A kindness of strangers

As I am sure you know, “A kindness” is the collective noun for a group of ravens. But judging by my recent experiences in publishing and promoting King’s Ransom, I’d say the word is wasted on those somewhat sinister birds. It would be far more appropriate to talk of “A kindness of strangers”.

As I mentioned at the start of this blog, my son originally persuaded me to have a go at self-publishing when he sent me a link to the Kindle self-publishing website. I’m reasonably computer literate, and back in the day, I spent some years working for The (late, great and lamented) Monotype Corporation, which taught me something about typography and graphic design.

So once I found the original digital file of the early drafts, I thought “well, why not give it a  go?” And all went reasonably well until I came to format the novel for publication, which is when I found that, although the Kindle self-publishing site is fairly clear, it doesn’t tell you everything. Not by a long way.

I had all sorts of problems to contend with, and at one point I despaired of ever getting the book published at all. However, as I mentioned briefly in a previous post, I was given a tremendous amount of help by a number of people who I “met” online: complete strangers every one, but enormously kind and generous.

But that wasn’t the end of it. After I published, I realised that I had not pre-planned (as I should have done) my promotional activity, and I posted another crie de coeur on a LinkedIn group. Within a couple of days, I’d received advice from a number of people, including the incredibly knowledgeable and helpful Susan Barton who offers a huge range of services to authors. As with Jo Harrison, who I mentioned in my previous post, I wish that I had met Susan before I published because, like Jo, she could have saved me an awful lot of heartache.

I’m going to return to the subjects of book preparation and promotion in future posts, but for the moment, if you are writing an eBook, or even just thinking about it, don’t do what I did. Call in these delightful people first: you will not regret it for a moment.

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Filed under King's Ransom, Writing

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