Apologies for the earworm!
This has been a weekend of discovery. Among the many things I have discovered are:
- Putting your book out there, even if it's mostly to people you know, is scary. Thanks to those who have already agreed to be beta readers - I'm open to more offers...
- I can quickly create an iBooks version as well as a Kindle version of the text.
- I can very slowly begin to see how hard this next bit is going to be. I knocked up a quick cover last weekend so that I could get stuff out on Kindle, but doing it properly, so it looks like an actual book cover? Whole different box of frogs.
- I've also rewritten the back cover blurb more times than the rest of the book put together, and I'm still nowhere near happy with it.
- I've been reading and researching the pros and cons of 'traditional' vs self-publishing. I'm old enough to remember when 'self-publishing' meant 'vanity publishing'; I'm delighted that it's no longer the case, but I'm a little daunted by how much work it's likely to be. I'd still like to have, you know, an agent, an editor, a publisher; all that good stuff, but I know how hard that is from here. Let's say I'm working on all possibilities right now.
- (I also discovered that it's possible to self-publish and almost immediately be rolling in film offers and champagne!)
- Yes, I know that's not going to happen to me.
- I also discovered something else, which needs its own paragraph:
Someone who I have never met, and who has never read my book thinks it's too long. I don't doubt his expertise, and I am quite prepared to bow to his superior knowledge when it comes to this sort of thing. Agents probably don't ever look at books over a certain length, publishers even less so. But I can't help feeling there's something wrong with the way that works. When people ask me how long my book is, I tell them, and they tend to be impressed by how it's possible to produce so many words in one go. The truth is, there are that many words in the book because that's how long the story is. How do I know? Well, I cut several thousand words out of it without losing the sense of it, but if I cut more, I'll start to lose elements which have already fought their way in. If I take any more out of part 2, for example, part 3 won't make sense, and I do have a real fear that 'shorter' would mean 'simpler', and this is not a simple tale.
The story is as long as it wants to be. Just as some characters don't conform to how you think they should behave, so stories have a life of their own. Sure, I could make Going Back shorter, but then it wouldn't be the story I want to tell. More importantly, it wouldn't be the story it wants to be.
For that reason, if no other, I suspect that self-publishing is going to be the way forward. Which means I have to get my cover right, and I have to do my own market research, and I have to figure out how to market it, and how to price it, and a million other things I haven't really considered yet.
But I also think it's going to be fun. Wish me luck, won't you?