Teresa Schischka, writing as S Jade Castleton
In 2015, a notice appeared in my local paper for a self-publishing workshop being run by Paraparaumu Library. Among all the novels I had in-progress, there was one in particular I’d always dreamed about publishing. However, I’d heard enough stories about how difficult it was to get traditionally published that I thought I’d never get there.
I’d heard of self-publishing but hadn’t really thought that it was something I could do. Nor had I realised that a lot of my downloads from Amazon were self-published. The dream to publish had always lingered in the background so I signed up for the workshop and it was the best thing I have ever done for my writing.
Turned out, too, that the hosts – Diana Holmes and Leeann Morgan – were very successful self-published authors, which proved that this was a legitimate publishing route. They were inspiring and knowledgeable, and so easy to talk to.
The workshop was an overview of self-publishing as they’d experienced it – including its history, the power of Amazon, and the integral part that the author plays in this arena. You direct everything that happens to your work from start to finish, choosing when to bring in external help (such as a cover designer or beta reader).
I came away from the workshop with a new belief that my novel would get published and that I was fully capable and legitimately able to sort this publishing dream out myself. To further my knowledge, I also attended several of the specific workshops, including on cover design, Smashwords, websites and newsletters, and how to upload to retail platforms.
In 2018, twenty-two years after the first words hit paper Mackerel Sky was published to Amazon and to Ingram Spark (Print on Demand, eBook supplier). It is also available on Google Books. In July 2019 I published the sequel, Threatening Sky. I’m bad at marketing them but I doubt I would even have published them if I hadn’t signed up for the library’s publishing workshop. Now my main concern is always ‘what to publish next?’ rather than ‘how do I get published?’
Moira Kay, writing as Moira Kay and Ashley Logan
Moira Kay has written and published a trilogy of post-apocalyptic novels, as well as a series of contemporary romances, with the help of the self-publishing workshops offered by the Kāpiti Coast District Libraries.
“Only halfway through the draft of my first novel, with little confidence in my abilities, I happened upon the self-publishing workshops offered at the Paraparaumu Library. The people I met and the skills I acquired through these workshops, both inspired, and assisted me to successfully finish, publish and launch my books, my way. Each workshop was interactive and easy to follow, with loads of support. It didn't seem to matter which stage of the writing process we were in, all the information was relevant and helpful, and broke down a task that at times felt insurmountable, making it easy to digest.
I've always had stories streaming through my head, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I decided to let them out. Amazed at how easily I was swept away by the fictional world I was creating, it didn't take long for me to decide that becoming an author was definitely for me. Becoming an independent author initially seemed a world far more daunting than the one I was creating in my now published Tracks trilogy - an adult, post-apocalyptic romance full of action and grit, but I credit these workshops with making the self-publishing process a delight to navigate.”
Anna Kenna, Kāpiti children’s writer
Local childrens’ writer Anna Kenna attended the self-publishing workshops after having a number of books published through educational and traditional publishers. Anna was keen to try self publishing and since completing the course has re-published one of her books as an e-book and print-on-demand version, through Amazon. She has just finished writing her third novel.
“Doing the course introduced me to a whole new world of publishing that puts writers at the centre of their craft and enables them to market their product and have a direct relationship with their readers. It has been extremely empowering and motivating.
“I particularly like the modular approach of the course which allows people to choose which modules are going to be most useful to them and to repeat some if necessary to get to grips with some of the more complex technologies. It was a steep learning curve to gain the confidence to use all the tools required to successfully self-publish - but well worth the investment.
“For me the course showed me the route to becoming a self-published author and gave me the tools to enable that to happen. As a result I have developed a series for children/young adults and have just finished writing the third book.
“We are so lucky to have internationally-successful self-published authors in our community who are generous enough to share what they have learnt and make it accessible through our local library.”
Peter Fleming, Kāpiti resident, writer and broadcaster on Coast Access Radio
“In mid-2016, as a record of a journey I had made many years before, I produced 2 hard back copies of a book using Book Wright software. I then discovered Diana’s course at Paraparaumu Library on self-publishing. This opened up a whole new world for me and I consequently published an e version of my book for sale on Amazon. Further information from Diana revealed that I could also publish my book as a paperback version using the Print to Order facility available through Create Space.
Not only have the library courses given me a whole new hobby but, in addition, monthly get-togethers of aspiring authors at the library give us an opportunity to swap experiences and encourage each other to persevere and achieve our writing aspirations.”
“Urged by many to write a book about his unlikely lifetime journey, Brian Colegate found it to be a most rewarding experience to be so frank, especially regarding mental health issues. He finally climbed the parapet, spurred on by the self-publishing workshops run by Kāpiti Libraries.”