I am a can-do type of person. Most of the valuable skills I know, I learned because I simply tried. Simone Yemm is cut from the same cloth. And it is in that spirit that she gives us Part Two of her two-part guest blog, about what came after writing her incredibly raw, poignant memoir, Stalked by Demons | Guarded by Angels, about living with an eating disorder. The options were many and Simone didn't know where to start. But she jumped right in and here is her advice.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
You can’t learn how to drive a car on YouTube. Without actually getting in the driver’s seat there’s no momentum. And without outside expertise there’s a lot of swerving, near misses and potential crashes along the way.
Publishing is much the same. I developed my masterpiece in solitude. Honed it under the guidance of a mentor then sent it to Julie Gray for expert professional assessment. My shiny new object was now as polished as I knew how and I was ready to present it to the world.
As a new author I needed expert help and guidance about editing, graphic design, book distribution options, publication timelines, legalities, royalties and marketing support. This is the biggie for me – marketing is how people hear about your book. I know nothing about marketing.
After I completed my beloved manuscript I had to figure out how to get it out into the world. So, I googled. There are three publishing options – traditional, hybrid and self-publishing. Like Subaru, Suzuki and Saab the models are no better or worse than each other, just suited to different people and different budgets.
Traditional publishing costs nothing, they do most of the work and take most of the royalties. A traditional deal is hard to come by and most of us need an agent to help get a foot in the door. My book spent six months with an agent and his foot opened many doors. I was so close to signing a traditional deal but it didn’t quite happen. I confess, I was a bit disappointed.
With self-publishing you do all the work, pay for everything yourself and receive all the royalties. As a first-timer I was scared to go alone and I certainly didn’t have the cash to pay for everything upfront.
Then there’s hybrid, or co-publishing. There’s an upfront payment, a shared workload and a bigger chunk of the royalties. Marketing falls primarily upon the author’s shoulders but with - hopefully - some support and guidance from the publisher. Hybrid models have a lot of variation so I cracked open a spreadsheet to note all the pros and cons.
Hybrid publishing was the best option for me but I had no money. It was a difficult decision. Do I give up and let my book become a deeply personal piece of text nobody sees? Do I have a story I want to share with the world? Do I believe in it enough to take a leap of faith and find a way forward?
With my mentor and Julie cheering from the sidelines, I made the decision to crowdfund.
Navigating the quagmire of crowdfunding options was another week of untangling threads. I chose to go with Publishizer. It was a brave new world. Now I had to not just believe in my book but convince other people to believe in me. I’d come this far so there was no turning back.
There’s a certain amount of humility involved in crowdfunding. Money is a cold hard word and nobody likes asking for it.
Creating the campaign was another week’s work and involved more determination. I had to put myself in front of a video camera and convince people my story was worth introducing to the world. I wrote all the bits and bobs Publishizer asked for - biography, synopsis, target audience, similar book titles and all that jazz. I made an email list with every name I could possibly think of then learned about email distribution.
The presales campaign lasted a month. Traveling this road was teaching me patience but the support was starting to roll in. I might not be JK Rowling with her Harry Potter success, but at the end of the month 142 people had financially supported my dream. I was quite overcome with the realisation that 142 people who vaguely knew me wanted to invest in my story. Now I had to publish – it was no longer optional.
I started researching the publishers who expressed interest in my campaign and after a month of zoom calls at random hours I finally settled on the one that felt like the best fit for me.
The road between completed first draft and signed hybrid publishing deal has been messy and uncertain. There is a lot for me yet to learn and an awful lot more to do but I have signed up for support and I’m looking forward to what happens next. I have a story that wants to be heard and when November 2021 rolls around, I will have a freshly minted copy sitting in my hot little hands. Get the champagne on ice - the celebrations are about to start.
When Simone was young, she thought she knew who she was. Now she has no idea. A cacophony of life circumstance combined with chronic sleep deprivation impacted Simone’s mental health through depression, anxiety and disordered eating. Her mental health crumbled, culminating in three psychiatric inpatient admissions and she is now wading through the recovery road. Simone spent more than three decades teaching and performing the flute before transitioning into writing and editing by completing a Masters in Journalism and working with a mentor. Stalked by Demons | Guarded by Angels: The Girl with the Eating Disorder is her first book. Simone is married to a very devoted man, admired for his strength, intelligence, resilience, loyalty and honesty. Together they’ve brought into this world three incredibly smart, sassy, funny, difficult, tall and loving young men. They’re intensely proud of them.