When this happens you know you’re on the right track!

The first book I kindled, just to get a sense of what was involved, was my out-of-print parenting book, ‘When your Child is Bullied.’ I up-dated the text, gave it a new title and sent it to draft2digital, who formatted it and made it available on various platforms. I found a designer for the cover on the budget services site, fiverr, and it cost me literally a fiver.

My first adventure in self-publishing
My first adventure in self-publishing

But that was a book I wrote seventeen years ago, it had been published by three mainstream publishers and translated into half a dozen languages, so all I really wanted to do was make it still available for parents struggling to support a bullied child.

‘Writing in the House of Dreams’ is different. It’s never been published before, and because I only finished the writing last year, publishing feels like a continuation of the creative process, which is about honing and refining, nurturing and developing your unique idea.

So I’ve hired an editor to look at the text and a freelance designer to create a cover, because I want the book to be as good as I can possibly make it.

But never having worked with a designer before I had too little confidence in my own ideas, and too little clarity, to be able to give her much of a steer as to what kind of cover I wanted, and when her first sample arrived I was disappointed. I had wanted my cover to be colourful and creative, and beautiful too, but this cover was grey and kind of business-like.

While I was wondering whether to just accept the cover I didn’t like because I didn’t know exactly what else to suggest, I had a birthday, and one of my daughters bought me a beautiful ceramic piece by Hilke MacIntyre that I had admired in the Fowey River Gallery. There was an information sheet with it, and out of curiosity I went to Hilke’s website.

'The Visit' by Hilke MacIntyre - my birthday present from visiting daughter and her partner
‘The Visit’ by Hilke MacIntyre – my birthday present from visiting daughter and her partner

There I found a whole page of linocuts, one of which felt exactly right for my book. I sent the link to my designer and she was very keen on designing a new cover around it. Having seen the image, she had a much better idea of what kind of things I wanted my cover to say.

So I contacted Hilke and asked if I could use the image, and we agreed terms with no difficulty at all over a friendly email chat.

When you’re in a quandary and have no idea what to do, and then life places something right at your feet like a great big arrow saying ‘Go this way!’ I reckon you can move forward confidently, knowing you’re on the right track.

Has life ever answered your question when you’ve been wondering what to do?


2 thoughts on “When this happens you know you’re on the right track!”

  1. Hooray! Well done, Jen – the bullying book looks great and I’m sure it will be a success. (I’d recommend Mike Boxwell’s book on marketing an ebook.) So looking forward to seeing (and buying!) your dreaming/writing book too. This will be one step on an exciting creative journey for you!

    1. Thank-you Jennie – you’re one of the people who blazed the trail for me, with your fabulous Swallowcliffe Hall series. I bought Mike’s book after our lunch that time and I’ll have to have another read of the marketing chapter. I was reading Orna Ross’s blog about how self-publishing is changing what kind of book is on the market today – lots of innovative ideas out there. It is exciting!

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