Reared in Kilmacud, Sheena Lambert qualified as an engineer from UCD. A creative course started her working as a journalist, and she began developing her debut novel, Alberta Clipper, as a TV series. She chose to self-publish, and gives us a heads up on the ins and outs of the process.
What genre does your novel fit in?
I grew up reading Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes, and I'm sure those authors have influenced my writing hugely. I'd categorise it as Jojo Moyes type of chicklit-for-women-with-a-brain.
Talk about the process of writing the novel, and why you chose to self-publish?
It took me the most part of a year to write Alberta Clipper, writing in the mornings, and editing in the evenings, mothering a four and six year old in the hours in between. I sent it to around 15 agents and publishers, and while I waited to hear back, I researched self-publishing. When faced with the option of Alberta Clipper sitting forever on my kitchen table, or sharing it with the world, I decided to self-publish.
What was the learning curve like?
Huge. I wasn't even on Facebook or Twitter before I decided to self-publish. I certainly didn't have a website. The best thing I did was read Catherine Ryan Howard's Self-Printed: The Sane Person's Guide to Self-Publishing. Then I prepared my scripts, and went live in November 2012 via Amazon and Smashwords, in paperback and as an ebook.
Would you do it again? What would you do differently, if anything?
I would, and I will. I'm finishing my second book, and again, should I not be able to secure a traditional publishing deal, I will certainly self-publish it. One of the most gratifying aspects of making your book available is that I have had strangers from random parts of the world send me messages, telling me that they loved it.
What would be your top tips for anyone thinking about self publishing?
You will need to spend time marketing and promoting yourself and your books. It's not a game for the bashful. A marketing plan is essential. And finally, don't listen to the nay-sayers. Very often those who aren't bothered to understand self publishing can be dismissive of it.