Surprising Secrets of Self-Publishing Success

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Terry H. Watson explains her Surprising self-publishing secrets

Surprise, Surprise! No, it’s not Cilla Black, remember her? It’s Terry here, to share my surprising self-publishing secrets.

My life as a writer and author of eight published books since 2014 has been a surprise, well perhaps more of a shock to me. I could never have envisaged such prolific writing or vivid imagination that has stunned, and at times frightened me for its ferocity and savagery of plot. At least the violence took place on paper and not in real life! My first book, CALL MAMA was meant to be a one-off attempt at writing. It was so well received by family, friends, and strangers who encouraged me to continue writing and in some cases demanded that I ‘do something’ about the character, Lucy. And so, SCAMPER’S FIND was born and closely followed by THE LECI LEGACY. I was on a roll.

Through my writing I have met many writers who have become friends; their writing has steered me away from my comfort zone of reading crime thrillers and to my surprise ( here we go again, Cilla) I have actually enjoyed a mixed bag of genre: science fiction, historical fiction, spiritual fantasy, self-help, autobiography, young adult fantasy, biography, sport, and even business books. The list is endless. I firmly believe we authors should support each other by purchasing and reviewing books. To that extent, my bookshelf is bulging with books from authors I have had the good fortune to meet. Attending a monthly meeting at Indie Authors Café has opened up a bond of friendship from the writing community and I always come away inspired and keen to write.

One of the challenges facing me as a writer was the fearful technology, the mystery of which still fills me with dread. Sent me a file. Use jpg format. Link it to your URL, brings me out in a cold sweat. Even taking a few courses in basic technology has little effect. I guess I’m one of those people who are destined to remain techno-phobic and learn as I go along, from past mistakes.

I have found that in the writing community there is always someone out there who will advise and guide on several aspects of writing, every writer has something to offer fellow writers. I’m often asked how I overcome writer’s block. The answer for me is to walk away from the story, take a stroll, go out for lunch or do a bit of gardening, the latter is where I find my mojo. One of the downsides of writing for me is when I try to sleep, the plot takes over and I seem to get more ideas at the wrong time. Now I keep a notebook by my bedside to jot down my nocturnal thoughts from my overactive brain.

When I became serious about writing and understood some of the mysteries of the publication process: beta reading, proofreading, editing, cover, blurb etc,   the next surprise (here we go again Cilla) was to discover that books didn’t sell by themselves. Marketing reared its ugly head. How on earth was I to sell books? With CALL MAMA it seemed easy enough; the novelty among friends and family who suddenly discovered an author in their midst was enough to shift a good number of books. I was fortunate to be featured in the local press which gave me a fan base. How thrilling it is to be asked, When is your next book coming out? Where can I buy your books?

I was advised early on in my writing career to donate books to libraries, this I have done with a vengeance. My books or at least one of them are in libraries, locally and in far-flung places including New Zealand. When I go on holiday I seek out the local library and ask if they would accept a donated book. Most are delighted to do so, and it has led on some occasions to book clubs using them for their sessions. My first paid workshop was library based. Libraries for me have opened doors. It may seem like giving away hard-earned work but for me, it works. I registered my books with PLR (public lending rights) in both UK and Ireland. PLR is a legal right to payment from the government in both countries each time books are borrowed. The current rate for payment is the princely sum of 8.52 pence which won’t make me an overnight millionaire but does provide a trickle of income. I attend local gala days and events where I can for a small fee, set up a book stall, sell some books and make new friends and fans. Taking part in Book Week Scotland can be a source of income and opens doors for writers.

Some fellow writers tell of setting a timetable where they work for perhaps several hours at a time, others like myself write when the notion takes them. I have no set time when I write. My corner of the dining room has become my office, a haven to think and plot and put pen to paper, or mouse to computer. My first book was written in longhand and typed onto a word document. Now I type straight onto a document and seldom make notes. The only thing I try to do is to keep a record of the character’s names and which book they feature in so that I avoid duplicating names. I learned early on to avoid similar sounding names when I myself was confused over who was who: Dave, Donny, Dale or Liz and Lisa and Lily. Now I tend to use names from further on in the alphabet and when stuck for a name, the credits after a TV programme can provide a wealth of names to choose from.

A final thought. Concentrate on the plot, the characters and leave prose to be sorted out later, rather than let it interrupt the flow.

Learn More about Terry H. Watson or some of her surprising self-publishing secret’s or follow her here:

Terry H. Watson Website

@TerryHWatson1 Twitter

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Write my book - Life doesn't wait for our dreams!

Write my book - Life doesn't wait for our dreams!

How many times have you said this will be the year that I write my book?

Have you done it yet?  If not, it’s likely that normal life took over.

How many hours have you spent at work, doing house stuff, watching TV or in the pub?

Everyone has the same amount of time in a day so if you haven’t had the time to write your book then it’s really because you haven’t made it a priority.

I get it, life happens, and we often think that I’ll get around to it.  I’ll do it next week, next month, next year.  But none of us are guaranteed tomorrow so it really is today that counts.

I don’t want to be morbid, but life is short.  Sadly, I have been reminded of this again as my mum passed away recently.  She was 74 years young and full of life and laughter until cancer struck for a second time.  Her illness was short lived and the hole that she has left is hard to fill.  Mum’s death is a bit of a wakeup call, it’s got me thinking – how many things have I put off? How many dreams are languishing in the to do list?

I met an amazing writer this week – Luke Winter told me how he had changed his life after his friend passed away. Luke writes stories for strangers on a typewriter in the street.  He creates smiles as well as stories for people.

But he was telling me that he had let his own novel writing slip.  He acknowledged he needed a date to work towards, so I asked about his friend – was there a date that was important? He smiled and said his birthday was approaching.  He’s now committing to finishing his novel as a tribute to his friend.  We shared a hug and understanding of the impact that loss can have.

So, what about you?  Are you going to let another year go by?

2020 is fast approaching so choose a date that is meaningful for you.  When would you want to have your book in your hand?

If you need help to commit to your book, please get in touch.

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