They make it sound so easy. Just pop it on Amazon. Job done. Ha! I’m not even fully there yet and I’m already stressed out beyond belief and have this pit of churning nerves instead of a stomach. Here are five things that I’ve learned as I approached P-Day (Publication Day in case the acronym wasn’t clear!)
You always need a final edit
I’ve read the book before. Of course I have. More than once. And so have other people. Several other people. Lots of sets of eyes. Still, lots of mistakes that people had obviously just scan read over. Our brains are masters of reading what they expect to be there, rather than what is actually there, so many mistakes just get over-looked.
One of the biggest issues I found though was a discovery that saying ‘so’ isn’t just a vocal feature I fall foul of when I’m teaching. I’m very conscious of it when giving instruction. Turns out though, it was rife in the book too! Hopefully, I’ve fixed this now – and if I haven’t, I’ve probably done myself a disservice pointing it out to you all! Oh well.
It’s Way more Involved than Just ‘Popping’ it on Amazon
I mean, I presume people are putting it on Amazon because they hope people will buy it and read it! That’s what I was thinking anyway. So it’s way more complicated than just popping it up there (which is complicated in itself, involving formatting, and correcting, and exporting and a whole load of other verbs which bring me out in a cold sweat!) – there’s descriptions to be written, keywords to select, images to choose, author pages to set up. And throughout, you’ve just got this feeling of dread that if you somehow choose the wrong thing, or write the wrong word, you’ve irrevocably ruined any chance you had of people reading the book.
Of course, that’s not true. I keep reminding myself that unlike Lady Macbeth, what’s done can definitely be undone. Even after you’ve clicked that submit button, there’s plenty of time to go back and fix errors. Plus, who am I kidding? It’s not like the uptake of the book is going to be so intense that mistakes I make are either going to impact on many people, or be some sort of viral nightmare. So take your time. Fix mistakes. But don’t stress about getting it right the first time!
The Angst Does Not let Up
Having been speaking to my writing colleagues, I’m realising now that no matter what publishing route you take, the angst is constant. Excellent writers who I’m lucky enough to count as friends have been round the houses with agents and publishers. Even those fortunate enough to be chosen by agents (a process which I think is somewhat like putting your name into the Goblet of Fire) don’t always find it plain-sailing – and that takes a toll on your mental health.
Deciding to go it alone hasn’t been an easy decision, because I can’t help but hold on to that ‘maybe it’s the next agent’ feeling – but I want to share the book with people. I want to birth Vida and Slater and have them grow up – so at some point I need to take the bullet. That choice though is fraught with second-guessing and this indescribable feeling of fear – both of doing it and of not doing it!
I’ve spent the weekend as a total mard, snapping at any family member who came near me, because there’s this desire to get everything perfect, underlined by this feeling of ‘I hope it’s good enough.’ What a nightmare! And I wish I could see that it was going to get easier – but after I’ve relied on the goodwill of family and friends to buy a couple of copies, that’s when the real angst is going to begin.
There’s a million things you COuld do… so just start with one
I feel like we’re living in a time of ‘what-if’ at the minute. My conversations with friends all revolve around well, if that happens then that, but if that happens then this. Launching a book is the same deal. There’s a million and one things you could be doing – I’ve watched various seminars about writing book blurbs, or launching books on Goodreads, I’ve read article, after article, after article about how to get readers this way, or entice them in another way. It’s just too much!
This goes back to the point about nothing being irrevocable. I’ve got time to add things in. This isn’t a short-term bang project – it’s a long-term vision to build up a loyal readership. So if I don’t do everything right now, that’s fine. I’ve got plenty of time to do those things tomorrow. Or the day after. The most important thing is, to steal a catchphrase, just do it!
You’ll Never Feel Ready
So much doubt. So many questions. How many times over the past few years have I said, I just wish there was a crystal ball to tell me what would happen. There isn’t though. So at some point, you just have to bite the bullet and get on with it!
So with that in mind, my debut novel is available to pre-order on Amazon – I’d love it if you gave it a read!