The Journey Continues…
How to write a novel and get it published in 14 easy steps – PART 4
This is my final part of this series of blogs about what I have learnt from writing and publishing my debut novel – if you would like to start at the beginning, here is a link, ‘Realising a Dream.’ This my critique of a WikiHow article with this same title.
‘Step 9: Do a final check to make sure you are ready to publish.’
I was already to publish my polished book when doubts started to creep in– I began to question my title, Fox Halt Farm, the strap-lines and the blurb – all I can say is thank goodness for online groups and my Facebook friends – thank you to all those who let me have their thoughts, ideas and much needed reassurance.
‘Step 10 : Start building buzz on social media. Create a Facebook page and Twitter profile for your book.’
This step has been the hardest for me. I had little interest in social media – it was nice to keep track of my friends but that was my only connection with it. Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter were meaningless, until I began to read what an important tool social media could be. I realised it’s potential power for getting the word out there about my book. I was left in no doubt, I had to enrol on these platforms and that was not all – I had to post and comment and keep active – I also saw that I needed to start a blog. I wouldn’t say I have achieved a ‘buzz’ – I’d call it a ‘whimper’ but I am slowly getting to grips with it.
By the way, I heard an author say yesterday that she thought publishers may actually pass over a manuscript if they are unable to find the author’s social media presence so it does seem to be vital!
‘Step 11 : Getting an agent… who will work for you and help you get your book published and sold.’
An agent sounds wonderful to me – someone on your side, someone full of advice, a person with contacts and with your interests at heart but I gave up on this notion early on, when I read so much online about how difficult these people are to acquire, especially as a new author – maybe, I will try now that I have something to show them and the sequel to Fox Halt Farm all mapped out.
‘Step 12 : Research different publishers. You may choose to self-publish, but getting published by a big name publisher is better for getting a larger audience.
Again, this seemed like a long road to travel without certainty of it’s destination – I was determined to publish my novel and at this time, I didn’t understand what a publishing house could do for an author – I foresaw a long wait, and a lot of hard work to secure a publisher – I imagined rejection letter after rejection letter until at last, someone saw the potential in my novel. I had no track record – I was a risk.
It seemed back then, that self-publishing was the easy way forward. I was wrong of course – nothing is easy, and now, I understand the work that publishers do – I realise there is still a lot an author has to sort out for themselves but the publishing houses distribution channels, contacts and knowledge of the book market shouldn’t be dismissed.
Narrow your publishing options. Once you have decided on a few publishers (the more the better), start researching these publishers more in-depth.’
I didn’t do this, but now that I am at the point where I am considering seeking a publisher for my next book, I have lots of research to do. I need to determine who publishes books in my genre and then follow their submission guidelines – at least I will be doing this in a positive frame of mind, aware of the benefits of securing a publisher. I think, in a way, it has been advantageous to self publish my debut novel – I have learnt so much from my mistakes, I have found a wonderful network of people who love books and I also appreciate the process better than I did before.
‘Step 13 : Consider self-publishing online. ‘Self-publishing an ebook is a viable and popular option.’
My experience with self-publishing has identified many good things about being an independent author. The main thing I have to mention is all the full and timely answers I have received from KDP publishing – their systems aren’t flawless but I have found their support is second to none.
My other precious resource has been You Tube and the hundreds of videos that gave step-by-step answers to every ‘How do I…. ?’ query I made. My book will be published and now all I have to do is ensure the world knows about it.
The Wikihow article finishes by saying ‘Step 14 : Wait and stay patient’ – it talks about the length of time it can take publishers to come back to you once you have submitted your manuscript to them, it says ‘If you get a “yes” from a publisher, well done! You get to see it in the stores! …’
I appreciate what the article is getting at but I think the final words should be ‘Never give up’ I come across this message everyday in posts by other authors – I wonder at their determination. I see that this is going to be a long road, success is many books down the road and it will only come about if I believe in myself, learn from others and keep having a go.
My novel Fox Halt Farm – a powerful romantic saga is £0.99 for a limited time Available from Amazon UK.