THE BRIEF JOURNEY IN MAKING A DREAM A REALITY:
- THE EXCITEMENT
- THE MISTAKES
- SEQUELS, PREQUELS & RE-EDIT
- THE REKINDLED INTEREST
THE SPARK OF AN IDEA
The Treeman’s Curse was an idea inspired by my imaginary friend at Primary School – A very large pine tree called ‘Dragon’, who I seemed to have some rather in-depth conversations with. It was a phase, I assure you. I don’t go around talking to trees any more. A further spark to its creation was when I was talking to a friend of mine, who labelled me as someone having ‘no mystery’ about them. I went on to provide my brief synopsis of my original idea. Her facial expression told the story. She was impressed!
WORDS TO PAGE
It wasn’t until I moved to Canada for a year where the idea gained further momentum and the vision inside my head became words on a page. The surroundings of the rockies was the inspiration for the setting while the story slowly grew into something I believed to be quite strong.
I was about a third of the way through my draft when I received an email from Balboa Press, a self-publishing company in America about a ‘fantastic offer’ in relation to getting published. An opportunity to show the world my craft to entertain and create had been presented. My desire to get my story out there soon seduced my rational thinking, and before I knew it, I had committed to self-publishing a book.
My blogs will go into further depth of the creation process, the inspiration of ideas and themes and how the story was crafted. However, this decision to self-publish may have ruined all chances to ever get the book published by a publishing house. Instead of doing the process smartly, I failed to follow Step 1 for ‘Publishing works for Dummies’.
I rushed my manuscript handing in a 3rd or 4th draft at best. It was no where near ready, but felt the pressure to submit it. I paid $3000 for an editor at Balboa that made a small difference to quality, but an application that was more an extra cost than an improvement.
I remember sitting in my car in minus 10 conditions, the phone shaking in my hand shaking as I talked marketing strategies. This was again, an extra cost, for very little reward. I discovered I needed a good lump sum of money to do most marketing myself, and soon, the exciting experience of being published, soon robbed me of most of my savings.
THE DAY ARRIVED
I will never forget the excitement of seeing the book in its completed state. Ironically enough, I was not the first person to receive a copy of the book. My sister’s friend was the first to get her copy. After the dramas of creating a cover and realising I again, would need to spend more money to get tis done properly, I can tell you, I was very happy with the result.
WHY IT WOULD NEVER SELL
This could be the greatest story of all time, or one that should never have been published at all, but it was doomed from the start. The price set for selling the book was insane. My book was selling at $17.90 US plus delivery or $5 US as an E-Book on the Self-Publishing website. Of that sale, I would get 10% royalties. At the time I thought that was awesome.
To be fair, I was thinking I would sell, 80,000 copies with no marketing plan, tactical strategy and was blind with ambition and delusion. Never once did the company make me believe this. They had informed me what I needed to do, but money was going to be the driving factor to it having some success, along with good reviews. I did get a get a review done by Kirkus, which was both positive and constructive.
When I checked other online book selling websites, the cost of my book was ridiculous. One site had it at $34.50 plus shipping, another had it at $39 plus shipping. Even today, Booktopia, Dymocks, Amazon have it priced in the $30 plus mark with E-Books ranging from $5 to $9. Wilbur Smith, a well know, popular, and very successful author, his latest book was selling at under $20 in some places. Who would you pick? The unknown author of an expensive book, or a renowned best selling-author who’s book is half the price?
I invested in Email promotion campaigns, wrote lesson plans based on the book for English teachers to implement and use in their classrooms. I used social media and word of mouth as best as I could. The email promotion campaign went out to over 230 schools in Australia, only 2% were opened. Only the same people would respond to my blogs and I became disheartened. The question I have been left pondering since I released in 2016 was ‘Have I ruined the chance to get this book published by a publishing house?”
The book was good and those who had read it had provided me with really positive feedback, but I decided to concentrate back on my teaching and be proud that I could say, I have self-published a book.
Then it happened! I became inspired. I soon had a sequel idea linked to the book. This followed with three prequel ideas. Suddenly, my passion to write again returned.
SEQUELS, PREQUELS & RE-EDIT
Rule 101 of writing: Have a strong back story. By writing the prequels, I instantly saw the flaws in the original copy of ‘The Treeman’s Curse.’ Not only had I completed the drafts to the three prequels, I began to re-write the Treeman’s Curse from scratch. I invested in doing writing courses at the Australian Writer’s Centre and soon, new ideas, stronger writing skills and a more suspenseful story. I used the feedback from a couple of people and the review from Kirkus, to reduce the description but keep the impact and the vivid imagination alive.
THE REKINDLED INTEREST
MOVEMENT AT THE STATION
In the last month, two other Self-Publishing companies have shown interest in the book. They had apparently been alerted to trafficking of the book through Amazon who they have an affiliation with. Whether this is true or a luring marketing tool is yet to be seen, however, the points raised by both as to why the book catches so much attention yet never sells very much correct.
I even had an SSO at school tell me, her son had borrowed my book at library of his local school. I had left copies with the school after doing a reading for ‘Book Week’ in 2018, where a couple of students have since read it and told me how much they enjoyed it. However, I had not really spoke to the SSO before and when she emailed to inform me that my book had become his favourite, I can not explain the warm feelings I felt inside. All this has happened in the last month and a half.
THE RIGHT PATH
As much as the recognition and interest from the two self-publishing companies is great, I want rush the process. I will make sure the re-draft is read before I do any further advancements on the book. I am currently doing the ‘Pitch Your Novel’ course at the Australian Writer’s Centre. If only I had done this 4 years ago. I recommend this to any budding new author. It has been a fantastic wealth of information and I intend to follow the recommended process as best as I can.