Back Again–Jumping (and bumbling) Publishing Pirouettes

Hello peeps!

It’s been a while.

As some of you know, I’ve been scrambling to get things ready for an upcoming book release–and it’s been so frustrating!

But let us go back a while. Some of you are aware I’d been trying to get an agent (started querying June 2020). I spent months getting rejected–until I was told by a few that Agents preferred to work closely with authors, and giving my end-of-the-world location, I was a big NO! from the first paragraph in the query: “My name is Jina S. Bazzar, and I’m a Palestinian author.” 👌So I searched and found a nearby agency. Well, there’s a 3 hour flight between us, but at least we’re in the same continent. 😁And yay, the agent offered me a contract after reading the manuscript. Cue the dancing. 🎶

But as days turned into weeks and then a month with not a word from the agent, I decided to send an inquiry, and hey, we were still on. Just some internal details to be finalized. And then more days turned into weeks and, another inquiry, and reassurances and a few months later, I realized I was being strung along.

So I decided it was time to push up my sleeves and do this on my own. Being in a very small dot on a map meant Amazon KDP only offered its bear minimum, so I put in my Brazilian details.

Now able to use its exclusivity program, I went in for the final details – editor, book cover, digital and paperback layout and so on. Despite those having been frustrating, I had friends helping – Tyler Colins (the book’s editor), and E. Denise Billups (who did the layout formats) again, thank you. As for book cover, after a brief stint on fiver, I decided my best bet was a professional designer. But $500 + was some of the cheapest I could find, so I crossed US book covers from the list and moved to Brazilian ones.

He rose. She fell. They met on a glamorous path to ruin.

I set release date far enough (December 21st, 2021) to give myself enough time should unexpected obstacles popup, and hey, there were (and still are) so darn many! 😢

First was the ISBN number for the paperback. Since I planned to include the paperback version on Ingram Sparks as well, I couldn’t accept KDP’s free ISBN. But ISBN from the US would cost me $125, and honestly, I balked. Countless frustrating hours later, I learned that I could buy an ISBN from anywhere in the world, providing I had the necessary documents. So I tried buying it from here first. Well, the page link was broken, ha-ha-ha, and I put that aside. I checked ISBN in Brazil, and wow, it cost $5. So I eagerly filled all the necessary information – which took me about two hours, since the page wasn’t so accessible to screen readers (seriously, that’s getting old fast). And then, when it came time to pay, they refused payment from my bank (which is Brazilian), asking instead for payment through another (also Brazilian) bank (which I don’t have an account in). They did have another option for other banks that didn’t involve credit cards, but I’d need to be there to use it, so, wall, meet my face.😒

I went back to that broken link, discovered that the URL belonged to a branch of a local university, and I googled that university. Nothing so simple as a link saying ISBN here, of course, so I reached out to the library.

Of course, there was no reply. (Did you believe after all the above, that it would be that easy?) 🤷‍♀️

So, I went back to KDP, telling myself when I figured the ISBN problem, I could trim the book size to a new one, and use that one for Ingram Sparks (each book size has its own ISBN).

So, ISBN appointed through KDP, I got both the digital and paperback forms uploaded, with the digital set on pre-order. Yay. ✌



Time to gather book reviews and set up some ads so I could get eyes on the book.

First, of course, I contacted reviewers I knew. Out of 60 some emails, I got 5 replies.🤔

Mmm, maybe their emails changed. So I went hunting for them on social media and discovered that many of them haven’t posted for months, some even years. Given what’s happening around the globe, I wondered if they were okay, but put them aside as nothing I could do about. So I started reaching out to other reviewers, and while I waited for replies, I decided to tackle some ads.

Since some indie friends I know mentioned Bookbub ads , I headed there first. And discovered their page is mostly inaccessible to the blind. Well, I discovered that long ago when I tried posting reviews and recommending books I read, but I honestly thought their ad page would be accessible. Foolish me. 🤦‍♀️

Complaint sent to their customer service, I headed to amazon and hey, their page is accessible. But… yes, of course there’s a but: I can’t access their payment billing with paypal, so I’ll need that other payment method the Brazilian ISBN people asked for.

I admit there was plenty of hair-yanking.

So now while family members in Brazil scramble to get my bank account in order, I find myself in limbo, hands tied with nothing to do but reach out to reviewers. The problem? 200 emails and change, and I’ve rarely got back any reply– I wonder if my emails are going to spam?

So there it is, peeps, the condensed version of a few months and a lot of frustration, sprinkled with some achievement.

Any author here have any good suggestions – for book reviewers, places where I can put up some ads? Any readers here interested on a free e-book in exchange of a review when the book releases? 🤞

Ps: On an unrelated note, it only took me two days to get this post up and (hopefully) presentable.

51 Replies to “Back Again–Jumping (and bumbling) Publishing Pirouettes”

  1. What a pain all those walls were, but kudos to you for keeping at it. As they say, when one door closes, another opens. Sometimes it takes a few but, ultimately, we get there. I love the cover . . . and loved the book, of course. It’s a great read!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my goodness, Jina, what a pain you’ve been through. I’m surprised you have any hair left. lol I think I’d be bald after all that. I LOVE your cover! Your book looks so exciting!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t even mention ACX… 😀
      But I’m determined to see this through. I’ll give up if, after publication by a few months, I’m still stuck on ground 0.
      But yes, each time I find some inaccessible page, I’m sending out my feedback. I sent one to librarything a few days ago and got a “maybe you can have someone help you” comment to which I said no, then crossed them from my list.
      Thanks for the visit though, Jacqui, and sorry for the long complain.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a nightmare of coordination, Jina! And I thought writing a book was the hard part. Congrats on your perseverence. I have my copy of preorder, but I’m be happy to read in advance and get you an early review. I thoroughly enjoy your work. Send me a note if you’re interested.Hugs ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Writing for me (from drafting to revisions and yes, even editing) is the easiest part. I’m hoping that with all the bumbling I’m doing now, that the process will be easier for coming books.
      I’d love that early-ish review, Diana, thank you. I’ll email you the book.
      Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You are a hero persevering through all that. My goodness!! Hair-yanking indeed! I hope the rest of the journey is a bit smoother – have you joined Goodreads by chance? That’s a pretty big writer hub for getting beta readers and early reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Oooh didn’t realize it was expensive – I haven’t looked into joining it myself but the publishers put my book on there so that’s how I knew of it.


    1. I’m on Gr and a few of their ARC groups, but have yet to sit and figure out how to post there. I tried the other day and the post appeared on my book page 😂
      I also joined some fb groups – and got spammed with advertisers and marketing people.
      I’ll keep searching – I’m determined to get this thing right.
      Thanks for the visit and have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. GR is a weird animal – I’ve been trying to claim my profile on there forever and they keep rejecting me! I don’t know how many more things I can give them to prove it’s my profile lol


  5. I really feel for all the run around you’ve had! Not something I have any experience with but there are many published authors here on WP 🙂

    Firstly I would strongly recommend Roberta, in South Africa, she has published all types of books and has many contacts and does great reviews! And also Michelle, Malaysia/Philippines, who has been mainly self-publishing but knows her way around …

    Good luck with it all!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Oh my word, Jina, what a nightmare! The mind boggles just reading your post. I can’t imagine all the hoops you had to jump through. The book cover is stunning.
    For promo and advertising I’ve had some good luck with The Fussy Librarian.
    If you’re planning a blog tour, I’ll be happy to host you. LMK!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Mae.
      I’ve used the fussy librarian before. Once with success for a free book, another for a deal – and no sales.
      I did take a look there, but they only promote free books and discounted ones.
      I’ll use them for when the book is discounted.

      I’m not sure about tours yet, I haven’t had much luck with those in the past, but I’ll keep you in mind if I do.
      Have a wonderful sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like a nightmare, but your cover is beautiful and hopefully everything gets sorted 🙂
    As a reader I’m signed up to Voracious Readers Only and Hidden Gems. Voracious Readers offer a free 20 book giveaway by the looks of it, but I have no idea how much it costs for more copies or how effective it is as they don’t chase readers for reviews much:
    Hidden Gems I believe is more expensive, but they have a strict policy on removing accounts who consistently don’t review:
    Both sites match your book with readers of the book’s genre, and as a reader I’ve discovered a few books this way, but I’m not sure how accessible the sites are.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jina, first congratulations on soon publishing ‘From Fame to Ruin’! A terrific cover and presentation. Blimey, I feel for you and your publishing journey. Your stoicism and resilience are commendable. It must have been so frustrating with the agents and goodness knows why they just couldn’t be honest with you. There is so much to learn along the way and you seem to have taken lots on board and it’s brilliant you’re being so proactive on promotion. Like many others, my blogging and reviewing are far less regular these days and I’m currently so far behind on promised reviews. I’ll definitely keep your book in mind though. Wishing you a great launch and enjoy the excitement of releasing your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I got a headache just reading about your struggles.
    I think the cover looks great!
    I’d offer to read your ebook, but whenever I left a review for my blogging friends in the past, Amazon never posted it. We never found out why. Maybe I should reach out to customer support or something…
    Happy New Year!


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