Well, all right, it was a Zoom call rather than a movie, but over the past couple of weeks I’ve definitely had some adventures—in Self-Publishing, and PowerPoint production.
Adventures in Self-Publishing
I wrote here about how I love learning new things. When Marilyn Pemberton, Chair of the Monmouthshire chapter of the Society of Authors visited the Marcher Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, she asked if I and Joanna Maitland would like to talk to the Society of Authors about our experiences as self-publishers. Joanna is a past master at the art, I’m a raw recruit as you can see here.
Joanna and I put our heads together and came up with a short PowerPoint presentation. This introduced each of us to the viewers and then set out my experiences as a newbie, and Joanna’s advice for a successful transition from backlist title to new release.
Point and Shoot
I’ve only made one Powerpoint presentation before. That was when I was at university as a mature student (see here for more about that). I’d forgotten everything I’d learned, so it was a slow process trying to recall it all. Despite that (or perhaps because of it) I really enjoyed putting my part of the presentation together. Now I’m looking round for an excuse to do another one! One bit I was particularly proud of was the shot of the new business cards I designed and produced ahead of my launch. It shocked me to discover that the QR code on the back of my cards actually worked when it appeared on screen during our presentation. If you’ve got a QR reader on your phone, I’d be interested to see if it works for you on here!
Joanna has written many blogs about self-publishing on the Libertà website. She went into detail about how to work with a book cover designer, how to set up the front matter of your book and what to include in the back matter, such as your coming self-published attractions. Joanna has written many blogs about her work as a publisher and designer on the Libertà website. There’s a search facility on that site, so you can check out whichever aspect of self-publishing you’d like to read about.
My Own Adventures in Self Publishing
I introduced myself with details of my non-fiction and fiction writing. Then I went on to explain how I had joined the Alliance of Independent Authors (Alli) several years ago. Every time the subscription went out of my bank account, I’d think, “‘I must do something about self-publishing!” but time went on and I never did. This January 1st, I decided things would change. I made a New Year’s Resolution to either self-publish something this year, or forget the whole idea.
I explained how everything about self-publishing, from buying ISBNs (International Standard Book Number), to getting your book included in the British Library’s Cataloguing In Publication programme has to be planned well in advance. I had written the original version of Royal Passion in a Word document with all kinds of styles. As I was going to format the document for self-publishing using Vellum, I had to strip out all that formatting to produce a clean copy.
I explained about getting a bright new cover here. Then I had to devise a copyright notice to go in the front of the book. At the back, there’s an extract of the next book in my Royal Romances series, Royal Risk, and a link so that readers can subscribe to my newsletter. That was when I found out about Reader Magnets. They are a little ‘thank you’ sent out to people who subscribe to my newsletter. That meant writing a seven-thousand word prequel to the whole Royal Romances series. There are five short stories, showing all the characters in the series as they were before the main books in the series open. I treated writing and self-publishing Royal Rivals as a dry-run for publishing Royal Passion.
I’ll be sending out my August newsletter soon. As well as more behind-the-scenes details about the Zoom chat, there will be a seasonal recipe, and details of how to enter a draw where the prize is the chance to read an advance copy of Royal Passion. Sign up for my newsletter here!