For me it’s currently Monday night. I’m curled up in my writing chair with a blanket, tapping away on my laptop as my husband watches old episodes of Top Gear while cooking dinner, and rain patters down outside. It’s quite delightful.
And I’m almost finished self-editing the last few chapters of my manuscript.
I’m so excited. And nervous.
But for now let’s just focus on the excitement. It’s been a long process for me, writing a novel. And now I’m achingly close to finishing another step along the way. It’s still early days, but I feel as though, within the week, I’ll have this book about as good as I can get it for now without any aid.
And that means soon it will be off to an editor.
It’s kinda crazy, and I’m already anticipating what a massive job it’s going to be for first the editor, then me, to go through a 163,000-odd word fantasy manuscript. But as I prepare for this next step, it’s nice to reflect on how I got here.
I’ve gone through many phases with figuring out how I’d like to publish my book, for now tentatively titled Seregn. Traditional publishing is of course what most think of when the words ‘book publishing’ come to mind, and I suppose that’s what I would have imagined when I was a child. Pitching to a publisher, getting plenty of rejections, finally securing the deal.
But as I’ve grown self-publishing has come into its own, and I was inspired by the likes of Jenna Moreci on YouTube and JF Penn to investigate the potential of self-publishing. A couple of years ago I was so very on top of things, and learned a lot about the self-publishing market. But as life has ebbed and flowed I’ve fallen out of the loop. As any aspiring self-publishers out there may know, there’s a lot that goes into publishing a book yourself. Beyond the writing there’s the title registration, formatting, cover design, editing, marketing, book production, book launch… the more I have learned, the more I see just how much there is to it. It’s a lot to try to do – and learn – by yourself. Of course it can absolutely be done, and for a long time I expected that would probably be the path I took.
Then, in the midst of covid, a Queensland publishing company held a seminar at my local library. I live in Toowoomba, Queensland, and several years ago now they knocked down our old library building and built a new one. The exterior is lined with copper panels, which was quite the controversy at the time. Personally, I love them, and they actually inspired (if I’m remembering correctly) one of the locations in my manuscript.
I decided to go along to this seminar, held after work on a chilly evening, and listen to how this hybrid publishing company operated. And honestly, I was impressed. After that hour or so sitting in the library as the evening grew dark and the excitement set in, I was pretty sure that company were the ones. I liked that they offered the full suite of services I rattled off above, but didn’t take ownership or control of your novel.
Of course there’s a cost, which I knew would need to be saved for, but if it meant I could create a high-quality product, I felt it was worth it.
Fast forward a year or so, and as my new husband and I sat down to go over our finances, I realised I needed a more concrete figure on exactly how much this would all cost. I reached out to the company, Ocean Reeve Publishing, and the rest, as they say is history.
So here I am, getting antsy to be finished so they can get their editorial team onto it, and I can get the ball rolling on something I’ve dreamed about since childhood.
It’s a mammoth task, but I’m trying not to think about it too much, and just relish these final days of my first edit, when it’s all simply me and my words. Of course it still will be afterwards, but there’s something delightful about working on something in secret, trying to perfect and enrich it.
But soon, it will be ready for the world.