From Closet Writer to (Self-)Published Author

My secret dream has finally come true! And I only half believe it.

For years, I scribbled away, feeling guilty when I took time out for my hobby; hiding my work from others. But it’s not a hobby, it’s a passion; a compulsion. When I sit down with a pen something takes me over and a whole morning can go by before I surface.

I find myself getting up at night, or jotting on odd scraps of paper because inspiration strikes at odd times. If this sounds familiar, I believe it is a common symptom shared by writers.

One day, I looked around at my piles of manuscripts and decided to see if I could make ‘my obsession my profession’.

I joined a fledgling writers’ group. One of the members read my work and we went to a workshop at NEWC, ‘Mind Your Business’ with Dr Jeremy Fisher. I picked up on some gems of advice: Get a website, show you’re prepared to engage with readers and promote your work; go to writers’ festivals; meet people in the business.

An author talk by Matthew Reilly held me riveted. Here was a man radiating positive energy. It is clear that he loves his work: A man living his dream.

The main thing I took away with me: He believes in himself. None of his wonderful achievements would have happened had he not self-published his first book.

I resolved then and there not to let self-doubt stand in the way of my dream.

Publishing is a business, whether self or otherwise. It is important for self-published authors to have their work professionally edited. You may be grateful you’ve spent the time and money. Editors pay close attention to details that could come back to haunt you.

By an amazing set of circumstances, I found a web designer who was not only a talented and intuitive designer, but an editor and marketing analyst as well. When she suggested I put my novel out as an ebook while I tried to find a publisher, something clicked in my head and I bolted with it.

Forget finding a publisher, I’ll do it, myself. The idea took me over. I read Authorpreneurship by Hazel Edwards – several times, marking the pages. It contains invaluable advice, demanding honest evaluation. I researched blogs of self-published authors, borrowed books from the library.

One of these sounded great: positive and chatty. I went to her website. There had been one post since 2007. I clicked on ‘Comment’ and was taken to another person’s website offering to sell me information!

Rest assured if there is anything I have learned or will learn about self-publishing it will be available for others right here – for free. You only have to ask.

I moved quickly, using my ABN to register a business name and get started.

There were many daunting moments: no domain available in my name; agonising over a nom-de-plume; applying for an ISBN; registering for CiP; and then the big one that almost stopped me in my tracks: I had to have a US tax ID to sell my book on Amazon.

Here, the asa (Australian Society of Authors) was wonderful, organising a US tax seminar at just the right time for me. I met published authors, including the kind and generous Susanne Gervay, who took me under her wing, introduced me to her friends and generally made me feel comfortable. A few days later, success! I had my EIN.

Towards the end of the publishing process, I realised that writing Master of Illusion was the easy part. I fell in love with my characters, let them call the shots and went on a fascinating ride, never knowing what was just around the corner. I loved every minute of it.

There are many people I have to thank for help along this journey. You know who you are and how much I love and appreciate you. All of you.

So what happens now that StoneHut Publishing has run down the slipway and is heading into uncharted waters with the author at the helm? Will it be fair wind and plain sailing from here? Or are there hidden rocks and shoals out there? Monsters of the deep? Waiting …

Watch this space!