How does it feel to have my first novel published?

by Marie Marshall

At last my first novel Lupa is published. It was taken up by an independent publisher in South Africa who offered me a commercial contract. It feels as though the novel has had a long gestation period – it was my first work of full-length fiction and I completed it in 2004, and so it is in some senses a ‘young’ work. I have doggedly resisted the temptation to self-publish or even to accept an ‘author-subsidised’ deal. To my mind conventional publication does still confer legitimacy on a written work. This is not to say that there are not some excellent self-published works out there, nor that conventional publishing exclusively promotes works of great literary merit. We can all point to the exceptions. Nevertheless – I have to tell you – this feels good!

At present the book is available in print or in Kindle form via Amazon. My SA publisher is currently struggling with the problems of printing in both SA and the UK, so a bookshop launch in either country is not imminent. But as so much of the book trade is now on-line Lupa will actually be available internationally before it hits its domestic markets! Who knows – it may end up being printed in China.

Another aspect of being taken on by an ‘indie’ publisher is that such a lot of the publicity and marketing will have to be do-it-yourself. I am going to have to plug it via this site, via social networking, and so on, hoping that people who say they like my writing will actually prove it with a purchase, will recommend it to friends, will write favourable reviews, and so on. Over to you, I guess!

I would like to thank my agent, my publisher, my friends Lucy (who insisted that I wrote this book in the first place) and Joey (who gave it its first critical read-through back in 2004) and everyone who has made this possible for me.