The traditional publishing route didn’t work out for me and it made me question why.
Did I write a terrible book?
I have to say no and not just because I wrote it. It scores a solid 4.9 stars on Amazon and while I know that there are only 11 ratings, that’s at least a dozen of us that think it’s good.
And that’s why I decided to try and get my rights back (thank you very much Headline) and give it another go. I could have left it with them and told the world that I was published by Headline/Accent (and at least one part of that duo is a top publisher so there has to be some kudos with that) but if they aren’t promoting it or backing you as a writer what’s the point? I was at a fork in my road (just so happens to be the working title of my current WIP btw) and I had to choose a road to take and make the first step.
Make the request. That was quite a big step because once you get those rights back you are no longer under their mantle and like I said the ‘Headline’ name is a biggie in the publishing world. Clearly they thought so too because four times I was asked if I was sure. I won’t lie, the day that I actually received the reversion letter I was sad because it was like I had tried but I had failed and I allowed myself half a day to wallow in self pity. The following day though I had to throw that aside and decide what to do next. I’d requested them back, I’d put myself in this position so what was I going to do about it?
Work out if you are going to try the traditional route again or go it alone. I was already disillusioned by my experience of the first option and I was daunted by the idea of the second.
Finding another publisher or agent is a time consuming business and most of the time soul destroying. I don’t think there’s a writer out there that doesn’t have a stack of rejection letters to their name. I couldn’t face that, not so much the rejection because I have a thick skin when it comes to that sort of thing but more the limbo state that you are left in while you wait for at least one of the many people that you have submitted to to get back to you.
I chose the self-publishing road. How bad could it be? Thanks to Amazon it’s much easier than it used to be when you had to fork out a wedge of cash up front to a vanity publisher.
Going it alone v traditional publisher also has one huge advantage. You are in charge of everything from the way the book looks to how much it costs and everything in between.
Get to grips with kdp (Kindle Direct Publishing) which is easier said than done. It actually isn’t too bad once you get the hang of it but until you do it’s a horror show. The biggest problem I had was uploading the actual content. I know. Why? I can hear you asking the question. The answer is I have no idea. I loaded what I thought was a ‘clean copy’ only to find that when I previewed it, the chapters didn’t start where they should or the editors marks were still showing even thought everything looked fine on the document I was working on. That was really frustrating and I swear I almost started to think that it wasn’t worth the effort. However we got there in the end and I’ll be honest I did a little ‘happy dance’ when it was right.
Find a cover. You can make your own but I’m not that way inclined and I wasn’t happy with anything that I came up with. Luckily for me I have a friend who is much more talented than me and they created this beautiful cover.
Upload the cover and thank goodness that is a very straight forward process.
Choose the price. My last book which was published by Headline/Accent was £5.99 on Kindle when it came out. Yes it’s not a typo £5.99. When I pointed out that made it more expensive than Dan Brown’s latest it was reduced but it took a couple of months and the book never really took off. I wonder if price was part of the reason. Obviously you have to not undervalue your work but you also need to be realistic and not price yourself out of the market.
THINGS I SHOULD HAVE SAID AND DONE is out on 20/5/2021
It is currently available to pre-order https://www.amazon.co.uk/Things-Should-Have-Said-Done-ebook/dp/B0917P1HJ3/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1617202482&sr=8-1 on Amazon.
All in all I am happy with the road that I have chosen because I feel more in control this time. Before I had input on things like covers but not the final say and I had no say (apart from the time that I complained) about price. As for promotion, I had to do that anyway so the fact that I have to do it myself now is no worse.
I don’t know what step nine is but I’m looking forward to finding out.