A few months ago I published The Elementalist on Amazon and, once the KDP Select period had expired, Smashwords. It was an interesting exercise with a steeper than expected learning curve, so I thought I’d share the results of my extended self-publishing experience over a couple of blog posts.
The Elementalist has been floating around for a few years since I wrote the larger part of it during NaNoWriMo 2007. I did a long winded rewrite which I published as a weekly serial in 2008/9, which garnered a readership of approximate 1 and half.
Lesson 1: Novel Web Serialisations don’t work on their own. If you want to go down this route, use Jukepop Serials, or Google plus, or a site where there is a ready made audience.
Annoyed that I’d sat on the book for so long without really pushing it, and lured by romantic notions of being the next Amanda Hocking or John Locke, I decided in January that I should buckle down, tidy it up and self-publish it.
I discovered the very excellent site, Grammarly, and spent many, many hours running the novel, chapter by chapter, through the system. It taught me an awful lot – mainly how bad I am with run on sentences and comma abuse.
The process was longer and more painful than I thought it would be. Grammarly can be a hard task master, but I was more than pleased with the results. I’ve no doubt it improved the readability of the book immensely.
Eager to get the book out there, I figured that as I could find no typos and had rewritten a high percentage of the book to to expunge it of squinting modifiers and faulty parallelisms, it must be ready.
Lesson 2: Just because Microsoft Word and Grammarly tell you there are no spelling mistakes, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Get someone else to proof read it first. Pay someone who does it for a living.
Although there were no typos, there were missing words and mis-spelled words that still spelt correct words. Imagine my embarrassment when I realised that at one point I’d called my main character, Barin, ‘Bain’. Durh! Talk about amateur hour.
Seriously folks, if you don’t want to look like a buffoon and ruin your great 5 star novel with reviews such as ‘The only negative is that the book would have benefited from a proof read, or editing as there are quite a few typing errors…,’ then get a good proof reader. There’s no excuse for this kind of comment to appear, the reviewer should not have had to make it.
Tomorrow: Publishing the book and marketing it. Easy, right?