This is a post about how NOT to self-publish – experts like Kristen Lamb and Catherine Howard should look away now.
My last post was all about how I wrote a first draft in four or five days, in response to finding out my Chicken House novel was a bit pants.
I came up with the idea of a girl called Esmerelda Smudge (in tribute to Esmerelda Weatherwax from the Discworld novels). I sketched out the character and most of the plot during a 30-min dog walk, and wrote 20,000 words over the next few days.
That was on 12th November.
On 17th November I sent my tweaked draft to an editor I’ve used before, who I love because she writes Children’s Fiction and has kids too. She edited Dragon Wraiths for the competition last year, and her insights were super helpful. Plus she charges proofreading rates! It’s Christmas, I don’t have much money to spare. I also sent Alfie Stanton The Half-Baked Hero to her (the ‘pants’ book) so I could work out from her comments which one to enter in the competition.
On 27th November (because, did I mention, she’s awesome?) my editor sent back the annotated manuscript, with excellent comments on character arc, dialogue, research and all that good stuff. I made the changes that week, while waiting to hear back about Alfie Stanton.
On 4th December I got back Alfie Stanton, with the view that – with some hard work on dialogue – it should be my Chicken House entry. So, being me, I ignored those edits and decided to publish Esmerelda instead!
I purchased a great set of composite artwork from iStockphoto for the princely sum of £8.40 and set about turning it into a passable cover design. Did I mention money is tight at Christmas? I bought the image because I knew I could cut and paste and adobe photoshop the hair to make three images of the same girl doing different things, things that Esme does in the novel.
I used an existing novel template (Moon Pony) that was already set up for CreateSpace to create my print document, just dropping the novel into place. I uploaded the files to CreateSpace on 9th December.
Yesterday, one month after first dreaming up Esmerelda Smudge, I ordered a print copy. And so did someone else! Don’t know who, which means I made my first sale. 🙂
This is obviously NOT how to self publish. I have several things that made this a smooth process: practice (I’ve written and published six children’s books this year), a willing and wonderful editor, and the urgency of a competition deadline.
The final cover doesn’t look quite right on the print copy and my new one doesn’t seem to have uploaded, although sometimes there is a lag on Amazon and the printed version will be fine.
Did I mention this is how NOT to do it – a proof version should always be printed before setting a book live. But the proof versions for me come from overseas and can take ages to arrive. So it’s quicker and cheaper to set it live and order my own copy. Except no one is meant to buy one in the mean time! 🙂
I spent a total of £51.99 including ordering a print copy. I won’t even make that amount back in sales unless something miraculous happens. But I released a fun, sweet, heartwarming story into the world for the price of a meal out for two.
For me, that’s how to self-publish!
You can find the kindle version of my book here for the bargain price of £1.98 (I haven’t checked the formatting on that either, that’s my next job, but hey it’s not expensive!)
I don’t know, sounds like a pretty good strategy to me. Now imagine if you could do that every month?
Oh I know. That’s pretty much my aim so, if I do ever find an agent, I can say, ‘look, here’s my back catalogue!’
LOL! Works for me. When I say how NOT to do it is when the writers make all those errors and whine, “WHY AM I NOT SELLING????” Um, you didn’t get any good edits? Maybe you are rushing? Great job and I fast-draft everything so I am a fan of working quickly. Not everyone can do it. Best of luck and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Thank you! 😀 I feel like self-publishing royalty just visited my blog *blush*.
Have a great Christmas!