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Articles > Work & Training June, 16, 2022

Things I learnt when publishing my book

Katherine Blakeman
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4.25 / 10

I’m a published author. Wow. I’m still getting used to saying that.

For the last nine months, my free time has been devoted to becoming a writer. The book was already written; I regarded it finished about a year ago. But in 2021 it was a question of sifting through the Association of Authors’ Agents, then applying to agents, and getting rejected, and applying, and getting rejected… seemingly ad infinitum.

With a bit of social media thrown in, I had to start getting my name out there. It was one of my Twitter comrades who tapped me on the shoulder back in October and said “Katherine – why not self-publish?”.

And that was like a lightbulb moment for me. I immediately got to work. I researched, made a website, ramped up the social media, edited and created… and the result is The Silent Chapter, which came out on 7th February after much link-dropping, praying and biting of nails.

But what did I learn? Oh, my. I learnt a lot. Including but not limited to…

1. Having lots of Twitter followers does not equal lots of book sales.

God, I wish it did. But sadly not. It doesn’t even bring much engagement thanks to the Twitter algorithm. I hit 1,000 followers on publication day, but it took a hell of a lot of promotion on that page before people started to become aware of my book. My poor followers are probably sick to the back teeth of seeing my book cover… but needs must.

2. Canva is your friend!

I am so, so grateful that I discovered Canva a few years ago. I designed my book cover on there. Not to mention various promotional materials like my Twitter banner (which I am still pretty proud of) and my social media profile pictures. Thank God for SmartMockups.

3. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself.

When I first started on this journey, I was quite shy. My social media posts and public forays were very stilted, scheduled, mostly containing rambling captions (or as long as one can get within 280 characters) and pictures that had no point. When I started saving my posts for when I actually had something to say – this mostly applies to Instagram – I felt a lot better and under less pressure. As for the website… well, stick it everywhere. Your bio. Your email signature. In any submissions form you fill out. In your blog post, like right now. Anything could help drive traffic.

4. It’s hard work…

And you’ll often feel like you’re driving down a one-way street to meet your audience halfway. I’m at that stage now where the initial excitement has worn off and so people are starting to forget I’m here, and my book’s here. (If you could help change that by checking out The Silent Chapter, I’d be ever so grateful <wink wink>…) Quite frankly, my brain feels like it’s been vacuumed out of my fingertips with the amount of typing I do these days.

5. …But it’s so worthwhile!

Not many people can say they’ve published a book. And yes, it’s tough, but having those author copies hit your front doormat after release, seeing your own book on your bookshelf, will be worth it. Even if your spine ended up upside down, like mine did when I first released it. It’s fine, I’m calling them beta copies…

If you’re interested in getting published, (albeit on The OpinionPanel Community and not in a book), get in touch and write an article! Our editors will review and work with you on your piece, and you’ll get it published on a site with 150,000+ members! See here: Get published!

To summarise: if you’ve got a book written, and you’re thinking of self-publishing it rather than going down the traditional publishing route, and you’ve got a bit of time on your hands – do it! It’s fun, and you’ll really feel a sense of achievement, a sense of ‘I did that’. Any questions, I am happy to answer! Feel free to contact me via my website, Twitter or Instagram.

And hey, it wouldn’t hurt if you checked out The Silent Chapter on Amazon while you’re at it…

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