Saturday, July 2, 2011

Guest Post - Jayne Fordham - A Season of Transformation

Is self-publishing really the easy path?

I am a self-published author and when I receive books to review for my blog I am always extra excited when I receive a book from a well-known publishing company. I think, Ooh I will be reviewing a book by a ‘real’ author! I can’t help but give traditionally published authors that elevated status. Let’s face it there is a hierarchy in the publishing world and I am certainly guilty of prejudice against the Indies at times. So, why did I self-publish? Well that’s a good question

My novel was accepted for a new apple application distributing eBooks and they wanted original material from writers and they actually liked my work! I couldn’t be more thrilled and to be honest it was definitely a confidence booster! I knew my work wasn’t perfect and I knew it wasn’t going to change lives but someone outside of my own head showed an interest in my book so there had to be something about it that was appealing. Unfortunately, the company setting up the eBook platform came across financial difficulties and I was released from a six month contract which I had eagerly been holding on to like it would save my life. It was like being kicked in the guts- it’s good enough but too bad you are on your own.

So the next step to pursue publication was to approach literary agents to advocate for me. I knew from plenty of researching that approaching a publisher directly was a ‘no no.’ Looking for a SciFi/ fantasy literary representative in Sydney was not easy and when I did submit my manuscript to a reputable agency that did accept that genre I received a hefty return package in the mail which screamed ‘rejection.’

What next? I was at a loss and quickly losing confidence in any hope of publishing my work. I went along to a short writing workshop in my local area late last year about earning an income from writing. One of the ways was via self-publishing. The more I thought about it the more it appealed to me although I had no idea how much hard work I would need to put into it. I was really at the end of the road, I could either put my manuscript away in a drawer and forget about it or I could put it in print and see if people will read it. Fear for the latter was what kept me delaying this option for many more months.

Firstly, to get acquainted with the virtual world of writing, reading and networking I started up a book review blog, The Australian Bookshelf and that was a lesson within itself in marketing. People won’t visit a site unless it is promoted. So I put many many months into its set up and now have many followers, receive plenty of free books and have a lot of fun meeting other bloggers, readers, writers and authors!

The next step was to set up an author site @ so I could have a separate space for my book to be promoted. By this time I was becoming quite proficient in the use of Wordpress and learnt all about html and widgets and posts!

I even had to swallow my pride and sign up for Twitter after being a pretty slack Facebook member for a long time. My poor friends have to deal with my birthday wishes and party invites unanswered for weeks and months on ends because I just lost interest in it. But when it comes to self-publishing it has been drilled into me the importance of social networking and so *reluctantly* I jumped on the bandwagon. Even now I am not great at it… I really don’t think people want to hear about what I do from day to day…

So where to self-publish? There were many options and I finally decided on using Lulu to publish in paperback and ebook formats. The next step was to publish to the kindle via Amazon to make my novel more easily accessible.

Then I had to tell the world. I announced it to friends on Facebook; I emailed work colleagues and presented a beautifully bound copy of my novel to my family. My writing alter-ego was well received and I have had a lot of support from friends and family- even though some of them had no idea I was a closet writer!

So, my debut novel A Season Of Transformation is now available for purchase at Lulu, Amazon Kindle and Goodreads.

So what is it about traditional publishing that is so appealing? Well, just like self-published author Amanda Hocking who has made millions of dollars from international sales she has now taken up a publishing contract like the mainstream. She is the first to admit that the only advantage of this is the status. The desire to be known for writing by people who browse through bookstores (even though those are dwindling). I agree, the status would be nice but at the end of the day I am happy with the path I have taken and who knows what will be further down the road for me. Just the fact that I have written a book, I am learning from friends and family- is actually a pretty big accomplishment in itself, let alone taking the step to publishing.

So, for me self-publishing has been a lot of hard work and will continue to be a lot of hard work in the future. I hope to find a better balance between work, writing and marketing so that I can publish many more novels in the future and continue to improve my writing. J

I would love to hear your thoughts on self-publishing dilemmas, struggles or positive experiences!

About the author:

Jayne Fordham is a psychologist, freelance writer and debut author of A Season of Transformation. She resides in South-West Sydney with her boyfriend and loveable cocker spaniel, Buddy.


  1. Having a foot in both camps, I can make comparisons. It's hard work publishing independently, but it's also creative, and lots of fun. Using a publisher is not so much an author's choice... the publisher must choose you. Once that happens, it happens for a particular book, and each manuscript must proceed on its own strengths. There are no guarantees the publisher will like your next manuscript. Each book an author writes places them on the treadmill again. But it can be a very satisfying thing.
    Promoting is the most time-consuming thing, but it can be fun too. Good luck with A Season of Transformation!

    Rosanne Dingli is the author of two novels, six collections of short stories and a poetry book. She has also published two singles. Her publishers are BeWrite Books.

  2. Thanks for your comment Rosanne. I agree, independent publishing can allow a lot of creativity but it is also very time-consuming and hard work. It definitely pays off in the end though!

    Thanks for having me on your blog, Donna.