Nobody said it was easy, nobody said that it would be this hard either. I studied English at University, I know the hardship, depression and wrath felt by most writers, the dark places they go to create their master pieces. I also know that I have spent my teaching career trying to get teenagers to love and understand the ramblings of dead people, so I really don’t know why I thought it would be easy to write a book, get it published and live happily ever after as a writer, drinking coffee and writing books.
I was naive in my quest to become a published writer, writing the book was the easiest part to be completely honest. I thoroughly enjoyed the nights with the laptop on my lap or on the desk, weaving words into the world that Saoirse lives in. I loved bringing the characters to life, rereading chapters and realising Rua would never have said that and starting over. The hard work of writing is something I love, it brings me great pleasure and satisfaction. I also enjoyed sending it out to publishers, waiting weeks (or months) to get some feedback (good or bad), the process brought me great joy.
The selfpublishing side to creating a book however does not give me the same satisfaction. The editing and physical aspects of getting the book to print were fine, (I’m a teacher; editing is part of my everyday), it was a learning curve that taught me a lot. Going online and working with Createspace and Ingramspark also made things easier as I didn’t really have a massive budget to put everything together. Print on demand is wonderful and I don’t have a spareroom full of unsold books reminding me of the fact that they have gone unsold!
The crux is in the marketing I guess. I’ve found getting the book out there the hardest part. At the best of times I can be an anxious person and self doubt plagues me. I am forever doubting my writing ability and the story, I’ve questioned whether I should have ever published it, but in my heart of hearts I believe in the story and the characters, I worked hard and poured myself into it. I love the characters and the landscape I’ve created and when I doubt myself the most I remind myself that an editor edited this book, believed in it enough to take it on and that it will be there long after me, telling the folklore of my beautiful island to generations after me.
But I still can’t get it out there. I’ve been brave, I’ve put up videos, I have sent it to people, hoping they would give it a mention and it would miraclously fall into the right hands and take off, that I’d get that publishing deal and I’d be on the pigs back to a writing career. I don’t have the confidence or expertise I think to keep pushing, to knock on doors and scream from the roof tops ‘I wrote this fabulous book, you have to read it.’ I’m working on that, writing this alone is a start.
On top of all that selfpublishing requires you to be all women to all men, you have to be the online influencer, the marketing guru, the sales expert, the PR firm, the public figure and of course the writer. None of that takes into consideration the reality of most selfpublished or even published writers; their ‘real’ jobs. I have two real jobs, both very taxing and exhausting. I am a mother to two boys and I am a secondary teacher, my real jobs finish roughly about nine o clock and then the writing job kicks in. I was very didicated and headstrong in the run up to the launch in 2016 and I guess I burnt myself out. I was trying too hard to do everything and just couldn’t.
Last year we moved, this left me without a space physically and mentally to write. I’ve felt lost at sea, unable to do anything creatively for the past twelve months and that gets on top of you. I have always wanted to be a writer, it’s part of who I am and part of what keeps me sane, not being able to isn’t good for my mental health or my creativity. Thankfully we’ve found somewhere to rent and Mr C has hooked me up with the best study. Serious writing and creativity is on the cards for the summer and I feel like I’m getting back into the groove. Finally getting some focus and some work done.
I’m writing book two currently, storyline is complete, so I’m working on filling in the action and building it slowly. I’m loving where Saoirse is going and the adventure she is on and I am back enjoying it all. I will be contacting publishers and agents again with number two, perhaps someone will bite, but if they don’t I will selfpublish again. It’s hard and it drives me batty, but I love the feeling of holding something you’ve created in your hands, being able to feel it, smell it and of course read it. I love hearing people’s reaction to it, although I’m normally mortified when people tell me they’ve read it. (There’s that self doubt thing again)
They say there’s a book in everyone, most people tell me this when they hear that I’ve written a book, or that they’d love to write a book. What they don’t say or don’t know is that it’s damn hard, there is nothing easy about getting your book out there and that’s probably why not everyone writes one.
It’s been a hard road, but I am so ready for more.