Armed with a firm belief in alternative health, faith that she is responding to her calling in life, and the encouragement of a few supportive people, Georgina strives to balance family and career while becoming the healer of her childhood dreams. A Heart for Healing
Why did you decide to self-publish? Did you have any doubts?
I have no doubts about self-publishing because I didn’t want to wait for a traditional publisher to accept my manuscript. I’ve heard it can take years and a lot of rejections and I wanted to get my story out. The higher rate of royalties from self-publishing was another perk.
In 2015, I self-published a non-fiction book on health and nutrition (You Can Be Well), so I had some experience with the process. I needed help with formatting the book for uploading to Ingram and Amazon. My husband’s computer/internet savvy came in handy.
For my 2022 novel, A Heart for Healing, I went with a self-publishing company that helped with formatting, book cover design, distribution, and a promotion plan. Their editor came up with a good book title, too. There was a support person to guide me in finishing the manuscript in a timely manner—1 ½ years. I couldn’t put off writing, editing, and proofreading because there was an expiry date on the contract. Having an end date prevented me from dragging out the process, otherwise I might still be writing and editing today!
What did you like best?
I enjoy the freedom to craft my storyline. Some of my readers like the story because it’s unique. A traditional publisher might have wanted changes to my story because I address some controversial issues in mainstream medicine and holistic health.
What was the hardest part?
The hardest part with self-publishing is doing my own marketing – deciding on strategies and acting on them.
For my first book (You Can Be Well) my promotion was entirely local – speaking at events, stocking the book where my intended readers would go. And I knew little about online promotion at that time. The book has sold online, and continues to sell in limited numbers, but with minimal promotion on my part.
For my novel, A Heart for Healing, I learned about many marketing strategies from the self-publishing company but find it unclear which ones to choose—social media, podcasts, local events – they all work but so much depends on individual goals and the book’s genre. My promotion plan was to start locally by attending events and book fairs. I am still learning the art of social media promotion to a wider audience. After going through my friends, family and acquaintances, sales are slow. But I know it can take a while to get the word out.
Would you do it again?
Yes, I am currently working on a sequel to my first novel. I will self-publish again but without hiring a self-publishing company, because of the expense and because I believe I have learned enough to publish on my own. Also, when using a self-publishing company, the book is not eligible for KDP special pricing and giveaways. That promotion method has not been available to me.
What advice do you have for authors just starting?
First, find writing coach(es). There are online coaching communities with tutorials and workshops on all the aspects of writing, including the promotion. Unfortunately, I found Women Fiction Writers after I completed my novel. The community I joined was for-profit with a $250 annual fee. The training was valuable especially because I was new to creative writing, but there are less expensive options such as Women Fiction Writers to which I now belong.
Second, find a writing buddy. I have a weekly video call with a woman I met in a writing community. We encourage each other in our projects, share ideas, review each other’s work. There is also accountability to keep going.
Third, find a local author’s group for support and shared learning about the local market. Through this group, I have learned of local events to promote my book. We share in the cost of renting a venue or a table and serve as advance readers and reviewers for each other’s work.
Fourth, I subscribe to Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages exercise. This daily habit triggers ideas and inspiration. It really works as she says.
Writing is a learning process. Anything you can do to keep learning will help.
Ruth Thompson has been in private practice as a holistic nutritionist since 2004 and, prior to that, worked in social work and community development for twenty-five years. She is also the author of You Can Be Well: The Holistic Nutrition Guide to a Healthy, Balanced Life, self-published in 2015.
Thompson lives in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada with her husband Derek of thirty-nine years, and their five-year-old doodle, Kermit. She has two adult children, a stepson, and five grandchildren.
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