My very first blog post used this image, so I thought that it might be fitting to use it here. I’ve done it. I’m climbing the ladder to success. I have self-published my first novel. How does it feel? Anti-climactic, actually, if I’m honest. It wasn’t exactly a publisher’s launch party in a major Waterstones with the national press kicking each other for an interview with me. It was more of a, right-the-baby-has-finally-gone-to-sleep-I-might-as-well-make-a-cup-of-tea-and-upload-that-book-tonight-instead-of-waiting-for-the-weekend type thing. Still, it’s done. Done and dusted. That’s the main thing. One down, four to go. I feel a bit relieved because I can move on. It’s a bit like a divorce.
Actually self-publishing something, getting it out there as a product is what this blog has been all about (nearly) – the process. It’s been fascinating and tedious; frustrating and rewarding; costly and cheap; tiring and exciting. It’s all been a lot more intense and involving than I expected it to be when I first decided to take the self-publishing path.
Let me just remind myself of why I did it? Why I self-published? I did it because I had no realistic hope, or expectation of being able to get a literary agent interested in my books (see blog posts). I did it because I wanted people to read my books in order that I might get some feedback on them. I did it in the vain hope that I might get downloaded enough and favourably reviewed enough to maybe garner some attention – not me, the books (I have absolute faith in my writing). I also did it because otherwise I was just writing books to go in the drawer of my desk. No one else reads them. And if I got knocked down and killed by a bus tomorrow they would end up in a rubbish sack, then the dustbin and then the landfill site and all of my creative output would have been wasted and lost. (I’m not even going to try to make some crummy self-deprecating joke about that.)
I feel a little bit proud of myself and I think that I’m entitled to that.
It’s not going to make me rich. How can I be so sure? Because I made it free to download. That’s one part of my original plan that hasn’t changed. I firmly believe that if it’s free it will get downloaded. If I charge for it, it won’t. And if it gets downloaded there is more of a chance that it will get read (no guarantee, of course) and then maybe reviewed (even less of a guarantee).
The hardest part of it all has been the proof reading. I must have read the book five times in the last two weeks and every time I’ve found typos, or words to change. In the end I’ve had to stop. One has to say enough is enough and move on to the next project (why does everything remind me of divorce tonight?) which I have. I’ve already started on the second proof-reading of the third draft of the fourth edition of Making a Killing (the second Romney and Marsh File). I must be improving technically as a writer because there is a lot less red ink in the margins of this book, so far.
One other thing that I want to tell myself here: I’ve only ever mentioned and thought about self-publishing through Amazon’s Kindle page. Then the other day I discovered Smashwords and, after researching them and reading some of their blog posts and some of the things that they had to say about Amazon, was won over by them. So, I’ve put the book on Smashwords and Kindle. That way, I have the opportunity to get the title in front of a lot more people and that’s my primary aim. And if all that doesn’t work at least the cover looks pretty good. If I was looking for a detective novel to download for free and saw my cover I’d have it.
Talking of which, I might as well include a link to Smashwords here in case I want to download my book as a surprise for myself later. It might also boost my download figures, which will really please me.
This has taken me twenty minutes to write. I started it just after I’d finished uploading Rope Enough. I just looked at my Smashwords page. It’s been downloaded six times already (only four of them were me). That’s encouraging. Be a can. Don’t be a can’t.