The long, meandering road to self-publishing…

So – for many years I was one of the very many people (according to some statistics) that thought: I have a book in me. After making that grandiose statement on multiply occasions, my husband got tired of hearing it and told me to just ‘go ahead and write it.’

Easier said than done…

In any case, after many long months of writing in stolen moments on weekends and late at night, in between my 8 – 5 job (on paper) as a chemical engineer, which in reality was more like a 6 – 6 job, I finally got the thing written. At the time, I thought it was just about the greatest thing I’d ever been able to achieve. Little did I know that getting ninety thousand odd words on paper was really only the beginning, and the hard work was just about to start.

The Internet is a great source of information when someone is looking to get his or her book published. However, it is also full of helpful warnings to potential authors trying to divert them from the possibly painful road to publishing. I did my homework and took the time to read lots of blogs, hints and warnings, but filled with the glow of having actually written a book and a good dose of optimism I decided to ignore all the warnings and proceed headlong towards publishing.

Now, the first thing you have to do when trying to get published in the traditional sense is to get yourself a literary agent, this is done by sending out lots of query letters. Many of the above mentioned warnings are regarding the sheer volume of rejection that you must be prepared to submit yourself to. Seriously – it is masochistic levels of torture. There are many stories about authors who have sent out hundreds of query letters and received rejections in reply (if you’re lucky) or simply no reply at all.

I didn’t quite reach those levels; in fact, the truth is, I gave up rather quickly, having only sent out about twenty odd query letters. And I don’t want to put any budding authors off, so let me say that most of the rejections were very kind, and generally encouraging. Nonetheless, I decided I’d had enough. An argument may be made that my pride simply couldn’t take it and I’m pretty sure that’s not too far from the truth, but I like to tell myself that it was rather because I hated the long waiting periods. Some of the literary agents make it clear that due to the sheer volume of queries they receive that it takes them a couple of months to reply. That just seemed way too long to me. After all, I’d written the book and I wanted it published – as soon as possible (as you might imagine, I was still blissfully ignorant at this point).

So, I turned to self-publishing.

I’ve been a faithful customer of Amazon.com for many years and I knew of the Kindle Direct Publishing program which, along with many similar platforms had made it possible for many aspiring authors to fulfill their dreams of publishing. And to be honest, the idea of self-publishing rather appealed to the obsessive-compulsive control-freak within me. Having total control over the entire book from end to end, cover to cover sounded awesome (at least it did at the time).

In any case, after that rather long and sprawling introduction, I thought I’d use this blog to chronicle my experience with self-publishing. The road thus far has been long and meandering, in fact that’s a bit of an understatement. In reality, it has been filled with missteps and potholes the size of which you’d only find in Africa…

 

Some of my favorite resources for self-publishing related information:

  • https://janefriedman.com Jane Friedman’s blog is filled with information regarding the publishing industry, both the traditional and self-publishing routes. There’s also plenty of information for authors in general.
  • thebookdesigner.com Similarly this is an all-encompassing site of information related to publishing. My favorite part is the e-book cover design awards, which shows great e-book covers as well as constructive critique on what not to do…