STORYTELLER TO AUTHOR?

XmasCarolMarley_110812As my family will tell you, I all too often engage in telling stories about my ancestors. I have earned the right to own these stories because I painstakingly researched them. Sadly, it seems my father was unaware of his heritage.

Thus, the decision to write about my ancestors was pretty much made for me by the weight of all the material I had dug up on my 7th great grandfather. I felt weighed down like the ghost of Scrooge’s dead partner, Jacob Marley, who in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was “captive, bound and double-ironed” with chains “long, and wound about him like a tail”. But my chains were folder after folder of research on the life of Rev. John Cotton who lived from 1584 to 1652. To free myself from the chains I had created, I had to organize my research and begin writing the biography of my 7th great grandfather, John Cotton. My blog chronicles My ongoing struggle with writing is chronicled on my blog and will be updated from time to time. For now, however, I must jump ahead what will be the end of my struggle when I am finally able to self-publish my work.

I learn by doing, so I selected a number of poems I had written and compiled them into a book to experiment with self-publishing. I entered the poems in SCRIVENER, titled the book green and published it through Smashwords and Amazon Kindle Direct. Both accepted the .epub and .mobi files SCRIVERNER produced and I became a published author. ISBNs were provided by Smashwords and Amazon.  The process was very simple and cost me nothing. However, the more I learned about self-publishing, however, the more complex it became and after a steep learning curve, I have learned the following:

  • Buy your own ISBNs through Bowker so that you own and control them.
  • Take the time and effort to register your own copyright. Own your work!
  • Get your work edited professionally. If it was worth writing, it is worth editing.
  • To Self-Publish, you need a good partner and I am in search of one.
  • Like it or not- marketing and promoting your own work is necessary.
  • Join the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).
  • Network with authors’ groups locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Promote your work by entering it in a Book Contest.

Unlike writers, who still write with paper and pen or pencil, I am grounded in the digital world that makes eBook publishing readily accessible. The digital revolution has leveled the playing field and now spares me the pain of having to submit to publishers and/or agents to get my work published.