Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Guest Post & Giveaway - Carina McEvoy on Self Publishing

I’m proud to report that the publisher who took a chance on my book was....me!

When I first sat down to write a book I never had any intention of showing my writing to another soul never mind go on to publish it. 

Writing for me began very much so as a therapeutic tool. I began writing in my teens, mostly poetry. I found it easy to express my feelings by playing around with words and images. In my teens, the claws of depression gripped me tightly. Expression of the darkness I felt could not be verbalized but could be written down in some poetic verse that seemed to bear my soul. It became a safe way for me to relinquish my emotions to a certain extent. 

Some of my work was published in the student magazine of the college I was attending (Maynooth) and one of the lecturers advised me to bring my work into a recording studio in Dublin to put music to it. But I had little faith in my work and never pursued it. One of my regrets in life.

I remained a keen writer of my own personal words however had the odd article published. But it was only when I went on maternity leave later in life did I decide to write a book. It again was really only therapeutic pastime in which I loved to indulge. By then I had done a lot of work on myself regarding depression but anxiety seemed determined to play a huge part in my life. My head was always so full of thoughts and worries. My imagination was on overload all the time. What if this happens? What if that happens? Etc etc etc...and on and on it went. I never seemed to truly get a break from it, which let me tell you is pretty tiresome. So I thought one day, Carina, that imagination of yours sure wants to keep your head busy, so why not keep it busy with some characters and a plot. So then I decided to put this imagination to good use. I was going to use it to write a book!

It was a great idea. I loved pouring all my focus and attention into the characters of the book, their appearance, their personalities, the plot, the setting, the characters problems, their solutions, what made them the way they were and how they would react to different things…with my head being so busy with Emma, Siobhan and Jack, anxiety didn’t have too much of a look in. 

However, over the course of the following eight years, the book often took a back seat while I had children and worked as a secondary school teacher full time. It was only when I decided to go on career break did I really begin to work on the book and even at that it took me a long time to complete. But that was okay, as I was only writing this book for me. No one was waiting for it; no one was ever going to read it so it really didn’t matter. 

However, as the book took on a life of it’s own and it became nearer and nearer to it’s completion I began to think how nice it would be, to have these bunch of words magically manifest themselves from the laptop and into a tangible book on my actual bookshelf!

So I went from writing it to wanting to publish it, but just for me really and definitely not to sell to anyone else. Like seriously, who would want to read something I wrote? 

But then I thought sure why not just try a few publishing houses and so I did. I didn’t try any agents and only a handful of publishers. Some never replied, some replied and said what a great book but not for us and one publisher replied saying they loved it and sent me a contact for a publishing deal….woohoooo right? Wrong!! Just as I was about to pop the cork on the cheap bottle of sparkling wine I thought I better read the fine print first…Yep there it was..I have to pay a massive amount of money for this publisher to publish my book then let them take royalties also…eh noooo.

Okay, that’s it; I’m publishing my baby myself. Besides I’m almost forty and didn’t have time to be waiting around. All I want is this little bad boy on my shelf anyway. So on I went with self-publication.

Well, oh my dear God above, I learned so much. Editing, book cover design, the psychology behind the book cover design, pricing, ISBN’s, formatting, proofing and I could seriously go on and on and on and on more than Mrs. Doyle could herself! It was a lot of decision making, a lot of work, a lot of sitting at the computer for hours upon hours, a lot of figuring little things out but I am so glad I did it. 

I worked closely with the editor and walked away happy with the end result. Everything I wanted in the book is in the book. I worked closely with the cover artist and although I drove him mad, I walked away thrilled with my cover, it means so much to me. It’s really symbolic of the characters and the turbulent times they go through yet the cover is bright and lighthearted like the book in many ways. I relished in the challenge of having to become slightly techy, which if you know me, you will know was a major challenge. Though I cannot pass all the technological work off as my own as I had a technological genius help me also, aka my husband (thanks Brian!). But what I can say is that there were so many little steps along the way to self-publication that I felt so proud of myself for achieving. I can honestly say it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Not only did I write a book but I, yes me, the techno dope, published it. AND…I promoted it! I’m the type of person that would rather stick my head in a bucket of spiders than promote myself but I had to do it! Self-publishing has been such a learning experience, it has at times been stressful I won’t lie but above all it has been such a confidence builder. I genuinely feel proud to say I self- published my own book. 

If you are thinking of writing a book, go for it! If you are thinking of self-publishing, go for it! Feel free to get in contact with me at www.carinamcevoy.com for advice on the practicalities of self-publishing and if I can help you, it would be my pleasure. 

Thank you Carina for this informative guest post.

You can find Carina McEvoy on social media:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon.com | Writing.ie

Giveaway - Win a paperback of To Have, Not Hold (Open Internationally)

Carina McEvoy is offering one lucky person the chance to win To Have, Not Hold, her debut novel. 

Giveaway open Internationally, all options are voluntary, but please do what they ask, as I will be verifying the winner. Giveaway closes 23:59 20/9/2016. Winner will be announced on twitter and emailed, and they will need to reply within 7 days, or forfeit the prize, and I will re-draw for a new winner.  Good luck everyone.

Win a paperback of To Have, Not Hold (Open Internationally)

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