Misty Dreams is a heartwarming love story about second chances and the healing power of new beginnings.
Why did you decide to self-publish? Did you have any doubts?
The main deciding factor for me was time. Although I’d been writing since an early age, I was past 60 by the time I was ready to publish my book. For decades, my insecurity and lack of self-confidence prevented me from taking my craft seriously. I never had my work critiqued, convinced I didn’t have it in me to write anything a trade publisher might want to take on. But after self-publishing became a viable solution, I began to see a glimmer of hope of seeing my work in print.
I wrote the first draft of Misty Dreams in Italian (I was living in Italy at the time), then translated it into English after moving to the United States. By the time it was finalized, revised, professionally edited and polished, my mind was pretty much made up.
Don’t get me wrong, I dreamed nothing more than to be picked up by one of the Big Five, but I knew how hard that is for first time authors. Besides, I’d been waiting too long to get my book out into the world to be willing to waste any more time.
That said, I didn’t jump immediately on the ‘indie’ bandwagon; I sent out dozens of queries to publishers and agents, and I gave myself six months for the responses to come in. When all I received was a bunch of polite rejections, I pivoted.
I have no regrets for choosing the path of the indie author. I’ve been hearing of traditionally published authors making the switch after becoming more and more frustrated with not having enough marketing support or creative control over their books’ titles or covers, and for receiving pitiful royalties in return for their hard work.
What did you like best?
Feeling that my book is ‘mine’ in every aspect. Self-publishing not only gives you the opportunity to publish faster, but you have creative control over your book and your sales, while holding onto your rights. You get to make the call over every aspect of the book, from its content to its cover.
What was the hardest part?
The hardest part is undoubtedly the marketing. As a self-published author, you do all the heavy lifting, and promoting your brand is the heaviest load. Prior to publishing, I didn’t have a strong following, and I had no clue how to go about getting my book into the hands of potential readers. I was social media-shy, and the idea of setting up advertising platforms seemed overwhelming.
While revising Misty Dreams, the enormous amount of work to get my manuscript to marketable standards took up all of my time and energy, so that there was none left for building visibility as an author.
I was painfully aware that most other debut authors were way ahead of me. They had a blog, a newsletter, a street team to cheer them on, as well as ARC readers pledging to post reviews on release day. They were planning launch parties.
Since I published my book in April of 2021, I’ve come a long way in getting out of my comfort zone and establish a public presence, and I’m still learning the ropes. However, it has become more difficult to find the right balance between my day-to-day responsibilities, my writing time, and maintaining a presence on social media.
Would you do it again?
Absolutely. Although I’ve learned a lot since the start of my do-it-yourself journey, I’m a slow writer. I enjoy having the flexibility of working at my own pace, without the pressure of deadlines.
What advice do you have for authors just starting?
The best advice I can give aspiring authors is, look beyond your goal. Start promoting your book long before your publishing deadline. Writing a book doesn’t end at the words ‘The End’. There’s so much work to be done, before and after the publishing process. Ultimately, all this can be immensely gratifying almost as much as the writing itself.
Josephine Strand was born in Italy, grew up in South Africa, and is a long-time resident of the United States. Her travels between the three continents have strengthened her love for the sea and the outdoors. When not writing or absorbed in the latest gripping page-turner, she loves to cook and enjoys long nature walks. Misty Dreams is her first novel.
You can find her at https://josephinestrand.com/
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