What a journey this has been. When I started writing my first book Shattered Soul in August 2011 I never really had any clue of where I would be 7 years later. I have had incredible highs and equally incredible lows all the way through this process and it has been a steep learning curve for me. I have leaned some very valuable lessons along the way and I think I am now on the right track in terms of how the world of self publishing works.
In the beginning, writing was my way of coping with loneliness. I had spent over 10 years working in an office with a fantastic group of people. The place was always busy and it was always nice to have people to talk to. And we could talk. Most of the time the conversation was random but that's what made it so nice. I left my job to work with my husband as our business had become busier than he could cope with himself. I was excited to start a new chapter of my life but extremely sad to leave the place I had essentially grown up working in. I considered the people I worked with as friends more than colleagues so it was a hard decision to make but I knew in my heart it was the right one. My new office was quiet, too quiet sometimes and it took me a long time to adjust to working alone. Writing gave me an escape and made a very long, boring day go quicker.
At the start I had no intention of letting anyone else read it let alone try and get it published. It was a chance conversation with a good friend after a PTA meeting that started the process of writing more and thinking about publishing. And that opened up a whole new can of worms.
Publishing is hard. If you're lucky enough to get an agent and subsequently a publisher then you've got it made. I tried this. 2015 was the year I decided to bite the bullet and start sending out submissions. The list of submissions I have is enormous and the list of rejections is almost as long. Some agents and publishers don't even bother acknowledging your submission. The first rejection is the hardest. I will admit I went into this very naively and when I got that first "thanks but no thanks" email I was gutted. It would almost have been enough for me to down tools and forget the whole thing because, at that particular time, I was't mentally in the best place. I do think this was a contributing factor in a bout of writers block that lasted almost a year. It was terrible and so hard to get past. Every time I looked at my laptop I wanted to cry. I had written half of my second book by then and it was just sitting there with nowhere to go. Granted I had a lot of ideas and I knew exactly how I wanted the story to progress (I had already written the ending to book 2 before I started) but getting the motivation to actually get words down was like trying to climb a steep, muddy hill.
When I finally got over the writers block and finished Saviour of the Soul I made the decision to self publish and that was an eye opener. The amount of self published books out there is vast. I made the huge mistake that I've realised a lot of people do. I expected my books to go on sale and people would buy it. How wrong I was. The world of self publishing is even harder than traditional publishing in my opinion but I know that if you get it right the rewards can be immense. It involves a lot of hard work and is extremely overwhelming at times.
And so this leads me to where I am now. Back to the drawing board. I pulled my books from sale, commissioned a new professional cover for Shattered Soul and am now learning from scratch how to market my books effectively to generate sales and keep interest in them. I also have my third book under my belt and have started a fourth. I am finding the writing process much easier now and have learned so much since I first started. The marketing will fall into place and I'm sure it will pay off in the end.
All going well I will have Shattered Soul ready for re-launch very soon so watch this space.
Here's to the future.