What follows is Jodi Taylor’s guest blog about her path to self-publication. Do read what follows: Jodi tried the agent route, wasn’t successful (we’re still not sure why not), so published her book independently with amazing success, emerging at the end of the process with a three-book deal from an independent publisher.
Some time ago, I sat down and wrote the first sentence of my novel, Just One Damned Thing After Another.
Actually, that’s not true, because, having no idea what I was doing, I started in the middle of my book and wrote backwards, but I like a good dramatic opening.
Like many people, once I started, I couldn’t stop. The word just piled up like the contents of an elephant house whose occupants haven’t been able to get out much. The first draft totalled 123,000 words and at this point I realised I was a writer in need of help.
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Jericho Writers has asked me not to plug them, but I can’t help it. I sent them my manuscript and seriously expected a ‘Thank you for sending us your novel. It’s not really quite good enough for publication but you obviously enjoyed writing and that that’s the main thing.’
What I actually received from them was a closely packed editorial report (a bit like these ones) and tons and tons of much needed encouragement.
About six brain-boggling months later, during which I parted, weeping, with some of my best prose, my favourite characters and about thirty thousand words, I finally had something I was prepared to let the world see.
At this point, never having heard of self-publishing, I proceeded along the conventional route, sending off the required chapters to a few carefully selected agents. Three months later I repeated the procedure. And then again.
A year passed – I grew older and my cherished novel had been rejected by the biggest and best in the land. I was quietly proud.
And then (have I mentioned the importance of wine in the creative process?), during a very long lunch with very good friends, I heard of the existence of an online organisation named Smashwords.
Overcoming my deeply held belief that self-publishing is the last refuge of the talentless, I swallowed my pride, some black coffee, and got stuck in.
I got the manuscript formatted – the technically competent can easily do it for themselves – or Smashwords can supply a list of approved formatters if you wish. Total cost $54 dollars for the Smashwords format and $54 for the zipped Amazon file.
The same company also offers a range of cover design services. I chose the middle range option, sent them the blurb and told them they could be as creative as they liked. Cost $137. The result was first-class, and I’ve received some very favourable comments.
The formatted files and cover design came back within five days, I sat down at my laptop and uploaded the files to Smashwords and Amazon. It took only a couple of hours and I was led through the processes, step by simple step. I clicked ‘Send’ and, terrified at what I had unleashed, retired into a wine bottle.
And that’s it! That’s really all there is to it!