Monday, 10 December 2012

Glorious Momentum

.... or  Self Publishing is Publishing  (part 4)

I didn't write books just for my nearest and dearest to read; I wanted the world to read them too. And  although I have come very close to that illusive publishing contract on more than one occasion, it has never happened.

After ten years of trying, I felt my optimism and excitement about the whole process slipping slowly into a dignified but stagnant stupor. As ‘exciting’, ‘warm-hearted’, and ‘masterful’ as my writing apparently was  (quotes from yer actual real life editors what have read my stuff and who should know their onions), my books never made it over the final hurdle of the acquisitions teams. 

The Random Penguin Acquisitions team in high-powered discussion. 

Admittedly, writing about real life in these dark times may not be to everyone’s taste, and I totally understand that publishers have to make money out of me or, like, what’s the point? But to come so close and yet still be so far away from breaking through, did leave me feeling more than a little weepy at times.

When my final submission came back with a "NOT FOR US" stamp across the front page, I longed for some movement in my writing career and knew it was time for a re-think.

And then my luck turned a corner. Two things happened:

1. I won a ticket to the Writers & Artists 'Publishing in the Digital Age' conference and it filled my head with all sorts of fancy ideas and notions of going it alone.
2. My good friend and fellow real-lifer, Kate Hanney, also decided to go it alone.

It felt like good old serendipity and the chance to get things going again. I ummed and arred and dithered a bit, and then I jumped. Wheeeeeeeeee….

And WOW! Just WOW! I never expected such a soft and comfortable landing.

Kate and I launched Applecore Books a few weeks ago, together. Although this was primarily to provide a home for our own young teen and young adult stories, we have found that the mutual support and encouragement to get things done has been the biggest bonus. We are part of a team, working independently, but drawing on each other's areas of expertise whenever necessary, and sharing both the highs and lows of the process so far. (Actually, there haven't been any lows yet.)

Kate had already published her first book, Safe, but went on to publish Watermelon and Someone Different under the Applecore banner. I published my first book, Where Bluebirds Fly and will be following through with Bring Me Sunshine and How to be Lucky just as soon as I can find the time. But in the meantime, I just have to sit back and watch the sales tot up.

And don't get me wrong, if Random Penguin do come knocking on my door, offering me bunches of bananas in return for the right to publish my books via the traditional method, then I certainly won't turn them away without seriously considering it. But, until they do, I'm back in control and enjoying the ride.

If glorious momentum is what you’re after, I can’t recommend self-publishing highly enough. No more sitting around waiting for phone calls, emails or lucky breaks. If anything is going to happen for us, it’s going to happen because of us, and that’s a rather nice place to be just now.

 Where Bluebirds Fly, available on Kindle through Amazon UK and US

And now available in PAPERBACK from many outlets, including