A little over a year ago, I had (what I thought was) a finished manuscript for Alfie Slider vs the Shape Shifter and a plan. The plan was typically me; hopelessly optimistic but underpinned with pragmatism. It began with sending Alfie off to my first choice agent and waiting for their reply. I had decided to shoot for the moon, and if I missed? Well, then there were other options.
After a few rejections, I started to get the uncomfortable feeling that I was missing a key piece of information about the book. I got insecure; was it rubbish? Was I just blinded by my love of my first novel? So I sent it to Cornerstones Literary Agency, and had one of their readers take a look at it. Their report was encouraging (honestly, the phrase ‘a skilled and talented writer’ was worth more than years of therapy for my self confidence) , and in the light of their feedback I worked through the story one more time; and after that? Then it was really finished.
I submitted again, and this time there was some interest; one agency took the time to reply personally and say why they regretted having to say no to Alfie, and that they hoped I’d send them anything else I wrote. The message I was getting from Cornerstones, Agencies and my research into the industry as a whole was this; Your chances of placing your first book with a publisher, and getting a decent amount of marketing support? They make winning the lottery look like a sure thing.
I realised that, even if I could find an agent, who could find me a publisher, the chances are I would still be doing the marketing of the book myself. And if that was the case, then shouldn’t I get most of the profit?
I’ll be honest, I’ve been sniffy about self-publishing in the past. I’ve read self published books that are full of typos, that are good stories but not well told. I didn’t want to be the person who self published a book that wasn’t up to standard. But, I knew that Alfie /was/ up to standard. I’d been told that by professionals in the industry, but more importantly I’d been told that by my beta readers and the kids I’d read extracts to in school.
So, I researched my options and came across SilverWood Books; their tagline is ‘Professional Publishing for the self-funding author’. What this means is that I am paying the production costs to get Alfie Slider out into the world, and Silverwood do all the things that publishers normally do to get your book sold. Press releases, book catalogues, Amazon, copies to the reference libraries and all that amazing stuff.
I signed the publishing agreement yesterday, and had it confirmed today. Alfie Slider is on his way to print. There’s a lot of hard work ahead for me, but I am so, so excited to get started with it all and I’m very, very proud of myself for making my dream come true.