What a month it has been! No, make that two—or three…. First a hasty trip to Croatia and to Spain with my husband. I always like to record my travels on my blog, which I did, in between touring around, often alone, (thanks for those cognacs in that foreshore bistro in Cavtat!), as well as in company. Mark’s Symposium was hugely successful due to his great organising skills and untiring workload; that is, along with his colleague Suzana, who also acts as a patriotic diplomat for her beloved country of Croatia. Since the economy rests mainly on tourism, the Symposium is of great benefit to the country.
During the trip I had little time to think about my recently published novel, Karrana, as I was on the go all the time, supporting mon mari, ce heros to look his sartorial best—after all, we were in Europe!—and exploring the foreshore and islands near Cavtat. And blogging about the places, so as not to forget….
Three days spent as tourists in Spain, on the coast, was even more rushed. But we did out best! Eating, eating, eating….
After having succumbed to a nasty virus in March, I had taken advantage of the month spent in bed to edit the manuscript of Karrana: A novel, which certain family members had been urging me to produce. My blog had kept me in practice with general writing skills for years. However, blogging depends on utilising specific genres, more akin to journalism than to long fiction. I still didn’t know if I would be able to pull, out of my bag of tricks, that magic sounding elusive object—a ‘novel’. The members of my critique groups all applauded my efforts and gave me the confidence to continue, and to finish a manuscript.
When I arrived home from Valencia via Madrid and Dubai, last week, I was physically, mentally and culturally jetlagged. In my letterbox was a hardcover book, Skeffington: One-Name Study.
It’s based on a genealogical research project exploring the Skeffington name —my name—far back into past ages. It’s way out of my league, but I was expected to read it and relay to the author, my brother, my impressions, immediately. Impossible!
My heartfelt thanks go to the members of Waverley Writers and to the Randwick Writers Group for their untiring support of my efforts. Thanks also to the manuscript assessment editor from Writing NSW, who provided me with the last piece of the structural puzzle that helped me to finish the work.
A big thank you goes to my sister, Susan, my very first reader, who gave me positive feedback; and to my husband, Mark, who did the same, having recently purchased his first Kindle reader. My friend, Kay, has also helped me with positive input while still reading the novel.
It wasn’t until near the end of writing the novel, that I knew where I was coming from in the beginning!
My novel has, I think, one foot in both genres, literary and commercial fiction.
It is a love story, with a ‘love triangle’ switch towards the end. But it is much much more. I will leave it up to reviewers to say more about the themes and metaphors throughout the book. And about the structure….
Why did I decide to go with Amazon, and to upload it as an ebook, rather than find a publisher? In other words, why did I decide to become an Indie Author? One of the reasons is that I had taught myself to self edit my work, over a long period of trial and error. Keeping a ‘Craft Writing’ blog helped me to research and to iron out many of the structural problems beginning novelists encounter on the path to writing a readable novel.
I felt, at last, one month ago, that I was ready to go.
So I signed in with my Amazon account and studied the guidelines for uploading a manuscript for an ebook. Even for someone technically challenged, I found the KDP directions clear and fairly easy to follow, with a few hitches along the way. Amazon now tells you how many typos and spelling mistakes there are in your initial file. I had 11, which I fixed and re-uploaded the file to their satisfaction. They also provide cover templates to choose from. I could only find one, partially satisfactory, image. In the meantime, my daughter, who is an excellent artist, was creating another one for me. Thanks, Kate.
Now comes the hard phase: marketing and promoting your work. As an excellent editor said at a recent workshop in Sydney:
Firstly, it is immensely helpful to get feedback on your work from trusted beta readers and professional assessors or editors.
Secondly, your ability to continue to develop your work to a publishable standard and to make the most of any feedback you receive relies in part on understanding that you are separate from your words.
Another great advantage of Amazon is that you can make changes to the content and/or the cover and re-upload it afresh.