Writing is a solitary profession, and there have been many articles, blog posts and memoirs written about the isolation of crafting a novel.
When you pour ideas from your head onto the page it is an individual goal. However, after this is complete, there are a huge team of people waiting in the wings who are more than willing to help you cover the next few steps to publication. I am lucky to have three teenagers under my roof who are very animated about my young adult fantasy fiction. They are my personal Beta readers! If I need assistance with ‘getting down with the kids’, they can help (usually after falling about laughing at my questions).
For those writers’ who don’t have ready-made teenagers or a trial audience, you can contact organisations who will put you in touch with beta readers. There is a Beta Reader Group on Goodreads where they can connect writers to readers.
When you have tweaked and re-written your drafts to accommodate any recommendations from your Beta readers, you will need to find an editor/proofreader. I found Susan on Twitter (an excellent platform for indie’s). She runs Perfect Prose Services and is, in my humble opinion, awesome!
Sooz was there to hold my hand throughout the editing process. She told me where I was going wrong with my sentence structure and slapped my wrist when I used the same word ninety-seven times in a paragraph (it happens!). If I floundered at all, she was there to calm my nerves. Between us, we crafted a manuscript worthy of publication.
Any indie author who is serious about their work needs to approach the publication in the same way as a big name publisher. Covers sell books – blurbs sell books – beautifully written (and edited) stories sell books – marketing sells books, need I go on?
If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to act like the big boys/girls.
That leads me to finding a cover designer. You can use the cover generator on KDP and Createspace (I used this option for my first book and still cringe when I look at it). Through the power of Twitter, I have connected with a number of fellow fantasy authors over the years and when the time came to look for publishing services I was able to get recommendations. Shane O’Neill, the author of the Dracula Chronicles, pointed me in the direction of Blue Harvest Creative.
Upon contacting BHC and receiving a swift response to my query, it quickly became apparent that I’d met the perfect guys to help me turn my manuscript into a living, breathing book. Vern and Joni are a delight to work with, and they go above and beyond in their services for authors. When I received the proof for my cover design, I squealed – like a kid at Christmas!
On top of the cover and interior design elements for my eBook and paperback, the guys at Blue Harvest Creative also provided Facebook and Twitter advertising banners. They promoted my book to their huge network of readers, and they supported me throughout the entire process of uploading to KDP and Createspace. Our Skype conversations were half work and half laughter. If you have formatting knowledge then you may opt to go it alone, I am a technophobe and I’m lucky if I can set the virgin media box to record a series (kids to the rescue again). Blue Harvest Creative offer the full publishing service at a highly competitive price, and so it was a no-brainer for me to utilise their expertise.
The knowledge they have about the publishing industry is far more than you’ll find in articles and books on do-it-yourself-publishing. It would take me more years that I care to think about to learn everything I needed, and with changes happening all the time it would become a full-time job.
As with many indie authors, writing is not my only job, so opting for the support of a company such as BHC makes sense.
When I hold my newly released paperback in my hand, I think back over the process that got me to this point. I felt supported throughout the entire journey, from writing to the publication. My children, friends and family, were there from the beginning, Susan at Perfect Prose was as thrilled as I was when we got to the final draft. The guys at Blue Harvest Creative worked so hard to create a cover that caused a flurry of excitement on my author Facebook page. At the end of this path I find my readers and through the power of social media I am able to interact and share so much with them.
Being active on Twitter and Facebook I have connected with numerous ‘online friends’ who also share my success and support me. Many of them are writers’ themselves, or book bloggers – they know who they are!
Yes, writing a book can be a solitary task but when you look beneath the surface, an indie author will never find themselves alone.
Who has supported you on your writing journey?