I’m just coming to the end of a self-publishing project with a client. For every aspiring author, the reality of seeing their book in print is an incredible thing. Yes, you can stick with a digital version but everyone knows, that is not a proper book. A proper book can be held in your hand, lent to a friend, left on the train. Wherever you are in your writing project, sometimes a nudge is all you need to reach your goal.
Getting from Pen to Published
- Write what you know. Many people feel they have a book inside them just waiting to get out, it’s getting started that’s the trouble. I always give the same advice: write from your experience and it will flow. Huge research projects are impressive but most people are not Hilary Mantel. Don’t let you dreams flounder on the rocks of over ambition; your voice telling your story is powerful enough.
- Work with others. Writing is a solitary occupation and that may suit you but you still need input. Not a committee – how grim – but a couple of trusted acquaintances ready with some helpful feedback. You also need an editor. I would say that of course but it’s true; the editor forms a bridge between the author and the reader, making sure the connection is there, so the idea in your head still works when it’s down on paper.
- Be disciplined. Few of us have the luxury of having nothing to do but write or of having a cabin in the woods we can escape too. Writing has to fit around your life so set yourself achievable targets – I will write on Sundays, I will write 1000 words a night. If there is a book in there, it needs to come out; don’t stifle it or put it off.
- Think about the finished book. The temptation is to type the last full stop and send it off to an anonymous publisher you found online and hope for the best. Did you spend all those days writing to be happy with just that? Think about the cover – I worked with The Edinburgh Sketcher on the beautiful illustration for the front of this book. Consider the font, the size of the book, the paper; work with friends, family and professionals to pull all this together. With self-publishing, you have control; this is your best work, don’t settle for less.
- Know when to walk away. When you self-publish you have no deadline, no publishing house breathing down your neck to hit the Christmas bestseller list. The challenge is still there – set your own target and stick to it. In your mind there will always be a sentence that doesn’t sit quite right, another line to add. Finish it and give it your editor – they will let you know if there’s anything missing.
- Celebrate your achievement. You have written a book, that is remarkable. Tell everyone, put it all over your social media, sell it on Amazon if you like. When you think over what you have achieved in your life, I guarantee this will be a highlight. That spirit of success will spur you on to your next book and who knows, this time a publisher might be waiting.