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The Publishing Roller-Coaster

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

or more realistically: The Downward Slide

Once I had the idea for my book, writing was great fun. Grandma and her fellow residents on the dementia floor of the care home had given me plenty of material. I started in January 2018 (once schools had gone back!) and the first draft was finished by April. The story and the characters came quite easily. Some of the names were taken from people I knew who had the right sort of personality. One of the characters is real. He knows who he is but you’ll have to guess which one as I don’t want to embarrass him!

I waited for the eager replies. And I waited a bit longer. And a bit longer. Then I got an email from one of the agents who was sorry, she didn’t feel her agency could represent me.


Then the other rejections came, one after another. I had so many rejections I almost didn’t bother opening the emails anymore. Could there possibly be something wrong with my book?

I re-read it and yes, there was a lot wrong with my book. In fact it was rubbish. Far too twee and nice. My family had, of course been very encouraging of my writing but even my son, my biggest supporter, admitted that he found the ending a bit obvious and ‘not much bad stuff happens’.

So, almost exactly a year later I tried again. I kept some of the same characters but they became much stronger. The weak plot needed a darker side and so Manya, the Russian girl came alive. Her story runs parallel with Billy’s and yet there are various twists which reveal an unexpected link. I don’t want to give anything away here!

I made any willing volunteers read the finished story and took note of their comments and after much redrafting and a new title I hesitantly sent off the finished product to agents. This time I wasn’t expecting much so it wasn’t quite so disappointing when the second round of rejections came.

So now what?

I started reading about self-publishing. There are so many tips, websites, webinars, books and blogs to help and advise. I decided to use Amazon KDP because it took me step-by-step through the process of formatting, the cover, the blurb, the keywords and so on. I watched every KDP University video and enrolled in every KDP webinar. Then I found Ingram Spark which told me pretty much everything else I needed to know. It took a few months because I’m seriously un-tech savvy, but I feel now I’m in control of my own destiny. I can choose my own front cover, decide on pricing and sell my books wherever I want (but, and take note here any other indie authors: buy your own ISBN or you lose control).

I might not succeed with self-publishing any better than I did with seeking an agent. Maybe nobody will buy my book. But very soon I will have a hard copy of something I have written all by myself and it will have my name on the front cover. It’s very exciting.

And even if nobody buys It’s Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella, at least I’ve got Christmas sorted!

Buy It’s Raining in Moscow and I Forgot my Umbrella on Amazon now by clicking here


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