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I Confess . . . A Self-Publishing Experience by Adrian Taheny

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Article by Adrian Taheny ©.
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I confess….…that as Pride is one of the seven deadly sins I am up to my neck in trouble.  The day I received the galley for SINS from our printer, I was consumed with a deep sense of pride.  Not just for myself but also for the other six writers involved.

It was Ferdia Mac Anna who first suggested that we should consider publishing a joint piece of work while we grappled with our own individual novels.  The idea gained traction over a number of weeks and one winters day in The Grapevine in Dalkey it began to grow legs.

‘97% of novels never get finished’, one said.

‘Then we will be among the three percent that do,’ another replied.

And so the3percenters was created.

After a few weeks of brainstorming and lively debate we settled on the crime genre.  We saw a gap for an anthology of short stories in that market and we were going to fill it.  We were seven and when the Seven Deadly Sins were suggested to add diversity to the book, it was embraced with gusto.  However the allocation of each ‘sin’ was a bit more difficult.  According to tradition, each sin is considered equal.  Not so in our group.  In the end we drew lots and suffice to say not everyone was ecstatic with the result.

We made a commitment to publishing three books over a two-year period.  The first to be published in October 2018, the second in April 2019 and the third in October 2019.

As I was the one with some time on my hands, I offered to project manage the publication. Can’t be that difficult, can it?

We were always going to self-publish and Ferdia agreed to edit the book for us – which was a positive start. Then I had to get help with the complicated area of publishing.  A few names were put forward and we held interviews.  All very impressive but it was a bit like a scene from ‘Say Yes to the Dress” when you know that’s the one.  It just wasn’t happening for us.  Then someone suggested calling Vanessa O’Loughlin at The Inkwell Group.  She would know what to do.  And I did and she did and as a result on the 1st May we engaged Adrian White from Galway to hold our hand and guide us through the process.

During the months that followed Adrian and I exchanged emails and phone calls on a regular basis.  He was like a Guardian Angel watching over us as we delved deeper and deeper into SINS.  From sourcing a quality printer within our budget to getting us ready for Amazon and Kindle, Adrian was invaluable.  He also advised on cover design and the copy for the front and back covers, as well as the typesetting and layout of the text.

Cover design is critical for any book.  You must have a cover that catches the eye supported by an equally catchy title.  But there’s more.  Once the shopper picks up your book, they will turn to the back page and then comes your next test.  Does your copy match their expectation or better still exceed it? If it does they will probably buy the book.  Get any of this wrong and you are greatly reducing the chance of a sale.

Design is so important for the book cover but also the marketing and social media that goes with your publication.  We were lucky to have the services of Tom Taheny, Graphics in Galway. They were outstanding on the concept/design/execution front and secondly Tom, the owner, is my brother. It made a huge difference to the project as he became an integral part of the process and regularly sent me ideas for social media campaigns before I asked for them.

As we progressed with the writing I needed to employ a copy-editor to give our work the once over.  It was emerging in good shape from our editor Ferdia, but it needed some intense work on styling and proofing to ensure we had something to be proud of.  I had known Bernadette Kearns, the Book Nanny, from my days in class with Carolann Copland in Carousel Creates.  There too at the time was an emerging writer called Patricia Gibney.  As I discovered, the friends you make along the way are the ones you can depend on when the going gets tough.  Book Nanny did a great job for us and we were almost ready to go to print.  But to be sure, to be sure, we needed a new pair of eyes to read the entire text to ensure all was well.  We got the help or Rory O’Grady, the husband of one of our writers.  I wont say how many errors he found.  Enough to say “thanks Rory, I owe you one’.

I mentioned Patricia Gibney who has blossomed into a million plus bestseller and is now writing book six in the Lottie Parker series.  Her advice and support was invaluable and so readily available.  She has become something of a master of social media and she willingly shared her experiences and knowledge with me.  It is so important to network with people like Patricia who have already walked the walk and to learn from their experience.  It doesn’t guarantee success but it certainly helps reduce the number of mistakes you will make on this journey.

We have our own website and a Facebook page and twitter account.  It is so important to get your message out there in advance of publication to build awareness.  Once the book is launched you need to maximize to potential of these media for sales.  No small task.  There is so much noise on social media that while you need to be there you need to be different.

We had our official launch on Thursday 4th October back where it all began. In the Grapevine.  Pat Kenny did the honours and we had over one hundred guests/customers. Right now our priority is getting the book out there.  We have been busy contacting various media and bloggers.  Copies of the book have been dispatched and we now enjoying those first reviews.

We became an authors’ collective and publishing partnership to produce this piece of work.   Necessary elements for success included trust in each other, and a belief in our ability to produce quality work. We believe we have delivered on our original objectives while recognising that the proof of the publication will be in the “reading”.

(c) Adrian Taheny

About SINS: New Irish Crime Stories

PRIDE, ENVY, GLUTTONY, LUST, ANGER, GREED, SLOTH

Seven Deadly Sins. Eleven Killer Stories.

Nothing matches the Power of Seven. In this anthology, seven writers tempt you with a modern take on the Seven Deadly Sins, unleashing eleven riveting new crime stories, edited by Ferdia Mac Anna.

Take a walk on the dark side.

A woman seduces her boss and considers murdering his wife. A case of mistaken identity leads to disastrous consequences. An unexpected visitor arrives with a camera but takes more than photos. A bitter sixth-former at an English public school exacts the ultimate revenge.

Edited by Ferdia Mac Anna.

Order your copy online here.

Sins is also available in Dubray, Gutter Bookshop and other select bookshops, as well as in various libraries throughout Ireland.

the3percenters is an authors’ collective and publishing partnership formed to promote emerging writers. The group were originally associated with the annual Dalkey Creates Writing Festival. the 3percenters writers are:  Adrian Taheny, Alix Moore, Caroline Bale, Jenny Wright, Mark Bastow, Martin Keating and Susan Rodgers


Adrian Taheny has appeared in many notable theatre productions, including Druid’s Threepenny Opera. Now retired from the Irish financial services industry, he pursues his passion for writing and photography. He had two stories published in Storytellers: New Writing from Ireland as well as having had several of his poems published and recorded. He is in the process of completing his first novel.