A big hats off to those who organized the Mountain to the Sea Festival, it was bloody brilliant. My only regret is I didn’t go to more talks/workshops etc. I can’t wait for next year.

On Saturday I attended the Independent Publishing Seminar conducted by Vanessa O’Loughlin of Inkwell Publishing and Writing.ie and joined by Catherine Ryan Howard, Arlene Hunt and Adrian White. It was fantastic. It was great to see how these writers have done with self publishing, their results and the tips they shared with the audience. I got a whole lot out of it.

Catherine Ryan Howard runs an extremely popular blog on her thoughts and experiences of self publishing. I urge everyone to go and read it immediately! It’s that fantastic. She covers everything you could possibly think of. I’ve just bought her book on her tips to self publishing and can’t wait for it to arrive.

Adrian White was traditionally published 10 years ago and had a deal with Penguin. He has since written a new book and decided to go down the route of self publishing.

Arlene Hunt was a very successful author with 6 books under her belt, and when offered to extend her contract to a further 2 books, she politely declined and decided to self publish instead. She even admitted it was an insane and scary decision. Incredible brave if you ask me.

Anywho so onto what I learn’t from the chat/talk/seminar:

I think the most important thing gleaned from it, and what every member of the panel all said, was that the writing of the book is not the hard part. The hard part is what comes after. Now this is in terms of self publishing. I think for the majority of people who do take it on, it’s a lonesome process. You don’t have the editors and publishers to fall back onto when times get tough, it’s solely up to you. The formatting is strenuous and will make you pull out your hair in fistful of clumps.

Money has to be spent, if you want to make money. If you have spent hours writing this book, hard long hours pouring your very soul into the book, don’t you want to reap the potential rewards. The panel all advised that in order for it to be successful, you need to spend money on cover design, editing, proofreading etc. Catherine put the figure at around €1000-€2000. Yikes. 

You can choose from the covers that are offered at SmashWords and Amazon, but they are of really bad/cheap quality. Unless you are a whizz at creating seriously jaw dropping covers, or a graphic designer, fork out the money to someone who is good at their job. After all, the cover is where it all starts, if you can attract your potential readers with your cover, you’re earning a potential sale.

In terms of sales its really about Marketing, get a twitter, get a Facebook account, start a blog. Get on every social media platform there is. Make friends with fellow writers, but do not spam your followers on these platforms with your potential new titles. It will make them want to block you. There are also opportunities to do bog tours something I hadn’t come across. Basically a free, do-from-home, tour of blogs, publicizing your book. Great idea. Hopefully will get one of those started, maybe get people on this. That would be brilliant!

Copyright not a major issue, unless your Stephen King, the panel said they don’t even considered it to be a problem for low level writers like themselves. Again it only becomes a problem when you’re hugely successful.

Pen Names Google yourself and see where your name appears on the Google search. Catherine added ‘Ryan’ to her name because if you just Google ‘Catherine Howard’, you get results for Henry VIII’s wife. So do be creative and Google yourself!

There was also chat about KDP Select which I really like the sound of. However by limiting yourself to KDP Select, you are loosing out on a huge market. But I would definitely like to give it a go. The panelists  didn’t have much luck with it.

There was a ton more stuff, but I shan’t bore you any more. I really enjoyed the event, and now I just need to motivate myself to writing again. I have seemed to have stumbled into a bit of a ditch in my YA novel, I can’t seem to figure out what happens next. Ahhhh!