Choosing to Self-Publish by Ann Margaret Walsh

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Ann Margaret Walsh

Ann Margaret Walsh

My book, Bedtime Meditations for Children, had been organically created over the course of two years without me even realising it: two collections of bedtime meditation stories that I told my children to help them drift off into a peaceful night’s sleep. The first collection were guided relaxation meditations.  The second collection were meditations designed to let them shape the night-time adventure for themselves using their own imagination and ideas. I thought I ought to put it all down on paper, so that I would have a record of them, as the collection was continually growing, and I didn’t think I could store much more of them in my brain.  After writing every Saturday morning for six months the collections were on paper, and it was then that I realised it did in fact look like the first draft of a book.  Wouldn’t it be great to share this joy with other families, I thought.

I should have been elated, but instead I felt deflated, as I knew what now awaited…

I knew that I wanted to go down the indie publishing route, but I thought I should send the book to a few agents to get their feedback first.  I was told that it was a worthy idea but that there would be a lot of competition out there.  I took the positives from the responses and decided to continue with the project.  I had come this far after all.

It was then I realised I might, need to find a friend who writes…

At this stage it would have made sense to speak to a friend who also writes.  I had none, nada, zip, and that made me wonder: do people who write usually have writer friends already or does that only happen when they go through the process of becoming published writers that they find others that write?  Were there other lonesome writers like me out there without kindreds? This story has a happy ending, as I was very lucky to discover (during an afternoon tea with my wonderful Mother-in-law) that she had a lovely indie author friend.  She subsequently introduced us. Little did I know at the time, but this introduction would prove to be invaluable to me.

My new one-and-only writer friend sent me a handy reference guide containing little gems of her own wisdom relating to the entire process of indie publishing along with insights and potholes and even vortexes to avoid. She then pointed me in the direction of Vanessa at Inkwell Writers as she had first helped her when she started out.  This would prove to be pivotal.  I emailed Vanessa who was very supportive in her advice, which I welcomed.  She then put me in touch with an editor who had experience in editing a similar genre of book to mine.  After the first edit, several ideas came to mind, which brought the book to the next level.  I then took a couple of months to make some further changes to the manuscript.  This project was not something that I needed nor wanted to rush.

Bedtime Meditations for ChildrenNow it was time to try to get it into print.  It had been recommended to me by my writer friend to have it edited by different editors as this could help to produce a better-quality book.  The problem with this great advice was that I was back to where I started… not knowing where to go to find an editor.  Goodness knows who I’d end up hiring on the internet (a writer’s imagination can dream up all sorts of wonderfully terrible scenarios, which even develop further than they’d like them to into more drama and plotlines and wormholes even).

A website that will rate, to find an editor who’s great…

I needed to find a website that could help me find a legitimate editor and book cover designer with an excellent reputation (I didn’t want much).  I wanted my project to be in great hands. I finally came across the Self-Publishing Advice Center from the Alliance of Independent authors or ALLi. They had an excellent colour coded spreadsheet on their website with ratings from “excellent” to “caution” (I do love spreadsheets). Upon reviewing it, I was able to choose a few names and visit the respective websites.  I read testimonials and could look at the books listed in their portfolio.  I requested a few quotes and eventually selected an amazing editor in America who also designed book covers.  It’s not always recommended that you go for an editor and designer in one, but it worked out really well for my project.  The final stage was then to upload all the files to kindle direct publishing.

Showing as out of stock was a shock and a knock…

Unfortunately, for Irish writers there is a known issue with Amazon, but it was unbeknownst to me.  Apparently, it happens particularly with the first book release.  You can’t order to an Irish address through amazon.co.uk, so your book shows that it is out of stock.  I went around in rings with Amazon for two weeks, they blamed Brexit and pointed me to order through amazon.de in Germany.  This is not the best option because Irish customers can’t avail of the free delivery if they are Prime members.  Now perhaps it is down to Brexit but there are definitely gremlins in the mix because some authors were able to have this issue fixed and their books are now available.  Three weeks later Bedtime Meditations for Children became available through the book depository (because I had enabled expanded distribution), which was great to make the book available to the Irish market.

The hardest challenge lies in wait, I know I’ve started this too late…

I had focused entirely on writing the book and getting it into print. I hadn’t thought as far ahead as marketing.  It was time to step out of the shadows (or the canopy of a tree, as I’m usually out in nature) and start promoting the book.  I began by signing up for Amazon Author Central in order to set up an author profile.  Building a presence on social media is vital, so next I set up an author page on Facebook and Instagram and created some ads using canva.com. I discovered that there are some wonderful groups on Facebook for writers starting out.  My writer friend introduced me to one such one – the Shop Irish Writers page on Facebook.  It’s a warm and welcoming community where Irish writers can share their poems, stories or announcements such as book releases and website launches.  For now, I am still exploring this online marketing world and discovering as I go.

This was my journey to print.

(c) Ann Margaret Walsh

About Bedtime Meditations for Children:

Bedtime Meditations for ChildrenGuided meditation can be introduced to children easily from a young age. It not only helps them develop the necessary tools they need to manage stress and anxiety but encourages them to tap into their creativity.

Join author Ann Margaret Walsh as she leads you and your child in guided bedtime meditations designed to spark creativity, foster self-confidence, and imbue positive messages of self-worth.

Soak up the colourful rays of a rainbow
Slink through the seabed as an octopus
Find the way to dinosaur camp
Solve a maze with friends
Or take a walk through an enchanted forest

Bedtime Meditations for Children introduces children to mindfulness and creates a space within which families can bond and explore the world of imagination.

Help your child discover the benefits of meditation and achieve a good night’s rest.

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Ann Margaret Walsh studied Science and Communications at University and has a keen interest in the environment and life sciences. She has travelled to many countries and enjoys exploring new places. Children’s education and well-being are particularly important to her and feature in her writing. She lives by the mountains in Ireland with her family.

Her new novel, Bedtime Meditations for Children, is now available on Amazon.

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