When I first started on my self-publishing adventure, I didn’t have a clue what to expect. What I did know though, was that I loved to write and that the chances of me being able to go the traditional route were quite slim. At this point, I had no idea that the likes of Carina existed where you can approach them yourself and don’t have to wait about 3 months just to get some kind of response.
My first step was trying to get a Facebook author profile and page set up, and then hope that I stood a chance of finding other people that not only wrote, but that were friendly and of a similar mindset. Or at the very least, not bots haha
Then I joined Twitter. Lordy me, the hours I spent trying to fathom out exactly how to use it and not feel like a prize idiot just talking to myself with 0 followers. And don’t get me started on the 140 character thing! Soul destroying. But I carried on and persevered because I was determine to publish my book. I already had a friend who had self-published a book, but she had started out on FanFiction writing her versions of Fifty Shades and such and had a pretty large group of fans that crossed over to her Facebook. People loved her work. Then there was little old me who just adored Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk; all I wanted to do was write something to make people laugh, something that I would love to read. I didn’t have a clue that people were being so negative about chick lit let alone ‘indie’ authors.
Although my start was shaky, I soon discovered a wonderful thing called a blog tour! It sounded perfect! But then I realised the only tour hosts I had come across charged much more than I could afford; so I organised my own. At this point, the wonderful Tracie Banister had taken me under her wing and invited me to join a group on Facebook that was full of chick lit writers, and she also gave me tips on how to arrange my own tour. But then I had no idea how to approach these unicorn like creatures known as book bloggers. I genuinely wanted to cry.
Self-publishing can be a lonely journey when you don’t have an agent or editor to ask for help. I’m certain I offended a few bloggers too (unknowingly might I add!) when I approached them. I made sure to check out their blogs and review policies, but you know when you’re so eager to be a part of an amazing blog that you adore, that you probably don’t quite get it right. I also know for a fact that I sent one email to the wrong blog with the wrong names on. I wanted to die of embarrassment. I was new and naive and just wanted people to give me a chance. The funny thing I began to notice though, was that a lot of bloggers only accept work from published authors or their agents. I didn’t really understand why at the time, but now I’ve just released my fourth book, I’m a LOT wiser than I was back then.
My first tour went amazingly well. Most of the bloggers that gave me a chance in those early days have remained by my side becoming firm friends and have continued to be my cheerleaders. They have supported me, they have tweeted about me, they have recommended me, but still, some people won’t touch a self-published author with a ten-foot bargepole.
I do appreciate that there are some self-absorbed authors out there that think that because they’ve written a book, everyone should want to read it; ‘not into horror? So what, it’s a book, you should read it.’ *rolls eyes*. I also appreciate that there are some that don’t bother to edit their work. But I can’t help but wonder how many brilliant authors aren’t getting a chance because they’re labelled as self-published, like it’s something that should be avoided like the plague. Being self published takes a lot of hard work, long hours, dozens of edits, doors closing, expense, and still people assume that because you haven’t got a contract with a big publishing house, you must be worthless. I too spend months and months working on my novels and work just as hard as traditionally published authors. The number of edits I give my work is ridiculous (although in the early days, I probably didn’t realise that 2 or 3 edits was nowhere near enough), the number of people that help me is amazing, and the hours I spend worrying over whether I’m still good enough is bonkers, but I’m passionate. I’m lucky to have proved myself to a degree and to have people who can’t wait to read what I write, but it takes hard work. I like my covers to look perfect, I like to make a good impression, and hopefully one day, it won’t matter that I’m ‘just another self-published author’.
I hope this post doesn’t sound like a rant, it’s not meant to be. I wanted to write this to show how proud I am of where I’ve come from. I am a self-published author. I have spent a lot of money to make sure my work looks professional. I have spent hours perfecting my novels and promoting my ass off. I also have a lot of blogger friends now who are always there to offer a helping hand or to listen to me rant when I need to.
I am responsible for hitting that publish button and setting my own deadlines. I’m in control of how much I charge for my book, when it goes on sale and how my cover looks.
I am a self published author and I am proud!