Today I’m delighted to welcome Anne Allen to the blog. Anne is an author I first met when I started my self-publishing journey back in 2012, and she’s been a great source of support ever since. As you’ll read in Anne’s guest post, she recently took the very bold step to move away from self-publishing company Matador and go it alone. What Anne won’t tell you is that I was egging her on big time – I knew she could do it, and would have so much more control over her work as a result. For someone with limited computer knowledge, but a great big dose of ‘can-do’ attitude, I think Anne proves that there are no excuses for not publishing your work and reaching readers. Read on to find out more …

Anne Allen

“First of all I’d like to thank Jo for giving me some space on her lovely blog. She has hosted some great writers over the past months and it’s an honour to follow in their footsteps 🙂

Let me introduce myself, I’m a newbie writer with two novels now published:  Dangerous Waters, a romantic mystery in 2012 and Finding Mother, a romantic family drama, in October 2013.

Both novels are set in Guernsey, a place very dear to my heart, and where I lived for nearly 14 years. They are not a series, but there are links between them and with the third, which I hope to publish in 2014. Finding Mother is the story of a young woman’s search for her birth mother and the consequent upheaval in a number of lives. Nicole has always known she was adopted by her Jersey parents, and it wasn’t an issue. But when her marriage hits the rocks she begins to question herself and decides it’s time to learn more about how she became the person she is. Now living in England, she has to journey first to Spain, where her parents now live, and then to Jersey before finally ending up in Guernsey. Nicole becomes the proverbial cat among the pigeons, as long-buried secrets are revealed, one going as far back as the Second World War. The story focuses on three generations of women and their loves and losses, including the impact that adoption has on all concerned. As a psychotherapist I’ve long been interested in the human psyche and how people cope with major issues such as adoption. At the time Nicole was born it hadn’t been possible for children to trace their natural parents and mothers must have felt that they would never see their child again. The brilliant film, Philomena, starring Judi Dench, explores this very issue from the perspective of the mother seeking the child.

My self-publishing journey has been as convoluted as Nicole’s search for self-awareness J  For my first book I used Matador, a publishing company who do most of the work for the author, but at a high cost. This time, although I wanted the same professional standard of publishing, I wanted it at minimal cost. This proved possible, but after a huge learning curve, particularly for someone with only a self-taught knowledge of Word and not a great deal of anything else! And I must say that I couldn’t have survived the process without the incredible and generous help of our hostess, Jo. She’s a star 🙂

finding_mother_front

I ended up using three different sources for my paperback: a short-run digital print for selling directly into shops etc, Imprintdigital; LightningSource for distribution in the UK; and CreateSpace for everywhere else. So, technically, you can get me anywhere! Or rather, my paperback as well as ebook. CreateSpace was relatively easy once I’d sorted out an issue with the ISBN and problematic margins. I would suggest that any author considers using them as their upfront cost is zero and that includes Expanded Distribution. There’s no charge to change files – which I had to do a couple of times – before the book is printed. CreateSpace provide an online viewer so that you can read and review both the cover and interior before clicking ‘publish’. After I’d proofed the copy online I ordered a print copy for myself so that I could check out the quality. It’s printed in the US so the postage was high, but arrived 3 days after ordering. In quality and appearance it’s very similar to LightningSource, although not as good as the ImprintDigital copy. From a financial point of view, I’ll be earning slightly better royalties than through LightningSource except through the Expanded Distribution, when it’s the princely sum of $0.67 per copy!! Still, every little helps…

I mentioned that I had some technical issues with uploading files and happened to look at someone advertising on fiverr. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s worth checking out. An American site, so the price for a ‘gig’ is $5 (£3.24) and freelancers from all fields offer their services, from drawing cartoons, designing posters to, more importantly for writers, formatting files for ebooks and CreateSpace. I found one great guy, using the name ‘kindler’, who offered to format for kindle and epub for $5 from a word or pdf file. Amazing value! He also had a gig for CreateSpace and I used him for that first, as a test run. That worked so well – and fast – that I bought the gig for the kindle/epub format even though I already had a kindle version. I’m looking ahead to my next book and hoping he’ll still be there J A few weeks ago I bought a gig from someone who designed a bookmark and poster for me and, again, was very impressed with both the result and the speed and helpfulness of the seller. I’m now in the process of ordering a book trailer video for Finding Mother so that could be interesting!”

Links:

Website

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Facebook

Thanks so much, Anne! I was really interested to hear more about Fiverr from someone who has actually used the service. I’ll definitely be looking into this resource as part of my marketing strategy for 2014! Before we go I just want to let everyone know that Anne’s new book, Finding Mother, is FREE today and tomorrow on Kindle. Click here to snap up your copy now.

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