The final part of my critique of a WikiHow article with the same title, where I talk about my final steps to publication.
‘Step 9: Do a final check to make sure you are ready to publish.’
I was just about to publish my 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 which enabled me to feel happy that I was actually ready to launch my book.
‘Step 10 : Start building buzz on social media. Create a Facebook page and Twitter profile for your book.’
This step was the hardest . 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 words until I began to read what an important tool social media can be. I realised it’s potential power for telling people all about my book. I had to enrol on these platforms and that was not all – I had to post and comment too, and keep active – I also started 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.
‘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 and full of advice. Someone with contacts and 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 actually show them.
‘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 first novels – I have learnt so much from my mistakes, I have found a wonderful network of people who love books and freely give advice. 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 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.
The Wikihow article finishes by saying...
‘Step 14 : Wait and stay patient’
The Wikihow article talks about the length of time it can take publishers to come back to you once you have submitted your manuscript to them. ‘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 maybe many books down the road for me and it will only come about if I believe in myself, learn from others and keep having a go.