As my year long sabbatical reaches the final stages, I’m keen to complete two things on my “must do” list. One is related to university interests and I’ll cover in a future blog. The second is to complete my first novel and get it published so that people (if they want to) can read it.
The novel, REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE 6TH OF NOVEMBER, is set at the time of the Gunpowder Plot. It explores the alarming parallels between the Britain of 1605 and today – concerns over Europe, terrorism and government surveillance. The story combines real life events with an alternative history view of a time when King James was persecuting England’s Catholics and Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plotters planned to blow up Parliament and kill the king. There are spies, plots, treachery and torture. I think of it as a contemporary thriller set in an earlier time.
I completed early edits of the novel and put it out for review by a local book club. Their feedback was fair, constructive and overall very positive. It helped me complete an additional cycle of editing in the summer. I learned, from an author’s point of view, a book is never quite finished but you have to stop editing some time – so I did.
Hooray, the book was written but how could I get people to read it? I sent it to a small number of literary agents but as with JK Rowling and others, I received a polite “no thank you”. One approach (which led to the success of Harry Potter) is keep trying and send it to more agents.
However, I was working to a schedule. Firstly, I return to work on 6th November (note link to the book title). Secondly, it would be great if the book was available this year for the run up to Guy Fawkes Night on 5th November.
There was another consideration. I wanted to give something back as part of my sabbatical and selling a book can generate money without having to run a marathon or climb a mountain… All profits made from the book in 2016 will be shared equally between two very good causes – one local (Tadcaster Flood Support and Fundraising Group) and one national / international (Save the Children).
For these reasons, I opted to explore self-publishing and researched how to do this online. I read several posts saying the Amazon Kindle platform is hard to format your book for and everything takes a long time, etc etc which concerned me.
On the positive side, I found this helpful link, How to Quickly Publish to Kindle, which describes how to take content out of MS Word into a great package for writing called Scrivener and publish an e-book. As I’d already decided to use Scrivener, this simple article saved me lots of time. Very quickly, my book was compiled into multiple e-book formats and if I say so myself (with my daughter’s artwork for the cover) it looked quite good on the previewer software.
The book was ready… Last weekend I went onto the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing website and reviewed the details, set up an account and published the book over a few hours. It was surprisingly straight forward. Once this was done, I sent an email to a dozen people I trust and asked them to have a look at the book and let me know what they think. They’ve been great as almost all of them bought a copy and I know many are already reading it (thank you!).
What now? The hard work proper starts. With the book available – links below – I need to work out how best to promote it so people know about it, buy it and read it. This is a key activity. I have lots of ideas which I plan to soon follow up on but I’m keen to learn from others – your hints, tips and ideas are very welcome.
Finally, I can’t end this blog without asking you to buy the book to raise funds for the two very good causes. If you do, please let me know what you think and if appropriate post a positive review on Amazon for those who come after you.
Many other country Amazon Stores available
Follow the story unfold in the coming weeks Twitter.com/MorgantheBook
Find out more and read interview with the author www.6thnovember.com
Many thanks, Tony.