A few years back, I was lucky enough to teach a young writer called Remy Salters, then a student on the Novel Studio at City. Remy was always a very talented writer with a fascinating story to tell so when I heard he'd got an agent, I wasn't surprised. A publishing deal was just a matter of time, or so I thought.
But for Remy, as for so many talented first-time authors out there, this didn't happen. The book was rejected by traditional publishers leaving him with some tough choices. Rather than give up, Remy began investigating alternative routes to publications. Here's his story.
"I began my novel, Butterfly Ranch, as part of the City's Novel Studio a few years ago. After several full drafts and lots of workshops with fellow writers, I got to a stage where I was able to secure an agent. This was invaluable, as the book underwent a couple more crucial rewrites with her advice. In the end, though, we failed to place the book with the agent‘s targeted imprints, and so I moved on to other projects. However, as time passed, I realised that I had unfinished business. Butterfly Ranch needed to 'live‘ regardless. This is when I decided to self-publish.
My first idea was to get the book typeset and a cover done by a designer friend, then publish on Amazon CreateSpace as an e-book and paperback on demand, and promote via social media. CreateSpace is a convenient system and the design was the easy part. Now for the promotion...Without releasing the book, I became more active on Facebook and Twitter for several months, but I eventually concluded that converting social media interaction into meaningful readership, as a complete unknown, required more investment in time than I could spare, and a long-term active role in a multitude of online communities. In my case, social media could help and enhance, but not be the only channel.
So I searched for a publicist. I was in touch with several, but always came away with a feeling that there is little interest in self-published authors (or rather interest in their cash, not their title). That was until I came across Matador, who describe themselves as a 'partner publisher‘ – i.e. you finance the design, production and/or marketing/PR of your book, but they advise, project-manage and promote. I have been impressed by this solution. I have had freedom in choosing the level of support I want, while feeling safe in the knowledge that whatever I choose will be delivered professionally and I can reach out for a real publisher‘s advice."
Remy's choice seems to have paid off. After a successful book blog tour last month, Butterfly Ranch has just won the International Rubery Award for fiction 2018 and Chill With A Book Reader's award 2018. As Seth Godin says, don't wait to be picked, pick yourself. Congrats, Remy!