A few years ago I wrote my first novel. I sent it off to every agent I could find in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and was rejected by everybody. To say I was gutted was an understatement. I trawled the internet and discovered the crazy world of indie publishing. You could publish yourself without an agent and without a book deal. Some people had sold lots this way. Many appeared to be making a living. I gave it a go.
Firstly I just did a Kindle book with Amazon. It was ok. It was very easy to do. I just did the free version and edited it myself. It was far from perfect but at least my book was out there and on Amazon. It didn’t sell. I made it free for a while and then it made it to no 1 in the American romance chart but I don’t think many people read it. People probably just download anything that’s free. It’s really hard to stand out in the kindle world. There are a lot of totally rubbish kindle books so how do people know yours is all right. They don’t. Trying to get relatives and friends to write reviews for me was like pulling teeth. I didn’t ever look at them in the same way again. So many just couldn’t be bothered. The key is marketing but marketing seems to cost money. This I do not have.
I decided to go for the paperback version as well with Create Space who are the book publishing arm of Amazon. I did the free version and ended up with a pretty dreadful looking paperback that looked like it was an AA guide to something. It was pretty awful. It didn’t help my book sales much.
I decided I wanted a proper looking book. I raided our savings account and signed up for the full Create Space package. I paid them about a grand and a half. This was a lot of money for me. For this I got two rounds of editing, help with the cover design and some marketing blurb to use. The first editor kind of got on my nerves. She just didn’t get my book at all and I could tell it made her feel queasy. I learned some things about my writing style that needed changing. Apparently, I over capitalise everything. I just went along with it all for a quiet life. The editor was American so I think there was not a lot of common ground. The second round of editing was all the technical stuff so that was fine. I think I use semi colons wrongly a lot of the time and have some part phrases. I think it’s all about having your own style but editors don’t agree. What sticklers they are. The best bit was the cover as they had better photos for me to choose and the marketing blurb on the back was actually really good. I was pleased with the final product and it did look like a real paperback that a proper publisher could have published.
Would I recommend others to do this? I am not sure. It was easy but very expensive. It would be better to have an editor you gel with and who gets you and what you are trying to do. You are still stuck with the problem of marketing which is definitely the tricky bit. I still have not mastered this. I would think carefully about CreateSpace and weigh up all your possiblities. In the end I just feel like I have vanity published something for my own ego when I might have been better to go back to the drawing board and write something else.
So that’s what I am going to do. One day I might be a real novelist with a real publisher.