This week on the Open Book Blog Hop we’re talking about lessons that we’ve learned while writing, publishing or marketing.
When I started out writing my first book ‘The Porn Detective’ in 2013 I knew absolutely nothing. I toiled away for a year and then sent it off to an agent, who liked the story but wanted it written in the third person so that it didn’t read like a memoir. I spent another 6 months re-writing it and then sent it off to a London agency when the original agent subsequently turned it down. The London agency were keen and I spent the worst week of my life waiting for them to come to a decision about whether to represent me. Unfortunately it wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. I published the book on KDP.
Undeterred, I wrote another novel, ‘The Pilates Class’. I sent an excerpt off to a Goodreads competition, and won a free edit. When the excerpt came back nicely edited I realised how I should be setting out my work (previously I had written in the block paragraph style). This also made me take more notice of how traditionally published books are laid out (in the past I had just read the stories and not thought anything about formatting or editing), and I moved away from block paragraphs, re-writing The Porn Detective again with my new editing knowledge, and adding in page breaks which I’d failed to do before. I also forced myself to write dialogue until it came naturally to me.
I read quite a few traditionally published books, and found that many of them are written in the present tense, written from more than one perspective, and are often in the first person. I thought to myself that I too could try this out. With my third book ‘A House Without Windows’ I decided to write from different perspectives, and also went back to writing in the first person. The book has been my most successful so far. I took the story from a news item I had seen on TV, but unfortunately found out from agents that ‘Room’ had already been published and was on its way to being made into a film. If I had known about this book at the time I’d probably have written something else!
I learned online about CreateSpace, and worked out how to turn my e-books into paperbacks. I set up a website and a WordPress blog. I learned from other bloggers not to repeat words, to watch the POV’s, not to use too many flowery adjectives, not to use three words when one would do, and which sites to join to create good covers and market my work. I signed up with the likes of Booklikes, Canva, Koobug, Tweet Jukebox, Indie Writers’ Network, BookVetter, and Readers’ Favorite to name but a few. I used BookShowMe to give my books worldwide Amazon links. I carried on writing and eventually penned 8 novels and 4 novellas, entering some into online competitions and winning a New Apple Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for ‘A House Without Windows’.
I then learned from the excellent blogger Chris, the Story Reading Ape, about the site ACX and how to make audio books. My first audio book was finished late last year and others quickly followed. So far I have sold 64 audio books and have met some lovely narrators who agreed to produce my books.
Moving ever onwards, I trawled the Translators’ Café online, and found a lovely lady who agreed to translate my books into German. We drew up a private royalty share contract between us, and I look forward to publishing ‘A House Without Windows’ on KDP and CreateSpace when it has been translated. Next in line is ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’.
I decided to sign up with the publisher Creativia for my latest book ‘Repent at Leisure’. Creativia’s Street Team help to market your book, and they emailed me back epub and mobi files to keep, which I was not able to format by myself. They created the beautiful cover below, and I’ll be sending them my book of short stories in the summer when I’ve finished it. ‘Repent at Leisure’ is currently on the shortlist for the Escalator Writing Competition, and will be on sale at the reduced price of $0.99 from April 29th – May 5th.
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