As some of you know, I am in the process of publishing my second novel, The Arrogance of Women, on Kindle. I say ‘publishing’ which makes it sound as though it’ll be up there tomorrow, but alas it is more complicated.
You may also be thinking, hmmm….she’s been saying this for ages. Fair cop, I have, but it’s been quite a journey.
Arrogance was first published by Random House at the end of the 1990s. It is a novel which challenges our concepts of relationships in general and the role of mothers in particular. In those days before Kindle, I think it was ahead of its time, which is why it is this novel and not my first (A Rational Man) which I am about to reissue in digital format.
So far, so good. However, I don’t have digital copy of Arrogance. It is probably on a floppy disc somewhere – remember those? They were neither round, nor were they floppy. I may well have Arrogance on one of these (or even multiples, they didn’t hold much, as I recall) tucked away in a safe place but really, they could be anywhere.
What to do?
This is where scanning and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) come in. OCR used to be pretty dodgy but it has improved enormously. I bought a programme and I scanned my novel and converted it to Word. It took a long time (377 pages) and despite the improvements in OCR, I had to proof-read it.
All this happened two or three years ago. My next task was to get a new cover and I admit I panicked about that – there are so many people out there offering this service, but who to trust to (a) not rip me off and (b) produce something I liked and which truly represented the spirit of the novel?
I have nothing against self-published books, but I do have a thing about self-published books that look self-published, books that scream their status across the room at me. There is no need for this and I did not want to fall into that category.
So, what did I do?
Then last summer a friend recommended an artist who had produced some admirable book-covers for her. At first all went swimmingly, the artist gave me a reasonable quote and was enthusiastic about the project, said she was bubbling with ideas. Then all went quiet. After a while she got in touch, said work had been manic but she hadn’t forgotten me. I said, not to worry and look forward to hearing. That was over a year ago. I have not heard another word.
So now we are on Take-Two. In 2015, as a member of the team running the Penzance Literary Festival, I organised our first publishing day. This hinged round hybrid publisher Silverwood Books. I had met their director, Helen Hart, and some of her authors at the Historical Novel Conference the previous year. I was impressed by Helen, the fact that her books did not look self-published, and by the energy and mutual goodwill of the authors.
Helen offers complete packages for authors but she also offers a standalone service and it is this I am looking at. I have had a quote – it’s more than the artist but I think (hope) I am going to get a much more professional service and not be left hanging.
In the meantime, I have reformatted the text of The Arrogance of Women so that it’s Kindle-ready and my husband is going to help me with some of the technical stuff.
All of which means that although I have said before that I am preparing Arrogance for Kindle, this time I really am…