The Governor’s Man, published in May 2021 by Sharpe Books.

In my last blog in April, I described my emotions on securing publication for a novel that had taken years, on and off, to write. Since then I’ve been grappling with how it feels to be published, and marvelling at the road to publication.

The first shock was how quickly everything moved. I’ve been published before, but up to now it was short stories in magazines or anthologies, where the readership was already in place and the editing relatively lightweight. (The sole exception being a longish short story published in SFerics 2017, which the editor felt needed a gender role-reversal between the two main characters. I did not agree, and went through the whole 8000+ words changing “he said” to “she said” with gritted teeth. I am big enough to confess now that she was, as editors nearly always are, correct. The story is much the better for it.)

With Governor’s Man only a light edit was needed, largely thanks to the comprehensive job already done on the script before submission by independent editor Gemma Taylor. Mainly I cut the word count back from 94k to under 84k. I was amazed at how easy that was, despite being convinced beforehand that not a word was to spare. So it only took a week or so to get the trimmed-down version agreed with Sharpe’s editors.

The book itself was now in final shape. My publishing name was changed from JS Rogers, which I’d used for my previous published works in different genres, to Jacquie Rogers. The book title was likewise changed from my longer working title. I thought I was good to go.

How wrong I was. I’d been vaguely aware for some time that my blogsite, which has served many useful purposes over the years, had become bloated and difficult to navigate. I called on the services of Shika Finnemore, who is not only brilliant at marketing and web development, but by good fortune is a family member. You have her to thank for the great shape the site is in now. I hope you enjoy exploring it.

The month or so Shika and I thought we had to conduct that transformation went way too fast. Then Sharpe Books, who are nothing if not experienced and efficient, sent me the stonking cover they designed (see in the side bar and banner below). Less than 24 hours later, last Thursday, The Governor’s Man went live on Amazon. Tara at Sharpe sent me the link, and I just stared at the Amazon page in total shock. I couldn’t believe this real vibrant book was the result of months of me tapping away in solitude.

At the same time I’ve had to get my head round a lot more social media. I’ve been using Facebook for years, more to keep in touch with friends than for any serious marketing of my work. I’d dabbled in Twitter, and recent began to use Instagram, because I enjoy sharing images. But I hadn’t really grasped how Twitter could help me. Fortunately my publisher weighed in, suggesting ways to boost my Twitter following and how to begin to build a list of book bloggers.

By now I had a hazy grasp that there was a lot more to this authoring game than writing a book, finding a publisher and sitting back. My screen time went up dramatically. I had a curt warning from my smartphone this week that I’m currently spending over seven hours a day online. And I can assure you none of that time is spent watching kitten videos. At least I now have a stunned appreciation of what being a published author requires.

Then there are the book blog tours; the networking with a twittersphere full of kind and approachable writers, so much more experienced than me; the garnering of endorsements; the burb-writing and emailing to all my contacts. That’s just the ebook launch. There’s still the print version to come in a couple of weeks.

At least I haven’t got the headache of having to select a designer frock for my Big Book Launch party. Coronavirus has kindly made that a postponed event. Perhaps a few hardy souls in waterproofs spaced apart in the garden…?

Perhaps not.

The Governor’s Man is out now on Amazon. Print version to follow soon.

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