Last week, on the 2nd of January to be precise, I held a virtual book launch for my novel The Gaia Effect. As the clock ticked closer and closer to 10am I got more and more nervous - what if no-one turned up? What if it all went horribly wrong? Then, suddenly, it was time to begin and as my hands shook I managed to copy and paste my opening statements - I had spent five hours on New Year's Eve getting everything ready - we were off. The adrenaline began to flow and people started to like, comment and get involved, it was fantastic.
I was lucky enough to get two established authors involved with the launch, Howard Linskey and Ian Ayris were gracious enough to answer a few questions about their own writing adventures. We overran but I didn't mind, I was talking writing and books with other fellow writers and lovers of books. The only downside was that Facebook kicked me out of the event after four hours because it felt I was posting too much - what can I say, I was excited! You can catch the launch highlights here.
I have to say that friends and family were hugely supportive on the day - thank you one and all - but now I am being asked the big question. What next? I have to admit I myself am a little bit uncertain. Launching your own book requires a great deal of self marketing, and not just social media. I've got to get out there and talk to real people, get involved with events, sell, sell, sell, buy, buy, buy. Now of course, I don't have to do any of those things. I can just write for the sheer joy of putting groups of words together, and I hope that I always want to write for that very reason. But I believe I owe it to myself to explore all avenues, learn more about independent publishing, find out what works and what doesn't and increase my confidence in writing and putting my work out there.
A lot of what I have read suggests that it's not until the 4th or 5th or even 10th book that you start to see any return for your hard work. You have to have a body of work behind you in order to be seen as an established writer. Obviously there are always exceptions to the rules but they are the exceptionally lucky ones. Much of the advice I've read is that ebooks are the way forward and that having one or two or even three to give away is a great way to build your following.
And so I come to the 'and then?' I need to finish writing the first draft of The Rose Thief and then I need to edit and redraft and edit and redraft and possibly edit and redraft one more time. Then I must start writing the sequel to The Gaia Effect, it's bubbling nicely away in the back of my head but I don't want to leave too long between the two. And then of course there's the giveaway ebook, the playwriting, the short story competitions and one or two other ideas for books that are half formed and highly tempting. All I need is another 48 hours in the day.