Amateur Authors and Self-publishing – by Lena Walton
Self-proclaimed ‘grateful amateur writer’ Lena Walton shares her journey as a writer and the traps to avoid when self-publishing. Here is Lena’s take on amateur authors and self-publishing.
Back in 2014 I self-published my book Jewish Days Arab Nights. It was a huge learning curve for me. For several reasons. One I realised the importance of editing. Never publish without another individual giving your work a final read. Two marketing. How does someone who is an unknown writer get his or her work read out there? Selling myself was not a natural thing for me to do. I let the book slide into anonymity and left it at that.
Recently a few new readers have given me feedback and mentioned the sequel. I wrote the sequel a few years later, but I felt was nowhere near good enough. An agent did express interest but that too fell into the black abyss of publishing.
Heading back into the self-publishing world
I am now resurrecting the sequel Not Quite Gaza. The learning curve from the first book, I am hoping will help me to succeed this time around. I have several volunteers to do a final edit, which I now know is an absolute must. Now I know that marketing is going to be something important.
The plan is to have a jab at mainstream publishers and then go down the self-publishing route. How launching this book with the first book still out there will work remains to be seen. However, as a writer, I feel I have to try again.
My work is set in a country that has conflict and controversy across the globe – Israel. When I wrote the first book, many people suggested taking the story and setting it somewhere other than Israel. They missed the point. It was about a young girl coming of age in a part of the world she did not understand, and how that conflict caused turmoil in her own life.
The sequel Not Quite Gaza has that girl returning to Israel as a grown woman to make peace with people in a country still at war. Will this work for me as a writer second time around too? Fingers crossed it will. Feel free to follow me on my new journey.