For this week’s Writer's Corner I’m going to dive into the story of how I came to find FriesenPress - the official publisher of my debut novel ‘The Next Right Thing’. In my last post I talked about the back and forth struggle that comes with choosing to go either with Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing when it comes to your novel and how it can be quite the decision. When I finally got around to the idea of self-publishing FriesenPress was already on my radar.
I want to start off by saying that Self-Publishing is very much a catch-all term. There are various ways to go about publishing your book on your own that requires you to literally do all the work from start to finish. I happen to have great respect for the people who have gone this route! In my case, I went the route that consisted of me finding a publisher who was dedicated to self-published authors and worked with them every step of the way.
This is my story!
To begin, there are many, and when I say many, I mean MANY publishers who are dedicated to working with self-published authors who will become interested in your book, sometimes even the moment they hear about it. Not gonna lie, that is quite a confidence boost especially after you get some of your first rejection letters for your manuscript - it does happen but that doesn’t mean that you’re a terrible writer, I promise! But when it comes to these countless agencies be weary especially when it comes to some publishers who will push their packages on you. This happened to be with one group in particular and even I have to say, it was a BIG turn off. I felt as though I was being shoved into a corner and had no way out.
When it came to FriesenPress I’ve actually interacted with them long before I became dedicated to going the self-publishing route. Back when I was doing my research, their name came up as one of the most highly regarded self-publishing agencies in Canada. They were beyond professional in our first interactions and completely understood when I said I wanted to see how my manuscript would fair out in the Traditional Publishing pool. I still remember speaking with one of the representatives and them asking me if/when they should reach out to me in the future to see if I would still be interested in self-publishing. At first, I remember being apprehensive about this, especially given my last experience with a self-publishing agency. Nevertheless, I trusted what I had already seen from FriesenPress and told them they could call me back around November (back in 2020).
After I worked and worked at getting my manuscript seen by a variety of publishers and literary agencies I was beginning to feel discouraged and thought my dream of being a published author was nearing the end of its journey. What I hadn’t realized, was that it was nearing the first week of November and another agency was waiting to call me back.
It was when the call finally came from FriesenPress that I was beyond excited to learn as much as I could about them and see what they were capable of. That first call was essentially a get-to-know-you conversation where I spoke with a very kind representative named Bret Newton who was patient with me and helped me understand all the different facets that FriesenPress offered. Their team dedicated themselves to authors all over Canada - as well as some in the United States - on countless genres spanning children’s books, non-fiction novels, and of course, fiction novels to name a few.
After that first call I got to work and looked over every single package the publisher had and carefully selected the one I felt was a great fit for me. Being a debut author I wanted all the help I could get and given that I was starting from the ground up I was more than willing to put in the work. It was around mid-November 2020 that I officially signed with FriesenPress and I will forever remember that day as the one where I officially began my journey to becoming a published author.
Being that FriesenPress works with their authors throughout the ENTIRE publishing journey I got the chance to learn so much. The amount of resources that this agency has astounded me. Everything from what to expect when you’re first getting started to marketing your book once its published. But one thing that completely struck me the most was how patient and kind the team was.
I was lucky enough to be paired off with Karly who became my Publishing Consultant and whom I spent the most time with working on my book to make sure it was as ready as it could ever be. I still remember our first phone conversation when I told her that I was completely new to the whole world of publishing and admitted I didn’t really know where to begin. In the past I have met countless individuals who’ve taken this as an opportunity to make someone feel small and insignificant, but Karly instead made me feel accepted and encouraged me the whole way, saying that there was no better place to begin and that no matter the question she would be happy to help.
Countless revisions on both my manuscript, cover design, as well as the final bits of paperwork necessary before a book hits the printers, my book was ready and printed out by February 2021, less than a year later - and yes, even they were impressed, but what can I say, I was pretty motivated!
Once my book hit the printers and was finally made available for sale I got introduced to Michelle Rogers who became my Promotions Specialist and when I say this woman knows what she is talking about, I mean it. I’ll be the first to admit that one thing I was not expecting throughout this whole writing journey was that actually writing the book would turn out to be the easy part! When it came to marketing and promoting my book it became a whole new ballgame. I have heard many new authors asking when would be the best time to begin promoting their book - i.e. telling people about it and posting about it on social media - well I was lucky enough to have an author friend who informed me way back when I wasn’t even finished the manuscript yet to start right then! You want to get the word out as soon as possible when it comes to your book and work on building that interest so that when the book is finally available people are running (or in the case of Covid, clicking) their way over to buy your book because they have heard so much about it already that they are dying to read it. (No joke, Amazon was out of stock in the first week of my books release AND my book hit the FriesenPress Bookstore best-seller list at #2 in the same week).
So thankfully I already had that social media backing when I met Michelle. But it was with the help of this genius that my official website (the one you are currently on) became reality. I am still amazed that a site this professional looking is actually mine and I could not say enough good things about the work that went into this domain.
Once the site was live and the book was available for sale (see page ‘The Next Right Thing’ to see everywhere my book is available!) it was time to get into the marketing and promotions of my book. This was all thanks to the customized plan that Michelle created just for my book - with Covid restrictions respected as well - and I was off. This plan helped calm down my nerves when it came to book promoting because when I say I had no clue, I had NO CLUE. None. Nada. Ziltch.
The plan clearly outlined how best I could work to get the word out about my book. This consisted of reaching out to local bookstores and media to talk about my book - my elevator pitch as they would say - and hope that they would be interested in helping me spread the word. I am happy to announce that I have had quite a few interviews thus far - and even one Radio interview - which has all helped greatly to spread the word about my book; especially for those who were not tech savvy and aren’t on social media. I was shocked at how big of an outreach promoting has. But let me tell you, it is easy to get overwhelmed and feel as though you aren’t doing enough. Thankfully I had both Michelle as well as the book community I found on Instagram who were all more than kind enough to let me know that I was doing a great job.
And here we are today! I am still working with Michelle on promoting my book and working on my social media presence in order to gain more interest for my book as well as help guide me on my journey as a writer. I know that this post basically turned into a glowing recommendation for FriesenPress but what can I say? They were pretty awesome, and I have already recommended them to my fellow soon-to-become authors as well.
The journey to become an author can be a long one, especially when you have to sift through all of the details and information being thrown at you. I am forever grateful that I found FriesenPress and choose to work with them. It is because of this amazing team that I learned so much and can honestly say that I have grown more confident as an author and am looking forward to where my writing takes me next.
So, to answer a question I have received a few times now. Will I self-published my next book or go at it via Traditional Publishing? Guess we’ll just have to wait and find out won’t we? ;)
All the best,