My Self-Publishing Journey
Last time I blogged (which was far too long ago—sorry), I was delving into explaining my experiences with finding an editor and how I made that come to pass. Let's resume the story the moment after I got my first editors email. Upon opening her file, I was quite concerned that her edits would pull apart my book and discourage me, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they did the exact opposite! I found motivation in her words and guidance in her suggestions.
Then came the unexpected grueling task to incorporate said edits into my work. People might believe that an editor does a lot of work for the writer, but you’d be surprised at the truth. With each of my three editors, I had my manuscript document and the editor notes opened side-by-side. For the next week or two, I went word by word, sentence to sentence, page to page, through each note they made—spending upwards to 8 hours a day combing through my manuscript until I finally reached the last page. I remember on the nights after that, I would plop onto my bed like a dead fish, completely exhausted with an aching back, hands, and mind.
After that stage (thankfully) was completed, it was at this point in my journey that my novel had a mostly finished first draft. I say mostly because I still had not formulated an ending. Due to my ambition of writing a trilogy, I then had to create a half-ending—one that would satisfy the reader and set a hook for the following book in the series. That is a rather tall order for an inexperienced writer. It took a long while before I felt the ending I chose was the right move.
Then came the beta readers. While editing, I enlisted anyone and everyone who wanted to help as a reader. Some of them were more proactive and read different versions of my draft so many times we lost count. This was such a critical part of the process that I hadn't considered before it was suggested to me. The collective feedback from my readers really helped me shape the story into what it is today.
So, what could possibly be next? This was the point in my journey where I needed to create the visuals for the book. Such as: the cover design, the layout format, the blurbs, the author biography, and the name of the book itself. But where in the world would I get all of that done and how I afford all this?
During a rather self-doubt fueled night, I tweeted at the best-selling author, Patrick Rothfuss, and asked him what one piece of advice he would give to a new writer trying to self-publish. His daunting response was, “Don’t do it.” He went on to say that you would need to have the skills of a dozen people to properly self-publish. This broke my spirit for a bit as an author I admired just told me to not even bother.
I didn’t listen.
Instead I hit the web and found each person fit for each task. Slowly, but surely the book took physical form. I was able to partake in the process as well, like being able to see Amethysta’s face take form as the cover was created. I made creative choices alongside these talented people to help steer them in the direction I was hoping for. I remember how I felt when I finally saw Amethysta evolve into the person I envisioned after all these years. I imagine it felt something like how a mother feels when seeing her child for the first time.
Step by step each piece was completed, but one critical matter was still unsure;
what was the book’s title?
From the beginning, I wanted to call the book simply ‘Amethysta.’ However, that felt more like a series name than for the book itself. So, I brainstormed and jotted down tons of ideas. Among the list was: Wayward Princess and Veiled Princess. Then for some reason I had typed out, Throne of Lies and it just clicked. It had the correct feel I wanted and it was very accurate to the story line of book one. I had found my title.
All that was left was to wait for the proof copy to arrive in the mail.
The day came and that was when I had Throne of Lies in my hands for the very first time, all that self-doubt, financial struggles, and hard work led to that moment. I cried the happiest of tears. Many people say they want to write a book in their lifetime, but I actually did it. I fulfilled my dream and it was right before me. While my original plan was to wait a while to release the book, I simply couldn't wait one more day and made Throne of Lies available on that day: August 2, 2016.
The journey to make this book a reality was exhausting, and to say I am proud is a huge understatement. Rest assured that I am already in gear to do it all over again for the second book. Stay tuned for more of Amethysta's story coming soon.