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Carol Preston – My Publishing Journey

My Publishing Journey

by Carol Preston

I have found the greatest challenge of all as a writer has been the publishing journey. My experiences of sending out my first manuscript resulting in me concluding that publishers are not interested in a writer who has no agent, and agents are not interested unless a writer is already published. Of course I now know that it’s not as simple as that. I understand that publishers and agents are inundated with manuscripts and must have ruthless strategies for weeding out what they are prepared to publish, or to read. But for a new author, there can seem to be no way through the myriad of hoops to be jumped.

For me, there was a temptation to believe that since no publisher or agent was  prepared to give me a go, it probably meant I really didn’t have what it takes to be a published author.  Fortunately, having researched my family history for my novels, I was inspired by my ancestors, not to give up. So I decided to go with a partnership publishing house, which meant I had to bear much of the initial cost of getting my book into print, as well as much of the promotion and selling. But at least I had my book in my hands. I could give copies to my family. I could sell copies to my friends. I had a network for speaking engagements and conferences, where I could promote and sell my book. I was thrilled and encouraged about the feedback, which made it a worthwhile venture, even though I was never going to be world famous, or very rich through writing.

My husband graciously reminded me that I could have spent at least as much on numerous other hobbies, so I should not be worried about the cost. I wasn’t doing it for the money, or the fame. I just wanted to have my book in print and have others read and enjoy it, and I was thoroughly enjoying the journey. This was the process I followed for my first four novels.

I was very fortunate at that point to come into contact with a small publisher, who had a passion for helping new authors, and promoting Australian writers. She offered to read my next novel, invited me into another mentoring relationship with one of her writers, and subsequently published my next four novels. In the current climate of publishing I feel very grateful that I can be traditionally published and have my books exposed to a larger audience than I would ever have imagined.

Having said that, I believe that selling novels is a huge challenge, however they are published. The trends toward self- publishing, promotion through the internet, the proliferation of e-books and blogging, and the demise of book stores, means that the competition for writers is enormous. To be noticed as a writer amongst so many others demands a willingness to be active in self- promotion and advertising, and a readiness to keep up with technological advances and changes.

This aspect of being a writer takes me beyond my comfort zone, and tests my resilience and determination much more than the writing process itself. But, as it is part of the journey of a writer, I persist for the love of my craft.

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – G

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