When this entire project initially commenced, I had myriad ideas about what I wanted to do with my poetry; publish it in journals, document it on Instagram, maybe even go as far as reading it aloud in local pubs whilst simultaneously washing down my unrelenting nerves with pints of creamy stout. But none of those ideas mattered more to me than publishing a poetry collection with my name on it.
I began to nurture this idea two years ago. I cradled it, watched it prosper, held it close and made sure that it was a good fit; that this was exactly what I wanted and that I was determined enough to see it through to the end. And as the idea of having my own anthology became a priority in my life, so did my hunger to quell my inexperience of the self-publishing industry.
I began the process by making a list of what I would need to provisionally accomplish, and this included manuscript layout, proofing everything and then proofing it again ten more times, the vision and running themes of the book, the concept of the cover, the colour scheme and most importantly, what I wanted the book to convey not only to myself but to the reader. Once I was satisfied that I had dedicated enough time to each of these imperatives, I began my quest in finding a design team online that would materialise my ideas into a book that could make me fall in love with my writing all over again.
After regular online discussions, the company I worked with, Design for Writers, brought the vision of my cover and format to life in a matter of two or three months. Those were the toughest months, as I committed most evenings after work to the particulars of the project, almost draining the love for the published collection from me.
When I received my files, I then joined Amazon’s platform, KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), and began to familiarise myself with the site, which is relatively easy to understand for a writer with no previous experience in publishing. After the adjustments to my profile, book pricing and biography details, I submitted my formatted files to Amazon for review and within two or three days, my collection was live on the site and I could finally order my author copies.
The self-publishing journey can seem extremely daunting and honestly, at times it is, but with the right level of determination, it is also very achievable. The whole project cost me roughly €1,500 and took eight months from manuscript to paperback. There were times when my motivation dropped off, and the project became a chore, but I was lucky enough to have a supportive family and friend group to keeping pushing me when I needed it most.
I soon learned that all those taxing hours become irrelevant the moment you hold your proof copy in your hands for the first time, as you essentially look on at a physical extension of your mind and soul. Something that you created through nothing but hard work, determination and a true love for the art form. Something that had never existed in the world up until that special moment. Something that could very well be your self-designed future.
Amy’s debut collection of poetry, A Beautiful Complexity, is retailing at €10.70 for the paperback edition and €3 for the Kindle edition. The collection is available to purchase online through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
About the author:
Amy O Connor is a 26-year-old Tipperary native, currently living and working in Cork City. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Limerick and last year returned home from Toronto, Canada, where she lived and worked for a year. While writing is her passion, Amy also embraces her creative side as part of her career in communications. She also runs a successful Instagram account, @aocpoetry, where she features her latest work and engages with her 8.2K followers.