We usually share a post from our authors the day after their book comes out, and generally they are still happily basking in the post-release afterglow at that point. But how would they feel if we checked in with them once that has had a chance to fade? That question led us to follow-up with INKomplete Series author Mara Malins to kick off this week-long spotlight of her book series beginning with:
By Mara Malins
After working on INKomplete for what felt like years (decades, centuries, millennia…), the series was finally released into the wild back in November. All four novellas have been available to read for four whole months—long enough for me to process the entire writing timeline from submission to publication. So, when Cori asked me for another blog, there was really only one thing I could write about; the aftermath of submission.
Anybody who has seen their work reach publication will go on an emotional journey that can be both exhilarating and draining at the same time. The stress, the anxiety, the outright determination doesn’t stop just because somebody has said your work is good enough to publish. Oh no, I found out quite quickly that the hard work was just beginning.
That surprised me, to be honest. I thought my bit was mostly done as soon as someone said, “Yeah, let’s get these into print.” I’d written the book afterall: what more was expected from the writer? I thought I knew what I was getting myself into (doesn’t every aspiring writer?). We think we know each step of the process intimately. We read blogs, watch YouTube videos, share experiences about it. So I thought that after submission, there’d be a little bit of tinkering on the final draft, I’d need to work through the edits, maybe action one or two major rewrites to fix problems and then… it would just happen, wouldn’t it?
Cori patiently explained to me at the time of submission that it would be an uphill struggle, that publishing with a micro publisher came with its own intricacies and that the work was just beginning. I nodded along and told her that of course I understood that it would be hard work, that I’d chosen a micro publisher because it was a better fit for my work (and reader, I still believe that!), but that I’d work as hard as she needed to make these stories a success.
Despite my confidence and the pre-warning, I was wholly unprepared for the energy that we spent in getting INKomplete from the point of submission to the final date of publish. The effort from everyone (shout out to my homegirls Cori and Elesha who did the lion’s share) was absolutely staggering. Blog posts, promotions, emails, organised online publicity plans, sending out ARC’s, gathering reviews, competitions… and this was on top of the expected tinkering and rewrites!
But do you know what?
I loved every second of it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a slog. Just holding down a draining full-time job and then coming home to sort through edits, write blogs, and do everything else needed was tiring enough, but the learning curve was so steep! I don’t think anybody but me was surprised when it turned out that I actually knew naff all about what happens after submissions. I had to learn a lot and I had to learn it fast.
But it was absolutely worth it. I genuinely believe that under the guidance of Cori, I’m now a better writer. Not just because she picked me up on all my flaws (and you better believe that girl has sharp eyes. She doesn’t let anything slip by!), but also because she explained the process to me, step-by-hardworking-step. It was—and is—like having a friend who led me to success.
I don’t think there could have been a better introduction to publishing than the one I’ve taken. Now the dust has settled and I’ve had a period of reflection, I can appreciate just how much I’ve learned. But more importantly, I can truly appreciate just how hard everybody worked to make this a success. I may have written the words, but it wasn’t just my blood, sweat, and tears that went into the pages.
These are not my books. These are our books.