Awesome! #AtoZChallenge #AprilA2Z ‘A’

A button for A2Z ChallengeWoo! First of April!
Woo! Self publishing conference!

Part of me feels that Raven should be writing this post, since she’s the one with self publishing experience to talk about, but since that’s what I plan to do too….

This conference is run by Troubador, traditional publisher with a self publishing imprint known as Matador. Both are cool. I went last year and fully intend to go again next year, if not for the sessions, then for the chance to talk to other authors. I think that was the most valuable thing this year. That, and confirmation that what I’ve been doing to date is ‘correct’ insofar as anything like self publishing, so much in flux, can be ‘correct.’

Work successfully with bookshops and libraries to sell your book.
First session of the day for me and a real eye opener. It’s not impossible to get self published books into brick and mortar stores, but it is bloody hard work. Without the backing of people who know the industry and already have the contacts, ie a self publishing provider (*ahem* Matador) then it’s harder still. Lots of leg work, lots of agony and, unless sales are awesome, probably not even worth it.
Libraries though. I’m in the lucky position that the speaker for this section (Maggie Boyd) is actually working with Leicestershire libraries. So it’s all incredibly relevant to me. But libraries are in a very bad way; funding cut year after year, no staff and very little time or space to give to helping out local authors. They want to, of course they want to (!) but their hands are very often tied.

How to work successfully with an editor.
This session was INCREDIBLY helpful for me. And terrifying. Given by a member of the literary consultancy Cornerstones, I found the idea of paying for consulting advice (structural editing, basically) to be a really attractive one. What I didn’t like was the price. But you get what you pay for and the level of feedback they provide is such that I really do believe it to be worth every penny.
But terrifying… it brought back to me all those fears about ‘Will SORB ever be good enough?’ ‘How do I know when it’s ready?’ ‘Have I shown enough rather than telling?’ ‘Is the plot boring?’ ‘Is the structure of the whole piece sound?’
All those things I was already worried about now brought back to me tenfold.
They cynic in me says they did their job right, because now I want to buy their services. -_- The other, more practical and pragmatic part of me says there’s no reason why I can’t release a perfectly good novel without forking out in excess of ยฃ600 for editing.
But it’s a confidence issue because, at the end of the day, it all boils down to one question:

Do I believe in my writing and my ability enough to put my work out there, doing the best I possibly can with the resources (money) I have available to me?

No idea!

But that’s one of the reasons why Da Shared Brain made the decision she did. Within a few months I guess we’ll have the answer to that question.

Creating and marketing your ebook.
Funny, but there was nothing in this session that I didn’t already know. And I know it by reading your blog posts, newsletters and tweets. Everything they taught or talked about is stuff that’s readily available within the writing community because you guys are all so awesome and willing to share.
So I want to thank you all for that. ^_^

If ‘the folk of the industry’ are giving the same advice as you fine people (outsource what you don’t have the skills to do yourself, make sure you edit your words, get a decent cover, proofread over and over, don’t skimp on formatting, don’t spam people, build relationships with readers, be real and honest) then we’re all in a pretty positive position.

Using your existing author website to the full.
Again, a session useful in confirming things I already know. And also wonderful for helping reassure me that holding back from setting the solo site to live isn’t a bad thing. I want it to be as good as it can be, meaning that my branding and my media needs to be complete. Rushing it won’t help me. Nor Raven.

This blog is healthy and ticking along nicely, so why rush and half kill myself with worrying when the time isn’t right? There’s no harm in waiting. In fact it’s better to wait until everything is ready and there are no holes to fall into it.

So that’s it. My second self publishing conference. Sorry it was such a quick run through (and so personalised, rather than general to subject matter), but I want to keep these posts from spilling beyond 500 words. Hmm… yeah… I’ll let you know how I do with that. ๐Ÿ˜‰
new ileandra signature,

About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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11 Responses to Awesome! #AtoZChallenge #AprilA2Z ‘A’

  1. On the subject of buying services, I think it makes sense if you expect to at least break even when you release, with a view to having a steady trickle in the future.

    That being said, my experience is of having very little money to buy services. For me, going the self-editing route means that I have far more work to do, but at the same time I love doing it even if it takes more time. I like getting a response back from beta readers and, after a period of reasoning and decision-making, adjusting things in the next round of edits.

    Thing is though, I really need to get more beta readers involved to make that process work. Not only would it give me a bit more encouragement, the criticism would vary a lot as well.

    I really like having Dsiqus on my blog, for example, because any time I use a site which has Disqus installed I get notifications about any site that I’ve commented on as well as my own, but on the other hand it’s yet to net any comments on the parts of my story that are in open beta. Perhaps I will touch on that in my B post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think as long as you know what you’re getting into, and it works for you, then go for it. And going to a conference is all about finding out what’s what. I’m glad of your insights. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Til next time!


    • The plan was always to have the first book finance the second and the second finance the third and so on. That just has not been the case. A shame, but not really surprising as Raven is an unknown and people are taking a risk when they buy her books. They don’t know her; they don’t know what they’re getting.

      That’s why she used services that have been cheaper than one might expect. And they have been very good. But now with my novel, because the piece is longer, it needs more depth of help than these services gave Raven and the idea of doing it myself terrifies me.

      It’s why I’ve waited so long, if I’m honest. Raven is tackling Slippers & Chains and then I’ll be returning to silk Over Razor Blades to hammer it the creases once and for all, but I just can’t afford professional structural editing. It’s that simple.

      So you’re right; beta readers are the way to go. I’m in the fortunate position of having a few people lined up willing to read for me, but I know how hard it is, so I’m always happy to read someone else’s work if they need me to (which includes you if you need another beta).

      I read a blog post a short while ago – I wish I could remember what it was called – and the gist of it was you don’t have to pay for editing, but you SHOULD get edited. And there are lots of ways to do that.

      Regards Dsiqus, I meant to ask you; how easy is it to install and does it feel easier than WPs own comment system? I’ve considered using it for a while, but I wonder if it would put people off if they had to sign up to a commenting system.


      • Disqus is fairly straightforward to set up. I feel that it has a lot more features than the built-in comment system, like the ability to whitelist your regular commenters so that they can (for exampe) post links without going into the moderaton queue to be approved.

        At least, that’s the theory; having whitelisted some people including yourself, I haven’t seen a comment skip the queue because the commenter is whitelisted. I have a loose moderation policy with Disqus installed and haven’t had a spammer yet.

        One of the great benefits, I think, is that commenters don’t have to sign in every time they want to comment. And, even if they do, the sign-in is a breeze!

        I mention this in my blog post for A to Z today – beta readers can help you to see whether your editing plans are in the right ball park. It can be scary to go through your work cutting things. In the case of my recent edits in January, I actually had to write something into the cuts to make up for the missing material. So, having had a conversation, I was able to refer back when the time was right to edit, shake loose some new ideas, and motivate myself to get through it.

        Now, I wasn’t editing a whole novel, just a 17k-ish part of one. But if I were, then I would divide and conquer the way I have been. I think it’s a bit easier to have distinct story arcs with what I’m working on, because a team of explorers with a military heirarchy lends itself to being organised that way. Still, I’mquite pleased with the editing process and the result.


        • That seems easy enough. I may give it a go later down the line. Disqus I mean. There are plenty of folk who use it with great success, so I’m not worried particularly.


  2. Decadent Kane says:

    This is a terrific informative post. I don’t get to go to conferences much mainly cause I live out in Wyoming and conferences sometimes don’t reach me there. LOL So i live vicariously through others going to them
    Decadent Kane (blog)


    • I’m like that with anime and comic conventions! All the best ones seem to be in the US (except for Alcon of course :p) so I read up on those to get my annual dose of cosplay and new comics. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. Carol says:

    Sounds like parts of the conference were perfect for you. Good luck!


  4. jmmcdowell says:

    It’s encouraging to know that so many of my blog buddies have it right when it comes to the advice!


  5. Pingback: April A2Z 2014 Roundup (& I Haz Planz – wc 01/05) | Writing: A Conversation Without Interruptions

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