DIY publishing… the hard part

After years and years of getting nowhere with my novels, trying all sorts of different routes to publication, I decided to do it myself. I had sent manuscripts to publishers and agents, I’d had some interest, paid some fees, but ultimately was let down. Agents took my money and did nothing – yes, I know the ides is that they get their reward when you get yours but the fact is they want you to pay up front for expenses etc… I paid and got nothing. I had at least four agents, maybe more, I can’t remember. I once had a publisher interested in a novel I’d written for reluctant readers, ‘THE STORY OF RUFUS REDMAYNE’ but she became more and more difficult to contact and then I read that she’d given up publishing leaving other people in a similar position to me.

I considered what used to be called vanity publishing which is now called indie publishing… but I never quite had enough money up front. There are some great publishers, and POD is a wonderful idea (publishing on demand – your work is printed as you have customers to buy it.) A friend mentioned the fact that Amazon will publish for Kindle… I investigated.

It really is very simple… well ok, it’s not that simple if you want to do it properly. You prepare your manuscript, editing it yourself, you create a cover, you upload it, fill in all the bits and pieces required, press submit and there you are! It is more or less as simple as that… however…

I found it difficult to self edit; it is hard to be objective enough about work you are so familiar with, it’s difficult to spot silly mistakes – I confused the names of two characters even though I had read and reread the work. It was pointed out to me by one of my readers (one of my readers!!)  I had read my story careful, I had read it out loud to myself, I had someone else read it for me… and yet there were still errors because I am not a professional proof reader.

But it is published, ‘Farholm’ is available on Kindle. But I want people to buy it… I want an audience and I have to do that myself. I have to publicise my book, promote it, get it noticed.

The first thing I did after telling my close family and friends was to post it on Facebook together with a picture of the cover. The second thing I did was to share my exciting news with the wonderful friends I have made on Raul Malo’s forum (

I then posted the news on other networking sites and emailed all my contacts on them, for example friendsreuntied and linkedin. How to get a wider audience? How to get complete strangers to find my book and buy it? If I had an agent or a publisher they would do that… I have to do it myself.

I emailed our local newspaper The Weston Mercury; they ran my story with a photo of me.

I emailed BBC Somerset; they interviewed me on a prime time programme.

Studio of BBC Somerset, Taunton
  • I have emailed the local newspapers from where I used to live, The Oldham Chronicle and The Cambridge News… I await response.
  • I am going to email BBC Bristol and BBC Points West.
  • I have started this blog, and thank you to all of you who are following me.
  • I am going to start my own website.
  • I have ordered business cards and other promotional items.

And while this is going on I am editing my next novel ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’ which I hope to publish in June.

Waiting in the wings is another completed novel… maybe ‘The Double Act’ or maybe ‘Night Vision’ … and I have plenty of work to do on the first draft of a novel I am currently writing about the Portbradden family… oh and there is the unfinished novel about Frederico Milan… oh yes, and the other ideas I have for completely new novels… It’s a busy life being a writer!


  1. latebloomershow

    Lois, I can relate! I am an actor of 30+ years. I have a commercial on the air, but, that’s it at the moment, and I’ve had agents go out of business, or worse, die. But, I’m still here! I’m still available and working at it. In January, like divine inspiration, it hit me to make my own low budget garden web series, “Late Bloomer.” It’s born out of a later-in-life passion for growing my own food. Oh, I’ve been keenly on top of the whole organic movement, supported family farms, sent a million emails to Washington, but had never actually tried to grow anything. I found a connection to my ancestors (yeah, sounds silly in my urban small front yard) in working with the soil and watching things grow, so the web series brings together the passion with the talents. And I need to get it out there, create a larger audience. I sent an email to the local paper today, and need to do much more. (I now have at leaft 4 people in the UK watching 🙂 ) You are doing all the right things, but, what you really need to do is see if anyone you know who knows someone who knows a great British actress (even a good one will do) who is in the age range of your character Rosa Chezkov and see if you can get them to read the story. If they do and they like it, it will open lots of doors for you. Remember the gal who wrote THE HELP had been rejected by 50 publishers, and look what happened. If it’s a great story, it will find it’s way to the light. Women just have to work harder than men, so hang in there!


    1. Lois

      Thanks for your comments… I love your name ‘Late Bloomers’ because of course that’s what I am (although I’ve been budding for many many years, lol!) I don’t think it is a silly conceit at all to feel connected with your ancestors by your gardening efforts… not on the same scale of course but it is true! Thanks most of all for your suggestions about Rosa… that really would be a dream come true but I cannot think of anyone I know with those sort of contacts… most of my friends seem to be struggling artists or amateur musicians! But I take your point, so thanks very much!


  2. littleboone

    Hey Lois,
    I remembered your story of how you got your book on Kindle. Well, I just bought this Kindle book titled Make a Killing on Kindle. It’s a Kindle book and costs about $4.00. If you don’t have it, buy it. It give a plan. A gives an inside look at the tools on Amazon that you can use to get a book on the top 10 books in your category when a buyer does a search on their site.

    I’m still reading it and will use its info to sell copies of my book. It’s worth way more than its price. Thank you for your likes! Marvin


    1. Lois

      Oh thanks so much Marvin! I shall get it… I’m still enjoying your book, by the way… and loving having it as an actual book in my hands! As you know, I bought it first on Kindle – so I’ve double got it!


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