Is your novel literary? Shame on you

image116So you took the leap.  You stood on the edge of the precipice and decided to write a novel.

It was going to be marvellous.  It was going to be a million-dollar idea.  You had decided to turn your back on the publishing houses and throw yourself into the world of indie publishing.  You were going to do this thing.  You got this….

But then something went wrong.  Blame that dodgy literature degree, that Creative Writing course, blame your mother if you have to.  Thing is, the more you write the novel, the more you realise that you have committed the cardinal sin of Indie Publishing.  You have written that most odd of all oddities – the wild and genreless, the …. literary novel.

Horror of horrors and shame on you.

The folly of Writing a literary novel

Did you not pay attention to all those podcasts?  Did you deign to completely ignore all the advice of those generous kindle bestsellers who warned you that the only way to make tuppence on Kindle was to throw your lot in with the scifi/ dystopian/ thriller/ romance crew?  What gave you the right to think that you could waste your time with something that NOBODY will ever even find on Amazon, let alone tell their friends about it?

Well all I can say is that you knew the facts and you went and did it anyway.

Accept the consequences.  Even if your novel will blow Hemingway out of the water, you, my friend, have chosen a near impossible task.  You will flounder around searching for your ‘readers’.  Perhaps you might strike lucky on Goodreads.  If your heroine is plucky fifteen year old girl then you might get some traction in the YA market.  That’s if you can drag them away from their fan-fiction and snap-chatting.

I wish you luck my intrepid friend.  Many have tried and many have been very, very disappointed.  But I admire your courage, your brave willingness to give it your best shot.

Why we should admire self-publishers of literary fiction

You are one of those brave pioneers who has ‘written from the heart’.  You are the writer who turned their back on the well-trodden genre path and is willing to forge their way through the wilderness.  You are a leader, a revolutionary, and I salute you.

And I am right there beside you.  I too read the books.  I knew the facts – genre novels have greater visibility and more established reader forums.  Literary novels are a hard sell.  They don’t quite fit.  They are the geeky, unpopular gang in Indie Publishing World.  But we couldn’t help ourselves could we?

We sat down to write and these are the words that came to us.  We tried to bend it to the ‘market’.  Hell, we even tried making one of our characters a vampire shapeshifter in Chapter Two, only to abandon them into a magical realism interlude in the inner epilogue at the start of the Verse part of the novel.  We really wanted to make our novels fit the mould.  But we couldn’t.

Good luck to us literary fiction writers.  We should just go gung-ho and give it our best shots.  What was the saying ” Aim for the stars and you may not reach them, but you will fly higher than if you had never aimed at all.”

So let’s take the leap.  Let’s throw ourselves into the abyss.  And let’s support each other while we do it.  Together.

Have you written a literary novel?  Are you thinking of self-publishing?  Tell us about your novel in the comments below.  Here is your chance.



5 Top Podcasts For Indie Publishers

mbIf you are wanting to find out about the latest new in indie publishing as well as hearing from those who have trodden the path before you, there is no better way to stay up to date than tuning into some podcasts.

I will be honest with you there are a lot of indie publishing podcasts out there.  Indie publishers are, by their nature a very entrepreneurial bunch and the chance of running amock with a mic and a great idea is hard to resist.

I have listened to many and the list below are the ones that I consistently come back to.  Mainly for their enthusiasm but also for the quality of the information and the interviews themselves.

The Creative Penn

cpp podcast

Joanna Penn is a non-fiction writer who has now very successfully entered into the Thriller Genre and is going great guns.  There is nothing but lovely things to say about Joanna.  She is onto it big time, works her backside off, and is unerringly generous in her sharing.  I love the diversity of her choice of guests and the fact that Joanna is plucky and perky but with a lovely insightful way of interviewing.  These are a pleasure to listen to.  Thanks Joanna.

Simon Whistler – Rocking Self Publishing

rsp podcast

Simon’s shows are awesome and genuine.  He is a real pro at delivery and his interviews are always a fun and informal journey with a diverse range of guests. I find this show to be one that I can listen to without feeling intimidated and there are some genuine takeaways without unneccessary self-promotion.  I think his show notes are also really thorough and definitely worth checking out.

The Self Publishing Roundtable

spr podcast

This show is part of the tornado that is Truant and Platt, though this is down to their rather taciturn third partner – Dave.  Again a good show with lots of great info and useful takeaways.  Very much part of the indie publishing company.

The Self Publishing Podcast

spc podcast

If Hugh Howie is the Dashing Duke of Indie Publishingville, and JA Konrath the Baron of Selfpubland, then Seam Platt and Johnny Truant are the loud and cavalier Knights of the realm.  They are cross genre writers who are willing to try anything and succeed.  Their enthusaisam is contagious and no subject will escape their gaze.  These guys area  real inspiration and their book ‘Write, Publish, Repeat’ should be essentail reading for anyone playing with the idea of doing it themselves in the publishing world.

Savvy Self Publishing

ssp podcast

Lindsay Buroker is a fantasy novelist who has broken the 3k per month mark and lives a lifestyle of writing and travel.  She started her indie career in 2010 and has learned the lessons through experience.  This show, and her blog, is a really good place to be inspired by what is possible with persistence and a sprinkling of luck.

Do you have a favourite indie publishing podcast?  Add it to the comments below.

Book Marketing and the strange case of Ishiguro’s balloons

bookstore windowThere is cause for celebration at my local bookstore.  For the first time in a decade, Kazuo Ishiguro has released a new book.

From the blurb it seems to offer a mythical tale full of wonder and giants.  The cover is beautiful – a deep matt navy, rich as a midnight sky with a sacred tree winding its way from the rich soil of a perfectly fonted title.  The Buried Giant, it announces. By Kazuo Ishiguro – in gold lettering.  Gold lettering.  This is an important book, it calls to us.  It is simple but magical.  It will change you, shake the roots of your very existence.  It is a book to be talked about.

Imagine my surprise then when I entered the store and saw this:

ishiguros balloonsNot only are they balloons.  They are special Ishiguro balloons.  Regard how they match the colour of the cover.  Behold how they are emblazoned with the same minimal illustration.  Which is both marvelous and fabulous, whilst at the same time, deeply disturbing.

Is this what book marketing has come to?  Gone are the days when it was a discrete bookmark, or a tasteful postcard (though these were placed at BOTH counters!).  Now, to sell books, really good books, apparently we must also have balloons.

I am troubled by this.  Quite deeply.  Not only because I loathe balloons with all their squeaky- rubbery-tight-skinned-spitefulness, but also because I am not sure where the publishing world can go after this.

Is this what it has come to for those Luddites of the literary world – those authors who like me, want to write that most unsellable of things –  the epitome of genreless – literary fiction?  Must Indie publishers hoping to get their literary works noticed now offer such things to entice readers away from the safety of Paranormal-urban-fantasy-thrilleromance Genre Fiction?

If so, then here are my suggestions for

5 Inappropriate Marketing Ideas for Literary Fiction

1. Lollipops ; especially if you are selling something that is dangerously racy or perhaps touches on the subjects of child abuse, family trauma, or pedophilia.  Got to find a way to sweeten those topics for the punters, folks.

2. Beer Can holders:  You know those things made of strange, unnatural fabric that keep cans cold.  I thought that any novel that touched upon alcoholism – perfect.  Alternatively if your novel is set in a hot climate – this is good to go for you.

3. Big Hands:  Like they wave at games and other such sporting events.  If you got a jaunty little logo, people who buy the book could be given “a big hand” get it.  I mean it’s hilarious, right.  Challenging for page turning however.

4: Steak Knives:  I mean who doesn’t need more steak knives?  These babies have been the solid stuff of marketing strategies for years.  Why, I ask you, has it taken publishing so long to catch up?  So, ‘buy this novel and get a free set of steak knives’.  It’s just got a ring to it….

5: Sun Visors:  I am sure that most literary fiction readers are possibly low in their quota of free sun visors.  I might be wrong, but what better than the new Amis novel having a Go Amis Go baseball cap, or  The Liz Gilbert Visor.  It makes sense.  Literary Fiction readers don’t go out in the sun very often after all.  We need to protect our paper-like pale complexions.  Plus, how jaunty would that be?

I mean these are just some initial suggestions that I am throwing out there.  I am sure you have some of your own, so be a sport and pop them in the comments.  If we get enough of them we can bundle them up into an eBook called “Crazy Marketing Ideas for Indie Authors ”  or , if we want to go a little Seth Godin/ Malcolm Gladwell, my title vote goes with “Ishiguro’s Balloons”, just for its outstanding SEO potential alone.

Oh, and word count for the day? 

Another 3000.  Thanks for asking.

See you tomorrow, now back to your writing, You!  Yes – You!!!

Go Pro versus Go Slow

the war of artI recently reread “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.  Just like the first TWO times that I read it, this little powerhouse of a book provided me with much food for thought and a well needed kick up the behind.  In fact, it was so darned inspirational that it sent me into a flurry of planning.  Postits abound, journal pages galore – washitape, colour coding – I was riding high on a wave of “I can do this.  I am a writer” high.

Professional Overwhelm for Writers

And then…. overwhelm reared her ugly, salivating chops at me. Yes I could see that Pressfield was right.  I do need to take the whole thing seriously.  I need to up my game.  I want to GO PRO.

But the thought of all that?  Well, it’s a mountain, isn’t it?  The Roman Empire took hundreds of years to create.  Is it realistic for the solitary writer to think that they too can build that Kindle, indie publishing empire in less time than it takes to grow some seedlings in my vegetable patch?  Probably not.

And to enter into this marvelous and creative paradise, I need to ensure that I have the strength and resilience to do this for the long haul.  I need to be professional enough to have the patience to build things solidly from the ground up.  And that probably means that, like most writers, I need to temper my greed with a savouring for going a little more slowly.  I need to take my time a bit, and tell myself that it is not a race.  I can do this at my own pace.

Of course, such wisdom does not stand particularly firm in the face of my grand plans.  I like a challenge.  Every writer does.  Why else would we set out on this journey?  If it was so easy then everyone would do it, right?

What is a ‘professional’ writer?

And all the info that is out there is pretty clear.  You need more than one ‘masterpiece’ if you are going to stand a chance at going “pro”, and, by that, I mean, earning a full-time income.  Because that is what ‘professional’ means really.  It is about getting paid to do your thing.  We can all go a bit crazy churning out vast amounts of content but if the quality of that content is shoddy then the reality is that you are building an empire on dodgy ground and it will inevitably fail.

Do I want to be a professional if that means putting out vast amounts of content that I am not particularly proud of?  Well no, not really.  Who would?

Reasons  to ‘go slow’

So instead, I am taking today to remind myself that it is okay to go slow.  Slow is not unprofessional.  Slow is steady and measured.  Going Slow is about ensuring that the quality standards of your work are the best that you can offer and that you can promise that quality on a consistent basis.  Going Slow means that the journey is part of the reward.  It is about giving things time to build and develop without pushing them or placing them under too much pressure.

I am coming to the understanding that yes, I do want to be a writer.  Heck, look at me – I am writing.  This very post is evidence of that.  But is this ground-breaking?  No.  Am I being professional by only committing to producing a few books this year?  Yes, if I can promise myself that I will be consistent and productive without compromising my own standards of quality control.

How to go slow as a pro

So, fellow writer, by all means – Go Pro.  Create your work with the attitude that this is your life’s work.  It is not your ‘job’ (yet)but it is your profession.  A profession has longevity, it has standing.  In a profession, you commit to constantly learning and honing your craft.  You expect it to take a few years to really get into your stride and you commit to doing what it takes in the long term.

go pro v go slow

But you don’t do that at the expense of your mental health or quality of life.  You can avoid overwhelm and burn-out by committing to a realistic daily word count.  Record it.  Take pride in every small step.  Don’t rush or push.  Instead be willing to relish every inch of the path and to extract all the lessons that you can from your process.

Be professional in your approach by all means, but don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the ride.  Expect some disappointment and remind yourself that this is a long-haul game.  No short-cuts here.  The more you do, the better you will get.

What are your success parameters?

So I make this commitment to myself as part of my professional development as a writer:  I will commit to writing at least 1500 words every day.  My target is to create a solid body of work of which I can be proud and confident that it is a good representation of my emerging identity as a writer.  I am willing to try some new things and learn as much as I can from the masters of my craft. I am in this for the long haul.  I do not set myself a time-frame for success.  My success parameters are based on what I have within my control.

So, what are your success parameters?  Are you setting goals that are professional and sustainable?  Are you balancing going slow with going pro?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

See you next post???

Dear Abandoned Author Platform….

starting out

Dear Abandoned Author Platform,

I know that you might be surprised to be hearing from me after so long.  I imagine it took a while to get over the rude way that I just walked away.  I made you so many promises and for a while we were getting on really well, weren’t we?  And then… I walked away from you.

And you hadn’t really done anything wrong.  I see that now.  It wasn’t you.  It was me.  I just felt as if it was going nowhere and that it was all going to be too much like hard work.

I am a bit lazy you see.  I want things easy.  I want to be able to lock myself away and for somebody else to make all the effort.  I was hoping that you would go out and do that work for me.  I was wrong.  I see that now.  I see that you did nothing but offer me potential.  You willingly let me do whatever I liked and was happy to tell everyone with a sense of pride what I was up to.  You were such a supportive little thing.

I overlooked you – not because of anything that you did.  I overlooked you and I abandoned you because things didn’t go quite to plan I’m afraid.  All those big dreams that I had for us….  I am sorry to say that I hit the first bump in the road and I bottled it.  I was such a dreamer – a bit naive I suppose – I thought it was all going to be so great.  I was wrong.

But lately, you have been on my mind a bit.  I was wondering how you were doing, how you were coping without me.  And I thought that maybe it was time that we got to know each other again.

I am a bit older now.  I hesitate to say, a bit wiser.  I can see now that I was expecting too much from this relationship.  I am ready to put in the time now.  I want to give it another go.  What do you say?  Do you think we could pick up where we left off, or would you like to set out some ground rules?  I will understand if you want a bit more commitment.  I can do that now.  Life has been tough over the last couple of years.  I have learnt so much and I think that makes me better able to do this thing now.  I kind of feel ready for it, if you know what I mean.

Look I completely understand if you want to send me packing.  I kind of think I would in your position.  But I do promise you this – I value you more now than I did before.  I can see how great you are and I want to get to know you on your terms.  I figure that this is my chance to make amends and restore a bit of karma.  I have some lovely ideas for things we could do together.

And I am here.  I am willing to do the work this time.  I know it won’t be easy but I want to make this work.

Say you will give me another chance….

Yours, hopefully, and with love,

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PS.  How about I  pop back in a few days for your answer? I thought that we could make it a kind of regular thing this time.  I have so much I want to discuss with you.  See you soon??? Please….

The book trailer is unveiled….

Here is the book trailer that I cobbled together using Movie Maker.  I have watched it too many times to be objective but I do like it.

What do you think? Would love to have some feedback…

Making a book trailer with free resources

To be honest when you are self publishing any book, your budget is going to be at best limited.  I would hazard a guess that your budget may be less than limited.  My own personal budget is just ever so slightly above well… zero really.  And lots of things seem to cost some money.  Making an ebook cover using an online creator was about 5 bux and then there is your time and possibly an editor, a proofer…. oh sometimes it doesn’t make any sense at all, does it!

Still one way in which you can have some fun and not spend a penny is on your book trailer.  I made my trailer this week for zero budget.  And yet it has about 80 images on it plus some footage including timelapse loveliness! So how can you make a book trailer without hiring a professsional?

Two main options really:  you can powerpoint it or you can go Moviemaker (not sure about the Mac equivalent on this but if you are a mac user then you will know, right!).  I decided to go with Movie Maker.  Not sure why really – I think I just like the fact that it is designed to be seen as one clip without pauses, there are plenty of flashy little effects and it feels quite an intuitive user interface for me.  Still whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Then I while away many a happy hour on public domain and creative commons sites downloading footage from the 1930s and images from all over.  All for free and me likey the freebies!  I started the trawl with a google search for ‘public domain video clips’ and then went to here which led me down all sorts of rabbit holes of public domain wonderlands.  Two episodes of I Love Lucy and some Harold Lloyd later, this girls was feeling good and armed and dangerous with some lovely little black and white clips of all sorts of stuff, as well as some awesome timelapse footage.  Yay!

Next I wanted some images so I typed into google “creative commons images free”.  This brings you to lots of available images sites.  Flickr obviously although you have to be in it for the long trawl there.  There are some free images available here which is as good a place to start.  You can also search  for public domain images.

Add some music and some captions and bob’s your uncle.  Ok so mine won’t win any oscars but I tried to incorporate the key elements of an ad which are:

  • Problem
  • Outcome
  • Solution
  •  Benefits of this solution
  • Actionable step

or POSBA which is not memorable at all but does play into the always popular acronym trap.

OK so quick word – don’t be too precious about this.  People are not expecting Hollywood, or even Bollywood.  It is just a way of letting people know about the book by using Youtube rather than relying on your blog, or FB page or very loud voice and incredibly large extended family, in the build up to launch date.  Have fun with it.  Be professional in your approach but, unless you area  professional filmmaker or a very keen hobbyist, be realistic about your results.

I like mine.  I have tweaked it and tweaked it and it’s almost ready to reveal but I will keep you hanging on that one….

Duh doh darrrrr

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Review of guides to formatting your ebook for kindle

scaredSo it has reached that point in my ebook self publishing journey where I have to face the inevitable.  I have resigned myself to the fact that this is the week where I must face down my demon and grapple with the dragon that is FORMATTING.  Yikes even typing the word fills me with dread.

Why?  Because I have read so many articles and posts which tell me that this is all going to be a bit of a nightmare.  Anyone who has been reading my blog will know that I am not what you might call tech savvy.  I have an amazing gift for making ‘ten minute’ tasks turn into three hour monsters.  It doesn’t come easy to me this stuff.  I prefer to think of myself as floating round in summer dresses, picking flowers and scribbling down beautiful words in moleskine journals.

However, the reality is that I spend my day hunkered down in my ugg boots and big cardie, punching out words on my laptop, drinking coffee (too much) and generally finding creative ways to procrastinate.  Everything I have learned about the whole self publishing thingie has come through sweat and many many tears(both of frustration and occasionally of joy!).  But I am afraid the time has come to format the manuscript of my book “Change Your Life From the Inside Out”.  Formatting Dragon, I can avoid you no more.  So, with respect, I have spent many hours “researching” how to format for kindle and here is the result of those lost hours:

A Review of Free Guides to formatting your ebook for kindle

Using Scrivener?

If you are using Scrivener to produce your ebook, you can find a really clear guide as to how to format your book using that software on The Book Designer website.  I should warn you that it says it only takes minutes so, if you are anything like me, that means “hours” but the instructions seem really clear and there are some screen shots which are always helpful.  As a newbie Scrivener user, I was seduced by the whole formatting promise so I will be using this guide with my fingers crossed and will let you know how it goes.  You can access that guide  here.

Not using Scrivener?

Then you will need to use Word and don’t worry there are plenty of great resources out there to help:

Catherine Ryan Howard

My GoTo woman on all things self publishing/printing is Catherine Ryan Howard.  I love her no-nonsense style and she is so clear on instructions. If you haven’t already got a copy, I wholeheartedly recommend her book “Self Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide To Self Publishing” available on Amazon which is a steal at $4.99 and so packed full of wisdom and cold hard facts that you will be praising the heavens that Catherine is on this earthly plane.   Alternatively Catherine has created a really clear post on this which you can see here.

There is also a really good and clear guide on Declan Conner’s blog here.  I know that this is for fiction specifically but I imagine that the rules are pretty similar for non fiction.

Struggling to create a table of contents? 

Dark Neon has a good guide to that right here.  Lots of pictures to help the visual learners and nice clear instructions for those of us in the remedial internet row.

Want your guide in a printable format?

The site is great for this and their guide to formatting can be printed off which, if you are not quite proficient at juggling your windows (like me!) then can be super helpful.  You can get that guide here.

Using Open Office?

Open Office can be easily used to convert to kindle apparently.  I found this guide on (which I first thought was called makketty cheezier…) and it seems really thorough and relatively (!?) simple.  Get the guide here.

Want to go straight to the source?

Of course there is always Amazon‘s own guides which are really clear and straight from horse’s mouth.  They are available here.

So that is it.  My roundup of the wisdom that is out there and of course this can only mean one thing for me.  I need to format my book.  Today.  I have all the knowledge I need.  Time to put the pedal to the metal.  Although I must just have a little break and a coffee first.  I think I might have some ironing to do too…. or maybe I need to clean out the garden shed…..

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When the creative muse strikes…. a printable gift

Look it's a free printable.  Click the image to download your very own muse catcher.

Look it’s a free printable. Click the image to download your very own muse catcher.

Even though I am currently immersing myself in the editing process, I am finding that the Creative Muse will just not leave me alone.  Something about spending hours picking my own writing to pieces, makes her insistent.  She pokes me in the middle of the night.  She whispers in my ear when I am doing the school run.  She prods me on the shoulder when I am trying to meditate.  She’s an insistent little minx…

Sometimes it’s as if I am being reminded of why I am self publishing in the first place.  It is because I am a Creative.  I am not satisfied with getting by.  I want to flourish and mould my world actively and intentionally.  On a daily basis.  I am the queen of good ideas.  I can’t make a cake without going off into a reverie about creating a video series on the life lessons of baking.  I can’t write a paragraph on self hypnosis without thinking of a million tie-in MP3s that I could record.

So what do I do when the muse strikes?  I have learned over the years, not to ignore her. When she calls my name, I grab a journal and write it down.  There and then, wherever I am.  As I have gathered more and more ideas, I outgrew my Big Ideas book.  Sure I could have gone down the computer route but as a stationery addict, where is the fun in that?  So now, I have a Big Ideas lever arch file.

Then I took it one step further.  I became dissatisfied with scribbly notes that no longer made sense two weeks later.  I craved an order in my scribblings.  I wanted “printables”.  I googled and pinterested “Printables for Writers”.  If I was 10 years old and still at school, I would have had a ball.  If I was still teaching, my printer would have taken a hammering.  But could I find much for authors or entrepreneurs?  Not really.  The ones for writers were woefully wordy.  You know, I love language.  But I am also a sucker for pretty paper and pastel colours.  I wanted my printables to look good so that when I got out my Big Ideas folder I felt all cupcakey and feminine.

So I created my own.  My first sheet is called “Capturing the Muse”.  It’s designed to help you nab an idea when it strikes, do some exploratory drilling and record your thoughts on paper.  I suppose it’s more geared towards entrepreneurial activity but what self publisher has not thought about spin off products that you can also sell online? If you are writing a novel in which your heroine owns a cupcake store, why not use your research to create a spin off cookbook pdf?  If your book is on The Secrets to Having a Beautiful Lawn why not create a monetised blog pointing people to where they can buy the right products online?  If you are writing a book on self hypnosis, why not create an e-course to go with it???  At the moment, you may only be secretly dreaming about spin off products and film deals, dream away my friend.  But why not just capture that muse for a second, put it on paper and file it away for a rainy day?  What do you have to lose?

So here’s my little gift to you.  A free printable on Capturing The Muse.  It’s a PDF.  No need to sign up.  Just print it off and enjoy.  How’s that for generous?

You can just download it  by clicking right……… HERE

It might be, you know, kind of useful.  Perhaps…

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Why choose self publishing?

It’s a good question really?  Sure, ten years ago, I wouldn’t even have been considering self publishing my book.  I would have resigned myself to the whole rigmarole of finding an agent, who then finds a publisher, who then finds an editor etc etc.  The whole process would have taken me years of my time and a hefty amount of plucky resilience.  I would have gone to the stationery store and bought  a pretty,new file which I would entitle ‘Rejections’.  My poor little fragile ego would have taken a bashing and many times I might have given up the ghost and ‘got a proper job’ instead.

However times have changed.  The beauty of the internet is that it has opened up the door to people like myself.  Writers of niche books which do not have mass market appeal are now able to offer their thoughts to the world and anyone with a credit card and an internet connection has the chance to join the party.  At the moment, it’s like a street party and anyone is invited.  I would predict however that, just like any evolutionary cycle, it will be survival of the fittest before long.

So what makes you ‘fit’ in the self publishing world?  I would say that approaching self publishing as a business is the best way to go.  Seeing yourself as a professional who is duty bound to put quality work out into the world and package it as professionally as an established publisher would is essential to success.  Building a robust author platform is also a must.  You can’t be a reclusive Lee Harper type anymore.  No, no, no.  Now you’ve got to get out there and tweet and poke and post and link like your life depended on it.  Truth is that choosing the self publishing route as a writer doesn’t always leave you much space for writing.  And essentially, writing is what I love to do.

Sure I am enjoying learning about all this marketing stuff.  Truth be told, I am becoming a bit of a geek really.  I find myself downloading books about online marketing, building followers, creating platforms, branding, finding my authentic voice, publishing by the moon calendar… you name it, I am reading it.  I have spent whole weekends rebuilding my website, and lost what feel like months of my life trying to decipher twitter. (I still don’t know my @ from my elbow!)

There’s another reason why I have chosen self publishing and that is my location.  I live in New Zealand.  Not just in New Zealand, I live in Dunedin which is one of the southern most cities in the world.  In New Zealand, sheep outnumber people 4 to 1 and sheep don’t buy books.  Due to its isolation, books in New Zealand cost A LOT.  Your average paperback is around $25 which is double the minimum hourly wage.  In this country, unless you are an ex Rugby player or a soap opera actress or both (I am neither) the chances of even getting a foot in the door of a publisher are greatly diminished.  Even once your foot is in and you nab an elusive publishing deal, your sales figures are only likely to get into hundreds.  It’s not a great numbers game really.  Factor in the wait time between being accepted by a publisher and making it into print and suddenly you are collecting a pension before your first royalty check for $3 or thereabouts hits the doormat.  I am not a very competitive person.  I don’t fancy my odds.

So I have chosen to self publish.  It’s not the easy route.  I am developing a Jack of all Trades attitude and, I fear, mastery of none.  But you know what?  I am having a ball.  I love the idea of taking my destiny in my own hands.  I like ‘workin’ it’ like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and putting myself out there day after day.  It’s fun learning about SEO (WHAT?!?) and meta tags (double what?!?).

So why choose self publishing?  Because I am lucky that I can.  Because I have a product that I am proud of.  Because I want to share my message with as many readers as I can. Sure, I live in the back of beyond but I have the internet and I am darned well going to use it!

Why have you chosen the self publishing route?  Any cautionary tales for those of us just venturing out into the big bad world of self pub?  Any of you ex-Rugby-playing-soap-stars who still chose this route??  Love to hear your thoughts!  Post a comment to make me smile!

Kettle’s boiled – it’s teatime!

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