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  • Writer's pictureHelen Forbes

Almost there ...

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

It was an exciting day today when the copies of Unravelling arrived. I almost missed, and then almost kissed, the courier. Not really. Maybe before Covid …

In the afternoon, an interview with a different courier – the Inverness Courier, for an article to appear next Friday. As well as the book itself, we talked a lot about independent publishing. When I wrote my last blog post, I was really only flirting with the idea and I wasn’t sure I’d have the courage to go for it.

Until the pandemic, and the discovery that many agents and publishers had closed their lists to submissions. I sent sample chapters of Unravelling to a number of agents and one publisher. There were a few rejections. Nowhere near the often-reported levels of the pre-published JK Rowling or Douglas Stuart, but enough to make me feel a little despondent. Worse than outright rejections are the ones where no one bothers to respond. This seems to be the way nowadays. Not like my first rejection away back in 2005, when the publisher told me what they’d enjoyed about my submission, and why they didn’t think it was right for them. They went on to provide a helpful list of agents, with contact details, thanked me for choosing them, and wished me all the best with the book. On digging that letter out, I found it was the same publisher as the one to whom I submitted Unravelling, without a response, which maybe proves my theory that times have changed.

For the first time in my writing career, I’d had the book professionally edited, and the editor’s feedback was very positive and encouraging. I really wanted to get the book out there. So, I read as much as possible about independent publishing, listened to podcasts and did some research online. While I’m fortunate to have a few friends that are indie authors, whose books, in terms of content and design, are every bit as good as, and often better than, traditionally published books, I hadn’t realised that quite a few of my favourite best-selling crime fiction authors are also indies. At last, I took the plunge.

It’s been a huge learning curve, with moments of utter frustration at my lack of knowledge. Thankfully, there is a lot of help available. I get that it’s not for everyone, and, further down the line, I may decide not to do it again, but I’m glad to have tried it. Not that I’m a controlling person, you understand, but having complete control over the whole process has been refreshing and enjoyable. The next step is to master the marketing side of things – fortunately, there’s a wealth of information and support available.

Today’s other excitement was pressing the ‘publish your novel’ button on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. The process can take up to 72 hours, which should see it available to purchase on the launch date of 19th July. Print copies will be available on Amazon, various other websites, and in bookshops, including Waterstones Inverness and Picaresque Books in Dingwall. If you’re looking for a copy in North Uist, it’ll be available in Taigh Chearsabhagh. Signed copies are available from my website

I hope you enjoy Unravelling.

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