Back in May, Wattpad emailed me to say that Hachette was interested in publishing one of my stories.
At first, it didn’t sink in. Other authors have secured book deals through posting on Wattpad, but they had tens of millions of reads and hundreds of thousands of followers; I didn’t think it would happen to me, and I especially didn’t think it would be a big 5 publisher who’d approach me, as opposed to me going down the route of querying agents.
The process was—as cliché as it sounds—a journey. From familiarising myself with terminology in the contract to finally announcing the release of the audiobook on social media, I hadn’t anticipated just how much I’d learn in such a short space of time.
Receiving my edited manuscript and going through each of my editor’s comments resulted in me completely changing the way I write. For the first few chapters, I felt uncomfortable reading the suggested changes, as though my writing was being thrust under a magnifying glass, each line, paragraph and character analysed in ways that hadn’t occurred to me. My Wattpad readers are incredibly kind and passionate, which is great for my writing confidence, but on the flip side, it means that I haven’t been exposed to that much constructive criticism.
After the initial nerves wore off and I stopped dreading each new comment that my editor had left, I began to enjoy making the edits. It was an opportunity to view my story from a completely new perspective and realise patterns or bad habits that I hadn’t been aware of previously. I no longer saw it as a criticism of my writing, but rather a gateway to improving it. She gave me great tips to carry forwards, too, such as highlighting phrases that had become clichés in the publishing industry.
On the whole, the edits weren’t so much to do with the story, but rather ways I’d phrased certain sentences, inconsistencies in characters’ behaviours or aspects that didn’t seem realistic – one that springs to mind is my editor pointing out that the kettle boiled far too quickly in a specific scene.
Following the edits, I had to choose the actor who’d be narrating the book. As the story takes place in London, it was very important to me that I had a British voice, so Hachette sent me samples of actors reading out parts of my story and I chose the one I liked the best. It was the first time I’d heard someone speaking the words I’d written, which was a very strange experience!
The audiobook then went into production shortly afterwards, and it was a waiting game until the release date. Marketing the book via social media is definitely a learning curve for me. Fellow authors have been very supportive and have promoted it through their channels, which once again solidifies how great the writing community is when it comes to helping each other.
We’re now approaching 2018 and this time 12 months ago, I never would have thought that I’d end the year having published my first novel. It’s been such an educational and rewarding journey, and I can’t wait to see what next year brings.
To learn more about the audiobook, click here.
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