Tuesday 28 January 2020

Kevin Flanagan : How self-published author Catherine Ryan Howard has made epublishing into a way of life

WITH so many self-publishing success stories in recent years it was only a matter of time before we had one of our own. Catherine Ryan Howard, a Cork native, is carrying the torch for Ireland by selling over 11,000 copies of her self-published book, Mousetrapped.

The book is based around a summer Catherine spent as a hotel receptionist in Disneyland, Florida. After a series of bizarre incidents she realised that Disney may not be the happiest place on earth. Six months later she gathered her memoirs and went about trying to land a publisher, but all did not go as planned.

“I contacted nine agents and only one got back to me. The person who called me back wasn’t even an agent; it was their assistant who really liked the book. What happened next was a big, fat ‘No!’ The assistant loved the book but her boss knew there was not enough of a market to warrant printing and selling it in Ireland and the UK.”

Like many aspiring authors, Catherine kept knocking on doors and despite some good feedback she kept getting the same response –there was no market for her book.

With a boost of confidence in her writing ability, Catherine decided to write something that would sell. So Mousetrapped was put in the draw and she decided to work full time on a novel. For this plan to work Catherine needed some money to fund her writing and the solution came in the form of self-publishing Mousetrapped.

“I knew there would be small pockets of people that my book would appeal to – Disney fans, students and even if I was selling only 20 or 30 copies a month it was some sort of income.”

The most recent figures now show that Mousetrapped has sold over 11,000 copies, more than enough to allow Catherine to write full time. Her success has made many aspiring writers look towards Catherine for advice on self-publishing, so much in fact that she wrote another eBook about it - Self-Printed: The sane persons guide to self-publishing. In the book Catherine hammers home some harsh facts for any writers looking to self-publish:

“There are a lot of people offering services that you do not need but there are two things a self-published writer should never do themselves – edit and design a cover. Everything else the author should do themselves. It is a huge undertaking and it can cost a fortune but you shouldn’t put it out there if it is not proofread.”

It is because of this that Catherine is somewhat reluctantly associated with the self-publishing revolution.

“A lot of eBooks are rubbish because many writers self-published only because they could. In the first 12 months I was self publishing, people were treating it like a get-quick-rich-scheme. It was like they thought if you threw anything up there, people would buy it.”

But Catherine is not bashing epublishing: “There is nothing but hope for the future. It is the best thing to ever happen to writers. There is so much opportunity; three years ago my only option was to get an editor to publish my book, if they said ‘no’ then there was nothing else I could do . Now I can make a living writing – which is spectacular.”

Catherine has added her name to the already growing list of successful self-published writers while she has shown us there is still room for many more, from home or abroad.

For an example of how to write a really engaging blog, check out Catherine’s: http://catherineryanhoward.com/

And here is a link to her books: http://catherineryanhoward.com/mybooks/

Every Monday I am running an ePublishing course in association with Independent Colleges in Dublin. Each class is designed to give aspiring authors the tools to get their book up to scratch before it is published online.

For more details contact: http://www.independentcolleges.ie/faculty-of-journalism/e-book-publishing

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