Monday, 14 January 2019

In The Beginning

I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer.

Although, I made up stories in my head constantly, I was already 40 when I finished writing my first novel.

Before that, I used to have an idea for an amazing story but write the entire story in a 1,000 words – I did not know how to embellish and fill in all the details, but when I sat down and wrote that first sentence of Recycled Souls, the story just grew and grew. I believe there is a time and place for everything, and I guess this was my time.

Recycled Souls (First Edition) Lynette Ferreira

In 2008, I self-published my story, Recycled Souls, with Lulu Press and felt so very accomplished when I sold 17 paperback books almost immediately. These were not to family or friends, because no matter what anyone says (or maybe you have more supportive family and friends) my family and friends will only read a book when I give them a free copy, and then they might not even read it.

At this point, I was still full time employed as a Personal Assistant but when I broke my right wrist playing Human Foosball at a Team Building event hosted by the company I worked for then, and had to have titanium plates to keep all my bones together, I decided I wanted writing to be my job instead of a hobby.

Words were pouring from me, and by the end of 2010 I had written and self-published 7 or 8 books. (Recycled Souls, The Great Divide, SPAM, William the Damned, The Vampire Pirate’s Daughter, Would You Remember ME, The Dark, Dark House & about 6 other flash fiction stories). I did this by writing 8-12 hours a day, not sleeping a lot, drinking too much coffee, and neglecting my health & family.

Also, because I was living in South Africa at the time, I thought it would be really difficult to find a publisher (or, maybe this is just my lazy excuse) but I never queried agents or traditional publishers. Self-publishing was just in its infancy back then, were shunned by proper authors, but I never feared to tread where no-one else dared to go.

I taught myself how to format books for e-publication by following the guidelines in the Smashwords Style Guide, step-by step. I also learned how to create paperbacks by looking at examples of traditionally published books. 

Initially, all my paperbacks were published through Lulu Press, and all my e-books were published through Smashwords, then later with Amazon Kindle Direct. When Createspace ‘opened its doors’, I moved my paperbacks from Lulu to Createspace. I kept my hard covers with Lulu.

Early 2011, I had sold just a little over 100,000 e-books and about 25 paperbacks, and I was so greatful to all those readers who took a chance on reading a story from a nobody like me.

City of Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Then, at the end of 2013 we moved to Northern Ireland, and then, early 2014, my mum passed away. (My brother passed away middle 2012)

The lack of sunshine and the loss, put me under a spell of depression, and I started having all these doubts. My book covers weren’t good enough, my books weren’t formatted as they should be or, even, the distributor wasn’t the best fit for me and my books. Thus, I started moving from one distributor to another, changing my book covers almost monthly, losing ranking but not caring.

At the beginning of 2018, I saw a glimmer of light from under this dark cloud I found myself in and I announced that I am done swopping and changing everything all of the time because as my book list grew so did the amount of time it took to do reformatting and, so far, I have kept to my resolution (most of the time).

At the end of 2018, I started feeling as if I was on too many social media platforms and I wasn’t doing any of them well. Not to mention, I seriously had too many websites to maintain, which led to me being all over the place (literally & figuratively). Again, I was struggling to find time to write because I was spending so much time updating all my platforms. 

Now, I have one social media platform, and one website, and trust me when I say, it is as if a massive rock has been lifted from my shoulders. I have more time now. I spend loads of time with my family, sometimes (weather permitting) go for walks, and now and again have a cup of tea instead of coffee.

This is the story of my publishing journey so far, and me picking myself up after maliciously impeding my own dream job when it all started off so well, by not being consistent, making promises and not keeping them, and being too thinly spread to do any one thing well.

In future posts, I look forward to share my writing process and my marketing/promotion attempts.