CreateThinkDo are proud to have Silverwood Books as our first featured Partner of the Month on our new blog. We invited Silverwood Books to talk about professional publishing for the self-funding author below.
My Road to Self-Publishing
While suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder provided a great source of material for my novel, The A to Z of Normal, the associated perfectionism proved a double-edged sword when it came to the actual writing.
My experiences informed my protagonist, Clare’s behaviour, but she had to be more than just her OCD. How, though, was I to make her a fully rounded character, and create a satisfying story, with so many differing views to consider? – I had a wealth of feedback from agents, literary consultants and my writing group. Most advice was constructive, but some was conflicting or jarred with me; I agonised over which to take on board and which to reject. Perfectionism makes it hard to come to decisions and even harder to know when to say ‘Stop. This is good enough’.
Eventually I shaped Clare into a warmer, funnier, more sympathetic character, while also developing her supporting cast, including her boyfriend, Tom: sweet and loving, but bewildered by her strange compulsions.
Sometimes it seemed that the decisions and rewrites would never end – and the decisions weren’t over with the writing. Next I had to choose a self-publishing provider. I attended a conference* that helped me to decide on the general approach I should take: I realised that I didn’t want to tackle, or source, elements such as typesetting and cover design myself, so needed a partner offering the full range of services.
When I discovered a comparison website for self-publishing providers, I thought that would give me my answer – until it threw up an apparently indiscriminate list of hundreds! Then I found a report** produced by ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors) that served to eliminate the real no-hopers – the kind that came with a flashing red warning light – and led to a shortlist that included SilverWood Books. I went on to exclude most after I’d reviewed their website and literature: there were those with a hard sell approach and those whose materials were full of typos; there were dire covers and even more dire books.
SilverWood’s website (silverwoodbooks.co.uk) shone out in comparison, with its warm tone, wealth of information, and the sheer quality of its books – and it was error-free!
Yet still I dithered…
… until I attended a second self-publishing event†, where I met an author who was about to place her second book with SilverWood. That was it; overnight I made my choice of partner and I haven’t regretted that snap(!) decision for a second since.
Helen Barbour’s 3 Top Tips for Writers
- Draft, redraft, and polish your work – but also know when to say “Stop: That’s good enough”.
- If you’re looking for a reputable and supportive self-publishing company, do your research and make a short list of three or four who meet your high standards.
- Talk to other authors about their experiences of self-publishing – personal recommendation can be invaluable.
Find out more about the author and her work
Helen Barbour’s blog, The Reluctant Perfectionist, is here and her novel is here. Helen worked with professional self-publishing specialists SilverWood Books to produce a retail-quality paperback and hand-formatted ebook edition.
‘The A to Z of Normal’ (282 pages)
Paperback RRP £10 (ISBN 9781781323816)
Ebook RRP £3.99 (Epub ISBN 9781781323823)
Find out more about SilverWood Books and their professional self-publishing services at http://www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk. Publishing Director Helen Hart heads up a friendly and supportive team. She’d be delighted to hear more about your next book. Email email@example.com.
Link to blog: www.helenbarbour.blogspot.com
*Guardian Masterclass: An Introduction to Self-Publishing (March 2013)
†Writers and Artists’ Yearbook: Self-publishing in the Digital Age (November 2014)