St Viper’s School for Super Villains is about to be independently published and I’ve been reflecting on the last few months – the things I enjoyed, what drove me bananas, the challenges that lie ahead. And knowing what I know now whether I should be clever/stupid/crazy enough to do it again.
WHAT I ENJOYED
Taking control. I have nearly been published through the traditional route a couple of times. For a little while I had a lovely literary agent (the agency closed their children’s list). Movie companies even read one of my manuscripts with a view to buying the film option. But somehow my timing has never been quite right and luck hasn’t been on my side (Note – we inklings all have very different stories!). I needed to try something new to get my books in the hands of children or give up and earn a proper living. Then we had that Electrik moment in the Jazz Cafe which Jenny blogged about. Professional Independent Publishing was born.
It has felt incredibly liberating challenging the norm, creating a way to independently publish high-quality children’s books, in a way that meets our needs, building on both the strengths of traditional and self-publishing. I’m proud that we have been brave enough to have a go and of the product we’ve created.
Working with other children’s writers. I loved being a creative writing student and really missed bouncing ideas around with other writers after the MA finished. It can be lonely working on a book on your own. Being part of Electrik Inc has allowed me to write and publish in a supportive environment. We have had a laugh too.
Seeing my book looking gorgeous St Viper’s has been professionally and lovingly line edited over and over again and it shows. The reviews of the book are brilliant. I also have the cover and illustrations I wanted. I’m a happy writer.
WHAT DROVE ME BANANAS
Where to start? Having to buy a new laptop because the old one wasn’t up to the job and Adobe Acrobat Pro to meet the printer’s requirements. Researching POD companies and finding out after hours and hours of reading that our preferred supplier would only sell my book on Amazon.com not Amazon.co.uk and in American dollars (which they failed to mention). Generally trying to fit square pegs into round holes. We are a hybrid of traditional and self-publishing and nothing quite fits us. I must say that the ebook has been a walk in the park compared to producing a print on demand book. Mostly, what has driven me bananas is the time form filling and buying services has taken away from my writing. But on balance I think all the work has been worth it to get the book I want.
THE CHALLENGES THAT LIE AHEAD
I’m happy blogging, tweeting and squawking but I could do with a whole army of clones to visit bookshops and schools to talk about St Viper’s. ‘Who is your rep?’ ‘Who are you using for PR?’ I am frequently asked in stores. ‘Err…that’s me.’ I feel incredibly small, like Julia Donaldson’s snail in the Snail and the Whale in a big world. It should become easier when we start marketing our books together, but for the time being it’s just St Viper’s. We will have to be inventive in the way we market my book. We must write fantastic stories that children talk about. It’s all possible. Like Donaldson’s snails on the rock it would be easier to be quiet, sit still and stay put, but I’d rather carry on with the adventure.
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