Monday, 13 July 2009

The story so far

Nearly 10 years ago now, I finished my first novel, Grown-Up People. I found an agent to represent me, but despite some near misses, she didn’t succeed in finding a publisher who was prepared to publish my masterpiece. So I decided to do it myself.

I did so with the help of Xlibris, an American company who may well have been the first to offer a print-on-demand service, and were certainly the first I’d come across. I had a good experience with them, though with a couple of reservations.

One was that, having ticked the box on the application form that said ‘design a cover for me’ (or words to that effect), I ended up with a clumsy combination of abstract shapes and old-fashioned typefaces that I could probably have managed myself, given access to a computer with Adobe Photoshop and a half-hour tutorial.

The other reservation (and something that’s not their fault at all) stemmed from the fact that, since Xlibris is an American company, they print copies in the US and ship them to wherever the buyer lives. Most of my potential buyers were in the UK, and whether they bought the book directly from Xlibris or via Amazon, the additional shipping costs hiked the price of the book to around £20 a copy. Not ideal. I eventually got around this by buying ‘author copies’ in bulk, giving me a discount which allowed me to sell the book at £8 and break even, but it wasn’t an entirely satisfactory solution.

Fast forward to 2009. In the interim I’ve completed a second novel, and indeed a third, neither of which my original agent felt enthusiastic enough about to hawk around the literary world. I’ve even started no. 4, but I’m still keen to publish no. 2, which, I believe (in the absence of any concrete evidence to the contrary) is significantly better than Grown-Up People.

So this will be a weblog in the original sense of the word: an online diary that will track the (self-) publishing process, from soup to nuts (and whatever comes after that).

Oh, and the title of the novel? It’s the same as the title of this blog: First Time I Met The Blues. More of that in due course.

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