??!!) and I was a number one kindle best seller (??!!) I’m still holding into the top 5 on kindle although I feel that’s about to change as some great titles are being released over the next couple of weeks. My book will also start moving internationally soon and that’s just amazing, too.

Being a success!

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Well I always said I was more afraid of success than I was of failure. Its a new feeling but its a nice feeling. The main thing I am noticing is that the hard work has just begun. I had my own time and pace to get my foot through the door but now its there I have more books to write and actual deadlines instead of self imposed ones. I have had so many people ask me when the second book is coming out, its such a great feeling. I am so excited for the next few years of my life. I’m also so grateful to everyone who has been so incredibly nice to me. I was feeling a little fragile on entry into the world of being an author – on publication day I came down with the flu and was in bed for 4 days! intermittently tweeting a gif between naps through my fever.

Anyway – I’m on holiday at the moment so its back to the pool for me!

live long and prosper!

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OK Im going to lay it all out there. I dont know an awful lot about publishing. But tonight i went to an interesting meeting at Waterstones in Thanet talking about getting published. it was interesting to see the different ways some people had gone about getting published. Although none had been published through agencies – both of the men I spoke to there had been self published, but both had very different experiences. One had laid out huge personal financial outlay in order to see his book in print, including some misadventures with expensive editors who didn’t do the job properly. The other man ordered each book that was ordered from him one by one, so there was no initial outlay at all.

It got me to thinking though – about publishing – first of all I only say these things as they relate to me, these are not judgements on other people or how they have chosen to do things – everyone’s different eh?

I was very reluctant to go the self publishing route without at least putting up a fight and trying to secure a deal with an actual publisher, through an agent. One of the questions that was thrown up in the meeting tonight was how do you measure success? Well for me, yeah seeing my book in print would be great, but not if I am the one who has paid to do it – because books are all about the audience at the end of the day, if you just write a book for yourself then why bother getting published at all, even self published, just keep it to yourself.

For me (on this book at least) I measure my success on someone who knows the industry telling me that its a marketable object –  that its something that people will want to read. I knew that if i couldn’t find an agent i would most likely self publish, but I knew for me that might not be the best thing to do. For starters im absolutely crap at marketing myself. I’m basically a recluse who spends my days in my basement staring at a wall without a window. I need an Agent to market me, I cant sell myself as a product and not because I don’t believe in myself, but because – well for a start I don’t have the connections an agent does. I’m just not a seller. I lack the confidence to promote myself. Its not even about money (but lets not be rash, I like money) its about being a legitimate writer. Are you a writer if the only person who believes in your shit is you? well i don’t know, i don’t make the rules.

Getting an Agent turn around and say to me, your stuff is great was a massive confidence boost and totally made me feel like a legitimate writer, i didn’t realise i didn’t feel like a proper writer until I started feeling like one – even though i have been writing for years. getting an agent was a game changer for me. (However if you are self published – great reviews and book sales would provide the same feeling of validation I imagine)

Is it arrogance or insecurity that makes someone self publish? for me it would be insecurity. I would be so scared of putting myself out there to be rejected by agents that I would just do it myself and be happy to sell it to a handful of people who want it every now and then.

Is it a control thing? Is it just not being able to stand someone else having control of your baby, telling you that you need to change the name, have this cover, change this chapter, do this differently etc etc – well yeah I get that. Although when I wrote the book i have just written i was trying to appeal to a commercial audience – ONE because i love crime thrillers and TWO because i wanted to get an Agent to do all the hard work for me. i had resigned myself to make any changes that an agent considered necessary – you see – this is what i want to do for the rest of my life – and so – I wanted to do it “the right way” – it may not be the most financially lucrative way – it may even be considered selling out.

Like I said before though i realise there are a great number of people who are hugely successful and self published and they are probably much more market savvy people than me, I really am rubbish at promoting myself and putting myself forward Its something i have been trying to work on lately – hence the blog and my lame attempts at twitter.

The publishing industry seems to be fast evolving and who knows what’s going to happen. All i know is that the measure of success for me would be to find a dog eared well read copy of my book in a charity shop – screwed up I know!