I wrote a book! What happens next?

I finished writing my novel in March, after three years (on and off) of writing, editing, deleting and adding a new ending. Excited and nervous, I crafted some queries to literary agents and also a few publishers who accept non-agented submissions. I knew that very few unknown debut authors get picked off the ‘slush pile’ (ugh) – especially if they aren’t already in some way connected to the literary world (I’ve noticed that quite a lot of recently published novelists are from a journalism or publishing background) – yet I did have a little hope. So it’s not too surprising that two or three months later, I’ve had a handful of rejections and a lot of silence (it’s like applying for jobs – sometimes you don’t hear back at all, unless they’re interested in you).

I suppose I could keep on looking for more agents, or trying different query tactics, but I really want to get my thriller out to readers this year. So this means I’m starting to investigate self-publishing! I know a lot of people do it but as a novice it seems pretty scary to me. I need to do some research. I especially need to consider:

  • Book cover design – confident enough to do it myself or should I pay for a pre-made or custom design?
  • Formatting – again I could do this myself but many authors pay for a formatting service.
  • Distribution – should I sell through Amazon only or should I explore other channels?
  • Writing a blurb for the back of the book – why are these so tricky to write?!
  • Bits and pieces such as author bio, acknowledgements, copyright information, ISBN.
  • Re-branding my blog and social media to reflect that I’m a published author.
  • Putting together some kind of marketing strategy (eek).

I’ll update you later in the year when I have made some decisions. Don’t worry, I won’t turn into one of those bores who only posts to boost their own book. You can still expect lots of reviews, discussion posts and random things as usual.

Thanks for reading, my friends.

N S Ford – your new favourite author πŸ˜‰

35 thoughts on “I wrote a book! What happens next?”

  1. That’s awesome that you wrote a book!! I wrote my debut too and I’m in the process of finding a book cover artist (I can’t draw to save my life). If you ever want to chat writing books, feel free to DM! Wish you all the best. (@ poetrybooksya)

    1. Thank you! And congrats on writing your book too! I appreciate your offer, I have followed on Twitter and will send you a message πŸ™‚

  2. Wow, what a challenging endeavor! Writing a book itself (not to mention editing it endlessly) is an achievement onto itself. But to then work to self-publish it, that’s even more work. I wish you the best, and I look forward to reading your book when it comes out!

  3. I know this is a personal decision but I am little sad you haven’t stuck with the idea of getting your book traditionally published. I accept that getting an agent is a full-time job in itself and then once you have an agent it is no guarantee of anything but a few months of submitting is nothing. I think I queried 100s of agents back in the day and eventually got an agent in NY for my first book and an agent in Edinburgh for my second and neither managed to sell to a publisher. I think 1 in a 1000 get picked up by an agent and then only 1 in 10 of books submitted by agents to publishers get picked up by one of those publishers. Though the maths is scary, I still believe eventually talent will out, though luck is a huge factor, and obviously the commercial viability of the book – a decision to be made by the bean counters…. So I eventually went down the self-publishing route and I learned a lot but am still debating with myself whether it was worth it. However, there is no harm in giving it a real go. And maybe for your second book you could have another crack at the trad. pub route. Fantasy and sff are pretty good routes for self-pub these day but crime/thrillers not so much. But that’s just my opinion. LJ Ross made it work for her, so some people know what they are doing LOL!! Anyway, best of luck to you going down the self-pub route. It will certainly be a great learning experience for you. DM me if you wish to know what formatting software I used, how much cash I spent on cover art etc etc… I could also tell you some seriously hair-raising stories about submitting to book bloggers… But I will say no more here. LOL!!! Good luck!!

    1. Hi Laurence, thanks for your input! I don’t want to wait a long time to get an agent, at least for this first novel. I do know that some authors who have already self-published, then manage to get contracts later on so that’s always a hope. I’m always hearing about luck! Which isn’t fair really. It’s not something you can factor in. So many people are self-publishing that it is something I should at least try. I’m already planning my 2nd book which I think is going to be even better and yes, I would try again with the traditional route. I will certainly send you an email (easier to write than a DM on Twitter) as I’m starting to talk to other self pub authors and try to get more clued up before I make decisions! Cheers.

  4. Oh wow, I was hoping that an agent might pick you up but don’t be disheartened. There’s some debuts out there but there’s so many authors who are already established that the amount of potential books available for publishers to take on is never very big. Good luck in everything you do and take your time with doing it, better to get a brilliant book out with a bit of time rather than rush and have something that’s not fully complete. Don’t worry about self-publishing though, it takes some tie mto get around everything but lots of authors do it, lots!

    There’s a couple of authors who self-publish and who’ve written about their experiences on their blogs who I follow on worldpress (and can vouch are brilliant authors) I can give you their blog links to take a look if you’d like? I can’t remember what one author does for his covers but the other author has her covers from somewhere that she pays for but they’re exceptionally good and she’s now received a small contract from a publisher abroad (Eastern Europen country) who’ve copied her first book’s cover almost completely onto their own version as it was so good!

    If you were thinking of going down the trad route, ever though, the only thing I’d advise against is any kind of contract with a publisher who wants you to pay for any part of the production of your book. There’s a couple of very rogue publishers out there that a lot of authors get stuck with (they call themselves hybrid and seem genuine) but I know who they are and how they really opperate (was mixed up with them when reviewing – they plagerised a review of mine!) and am happy to warn you who they are but would prefer to name them via email of DM in twitter as they’d legally probably try to sue me for putting them in a bad light (it’s actually happened with some authors! :o! )

    I’m afraid I don’t know all the details of what dto do with self-publishing myself, as I’ve never done it (yet) but if you need any help with anything to do with editing/proofreading , beta reading or even an opinion on book covers then I’d be happy to help. πŸ™‚ All the best and I hope everything works out well! πŸ™‚ <3

    1. Hello and thanks for your comment! Thanks for your good luck wishes. I appreciate the warning about rogue publishers – an email would be great (it’s on my contact page) or Twitter DM. Oh yes and any useful links you have, that would be good! I will be looking at the traditional route again, with my next thriller. I just really wanted to get my debut out after working so long on it! I want to have a cover design that stands out, fits the genre and also that I love! So that’s going to be difficult. But all the advice I have, says that the cover is the most important feature as people make their decision to check the book out, based on the cover. Thanks for your offer of help – I am past the editing/proofreading stage and now starting to prepare for formatting – I’ve been advised by some writer acquaintances to try doing it myself rather than paying someone. But I will be sure to contact you for opinions etc in the future and I will certainly need lots of support from my blogger friends when I get to marketing my book πŸ™‚

  5. That is so exciting! Good luck with everything, I am sure you can find lots of good advice about self publishing. It seems a route that many authors are using these days.

    1. Thanks, I appreciate it! πŸ™‚ There is so much advice on the internet about it, I almost don’t know which sources to use but I’ve gathered a few which are clear and I’ve asked some writer acquaintances for advice too. Yes, millions of books are self-published every year! It has really opened up opportunities for everyone.

  6. wooohoooo! Congratulations, NS! I’m so proud of you! Looking forward to reading your thriller πŸ™‚ Do what you must to get your book published, traditional or self, it really doesn’t matter I think, as long as you get your book out there and let it find its way to its readers πŸ™‚ And I agree with you, the cover is so so important. I tend easily judge a book by its cover. So do, do, get a good cover for your book! πŸ™‚ All the best to you, my friend!

    1. Thanks Jee, I love how excited you are about it πŸ˜€ I think you are right, the most important thing is that a book finds its readers. All the advice I have got is emphasising the cover design! We all do judge a book by its cover and I think for self published books it has to look amazing or no one will click on it. Also you all know I’m a perfectionist so I want to make sure everything about the book is as accurate as possible. Thanks again Jee πŸ™‚ β™₯

  7. Super exciting–congrats! There’s so much help out there for self-publishing authors. Do you follow K.M. Allan? She has lots of great tips and it’s been fun to follow her self-publishing journey.

    1. Thanks very much! I know, there’s a lot of content about self-publishing, almost too much to know which advice to take. Thanks for the suggestion, I’m not sure I’ve heard of K M Allan but I will check her out.

  8. Best of luck! I’m about to try self publishing a non-fiction book and marketing plans are my priority. Can’t wait to hear how you get on 😊

    1. Thanks so much! I wish you all the best with yours! Once I’ve got a cover sorted then I’ll be looking into marketing too! I suspect it will coincide with going back into work and having less time, however.

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