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The Publishing Journey

I decided to self-publish my novels because my experiences of main-stream publishing weren’t so great. Unless you’re a multi-million copies selling author, you will be left to do your own marketing and are likely to receive very little money. So there I was, my first psychological thriller was launched into the world and my husband and I had our marketing all ready to go for the start of 2019.

I was asked to write this post by Amy Doak and Emily Tamayo Maher of The Writer’s Block Facebook Group. I’ve been a member of this incredibly supportive group since its inception. If you’re an author or an aspiring author seeking support, it’s the place to be!

At the beginning of January I received an email and to be honest, I was cynical. Every author knows that it is an uphill battle to find a publishing house willing to publish your book. The slush heaps get larger and larger each year and the chances of being plucked from the slush pile is thought to be considerably less than 1%. But here was a publisher – a new publishing house, to be precise – asking me if I would be willing to talk to them.

I spent several hours on the phone quizzing them and I liked what they said. They clearly know the industry and have a very unique proposition. They bring their experience of writing for film and television in a process they call their writing room, helping their authors in a collaborative way to plan out their books before starting to write. At the end of January, I signed the first of four contracts. They wanted to relaunch The Obituary and sign the next three books I had written featuring Dr Pippa Durrant.

Since then, I have been working very hard – and so have they! They have analysed all my books and created what is called a Beat Sheet (synopsis) for each novel. We have spent hours and hours on Zoom discussing plot lines and character motivations. I have completed quite a few rewrites. They felt that the ending of The Obituary – now I Want You Gone – could be stronger. The other books also had issues regarding timelines and frankly issues that I had simply never thought about. The aim was to make the books the very best they can be. When each book was complete, it was sent off to an editor and when that was complete, it was sent to a proof reader.

The publishers have been generous in allowing me input into the front covers. I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t love the cover of I Want You Gone originally – although it’s grown on me. But when I polled it with other people, I was firmly out voted. The same happened on the titles for the next three books! If you are a control freak, then self-publishing is better for you. But I take the view that the publishers know more about book marketing than I do.

My publisher are very hot on Amazon algorithms and getting pre-launch reviews. As I write this, I have had 33 four and five star reviews on NetGalley and equal numbers on GoodReads. That’s good for a newbie fiction writer. Yesterday, the book was launched on Amazon. It is going into Kindle Unlimited, which means the book can only be sold in its ebook format on Amazon. The initial price is low – $0.99 or free if you’re in KU.

My next three books are being released at fortnightly intervals from 5th May. The aim is to hook in readers who enjoy my writing style. We’ll see what happens! I’ve also written a short story which will be mailed to new subscribers (and existing subscribers to my list) and there’s a link to this at the back of the books. It’s vitally important to create a list and build loyalty with your readers.

I have had some poor reviews, and it hurts. Of course it does! Some of those reviews are clearly written by trolls, others are genuine. But then books are very subjective. I just hope we get some more good reviews up on Amazon because I’ve had loads on the other platforms.

The next three books will be a little more challenging to market because they don’t fit neatly into one genre. They combine psychological thrillers with a little bit of police procedural and romance. Meeting readers’ expectations and fitting into Amazon’s genres is very important. If I’d known this at the beginning I might have written them in a slightly different way. Having said that, sometimes breaking the mould can be a good thing. We will see!

Please reach out to me if you’d like any more information on my experiences of mainstream publishing, self-publishing and ebook publishing.

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