What next? A year in the life of a self-published author – Part VII

This is the final post in my series this week about all that has happened in the last year. I really hope that it has encouraged those of you who are just starting on the journey. It has been an astonishing year, if something of a roller-coaster ride for me. And as this is the last of my birthday posts, I can’t resist this loudest graphic of them all (should just be one candle, but still…).

I started the year with neither hope nor expectation of everything that has happened subsequently. From thinking that I would be spending my time writing a cookery book for fun (which was to be my next project), I have ended up spending the year glued to my computer screen, marketing for the first five or six months, and then editing Only the Innocent and starting (and almost finishing) book 2 – name to be confirmed.

These have been the high points :

  • seeing the book appear on Amazon for the first time
  • getting more than one sale per day
  • getting into double figures for sales on a daily basis
  • seeing my first five star review
  • getting a tweet from a reviewer on New Year’s Eve that said “Wow – just WOW!”
  • getting into the top one hundred
  • reaching number one on Amazon UK
  • staying at number one on Amazon UK for four weeks
  • seeing my book in print for the London Book Fair
  • getting my lovely new agent
  • being described in The Guardian as “the e-publishing sensation of 2012”
  • getting my first publishing deal
  • hearing that my agents have sold foreign rights
  • receiving a bucket load of suggestions and edits on Only the Innocent, and actually feeling that every one would be an improvement
  • getting to the top of the Waterstones ebook chart, and staying there for seven weeks

And the lows:

  • my first one star review (and every one that followed)
  • reaching the realisation that while the vast majority of other authors are lovely, kind, helpful people who I am so glad to have met, there are some out there who are not so nice
  • putting on a ton of weight through eating too many biscuits
  • realising that I hadn’t been out of the house for about three months, and that I looked like a witch (no hairdresser, no beautician, Ugh!)
  • … can’t think of anything else!

Very few low points, lots of highs. It’s been brilliant.

So what next?

My marketing activity dried up in about March, because I knew I wanted to get on with the next book. I made a start, but then received a whole pile of edits for Only the Innocent, which took a considerable amount of time. It was my first book, and without a doubt the hardest to edit. It took me a while to understand some of the problems that were being indicated, and work out how to rectify them. And so the second book was temporarily on hold.

But now book two is almost complete. I have just received her feedback, and while it is generally really good, as always there are bits that she would like to see tweaked. Fortunately she didn’t say “rewrite from scratch”. When I’ve made my changes, it will go off to an editor who works with her. She is another star, who immediately sees when an explanation is longer than it needs to be, or whether there is any waffle in the content. The hope is that this cycle will be complete before Christmas so that I (sad, obsessive person that I am) will be able to complete the next set of revisions over the Christmas period (and no – I won’t work on Christmas day). The book is currently planned for launch in the UK in February, and I will self publish in the UK.

In the US, Only the Innocent is being published in paperback, audio and ebook formats on 5th February, so that will be a big day, and an audio version in the UK is planned for later in the year. Book two will also be published in the US, and the plan is to release it in the autumn of 2013.

This time, though, I will organise my life a little differently. I will limit my marketing time to half a day every day, because I need to get on with book three. The idea is already there, and I just need time to work on it. I will try not to be so obsessive, and I will aim to actually get out of the house every single day, even if only to walk the dogs.

These seven posts have summarised the last twelve months and I hope they have given all you indie authors out there something to think about. My way isn’t the right way for everybody – but maybe it has provided food for thought.

To those of you who have read Only the Innocent – thank you. It means a lot. And I have to say that the support of the indie author community has been overwhelming. It would have been worth undertaking the adventure of the last twelve months just to make contact with such a great group of people, and read so many books that I might otherwise never have come across.

This is the last day of Only the Innocent’s special birthday bonanza price of £0.99 on Amazon UK. If you are interested in other formats, please visit the Rachel Abbott website here, and I’d love you to take a look at the site anyway. It has lots of new features including recipes from the books and music (mainly from Book 2).