In the beginning...
Pre-Publication – July 2020-July 2021
I am not going in depth into the writing process or the lengthy pre-publication process. Suffice to say that it took me about a year to write the book. I wrote a draft of the book during lockdown and spent the next nine months rewriting it and trying to apply the techniques of Donald Maas in Writing the Breakout Novel. They say that ‘all writing is rewriting’. That is absolutely true, and perhaps especially true of a self-published book. In order to gain credibility for self-published authors, we need to raise the bar. That’s my opinion, anyway.
To make a long story short (not something I’m good at) – I finished the draft in March 2021, and then I hired a professional editor and cover designer. I spent about £1300 on the edit and £700 on the cover. Note that it is possible to do this a lot cheaper. But I wanted to book to be (and look) as good or better than my traditionally published books, and I was prepared to invest to make that happen.
I decided to publish the book solely on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) because most of my previous book sales were on Amazon (as opposed to iBooks/Kobo, etc). KDP is an exclusive platform, at least as long as you remain in the KDP Select program where Amazon allows promotions, etc. That was fine with me – one platform is more than enough when you’re just starting out!
The major edits were finished around the end of July 2021. I made a nice schedule with a publication date at the end of September. I was going to make some nice artwork, arrange a blog tour, try to get some reviews… It was all going to be low-stress, and fit in with my kid’s summer activities and my two other writing projects.
During this time, I had constant thoughts of ‘Is this good enough?’ and ‘Should I do this without the validation of the traditional publishing machine?’
Each day I had to ‘re-decide’ that I needed to do this. This was not just about the book. This was about me challenging myself to put the book out there. As Brooke Castillo would say, ‘Discomfort is the currency of your dreams.’
I felt a lot of discomfort and self-doubt all through the process. Pressing that button to publish was going to be hard.
Could I actually do it?