Good morning, all, and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in Canada. Later today I’ll be winging my way across the Atlantic on my way back to London, stuffed full of turkey and apple pie. Yum.
There’s nothing quite like a a vacation to give you perspective on things, and over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the past year. This time last October, I was getting everything ready for the launch of my first self-published novel, Build A Man, anxiously wondering if I’d done the right thing leaving my publisher or if I’d look back and regret it.
Would my novel crash and burn amidst the still-prevailing stigma of self-publishing in the UK, or would it be able to stand on its own merit and gain new readers? Should I have tried harder to get an agent and perhaps a larger publishing deal for it, despite the lengthy wait-times and uncertainties abounding?
One year on, I can say with confidence that self-publishing was definitely the right move to make at that moment in time, and it continues to be the way forward for me. Yes, it’s a lot of hard work (as we all know!) and it’s beyond stressful at times, but there is something so rewarding about being in control.
Nothing is ever guaranteed – some novels might fare better than others – but the same is true in the traditional world of publishing. Through the course of the year, I’ve learned to be pragmatic about the ups and downs of sales figures and rankings. I’ve now sold almost eighty thousand copies of my self-published novels and novellas, and for the first time in four years, I’ve made a living wage. I’m immensely proud of that fact! Will next year be the same? Who knows? The market is changing at the speed of light, but self-publishers can move quickly to adapt.
And recently, I signed with Raimondi & Campbell literary agency to sell my translation rights in foreign markets, while I retain the English rights. This time last year, I didn’t even realise that was possible. I’m excited for the potential that lies ahead.
Speaking on self-publishing at several events and writing festivals over the course of the year has let me see that many writers are frustrated at the current state of traditional publishing. While self-publishing may not be for everyone, it’s certainly been a brilliant route for me – and I wouldn’t change the past year for anything.
(Well, maybe a £3 million book deal…) :)
What are some highlights from your past year? Are you happy with your chosen route?