Seven Processes of Self-Publication

Adapted from ALLI Self-Publishing Advice

Self-publishing authors are Indie authors

There are seven processes on the journey to self-publication. Yes, I did say seven, and no, we’re not going to throw in the towel. I’m sure we can work through these processes together. If I can do this then anyone can!

So, here’s the overview:

The first three come under the umbrella of making your book (after you’ve finished writing it of course) Put your hand up if you thought typing THE END was the end? Nope, turns out it’s just the beginning…

  • Editorial – this includes the content edit (which looks at the big picture to fix plot problems and character inconsistencies) and copy edit (which focuses more on grammatical issues)
  • Design – not just the book cover but the blurb (the bit that goes on the back of your book) and the tagline (which is particularly useful when selling on Amazon)
  • Production – this is where things start to get a bit technical – more to follow on future blogs

The next three processes are about selling your book

  • Distribution – how you’re going to get your book out there and grow your readers (big decisions here about whether you engage a distributor for a small fee or do this yourself)
  • Marketing – all the things that give information about you and your books – including your book cover, your website and creating the all-important mailing list
  • Promotion – this is time based more specific projects or special offers – limited sale, first book in trilogy cheap or free, cross promotions with other authors in same genre

And finally

  • Rights licensing – One of the big advantages of self-publishing. CONTROL IS KEY. Keep control of your rights, meta data, positioning, marketing and promotion

Are you still with me? Together we can do this.

My Brother’s Dominatrix

Prologue

‘Philip was our little brother…’ I glance at his portrait propped on the easel beside the coffin, while the horseshoe of family and work colleagues wait expectantly. I must stay focused.

‘When he was seven…’ I recount a funny story of Phil’s escapades. I tell them of his fascination for volcanos, his obsession of Star Trek. When I get to the part about me and my sister dressing him up in a tutu, they laugh. I want to howl. Perhaps it was our fault?

Phil always insisted he wanted a humanist funeral – it’s called a civil ceremony now. Funny, I thought that was just weddings. He’d joked he wanted ‘Highway to Hell’ played at his funeral, but my sister Penny vetoed it. She’s a Christian, she’s allowed one veto.

‘Phil was well regarded at work.’ His work colleagues nod encouragingly. An older lady dabs her eye with a tissue. ‘He was kind, patient, always at the end of a phone…’

I could tell them the truth. I could stand here right now and tell them his dirty little secret. But I don’t. Instead I signal my son and Pink Floyd’s Breathe floats through the speakers while images of Van Gogh’s paintings fill the screen.

This is supposed to be a time for reflection. My eyes travel across the heads of people and I find myself counting, thirty-seven, thirty-eight. Fifty percent family, while work colleagues cluster together in solidarity. Are they Phil’s friends? Lurking at the back are others I can’t identify.

Afterwards I invite people to stay for a cuppa and a chat. People hover waiting to speak to me. They gush with condolences, clasping my hand, engaging me with earnest eyes as they tell me how wonderful Phil was. ‘His knowledge was second to none. If ever there was a problem I’d say, “well, I don’t know, but I know a man who does.” ’ The woman’s mouth opens wide as she laughs. There’s lipstick on her teeth.

I smile back. I scan the room locating my daughter. She’s offering around plates of biscuits. I want to check the time but my watch has slipped around my wrist. Why don’t they just go? I have so much to do. An appointment at the bank to try and ascertain what assets, if any, Phil has – more than likely it will be debts. And after that I’m meeting with my brother’s dominatrix.

Glossary of terms acquainted with during executorship

Civil celebrant – master of ceremony at a humanist funeral (when she says, ‘I really want to get to know your brother,’ tell her a pack of lies)

Dominatrix – takes the sadistic role in sadomasochistic sexual activities (and sole beneficiary of brother’s residue estate)

Hypertensive heart disease – high blood pressure – might explain blood pressure armband found in wardrobe

Insolvency – when the estate is insolvent (to be applied for before or instead of probate)

Nitrous – something that can make you high. Glue sniffing has obviously moved on.

Poppers – dilate your blood vessels and cause your anus to relax (the things you can find out on google…)

Probate – what I have to apply for as executor of the will

Pulmonary thromboembolism – heart attack

Submissive – compliant, yielding, spineless, deceitful…

Beginnings

I don’t do New Year resolutions. See my article on FocusMe

Instead I like to make my own targets for the year.

2019 was going fine. I had an action plan for the year with the aim of self-publishing one of my novels by Christmas 2019.

It didn’t happen.

The year started well. I achieved a distinction for my MA in Creative Writing. My Imagined Dialogue was published on the Daphne du Maurier website and I’d booked myself on several events to enable me to meet my targets – Fowey Festival, a Jerico Writers event in York and Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival 

It was while I was attending the #foweyfestival in Cornwall I received desperately sad news. My little brother, ten years my junior, had died. That’s not supposed to happen. His death came without warning and really threw me. There were more shocks. I was his named executor but his beneficiary was a person unknown to the family. It seemed my brother had a secret life none of us knew anything about.

As I was thrown into the demands of executorship, plans for completing my novel (seemingly superficial in the light of real life events) went out of the window. Self-editing became impossible. I was however, able to write about what I was experiencing and I wrote it all down. I really recommend #journaling for the bad times in your life. Here’s an extract from an article I wrote for TAMBA (TWINS TRUST) bereavement support:

I found journaling helped me to manage my own grief. It was the start of my healing journey, giving me an outlet for my emotions and a place to store my memories and feelings, like photographs, to take out and experience again. […] The page became my friend, someone I could talk to without having to watch what I said, or how I said it. Sometimes I ranted with the fury of a madwoman – a raw, primitive wail.

The page allows you to vent your anger, guilt and frustration with no judgement or regret. You don’t have to worry that you might hurt someone else’s feelings by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. The good thing about (journaling) is that you can’t write the wrong thing. […] In the early hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep, I’d make myself a cup of tea and pour my emotions onto the page. […]  Writing is cathartic. Write when tears are streaming down your face. Let grief fuel your pen. Spew your guts on the page. Swear your f****** head off.

Autumn 2019 and I’d encouraged a friend to take part in NANOWRIMO – I should support her by participating again myself. Journaling had sown seeds and I completed 50k words of my new novel (working title – My Brother’s Dominatrix)

December and Christmas were hectic so it was January before I got back into regular novel writing. My targets for 2019 (to get my work out there and publish my first novel) had to roll into 2020.

And what a good start. I’ve completed a first draft of my novel The Travelling Philanthropist #timeslip. I’ve had a short story published by Shooter literary magazine and I’m working to improve my social media presence.

I shall be documenting my journey to #selfpublishing (see my #Indiepublishing page on this blog). Of course there are excellent resources already out there on the subject – David Gaughran  Jerico Writers to name but two. But I’ll be giving you a breakdown of the key steps in my journey, along with the pitfalls – I’m sure there’ll be plenty.  So watch this space.

 

Short Stories

It’s been a manic few days. Not one but two grandchildren celebrating birthdays this weekend. Luckily my daughter makes her own children’s cakes so I only had one to make. She’s doing a splendid and professional job and I’ve told her she will have to take over the family baton.

Here’s the cake I made for footie mad Will – the hornet is his team logo.IMG_6113 (3)

In between cake baking, after my success in Shooters literary magazine I’ve been prepping some #daphnedumaurier inspired #spookyshortstories for competition entry. Next month is the Fowey Festival competition ‘Not after Midnight’ deadline 16th March, followed by Writing magazine ‘Haunted’ deadline 15th May.

If you haven’t read any of Daphne’s short stories, they are worth a look. In fact, both the films ‘The Birds’ and ‘Don’t Look Now’ began life as Daphne du Maurier short stories.

The short story collection ‘The Doll: the lost short stories’ was unearthed by bookseller Ann Wilmore who hosts the brilliant Daphne du Maurierwebsite

Other short stories by Daphne that I’ve enjoyed are ‘The Breakthrough’ which has a sci-fi flavour and ‘The Alibi’, one of her best thriller suspense stories in my opinion. What happens when you allow sub-conscious thoughts free rein? Or perhaps that’s just my weird sub-conscious… The BBC dramatization is still available here.