ULTRA is published. Its cover grows green on Amazon, my name in cool, clean white. Susannah J. Bell. That’s me. Author. Writer. One book out there in the universe for all to see, my soul exposed, my heart ripped open. I am published. I am published. I AM PUBLISHED.
How long have I waited to say those words. Twenty five years I’ve been trying to get published. Over thirty years since I wrote my first novel. Thirty six years since I decided to be a writer when I grew up. These last few weeks have felt like a century. Time slowed down until it felt as if my life was passing through lead while I waited and waited and waited for my new business bank account to be “unblocked” – almost three weeks it took instead of 2 days.
You would think that when my book was finally up and out there, I would be dancing around in joy, that I would be spraying the world with champagne, partying, phoning the world, telling everyone, standing on top of a mountain and shouting and shouting and shouting. That I would be over the moon. That I would be so happy I could just burst. I’ve dreamed of this moment. I’ve cried over it, wanting it so badly, wishing for it, having it destroy me, the pain of being unpublished, unread, unknown, gnawing away at me, day after day, failure like a dead weight, giving up on it over and over, then trying again and again and again, writing on and on into a black, empty void where no one could hear me and no one gave a fuck. That’s how it was.
Instead, I feel rather flat, like the extremely flat champagne I found in the fridge, bought to celebrate my new-found freedom from the cruel world of part-unemployment. What happened to the joy? I think, really, that I’m just too exhausted by it all. I’ve worked my arse off this year, harder than I’ve ever worked on anything, and I wasn’t writing either which was very hard on me indeed. I’ve spent this year researching the world of publishing. I’ve gone from wondering – this time last year when I started this blog – whether I was even a writer to wondering whether I’m up to the tremendous amount of marketing I have to do. The task seems a daunting one. I’m not entirely sure if I can do it. January already has a list pages long of things I have to do to get my book “out there.” Sitting glowing green in the Amazon catalogue isn’t good enough. It’s got to be read.
I expect at some point that I will feel that joy, that once Christmas comes and I’ve spend a few days lying face down in a mince pie, that I will be able to relax and then, perhaps, realise that I have published myself. I am a writer. I don’t have to worry about that bit anymore. Time to move into the next realm (the thoroughly marketed one….)
For interest sake, this is how I did it:
- I published onto KDP first, watching that video tutorial with great care, even taking notes! It proved to be very easy indeed (aside from a quick phone call to find out extra bank details that I didn’t have yet) and there were no hitches at all, except that I accidently put my author name down without the initial and had to change it. But that was quickly done and I could start my Author Central page.
- I also published onto Smashwords but found the website immensely frustrating as it kept telling me I hadn’t uploaded a book cover, when in fact, I uploaded it about five times! I also had to upload my manuscript several times. I haven’t checked yet to see whether it has been accepted. Worse, I have to set up a PayPal account to be paid which is just another hassle.
- I started publishing on Createspace but abandoned it halfway because of tremendous technical difficulties. Either I’m immensely stupid (I’m so NOT a computer whizz) or they have made it far too difficult for us mono-brains.
Next up is ten thousand emails to everyone I know, a book trailer, a website, researching marketing more, getting it out there out there out there out there……
But that’s next year. If the world ends on Friday as predicted, then at least I can say, well, fuck it, I achieved one of my goals.
Actually, I hope it doesn’t end because I’ve got a turkey in the freezer and loads of Chrissy pressies I’m looking forward to. And a Christmas cake for my birthday. And all that other stuff called life that right now looks quite appealing.