Addled

New Year, New Book

What better way to welcome the New Year than to publish your first novel? That’s the plan, at any rate. So in this post I thought I’d bring you up to date with the latest developments and what 2014 holds in store.

A History of Addled

I began writing my first novel in 2010. I’d been thinking about it for several years before I finally gave in and started wangling it into shape. I was working full-time and finding the space to think and the time to write was challenging, as I’m sure many of you will understand. The job was in the public sector and pressure on resources meant the staff were given the option of reducing their hours to save the council money. I jumped at the chance, shaving off an hour each day. This allowed me to get home early and write.

Bliss!

It took seven months to write the first draft, chipping away at it paragraph by paragraph, with occasional splurges of writing when I could take a week off. I gave myself a deadline I couldn’t argue with: my 40th birthday, and I finished two days early.

The first draft was written in the third person and it didn’t quite work. The story centres very much around one character, Zoe Popper, and the sections that worked were the ones from her perspective. It seemed obvious that I should have written it in the first person. I chose third person because I knew I’d be taking Zoe into some pretty dark places and was worried that might be too much for the reader in the first person.

But it sucked.

So I decided to stop holding back and go for it. The second draft was a straight rewrite from third into first person, with a few tweaks to the story structure to accommodate the new perspective. This draft flowed.

Finally, I had a book.

While all this was happening, I was made redundant and thrown unceremoniously onto the dole. Although this was a pain financially, it was fantastic for my writing. Suddenly I had all the time I could have wanted.

The process of rewriting continued through all the ups and downs of job hunting, interviews, rejections, and the fortnightly humiliation of attending the job centre. It became clear I wasn’t going to get another job, and I fell back on my savings, finally registering as self-employed in 2013. I wasn’t earning any money from writing at that point, but the commitment was made. Earnings would come with time and effort.

Meanwhile, I sent Addled for feedback, working through the critiques to produce a finished draft (number 8). The book was ready. I sent it to a succession of agents, after carefully researching their lists and putting together well-crafted submissions, and achieved nothing. Many of them simply ignored me. Many sent standard rejections. A handful took the time to say encouraging things, but the general consensus was: it’s not commercial enough.

In a competitive market, Addled would sink without trace.

This is always tough to hear, especially when you’ve spent years working on a book. What to do?

I considered my options: continue pursuing traditional publishing routes or do it myself? I’ll be writing another post about the whys and wherefores of that conundrum, but suffice to say, I decided to self-publish.

Addled pic small

The Plan

Addled: Adventures of a Reluctant Mystic will be published on Kindle early in 2014. I would like to set an exact date, but I know if I do that something unforeseen will pop up and I’ll have to reschedule. I’m aiming for the start of February, but it could be sooner, depending on how quickly I can get my head around formatting the book in html. It looks mind-numbing, but I suspect it’s one of those things people say is harder to understand than it really is. We shall see.

*UPDATEAddled is now available here*

In the meantime, I’ll be blogging about preparing the book for publication right up to the day it comes out. Look out for posts about genre, marketing, publishing v self-publishing, cover design and tax (don’t yawn!).

In case you’re thinking that a month is more than enough time to get a book ready for publication, I will also be working on the second draft of my second book, Ascension: The Prophecy. More on that later…

Have you self-published a book? I’d love to hear from you. Share your tips and insights below…

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2 thoughts on “New Year, New Book

  1. Yes, I have self-published two books (actually via “assisted publishing”). The first one was with CreateSpace (a subsidiary of Amazon) and the second one with Abbott Press (a subsidiary of Writer’s Digest).
    I liked the process and the people at CreateSpace very much. They were helpful; the publication process was not too expensive; they did a good job of a bit of editing beyond what my original editor had done; and the POD copies came out looking well formatted and easy to read. They also did a Kindle conversion (for a price). However, there was no publicity or marketing with the package I purchased, and sales languished after a few were purchased by friends.
    The Abbott Press experience was much more expensive, and I got talked into paying more than I probably should have for the services provided. The actual publication process was good; the intake and publication personnel were responsive and careful; the cover designer was terrific; and they were patient and careful through three galley revisions. However, the publicity and marketing has so far been a deep disappointment. I paid almost as much for that as I had for the publication process, and I feel as if I will not receive much of a return on THAT investment. This process has only just begun, and the start was very shaky, with all sorts of errors and misunderstandings on the part of those in the publicity firm. (I wonder if the fact that those in publishing were female and those in marketing/publicity are male are part of the difference.) The publicity is to continue for a month after the New Year, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that, but I’m not particularly hopeful.
    In any case, publicity and marketing seem to be the responsibility of the writer these days, no matter who publishes. So I probably would not pay for publicity/marking again unless I really knew and trusted the team involved.
    Both books can be seen on my Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/J.A.V.-Simson/e/B00BH3326S/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1388435170&sr=1-2-ent
    You can peruse them and see what you think. Best wishes for your launch!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Joanne. Your books look very interesting, but I think you’re right – perhaps paying someone who has no vested interest in your books doing well, is a non-starter. Although writers are not necessarily the best at selling, at least they care about their books and will work hard at publicising them. Perhaps the answer is to learn more about marketing and selling – surely it can’t be that hard! 😉
      I wish you the best of luck with your books.

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