About five months ago, I pressed the button on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to send my first novel to everyone in the world. I sat back, folded my arms and waited for the universal praise, fame and money to come in. I would deal with the emails from contrite literary agents who had rejected my book in my own time.
Except, it wasn’t like that. I had heard that publishing through the traditional route (literary agent who will find a publisher) was very hard and so it was. I had also heard that self-publishing – an amazing opportunity , not readily available pre-internet days – was also hard. Five months later, it is still hard, but – and this is crucial – is an amazing opportunity.
I am not a famous author, I have only sold about 300 books (and worked my socks for every single sale), I have spent far more than I have earned and I get fed up when I look at the absence of skyscrapers on the bar graph on my KDP sales and see flat prairies (no tumbleweed... yet) . So why is it still an amazing opportunity? Because it might still be successful – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I am learning a lot and I don’t want to regret not having given it a go.
I’ve tried a lot of things: leaflets through doors; talks at schools and to businesses; nagged all my friends and family; built up a social media presence and posted like mad. This is some achievement. If I tell you that I once accidentally messaged my plumber to Watch Strictly Come Dancing at mine – with kisses – it will give you an idea of where I was before I started.
I've also liaised with printers; argued with printers; put posters up; done a podcast; got myself into the local paper s (3 times); taken pictures of my book with the dog I’m looking after (I have no shame); read books I wouldn’t normally read in the hope a review will be reciprocated; set up a website; set up my own domain (??!) blogged loads, read my book out loud to a friend who is not well and sent it via 50+ files; sympathised with some of the 1000s of writers who are doing the same things as me. Most of these are experiences I have never had before.
So for those who are considering self-publishing, give it a go, like me. Enjoy the ride, like me. And remember: if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.
PS My electrician was busy that Saturday night.