In March we introduced Celia Moore, one of the members of Chudleigh Writers’ Circle. She published her debut novel Fox Halt Farm in 2017, and was excited that the sequel was imminent. Her Culmfield Cuckoo is out now, and she is going to talk today about her decision to self-publish her novels.
“Hello. Yes, self-publishing was something I chose to do pretty much as soon as I finished my first draft of my debut novel. A decision I made after talking to two experienced author friends, one who had been published by Macmillan and another who had followed the traditional publishing route but had afterwards, decided to self-publish her books instead. I had long discussions with both friends and concluded that self-publishing would be best for me, mostly, because I liked the idea of controlling how my final book would be presented to my readers.
I can choose the story I want to write, not being forced to follow the most recent best-selling trend. I have my own deadlines – I am not tied into a contract where I am pressured to produce a set number of books within a tight deadline.
One of the best things (even though it took hours of agonizing over) is selecting my cover design. Hearing other authors moaning about the covers their publishers have foisted on them makes me feel delighted to have this control. I can design my books, choose the font and the pretty layout too.
There are a hundred things I can talk about here, but one last thing I’ll mention is the writing community, from Chudleigh Writers Circle to the many author and writing forums I have found on line. My experience has been one of support, encouragement and advice in spades.
I’ve enjoyed the step by step process of learning, overcoming each difficulty as I have met it rather than being overwhelmed by having to get everything perfect straight away. I have made hundreds of mistakes, but have learnt from my errors and wrong turns and often met new people, or discovered interesting things in the strange cul de sacs I’ve discovered of my journey. I know I’ll get there in the end. No master craftsperson achieved their esteemed position in one day. They struggled, persisted and learnt, and that’s what I’m determined to do too.
I must research every step, and make my own choices when nearly everything I explore has conflicting advice. Information about each step is often hard to find and I am never content to take advice at face value, spending hours trying to confirm the best way forward.
I have to stay self-motivated, but luckily, I love writing so the only struggle for me is finding the time to dedicate to my writing. Special moments when I can concentrate fully without distractions.
Self-published books have no quality control except the integrity of the author and therefore to make your book as good as it should be, and to maximise the enjoyment of each reader who invests their precious time and money in your story, you must, I believe, engage a professional proof reader to check the final manuscript for grammar, spelling and consistency. I think too, that I wouldn’t like to publish anything that hasn’t been professionally edited and had an expert involved in some way with the design of the cover. So, there are some costs you have to cover to produce a quality product.
Promotion and marketing takes up a lot of my writing time. I have had to learn about social media from scratch, and still have a huge hole in my knowledge about how to promote my books effectively on the internet. However, I understand that even traditionally published authors are still expected to embrace Facebook, twitter etc and are required to be involved in their publishers’ promotions.
You have to learn everything on your own and sometimes it’s hard to keep persevering. There is no-one to share your triumph when you finally get something to work, or to look like you want it to.
Overall, I am delighted I followed this route – I owe a lot of people for the time they have spent helping me – I want to ‘pay it forward’ too, so if you have questions you think I can help you with please contact me. I may not have the answer yet but I’m sure I can point you in a direction to seek it out. I also love talking about my writing experience so far, therefore if you’d like me to speak to a WI group or book club etc. you’ll find details on my website about that too.
My debut novel Fox Halt Farm is a change-of-life contemporary romance set on the outskirts of Dartmoor, London, Paris … and runs over two decades inspired by some of the experiences in my life and the people I’ve encountered along the way. Culmfield Cuckoo takes the story on into a new chapter.
Both Fox Halt Farm and Culmfield Cuckoo are on Amazon as a paperback and ebook. I have just added a PayPal button to my website so my novels can be ordered direct from me (I can sign books ordered from me and dedicate them too, if you wish). My website is celiascosmos.com. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.”