I'm really not sure how to start this post. I'm absolutely bubbling over with excitement - in fact my brain has just gone white. So I guess I'll just say it: my book is preparing for release.
I sent it out to a few literary agencies back in January - just a handful, as so few accept fantasy - and after hearing back from half and getting silence from the rest, I decided it was best to self-publish it rather than let 2 years of work go to waste. The trouble is, part of me says "maybe it isn't good enough" - but there are so, so, so many reasons to get rejected by agents that have nothing at all to do with writing quality, and though I didn't press for feedback or even send them any additional correspondence aside from the professional submission (which is exactly what is expected), I was paid compliments by two agents directly and urged not to give up on it.
I don't expect self-publishing this book will take me where I want to be, but it will certainly help. At the very least, I can get my name out there a little, my foot in the door, and hopefully I'll be able to provide agents with some actual numbers when I submit the book I'm working on now, as even mundane statistics from one book could help them make a decision on another.
But though it's self-publishing...I don't know. I feel overwhelmed, immensely excited. All I've wanted since I was 12 was to become a successful fantasy author, and I really feel like this is the next step to getting close to that dream. I've put years of practise into my writing, written countless awful things and really learned from my mistakes and identified my weaknesses. In 13 years I have never not been working on a story of some kind, and I am confident that I can achieve what I want. Not necessarily with The Archguardians of Laceria, not necessarily with my current top-secret book, nor perhaps even with whatever story will follow. But I will get there because it's the only thing I want, and I want it bad. I want to write forever; I don't need to become J.K. Rowling - and I know I won't, because I've already identified the quality to her books that have put her where she is now, and it's not something I feel inclined to do, and I'm okay with that. No, what I want is to make enough from my writing to be able to keep doing it. I want to pay a mortgage, my bills, buy groceries with the money made from my writing so that I can just keep going.
I'm preparing my book for release on Amazon initially. I will be releasing it on other platforms and devices about 3 months after its Amazon release, so it will be available to everyone, but Amazon have made a Kindle app for tablets, smart phones, PC, laptops, Mac and so on, for free, which allows you to buy and read any kindle book on any such device. I have nothing more than a PC and a laptop, but I've downloaded the app on my PC and it's quick and easy to install, and easy to use, and downloading books onto it is super fast and easy too, so I'm actually quite comfortable limiting it to Amazon for the first 3 months as it is accessible, really, to anyone with a computer of some kind or another.
And yes, I drew that cover. It's not brilliant, but it took a very long time and was my first go with a graphics tablet so, to be honest, I'd exceedingly proud of it. I could have hired someone - and I did consider it - but I decided I'd like to do it myself and get a little more satisfaction out of it. Plus that way I could get exactly what I wanted and revise it as many times as I wanted. I paid £65 for a Wacom, and from shopping around even on Deviant Art, I realised it would cost about £100 for a decent image, and even then with limited revisions and I could still not end up with what I wanted.
So, while if this book was published traditionally I could have had someone design it, I am actually quite comfortable using this.
I will be holding a giveaway for the book when it's released, among a few other small prizes. I'm quite excited about it so I decided to make a thing of it - 4 winners will receive a small prize bundle, including a map print and a copy of the ebook, and it will be open to any territory who can use Amazon's Kindle service. But more news on that when the time comes, which...well, it really won't be long...