How I became a writer (4) – Hopes and dreams

As I finished reading Afaris, I realized that the story had huge potential. The story could be a masterpiece, best there ever was, but in the small country of Romania, all hopes and dreams are lost. Here, the story would die for sure. I had to take it out in the world.

So I started to search for a translator. I wanted someone to translate it from Romanian into English, someone with experience. I talked with over six translators until I found a good one. The translation process was long and expensive, it took almost a year to complete. But this gave me time to study. I started to learn more about publishing and self-publishing, I read other successful authors stories, how they made it, I started making plans, how to get the book to as many people as I can.

I even tried to find a publisher in the UK. I sent the first four chapters of my book with an intention letter to 36 publishers and agents, hoping that I will find one to publish it. All I got were 36 rejections. Yes, it was very demoralizing, but I didn’t give up. I knew that my story is good, very good. I knew how hard it is to appreciate a good work when its name is zero and I realized that a successful writing career is 99% work, waiting and hoping and 1% luck.

Thus I shifted my plan towards self-publishing. I hired a very talented graphic designer to take care of my cover (and he did an amazing work if you ask me). On May 2017 the book was ready. It had the cover, it was translated and it was ready for publishing. My plan was simple: I will upload it on Amazon, I will try to get her as high as I can and maybe, in time, I will find a good publisher. In this time I could start writing again and also publish the second book of the Afaris series.

I was nervous, as the time to launch it came closer. But I was also very excited. On the second of May, I launched it on Amazon and made it free for five days. Shared it with friends, family and everyone I knew. I don’t think anyone read more than two pages, but the true surprise came from an unexpected place. I shared my book with the community of 9gag and the book had over 5000 downloads in those five days. A few tens of them even bought the book after the promotion was over. Hundreds of them fully read it and tens of them from all around the world and of all ages messaged me to congratulate me and most of them asked for a sequel. That was the moment I knew I have to keep going.

In the next months I hired another translator to double check the book (it was full of mistakes back then), I hired an editor for the Romanian manuscript, hired a firm to build a website so that I can deliver my book all over the world, paid for paging of the two books, spent months trying to find a good typography. Even got scammed once, I ordered 500 books and they made them terrible. The writing on the back was blurry, the colors were faded. Overall, it was a cheap work. At first, I wanted to use them, but then I told my self that it has to be perfect, so I started all over again, searching for a new typography. In the meantime, I changed the font of the book with an original one, a better one. Hired three different typography to print the book. It was a lot more expensive, but I wanted to make sure that at least one makes it damn good. The process was very hard and expensive, spent all my savings on it, re-read Afaris over seven times, but in the end, it went out good. Damn, I made so many mistakes because of my lack of experience, made so many unnecessary expenses. But I learned a lot from them and Afaris 2 should come out a lot easier.

Honestly, looking back, if I knew that it would be so hard to publish a book, I don’t think I would have the nerve to do it. But what kept me motivated through all these hard months were the messages I got from the 9gag community.

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