Monday, 30 May 2011

Writing, laughing, bears and self-publishing...

I'm feeling all skippy - my writing is going well and I got so caught up in it last night and this morning that I found myself chuckling to myself as I was typing away.  Yes, I'm writing the second book in the Burly and Grum series and I only hope that those who read it find it funny as well!  If they don't I'll never laugh and type at the same time again...

But I digress!  I promised a few tips in this blog for those of you who may be interested in publishing your own work.  The first thing I have to say is, be confident and give self-publishing a go, you have nothing to lose. Go to a site like Smashwords that will give you lots of advice on how to adapt your book so it can be read by hand held devices.  It's called DMF - digital media formatting - don't be put off by the jargon, it's only a matter of tweaking a word document!  Once you've formatted it, you can submit it and it will be transformed into a document that can be read on a computer, a Kindle, an iPhone, iPad, etc. Once you've done that you'll find it easy to upload your book onto Amazon. 
The next step is quite a personal one - you'll now have to network, i.e. join groups, set up a facebook site, a blog, take part in debates, review the work of other authors and have yours reviewed.  You have to do as much or as little as you feel comfortable with, but the more you put in the more you'll get back.  One thing I did was to link up with the charity Born Free because one of the main characters in my book was a bear. See that picture up there?  That's the beautiful Ginny who was rescued by Born Free and I strongly felt that if my book did by any chance take off, then I wanted them to be part of it so they could reap the rewards as well. But everyone is different, just go with your instinct and if in doubt, ask - people are very helpful, very receptive.
Self publishing is time consuming, it can be hard work, but it is worthwhile so bite the bullet, be brave and venture out! And if you need any more advice, some good links, let me know and I'll gladly try and help. Good luck!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Me? Did I do that?

See that look of suprise and 'what me?' on Grum's face - well, that's just how I feel!
So much has happened over the last few months - I've worked hard, learnt an incredible amount (still a long way to go there!) and it's been a privilege working with people like Rob (who illustrated Beyond the Forest), my colleagues at WriteBulb, Mark Coker from Smashwords and, of course everyone of my friends who has been enthusiastic and supported me. Yes, self-publishing is one of the most satisfying things I've ever done.
I have genuinely always loved writing. I want to be a successful author and so far I haven't come across one negative thing since I started along the road of self-publishing.  Yes, it's hard work and there are never enough hours in the day but I have control over what I publish, I can make my own decisions and, if they go wrong, I learn and move on, and also I can work with people I genuinely like.  The latter is one of the most important aspects to doing this. I want to build good and honest working relationships with people who are as enthusiastic as I am and I want to pass on what I've learnt to others.
I'm genuinely delighted with the response I've had to Beyond the Forest - people are reading it, reviewing it, coming back to me with comments. If anyone is thinking about becoming an Indie writer, all I can say is - do it!  Yes, it's a huge commitment but it's so satisfying and the sense of achievement is immense - honestly, just go ahead, take that step, you'll never regret it.  The only regret you'll ever feel is if you don't give it a go!
And if you'd like a free copy of Beyond the Forest click on the link Beyond the Forest put the book in your cart and then enter the code WX39U when asked.  Happy reading! 

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Beware large cookies bearing messages...

It's not often anyone surprises me but yesterday the Writebulb group managed to do just that.  We held our monthly meeting and in the break they produced a very, very large cookie with a very, very long message piped on it - "Congratulations Kate on the Launch of Burly and Grum".  I couldn't believe they'd gone to so much trouble and was totally overwhelmed by the feeling they must be meaning someone else!  Yes, I've self published an ebook but it's not as if it's been successful (yet - think positive Kate!) and it's not as if I'd exactly been talent spotted by an agent or anything like that. 
However, Burly and Grum is now approved by Smashwords and can be downloaded in various formats, it is on Amazon and now I just have to work on some marketing! 

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Surprises along the way

I've just finished uploading Beyond the Forest to Amazon. It will take a couple of days for it to be reviewed and then hopefully it will be available on line. It's still being reviewed at Smashwords. I've learnt so much in the last few months - I've bought a Kindle, set up Facebook page, started this blog (I'm building up to tweeting...). I always thought I was pretty good at networking, but it turns out I'm a bit of an amateur - social media networking is in a different league! I've also learnt an enormous about formatting and have enjoyed discovering how to adapt a book for the digital world.
All this has been done inbetween working full time and running a home (mind you, the dust is mounting up now!) and I've been pretty stretched. I manage (a) by relying on the support of a group of friends who also write and who are travelling along the same path, and (b) by napping on the train into work!
It's been hard, I often feel stupid, I get tired but more than anything else I feel a great sense of achievement. 
I may not sell more than a handful of books, but once I found out about self-publishing I could not have done anything else other than become an independent author.   
It feels really good to know I can take more control of my work.  I was able to choose my own illustrator rather than have that decision made for me, I was able to contact the Born Free Foundation to see if they would be interested in working with me (thank you Born Free for agreeing!) and I just feel that my path is becoming wider and clearer in front of me. 
I want to learn, I want to do the best I can and even though I may have a few bumps and surprises along the way, I'm looking forward to the future.