It’s finally happened. I published my first books today. I’d actually planned on publishing them tomorrow, 31 August, but e-publishing is not an exact science. Amazon says it can take up to 72 hours to publish, so to meet my self-imposed August deadline, I had to start the process early. In reality, it only took a few hours.
Writing was the Easy Part
I am in the middle of writing four books. Well, four proper books. There are other half started works that may never go anywhere, but four that will make it to being published. They’ve been on the go for varying periods of time.
When I had a period of illness earlier in 2020, and was waiting for my results, I decided that if I did nothing else, I would publish a little book I had written back in 2012, and another book that was, at that time, just in my heart, not on paper.
Writing the first book, Owned by Cats, which is only about 20,000 words long, was hard, although that was at the start of my writing career. I’ve learned a lot in the eight years since then.
Writing the second, Living with Cats, took longer. I had to give myself a weekly target and I had to fit it in around my day job and my paid freelance work. It was fun though, I loved writing it. But it was hard work. Checking my facts, eliminating things I wanted to write but couldn’t prove. And so it went on. And then the editing, I loved that too. Then came the publishing…
I decided to self-publish for many, many reasons, not the least being that I don’t like the very low royalties traditionally published writers are paid, especially now when they have to do so much of the marketing themselves. By self-publishing, I live or die by my own efforts.
KDP is easy… ish
Publishing on Amazon was a bit of a no-brainer. Amazon is big everywhere and I wanted an easy way to get my book out there. A couple of years ago, I went on a course delivered by Richard McMunn. He said there is no need for fancy software, Word will do nicely and it’s easy to upload onto Amazon when you are done. I’ll be honest, I felt a bit cheated, I purchased Scrivener years ago, and, although it’s pretty complex software, I like it and still use it.
Yes, I do write in Word (because I can do that anywhere, on my iPad) but I put it in Scrivener, so it’s easier to move chapters and paragraphs around. Doing it all in Word doesn’t work for me with a 50,000 odd word document.
So I wrote in Word, put it in Scrivener and used that to organise my books. When it came to publishing, I downloaded the KDP app, as advised. I probably should add here that I am notoriously bad at reading instruction manuals. I take comfort in the fact that I am not alone in that. So I didn’t get it right for Owned by Cats, and I just uploaded the Word version.
Living with Cats was bigger, and I did a better job with that. Not perfect, I missed off the notes at the back on both, but that’s easily sorted now they are published. It took me hours, to get the formatting the way I wanted it. Who knew that you can’t edit tables in KDP? So I, who has been so disparaging of so many self-published writers’ grammar and editing, now understand how hard it is. I am eating my words as I type.
I have always liked writing; I just didn’t always think I could do it. Now I know I can. Not everyone will like my work. That’s ok, I don’t like everything I read by everyone else. Even books that have won Booker prizes. I am always gentle in reviews for books I don’t like, if I leave a review at all. I would ask that you all do the same for me.
© Susan Shirley 2020