I did have a vague feeling that something was coming up! It’s very nearly a year since the launch of The Secret Notebook of Sherlock Holmes, and Facebook very helpfully put a memory in front of me a couple of days ago…the moment when I cleared my throat and announced that I had a book coming out.
In some ways that moment seems more significant than the launch day, April 1. I’m pretty sure I’d already planned a programme of launch activities (as far as you can for an ebook). I had a big list of Things To Do, a Pinterest board of sources and inspirations up and running, and several blog posts in the making. I even had quotes picked out and put on backgrounds, ready to tweet. By gum, I was prepared.
I wasn’t prepared for the message from Amazon telling me that my book was now available for pre-order. It was much quicker than I anticipated, as you can probably tell from the slightly bewildered tone of my announcement!
Almost a year on, the Secret Notebook is still selling, so I guess I did something right. But it seems so much longer than a year since it happened!
In many ways the Secret Notebook was a testing-ground, a pilot for me to see how I felt about self-publishing. When I had the idea for the Secret Notebook, I knew that it would be a short book, a niche book which no publisher would pick up. However, I thought there might be a readership among some Sherlock Holmes fans, and I figured it was worth a try.
In the process of getting to the announcement I learned so many things:
- Putting a book of short stories into a good reading order
- Formatting an ebook (formatting a paperback came later)
- Designing a book cover using Photoshop (although now I use GIMP)
- Where to find images and fonts for commercial use
- How to find beta readers, gain effective feedback, and make sense of it all
- Writing a book blurb
- Choosing book categories and keywords
- Setting a price
- Ways to promote a book (including the ones that don’t work!)
You may have noticed that writing and editing aren’t in that list. Certainly I hope I got better at both in the course of producing the book. But it isn’t just about getting your draft finished, or even edited. That is just the beginning. The amount of new stuff I had to learn in order to self-publish a book was phenomenal. And I loved it.
Since March 2016 I’ve sent another 4 books of varying lengths out into the world, including my first novel. Currently I’m editing what will be my second novel, hopefully the first of a series, and my sixth book. I’m hoping to publish 3 more books this year – 2 novels and a novella – and knowing me I’ll fit a couple of side projects in. 😉
I still worry every time that I’ve forgotten how to write (see my previous post for evidence). But I would never have thought a year ago that I would be where I am now. I’m still learning of course, as a comparative newbie. However, sometimes it’s nice to put aside worrying about all the things we haven’t done yet, and celebrate all the things we have. 🙂
Watch this space on April 1st for something Sherlocky!