31 Days: Eliza Green – Why Self-Publishing can be good for Debut Authors

Eliza Green1

Publishing is a hair-raising and confusing game at the moment. Lists are said to be shrinking and even well known authors sometimes struggle to make a living from publishing. There are also many publishing possibilities and many authors are choosing to let readers decide by bringing their books straight to market with the help of professional editing and design services.

Eliza Green is just embarking on the journey into publishing. Her debut novel Becoming Human – part of what will be the Exilon 5 trilogy has just been released. Eliza has worked in many industries from fashion to sport to finance, but caught the writing bug several years ago and has now released her first novel, BECOMING HUMAN, part one of the Exilon 5 trilogy. Since Eliza was young, she has always been a fan of science fiction television shows and films and is bringing that love to her new trilogy. She hopes to capture the imagination of readers who shy away from the genre with her new novel, set on Earth and Exilon 5 by writing what she calls ‘down to earth’ science fiction

Eliza is here with us to day to share with us her thoughts on the advantages of self-publishing for new authors.

Why Self Publishing can be good for debut authors


I’ve been writing for four years. Over those years, I wrote three books, submitted two to agents and publishers and resubmitted one with serious rewrites and a much more favourable response from a reputable agency. The submission process didn’t come to anything, so I decided to self publish my most recent work, BECOMING HUMAN.


I tried my best to plan the release accordingly, but the date kept getting pushed back because I discovered new things I had to do before I could proceed to the next step.  For example, I commissioned a cover designer early so that I would have an agreed design well in advance of my ambitious release date of late November.  What I didn’t calculate for was that my designer would need my final page count so he could set the size of the book, including the all important spine width. That meant I had to have the final edit completed on my work (which I hadn’t). Three weeks of solid editing ensued and my miscalculations pushed the final cover reveal back by a month. You have no idea what is going to happen when you self publish, but it can be an interesting learning curve. The more obstacles you face and overcome, the less likely you are to repeat them.

Promotion Decisions

With very strict deadlines and the pressures of a full time job, I managed to release the ebook in Mid December and the print version five days after. I enrolled my ebook exclusively in the KDP select programme, which means that I’m not allowed to release the book digitally on any other platform for three months from the publish date. That brings me up to mid March. Why did I do this? Because it can be a good way of bringing a new book to Amazon Prime members which in turn could be good publicity for my work. Of course, that all sounds great in principle but I can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. I have to work out how to drum up interest in my book. How can I point the members to my work other than enrolment in a programme for which I have very few statistics?

At the moment, my marketing plan is a bit trial and error, but I will learn what works as time goes on and that should benefit the launch for my second book.

A learning opportunity

At some point, all writers dream of securing that elusive publishing deal through traditional means. I can understand that, I was one of those writers. But it can be frustratingly slow and instead of agents/publishers seeking out your talent, you have to convince them of yours. The rejections can take the tarnish off what should be an exciting time in a writer’s life. If you do secure a book deal, it can be a great thing. The agent will guide you and the publisher will edit and format your work before publishing it.  But for new authors that don’t see the work that goes into publishing as indie authors do, this could be a disadvantage.

Learning to promote yourself and your work

Indie authors are competing strongly with their traditionally published counterparts on digital platforms such as Amazon. And what self publishing has taught me is that you have to promote yourself and your work. While a traditional book deal is always nice, promotional efforts could be lost if the author is not involved.


So, the ideal scenario? Understanding what goes into publishing your own work could make you a better author. Unless a publishing house has a marketing department, you will have to do the promotional work yourself. A friend recently told me about a guy who self published his novel but he didn’t have much success with it. He suggested I speak to him to get an idea of what went wrong. I don’t need to. I can list the main reason why. He didn’t promote himself or his work. Somebody once said about debut authors, ‘Nobody cares about your book.’ It’s up to you to convince them otherwise and self publishing can give you the confidence to do that.

Thanks to Eliza for this food for thought and I wish her every success with Becoming Human. She is currently working on ALTERED REALITY, book 2 in the Exilon 5 trilogy.


Becoming Human

Two worlds. Two species. One terrifying secret.

In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. Having already begun a massive relocation programme, Bill Taggart is sent to monitor the Indigenes, the race that lives there. He is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t know why. His surveillance focuses on the Indigene Stephen, who has risked his life to surface during the daytime.
Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become human. But one woman holds a secret that threatens Bill’s and Stephen’s plans, an untruth that could rip apart the lives of those on both worlds.

BECOMING HUMAN is available in print and Kindle ebook format (exclusively until mid March). Afterwards, it will be available in several other formats through Smashwords.

Where to buy:  Amazon.com    





Eliza has kindly offered a free copy of her book. All you have to do is add a comment below. Tell us about your favourite science fiction film., Favourite science fiction television show or Favourite alien (humorous or serious is fine).

Self-published in a bookshop

On writing.ie I share what I have learned so far about getting your self-published book into a  (I am stocked in Dubray books in Bray and in Hughes and Hughes stores in Dublin) and about bookshop launches, as well as the success of a self-published author in the UK at getting his book stocked at Waterstones. Click here for more

I recently joined Wattpad. It’s a platform for writers to share work (both sample chapters of published work and new writing). The aim is for writers is to connect with other writers and find new readers and for readers to find new work they’ll enjoy. They have some high profile advocates such as Margaret Atwood and some serious investment – I’ll give more details in a later post. The advantage for writers is that there is a huge audience in the millions already signed up so your work has the potential to be widely read. However like all platforms you have to attract readers and followers, so work must go into your involvement there. This is a consideration when we’re already stretched keeping up with many platforms. However if you want to have a look it’s www.wattpad.com and here is my page if you want to read any pieces (I have two short stories and an extract from Housewife with a Half-Life on it) or connect if you decide to join.


The business of self-publishing: Bookshop launches

Self-publishing is becoming a viable and accepted method for writers to either bring out a book that is hard for publishers to define, for traditionally published writers to relaunch old out of print titles electronically or through print on demand, for writers to supplement their traditional titles or fund their writing on the path to traditional publication, to write and publish creative, experimental and artistic work that may have a more niche following. To be commended and recommended, self-published work needs to be of high quality and the self-publisher needs to apply the principles of professionalism and good business.

In this weeks article on writing.ie The Business of Self-Publishing, I talk about how to make self-publishing work, through strong products, marketing savvy, funding initatives and more. Take a look at the full article here.

I recently launched the paperback of Housewife with a Half-Life in a bookshop. There are pros and cons for the self-publisher in taking on a Bookshop launch but overall I feel that it’s benefits outweighed any drawbacks. I recently wrote an article exploring the merits of a bookshop launch.

To Launch or Not to Launch: A second opinion

When invited to hold a bookshop launch for my debut self-published book Housewife with a Half-Life in a local store, I thought about the pros and cons. I’m here to say why, on balance, that while there are many arguments against a bookshop launch for the self-publisher, I’m glad that I went ahead.

First, the facts in black and white:

Having a bookshop launch is exhausting.

These are some of the tasks that need to be done ahead of time:

Organise books: While CreateSpace, the POD company I used, have many distribution channels, the Irish ones are not included in this. So it was necessary to send off (and pay for) a consignment of books upfront and then organise to get them to the bookshop.

Arrange publicity: I created a press release and emailed as many of the local papers, radio stations etc as I could. I also sent a copy of the book out to selected media people. I invited people through text, email and social media. This was a big job. I also organised a speaker, some refreshments etc.

These activities were all done in tandem with an online launch and blog tour marketing and publicity were all encompassing.

This article is guest posted on Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog. For the rest of the article, click here.

I’d appreciate your thoughts and experiences on your self-publishing journey and if you’ve done a ‘real-life’ book launch whether or not you found it useful.

In the meantime I’m bringing out several mini-collections of my short stories, some of which were shortlisted in prizes such as the Bridport, Fish and Hennessy New Irish Writing XO awards. Here’s what I’ve released so far. I’ll let you know how this venture goes.

Dear Agent for writers and last free day

The wonderful Nicola Morgan, of the great writing and publishing site Help, I need a publisher! author of 90 books including Write to be Published has just brought out Dear Agent: Write the Letter that Sells your Book. As readers of her blog will know, the advice she gives is always realistic, practical and sprinkled with her wonderful dry wit. Read the full article with her at writing.ie to get some tips and a flavour of the book.The book is on special offer this weekend and can be downloaded for Kindle or for reading on your laptop (you can download a free Kindle app. Well worth it for every novelist about to submit work!

On a personal note, I know you’re probably tired of hearing about Housewife with a Half-Life and personally I’m uncomfortable with relentless self-promotion. I know that if you’re interested you will read the book at some point and if it’s not your thing then no problem. However the reality for self-publishers is that somehow we need to become visible to the general public and the way of doing that is to gain higher rankings on Amazon in order to be seen.

This August 10th is the last day that the book is on a special free promotion, so if it could get a big push today that would be great. So if you’re interested and haven’t read it, get your free copy today. Thanks a million.

Susan Strong is a suburban housewife who is literally disintegrating. When Fairly Dave, a kilt-sporting spaceman arrives through the shower head to warn her, she knows things are serious. When she and her precocious four year old twins, Pluto and Rufus, get sucked through Chilled Foods into another universe it gets even messier. Where household appliances are more alive and dangerous than they seem, Geezers have Entropy Hoovers and the Spinner’s Cataclysmic convertor could rip reality apart, Susan Strong is all that’s holding the world together.

Through this madcap, feel-good adventure, Susan and Fairly Dave travel alternate universes to find Susan’s many selves, dodge the Geezers and defeat the evil memory bankers. From dystopian landscapes and chicken dinners, to the surreal world of Las Vegas and bubble universes, can Susan Strong reintegrate her bits and will it be enough to save us all?

Amazon UK

Amazon US/Ireland

Free Kindle Apps for laptop, phone etc

Why I used my Kindle free days when I had decided not to

The Background

I originally signed up for the Kindle free days to be part of the promotion for the launch of the wonderful Jawbreakers anthology in May. I had only launched Housewife with a Half-Life a few days before so perhaps it wasn’t the best time to give it away for free but being part of a British nationwide launch perhaps gave me a wider audience/exposure that I would not have had otherwise.

What are Kindle Free Days good for?

Since Housewife was my debut novel as A.B.Wells I was interested to read how Kindle free days had helped some self-publishers gain extra readers and sales subsequent to the promotion. But there seemed to be some caveats. This strategy seemed to have worked best for those who were a) releasing books in the earlier ebook days before the deluge of ebooks and free offerings b) for authors who already had a following from traditional publication or earlier books c) for authors who were trying to promote a series or later books (they would give an earlier one away free.

But that wasn’t me

As the end of my Kindle free period approached, I realised that I did not fit any of these criteria. My comedy in the universe was a new departure, both from my literary work as Alison Wells (published in anthologies and known on the blog) and was the first book I had to offer. So what could possibly be gained by using the FREE DAYS.

All that work for FREE?

Another issue that has been much discussed is the concept of FREE itself. Some self-publishers enjoy the idea of the work being the thing, making it available in a democratic way and being read is the most important thing. FREE is part of the FREEDOM of being Indie. Other self-publishers, while applauding these sentiments are also concerned about whether a constant supply of free books engenders the expectation of never having to pay,  particularly for ebooks. While people would be happy to pay €10 euro (about $11 £8) for a paperback, an electronic version may not seem as valuable (and is easier for both the writer and the reader to discount in both senses of the word).

I’ve sold about 80 books in real world transactions (in bookshops or direct) and made a reasonable return, especially of course on the direct sales. My initial price of $2.99 dollars and its equivalent allowed me to be on the 70% royalty on many sales for the ebook. Again a reasonable amount. As a first time author without a track record, realistically, breaking even might be a goal, much as the accounts of bestsellers are thrilling and are always hoped for. I had costs, for sure, several hundred pounds/euros for a designer and editor, marketing materials for my real world launch and initial outlays on purchasing 160 books to sell to bookshops and direct. I personally don’t have an outside income (at the moment I’m at home with my four children). We live on my husbands wages. I need to cover costs at least. The book took months to write and a year to edit and bring to publication. All writers know how much work goes into producing something of quality. Again, why give it away for free?

So why did you change your mind?

Ideally I would have used the free days when the sequel The Meaning of Life is Monday was out. But Kindle free days are to be used within three months. It’s now or never. So what made me change my mind?

1: The possibility of widening my reader base

I’m in this for the longer term. I may need to get my skates on and release further material that people can click on when they finish Housewife but I will still reach new people who might visit my blog (there is a hyperlink in the ebook!) and find out what else I write and when it will be out. I might reach a particular person who will enjoy my book, become an advocate, write a review (make the movie – okay one can dream. Matthew McConaghy as Fairly Dave (the kilted spaceman with luminescent emotions would be interesting 🙂 )

As a marketing hotspot

Running Kindle free days gives me an event around which to talk about my book and blog about things like Kindle free days and to link to my new publications of short collections of short stories (under the name Alison Wells) that will be out in the next few days.

I might just go up the Amazon charts

While like Nicola Morgan I’m not a fan of tricks and games used to push books, such as constant self-promotion on Twitter, online, befriending just to sell, garnering reviews that aren’t authentic, the free day option is a legitimate tool to try to make your book stand out from the crowd. I believe in Housewife with a Half-Life. I have other books in drawers that I didn’t believe in so much. I engaged and editor and designer and did everything I could to make the book as good as I could. Other people believe in the book. I think it’s a heartwarming and uplifting read and I want to give it the best chance I can.

Last time Housewife with a Half-Life was free for one day, was downloaded 500 times but I didn’t see many follow on sales. I don’t know what will happen this time. Maybe I’ll come back and tell you later. But despite my reservations, I hope that Housewife with a Half-Life can benefit from this little boost and that if you read it you’ll enjoy and come back and tell me.

Update: August 2012

As a matter of interest, at the end of my 4 kindle free days I had a total of 3000 downloads and have seen consistent sales since then, not in huge numbers (tens) but beyond what was happening before the free days. While on Kindle free Housewife with a Half-Life went to number 3 in sci-fi free and close to (tantalisingly close to) the top 100 kindle reads in .com and .uk. From talking to other authors I can attribute the continuing extra sales to Housewife with a Half-Life having become visible in the “also bought” lists. So in terms of gaining visibility, the Kindle free days were successful.

Let me know what you’ve decided to do with your Kindle free days and how it’s worked out for you or any of your thoughts on the concept of FREE.

A last little marketing plug. Note: Housewife with a Half-Life is no longer free but it’s just 99c/77p until the end of August.

Here are some of the things people have said in the reviews:

“this book was recommended to me and really didn’t know what to expect but wasn’t able to put it down, fantastic, funny and pure comedy from start to finish 10/10”

“A brilliantly humorous book which had me laughing from the start!”

Amazon UK


My self-publishing experience

Today I’ve visited the blog of Debz Hobbs Wyatt who works as small publisher Bridgehouse to share my self-publishing experience, the areas where I had costs and how I found the whole process.

Speaking to an editor and other writing professionals we decided that it might be a good contender for self-publishing as it’s more a genre work than my other writing.Publishing is in a huge state of flux right now and I was interested to learn about self-publishing, to try to connect directly with my readers (I already have a very established blog) and I liked the freedom of being able to get my work out there. The skills and attention to detail I’m learning through self-publishing can be applied to traditional publishing as well.

Please click here to read the whole interview.

I’d also like to share with you news of the release of The New Big Book of Hope.

“This book will save lives. To live without hope is the ultimate deprivation. The Hope Foundation reaches out to the street children of Kolkata, India, on a daily basis: rescuing sick and abandoned children; delivering food and clean water to the slums; providing crèches where destitute and slum-dwelling mothers can safely leave their children while they do what they can to earn money; running its health-care programme, including its new hospital; fighting child labour and child-trafficking; breaking the cycle of poverty through education in its many coaching centres.
This extraordinary collection celebrates The Hope Foundation and – hopefully – will play a significant role in publicizing and supporting its courageous work. A potent blend of fiction, poetry, memoir and non-fiction, the contributions explore the theme of ‘hope’ and its vital presence in all our lives.
With its astonishing range of bestselling authors, political figures, business people and media celebrities, The New Big Book of Hope eBook has something for everyone. Claudia Carroll, Don Conroy, Brian Crowley, Brian Keenan, Sinead Moriarty, Kate Kerrigan and over forty other unlikely bedfellows rub shoulders – the only common denominator being their considerable talent. And in this special eBook edition, four new writers – Alison Wells, David Fairclough, Fr. David Keating and Orla Coffey – have been selected for their contributions in making this book a truly unique collection.

This book is for such a good cause. It also contains my prizewinning story Flashes of Entropy and Hope, a flash fiction medley which is part of a longer work.

The book is available as an ebook here

Different versions are available as follows.

Here’s Hoping (Fiction Collection)

Hope Works (Non Fiction and Poetry Collection)

There’ll be more posts here on writer’s block, writing focus and further self-publishing experiences such as getting books into a bookshop and awareness building efforts.

Housewife with a Half-Life e-book launched!

Yes! It’s here! It’s real!

The day is finally here! I’m delighted to launch my debut novel as A.B. Wells Housewife with a Half-Life! Available on:



A paperback will be available in June!

Join me here and on my  and on my facebook launch event page. If on twitter, retweet the links for Housewife with a Half-Life launch using the #HWHL tag to be entered in the draw for a book and a trip around alternate universes (well maybe not the last one! )

Shortlist for 42 Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything Flash Fiction Contest

Don Kearns: Demeaning of Life

Dandeliongirl: Tattooed Across his Skin

Neil Shirley: Connections

Babette: Wipeout

Steve Green: Untitled

Quiet Riot Girl: Untitled

Juliet Boyd: Life Form

Jazzygal: The Meaning of Life…

Stephen Jeffrey: Ants on the Patio

Brigid: Somethingistic

M@rcell@: Meduca: A Cuntslerroman

Heather: Untitled

StellaKateT: Tea Wars

The winners will be announced later this evening between 8 and 9pm GMT. Well done to the shortlistees. To read, see here.


Well done to everyone, it was a very, very close call. But my judges and I have decided on the following winners. Can the three winners please all email me at alison@brierwell.com Congratulations!

First Place: Neil Shurley (That Neil Guy)


I ducked into the empty donut shop.

“Two double chocolates,” I said, slipping off my wet coat. “And two coffees. Black.”

From behind the counter, she smiled.

“Two?” she asked. “Who’s the second one for?”

I slid onto my favorite stool.


Second Place:

Juliet Boyd: LIFE FORM

He lifted the rock and peered underneath.
“There’s no life here,” he said between gasps of piped oxygen.
He let it fall. The screams caused the ground to quiver, but he didn’t hear. Or feel.
He continued his search with clouded perception.

Third Place:


Medusa: A Cuntslerroman

I am a jellyfish. I am. I am not. Like a universe. Becoming. Unbecoming. Am. Not.
Rise. Plankton shimmer. Reflections ripple. Reach for surface—shock.
Sink. Dark deepens. Bodies glow. Constellations form, drift, dissolve.
Tide pulls. Tentacles billow. Dive up begins again.

Fun Virtual Treasure Hunt Extended until tomorrow!

We’ve had the flash fiction competition (shortlist and winners to be announced later). Now for those who need an even greater challenge! Since it’s May 8 we have 8 clues. The answers can be found across the Housewife with a Half-Life related listings on Amazon, Smashwords, abwells.com and on my blog. You’ll need to travel round these universes to find all the clues. In the novel the spaceman Fairly Dave is one of the ‘Higher Powers’ and we often talk about the beauty of Maths (or Math). Two of the answers are a colour but six are numbers. When you find all the numbers I want you to list them in your email but also add them up. So your short answer will be colour, colour, number total. Entries should be sent to the special competition email treasurehunt@brierwell.com Update: I’m going to let this run until May 9th ends in all parallel universes, time zones and will announce the winner (if there is one!) May 10th here on the blog! Here are the questions! Good luck. Prize is a signed copy of the paperback or an e-book copy if you prefer.


1: What is the book cover colour?

2:What number of words was the flash fiction completion?

3:How many pages long is the book?

4: How old were the Canadian students who launched a Lego man into near space?

5: How many seconds did it take for Susan to haul Fairly Dave out of the bathroom?

6: How many grams (gm) is the LG bendy e-paper going to be?

7:What is the last number in the ASIN code for Housewife with a Half-Life?

8: Which colour is my Star Wars t-shirt?

Thanks so much for the support and help I’ve had with my launch. I’ll also announce a twitter winner tomorrow for the retweets on my book links. It’s a testament to the great connection and mutual endeavour online that so many have rallied round to support Housewife with a Half-Life. If you’ve bought it today and like it, it would be fantastic if you added a short review to the site you bought it from. Once again, I’m very grateful and hope you’ve enjoyed the activities today.

Why I got a cover designer for my self-pub: Housewife with a Half-Life!

Yes! It’s here! It’s real!

I’m delighted to reveal the cover of Housewife with a Half-Life! I worked with Andrew Brown of Design for Writers to come up with something unique and striking.

If there is one thing that I am absolutely hopeless at it’s design. Art, drawing, anything in that line. My 7 year old daughter can sketch better people and my 4 year son isn’t far behind! I knew that when self-publishing Housewife with a Half-Life I’d have to get a professional to work on the cover.

I chose Design for Writers through personal recommendation. He provided a clear outline of what I should expect in the process and what I would receive at the end of the process. Once I was happy with this and his quotation we were ready to go.

What I really loved about working with Andrew most was his comprehensive consultation process ahead of the design. Through an interactive project space he asked me a whole lot of questions about the market I was aiming for, the feel of the book, the characters, the genre and the types of images I already admired. He wanted to read the book blurb to get a good idea of what the book was all about. As the design process continued we were able to communicate and clarify details with each other.

What Andrew came up with was something totally new and beyond what I expected. It’s a classic design with a Pulp feel and the colour and image make it stand out and I hope will make it a recognisable brand into the future. (For all the rest of the books you know! Yes, there is a sequel!) There is no way in the world I could have created such a cover. To me self-publishing is a business. Yes I want to get my work out into the world and hopefully see people enjoy it, but I want the experience to be the same as buying a book from a publisher. If people are to pay for my ebook (or later the paperback) I want them to receive a product that has value both in the content and the presentation.

I think that the most important thing when self-publishing is to utterly believe in your book. It’s a long road where you, as the marketing and PR guru will have to shout about your book and put the message across to others. You need readers to believe in your book, to get behind it, to care and to spread the word. You need to make your book feel like a real book, you need people to feel confident and comfortable when they open it. They need the reading experience to be seamless and not punctuated by an awareness of mistakes, sloppy layout, cheap feel or homemade cover. For those reasons making my book design a professional affair was absolutely necessary. Now I’m ready to launch Housewife with a Half-Life and the whole experience of the book into the world. Enjoy!

Housewife with a Half-Life: E-book Launch & Blog Splash May 8th!

I’m delighted to announce that I’m going to launch the e-book of my first novel (as A.B.Wells) Housewife with a Half-Life on May 8th!

The cover of Housewife with a Half-Life will soon be revealed. Till then you can look at A.B.Wells in a Star Wars t-shirt.


Susan Strong is a suburban housewife who is literally disintegrating. When, Fairly Dave, a kilt sporting spaceman arrives through the shower head to warn her, she knows things are serious. When she and her precocious 4 year twins Pluto and Rufus get sucked through the supermarket chilled cabinets into another universe it gets even messier.

In a world where household appliances are more alive and dangerous than they seem, where the Geezers have Entropy Hoovers and the Spinner’s Cataclysmic convertor could tear the world apart, Susan Strong is the only thing holding the world together.

Through this madcap, funny and feel-good adventure, Susan Strong and Fairly Dave travel the alternate universes where Susan has to find her many selves, dodge the Geezers and defeat the evil memory bankers. From dystopian landscapes and chicken dinners, to the surreal world of Las Vegas and bubble universes, can Susan Strong reintegrate her bits and will it be enough to save us all?

I’m really hoping that you will enjoy this book. It’s fun and a bit of a rollercoaster adventure and I’m pretty sure it will put a smile on your face and an ‘aw’ in your heart!

This will be my first launch and it’s been an adventure learning everything required. The paperback will launch in late May or early June and I hope to have a blog tour then, but for the moment I’d really appreciate any help you could give me in spreading the word about my new book on it’s launch date of May 8th. If you could give the book a brief mention on your blog, forward on details of the blog splash and launch to anyone you think would be interested and tweet out blog splash details and the book using the hashtag #hwhl that would be great!

On the day I’ll be having a blog and Facebook launch with a writing competition and giveaways. To keep up to date please visit here, like A.B.Wells on Facebook or visit A.B.Wells.com. The cover will be revealed in a few days time and I’ll soon be posting a first chapter taster!

If you would like to spread the word about Housewife with a Half-Life on May 8th on your blog, please click the Linky Tools link below and add your blog to the list or if there’s any problem add a comment below. Also if you’re a book blogger interested in receiving a review copy let me know in my comments or through Contact. Thank you so much. I really appreciate any help you can give me in making the launch of my first book a success!

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5 things I did to make my self-published book brilliant

The first thing I want to do is write. It’s essential, it’s non-negotiable. The next thing I want to do is share my writing with others. And that’s what I’ve been doing on this blog and through my submissions to anthologies and zines.

Like many I’m still in the process of figuring out what’s the best way of being published. Having grown up with a love of books and familiarity with the names of publishers of revered volumes, publishers such as Penguin in particular, I’ve always associated being published with, well, having a publisher.

This isn’t the post where I talk about how the publishing world is revolutionising.  I’ll leave that for another time. But a lot of the discussion and the key people involved in that discussion are to be found at the Alliance of Independent Authors. This group, founded by Orna Ross, approaches self-publishing from many different backgrounds, either as first time authors, those moving from traditional publishing, or those for whom self-publishing is a mechanism to enable innovation and artistic creativity in the world of words.  The group as a whole aim to help self-publishers, to join together to share knowledge and expertise  to create a great product and it’s a movement that will grow and influence not only self-publishing but the traditional industry itself.

Today, though I’m going to talk about what I’ve done so far to make my book Housewife with a Half-Life the best that I can make it.

1: I wrote the book & revised it to as high a standard as possible

Much of Housewife with a Half-Life was written as my Nanowrimo 2010 novel. Having finished Nanowrimo I worked on the book further, left it for a few months then took it out and revised it. Alongside I was writing many other stories, several of which were shortlisted in major prizes such as the Bridport. I participated in #fridayflash and joined a writer’s group. I did everything I could to improve my writing and feed those skills back into my book.

2: I got writers to critique and readers and writers to beta read my book

Through my online presence and my writer’s group in Dublin I have got to know many talented, published and award winning authors.  Throughout the process of writing my book I shared chapters of my book for  critique to see what was clear and what wasn’t. When I had a complete draft I asked some of my writing friends and also an avid reader who is not a writer to read my book and provide me with their thoughts. What I wanted them overall to do was to read as readers and to see if they could connect with the book or if certain areas jarred.

There are several points to mention here. First of all if I asked a writer to critique a book I was careful to ask them to be as honest as possible and I also explained what level of critique I wanted.  It might be worth mentioning that not everyone liked the book, one reader said it just wasn’t for them but others loved it. This is going to happen in the real world, one book cannot meet the requirements of all readers. Feedback from my writers group would have been at a more detailed level. Of course at any point I could accept or reject their feedback.

3: I got my book professionally edited

I engaged the services of a professional editor Sarah Franklin.  Sarah has a background in the publishing industry as well as being a writer herself. She gave me a comprehensive edit; both a high level edit for flow and content as well as copy editing. I will also give my book out for a final proofread by fellow readers before I hit the upload button.

4: I submitted my book to publishers

I submitted my book to several well-known publishers. The feedback on the writing quality was good but the main sticking point was genre. These particular publishers could not see how to fit it in with their existing catalogues. Admittedly I did not pursue the traditionally publishing route as rigourously as I could have: some of the places I was considering had placed a moratorium on submissions and as I waited for the submissions to open again I became interested in self-publishing. Submitting to publishers though did show me that my book had potential and quality. I had external acknowledgement that my book was of a good standard.

5: I’ve got a designer  to design my book cover.

Design is certainly not my strong point, hiring a cover designer (Andrew Brown of Design for Writers) was a far more sensible option. Andrew provided me with many excellent and comprehensive questions up front  in order to get to the heart of what my book was about and who it would be targeted towards.

5: I learned all I could about the self-publishing process

Through research online and with the help of the Catherine Ryan Howard’s excellent Self-Printed I’ve acquainted myself with the physical process of self-printing but also other aspects such as marketing, getting reviews, promotions and so on. Every day I find more information and I’m determined to do my best to get Housewife with a Half-Life out there because I’m proud of it and knowthat readers  will enjoy it.

For other posts on my self-publishing adventure click here

How about you? Are you considering self-publishing or have you gone through the process and have advice or tips for those wanting to create a quality product?