I have a long history of starting stories, and never really finishing them. I started writing my first ‘proper’ book when I was 18. It was called Evie and featured a university-aged girl who wakes up five years in the future – a future in which all her dreams have come true. Turns out she has amnesia – or does she really?
I’m not going to lie, I thought Evie was the best thing since sliced bread. The truth? It’s pretty atrocious and it will never, ever see the light of day. It was filled with empty characters, shallow themes and was drowning with so many clichés that it would probably get flagged for plagiarism. I really had no clue how to write a book.
It took me five more years before I mustered up the courage to write another novel-length story. It’s sobering to think I started my second novel, Mesmerise, in August 2015 – more than two years ago! I had so many grand plans. Plans to make it a trilogy. Plans to write and self-publish 3-4 books a year. Plans to be a full-time writer by now.
I’m not exactly sure why my ‘self-publishing’ enthusiasm died off. It could have been all the rejection. What right do I have to publish my own books when no one in the industry thinks they’re up to scratch? Will I ever be taken seriously as a writer if I decide to go down the indie route?
It also could have been about the money. I’ve talked to a few authors who self-publish, and they always, always maintain that you should get your novels professionally edited before you publish them – and I have to agree. Sadly, at the moment I can’t really afford to get my novels edited.
I will admit that the above are all just excuses. The publishing industry is highly subjective and while the ‘Big 5’ are indeed the gatekeepers to prestige, they are not the sole gatekeepers to success. Many writers who were rejected by the traditional publishers, go on to have successful writing careers. And the money? If I really tried, I’m sure I could scrimp and save and get the required $500 – $800 for a basic copy and line edit.
There’s only one real reason why I haven’t achieved my goals yet.
I’m a complete and utter wuss.
It’s such a big step throwing your novel out into the nether and hoping it sticks. I’ve heard (many times over from those who have gone before) about the herculean effort that is required just to get your novels ready for publication, this is not including all the marketing (and myriad of other things) you’ll need to do as a self-published author. No wonder I’ve been putting it off and doing anything and everything under the sun other than publishing my novels.
Believe it or not, this year, I’ve decided I’m going to take charge and publish my novels.
Yes, I really am. I think.
Starting with Mesmerise in April.
I don’t have a specific date yet (you guys will be the first to know!) but my rough plan looks something like this:
- Major edit (I’ve recently made a few more big changes)
- Go through a second round of beta-readers
- Professional edit
- Final proof read
- Figure out how the hell to self-publish
- Celebrate with wine
- Have a party
- Drink more wine
There will probably be a few more steps in there, but hey, this is all my brain can cope with right now. I’m just going to focus on editing Mesmerise for the 29th time, and then I’ll start the beta-reading process again.
If you’re going through the same thing as me, suffering through a serious case of wussiness, than hopefully we can get through this slump together. If becoming a published author has been your lifelong dream, why not let 2018 be the year it comes true?
Self-publishing is not an easy route to take, clearly, but just imagine how awesome it will be when you finally publish that novel. Feel the heavy weight of it in your hands, glide your palm over the front cover and use your thumb to flip through the pages. Now wasn’t all that hard work worth it?