This is a Guest post by Ali Luke from Aliventures.
Imagine my surprise when Ali Luke, a writing coach who has been featured on some of the biggest online blogs like Copyblogger and ProBlogger, and who recently spoke at Blogworld, the world’s largest social media conference, decided to send me her “My Gutsy Story.” Since Ali is a writing coach, I thought it would be helpful for writers looking to publish their work to see how Ali Luke took the plunge to indie-publish her first novel and why.
My Gutsy Story: Publishing My First Novel
In November 2011, I released my first novel, Lycopolis.
It took a lot of time.
I spent a year drafting. And another year re-drafting. And then I edited – again and again. Along the way, I cut out tens of thousands of words.
It took a lot of money.
I wrote the bulk of the novel while studying for a part-time Masters in Creative Writing (not cheap)! I paid a wonderful professional editor to go through the whole Draft 5 manuscript. I took day courses, went to conferences, bought writing books.
Most of all, it took a lot of courage.
I put more of myself into Lycopolis than I’ve ever put into any piece of writing. I shared my work with tutors and fellow students. I wrote and rewrote and polished and gave it my very best.
Why I Self-Published
For a long time, I’d clung to an old writing dream. If you’re a writer too, it might be one that you share. I wanted to get an agent, sign a book deal, and write novels for a living – all day, every day.
The problem is, that dream started to look more and more unrealistic.
Publishing is undergoing the biggest upheaval since Gutenberg. With ebooks – and Amazon’s dominance over traditional book stores – things have been changing fast.
More and more authors are deciding to go it alone. There are plenty of good reasons why:
- You’ve got full control over the finished product. I’ve seen some shocking badly formatted ebooks from big publishers who should know better – and I didn’t want to risk that happening to mine.
- You get to keep considerably more of the money. Most published authors don’t make a living through writing. At 10 – 15 % per book, they’re not the ones getting rich from their hard work.
- You can publish something that’s from your heart, not what’s expected to sell. If you’re writing in an unpopular genre (or across genres) then self-publishing means you can produce the book you want, not what publishers can easily pigeon-hole.
I’m no stranger to putting my writing out there. I’ve been blogging for several years – you can find my work on dozens of different websites. But publishing a novel took a lot of guts.
I thought my established readership might not like it. My blogging is pretty upbeat; Lycopolis is quite dark. (Lots of people have said they enjoyed it, and that it was still “me”!)
I worried what friends and family would think. (The ones who’ve read it so far have been enthusiastic.)
I was afraid that the reviews wouldn’t be good: that my novel would be too thoughtful for genre fans and too fast-paced for literary fiction aficionados. (I’ve had great reviews from genre readers and literary readers.)
All of my fears were ungrounded. But I could so easily have let them stop me.
If you’ve been working on a project close to your heart, don’t be afraid to let the world see. I know it takes courage. But if you don’t go forwards, you’ll never know who you might touch, who’s life you might impact.
Ali Luke is the author of Lycopolis, a supernatural-thriller/contemporary-fantasy with a good dose of geekery thrown in. You can find out all about it at www.lycopolis.co.uk (and download the first five chapters as a free sample).
Ali Luke is a writer and writing coach, with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing. Her work can be found on a number of large websites, including Copyblogger, ProBlogger, Men with Pens and Write to Done. She’s spoken at BlogWorld and OxonDigital, and works with individuals and groups of writers. You can get several of her short ebooks for free (including the popular How to Find Time for Your Writing) when you join her newsletter. Her novel, Lycopolis, is available on Amazon.
Please leave your questions and comments for Ali below. Also I noticed Ali is offering a special price on all 3 of her Blogger’s Guides until December 12th. You may want to check them out on her Aliventures website.