One November, about a decade ago, every day I wrote for a couple of hours – 2500-3000 words. I’d read about NaNoWritMo and tried the principle. I found that getting into the daily writing habit, with a deadline for finishing the manuscript for a novel within a month, was highly motivating – even doing it alone. I succeeded, not least because the month led up to getting on a plane and heading off to the sun for a holiday.
The next bit of advice was to take a break from the manuscript before working on it, so I did. Next, I confessed to some close friends what I’d done. They asked to read it and offered to feedback. I accepted. They were true to their words, and were all very motivating – ‘Go for it!’ After each batch of notes, I’d edit and put it away again.
Occasionally, over the years, I would re-read and tweak the manuscript, and put it away. Then another few friends, including one who told me he’d proofread and edited manuscripts, offered to read it and feedback. Again, I was told – ‘Publish it!’
I still lacked the confidence to send it out into the world. So I put myself on a self-directed study of creative writing (I read many books etc.) and applied what I learned to my manuscript. I was encouraged to find that it fitted various structure models.
Finally more research led me to explore various self-publishing options and I decided to give it a try and do it properly, not just get a box of books printed to live under my desk to give away. I did one final polishing edit, and plucked up the courage to send it off to a business who advise and assist with self publishing. To my surprise and delight, they accepted it.
I cannot describe the feeling of holding the proof copy of my work. It’s amazing. My book is now ‘out there’ and available in print, with the ebook version coming very soon. But, now comes the very hardest thing … Marketing.
Why is this so difficult?
Quite simply, I am a complete introvert and highly sensitive. I don’t ever seek to be in the spotlight – I much prefer being totally anonymous, shut myself away and keep my head down. To do marketing, I read, you have to stop hiding in the shadows. Oh no!
The way I’m trying to mentally deal with it, is telling myself that I’ve sent my book out into the world to stand for itself. It’s the book that needs promoting, not me. I know readers will either enjoy a bit of escapism, which I hope they do (because that’s the whole point of writing a story), or not (please be kind if you review it!)
In the meantime, I will learn marketing skills and pluck up the courage to put what I learn into practise …
… And I’ll hide away – to write the next one. 😉
So if you do dream of writing and publishing a book, my advice is give it a go or you’ll never know. Have fun!