My novel has been officially available to purchase since last Wednesday. So far I’m thrilled to say that the response from those who have read it has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m truly amazed at how generous friends, family and strangers have been with their feedback and compliments.
The story has inspired a range of emotional reactions, but thankfully it seems people cared about the characters and empathised with their struggles. This was the most important thing for me, and consequently what I was most nervous about. The cover has attracted some attention too, with its mosaic design. Readers from Manchester in particular said they enjoyed the details of the setting. And I was delighted to be reviewed by the literary editor of Northern Soul this week.
Mostly I’m just grateful that people have read it and got something out of it, whether it was a recognition of their own experiences of anxiety or depression, or a deeper understanding of mental health than they had before. Inevitably more critical reviews will emerge at some point, but I feel more prepared for them now I am confident it’s found an audience, however small.
One thing I realised a long time ago is that writing fiction is unlikely to make me a lot of money. I know there are successful authors out there, but the majority of us, whether indie or traditionally published, will struggle to make even a part-time living from our writing. I’m in the lucky position of having a full-time job that I like and that pays the bills, so any extra income on top of that is a bonus. I’m conscious not everyone has that privilege, which is why I welcome initiatives to support authors who are struggling to focus on their writing due to financial or other constraints.
I’m still finding my way in the world of self-publishing, so I have little yet in the way of practical advice to offer other writers. I’ve no idea how to sell hundreds of copies or get into the bestseller charts. However, I can tell you about my emotional experience of publishing for the first time. Frankly it was terrifying, and I still feel somewhat uneasy at the book being out there. At the same time, it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I love the sense of deep connection that comes from readers becoming involved in a world I created, and responding to the characters as if they were real people.
I also enjoyed the creative control I had over the whole process, and that from a technical standpoint, preparing and uploading my manuscript for print was easier than I’d anticipated.
I am still interested in reaching a wider readership, and over the next few months I’ll be giving some thought to how I can promote my book in a way that feels authentic to me. In the meantime, a huge thank you to everyone who has read, commented, reviewed or offered support along the way. I really do appreciate it.
The Beauty of Broken Things is available on Amazon in paperback or ebook format.