When I published my novel The Eagle and The Raven in 2021, I made the mistake of putting a plug for the sequel on the last page. Other self-published authors had suggested this was a great way to encourage keen readers to buy more. But what a challenge it turned out to be.
The book trailer read: GENDAL’S STORY CONTINUES in THE EAGLE AND THE HART due out 2022. When it went to press in October 2021, I felt sure I would be able to write the story, edit the Word document and get the novel printed and published in one year.
Then life happened. It included taking an excellent part-time business course, a bout of covid, holidaying in Lincolnshire just 15 miles from the hottest place in the country on the hottest summer day ever recorded in the UK, publishing two other books which each went to press two months later than scheduled, and the death of a close friend.
Instead of finishing my main draft by the end of August, I did not complete it until 13th October. The draft went for beta reading the same day, and the reader comments came back before the end of the month. The novel required several plot corrections which took me until 22nd November. The next week was spent copy and layout editing. On the last day of November, I started to load PDF versions of the internal master and the cover master files to the printer’s website. After several more adjustments and corrections, the first proof was ordered on December 4th and landed on my doormat on the 13th. Because the copy editing had been rushed, the proof needed a lot of corrections. The second proof was ordered from the printer on December 17th. Despite the Christmas post, it arrived on the 29th. The book finally went to print and was published, just before the end of 2022. Promise achieved! But at what cost?
The take-aways from this? Firstly, be careful what you promise your customers. I published three books that year, and the pressure in producing them all took a lot of the joy out of the achievement. Secondly, a lot of stages are involved in bringing a book to print from a first idea. Each of these takes time, and rushing any stage will cause delays later on in the process. And thirdly, what works for other authors, might not always be such a good idea for you or me. Next time, I’ll do it my own way.