Part 3 of my Self-Publishing Journey: The other side of the tunnel

In my previous blog charting part 2 of my self-publishing journey, I confessed that I had fallen out of love with my novel in quite a big way and that I was struggling significantly to move forwards with it.

Well…I am pleased to say that I have emerged through the other side of what often felt like a very long, very dark tunnel of self-doubt and what-if’s. I have received my manuscript back from my ‘beta-reader’, incorporated her suggested changes and hit the send button for it to wing its way across cyberspace from Kenya to England where the editor I have employed is, as I type, reading it. I’m nervous about what she’ll think of it, but not nearly as nervous this time round as I was when I sent it to my beta-reader.

By Catherine Lepage

Giving our work to people to read can make us feel truly vulnerable and creatively exposed. When I sent my novel off to my beta-reader, I was so anxious about it that I felt physically ill. What was all this about, I wondered? Particularly given that I was doing this for the third time round. Well, I thought about it a lot and I realised something pretty important:

That contrary to the idea that it’s detrimental to go through this period of uncertainty, what it does – I believe – is it keeps us in check. Imagine a scenario in which you have finished writing your book and you think that’s it, you’re all done and dusted and your work can’t really be improved on – well, this could be problematic. Because we have to remain curious about what we have written. Even those best-selling writers whom we perceive to have ‘made it’, do they think their work can’t be better? I sincerely doubt it.

In fact, I really do believe that the only way in which we can become stronger writers is by going through that fraught stage of Act 2 I talked about in the previous blog; by questioning and re-questioning and putting our characters up in the dock and asking that painful question: Do I really believe in you?

We also have to keep reading. I was once proudly told by an acquaintance that he was writing a book but had only read one book in his entire life. One book? That just doesn’t wash for me. We learn to be better writers from reading fantastic books and we also learn to be better writers from reading books that don’t hold up to scrutiny. Each book we read adds another thread to our tapestries of creative confidence. An amazing thing is, that when we remain open to what we’re going to read next, we often find that the right book makes its way to us just at the right time.

By Penelope Dullaghan

Next steps for me are waiting to hear back from the editor and getting a brief to my cover designer. Cover and title couldn’t be more important in helping to sell books. I’ll keep you posted how I get on 🙂

Thanks for reading. What are YOU reading right now? I’d love to hear about it.

My latest Amazon review for The Girl and the Sunbird:

‘I loved every second of this story and felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend when it finished. The author immerses you in the places and people, you really feel like you are in Kenya and experiencing every step of Iris’ journey with her. I could not help crying on the tube reading this story! It’s beautifully written and compelling from start to finish.’ EC Wills

5 replies
  1. Renita D'Silva
    Renita D'Silva says:

    Love this, Bex and cannot wait to read ‘The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale’. Completely agree with you about the creative process. I have just finished reading Ruby by Cynthia Bond. A stunning book that I would highly recommend. Harrowing and yet hopeful. Her writing is amazing – this is a book I will definitely be reading again.

    • Rebecca Stonehill
      Rebecca Stonehill says:

      Hi Renita, thanks so much for reading this. I actually thought it hadn’t worked at all because all the first commenters said how stressful a holiday can be etc. But then the female commenters started chipping in and picked up on the back tension and hint of menace, which is what I’d intended. Quite telling! Thanks for the recommendation, Ruby. It’s on my TBR list now! 🙂 xx

    • Rebecca Stonehill
      Rebecca Stonehill says:

      Hi again! I realised I replied to the wrong comment of yours!! Sorry, ignore my stuff about the flash fiction 🙂 xx

  2. Skipper Hammond
    Skipper Hammond says:

    “Even those best-selling writers whom we perceive to have ‘made it’, do they think their work can’t be better? I sincerely doubt it.” At a reading of her latest, I once heard the great Sara Paretsky stop in the middle of a sentence and “rewrite” a passage she didn’t like, in front of a couple hundred fans.

    • Rebecca Stonehill
      Rebecca Stonehill says:

      Hi Skipper, thanks for visiting. That is amazing! See, even the ‘greats’ do it! This is a brilliant example 🙂


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