Today I am so pleased to welcome Rebecca Cohen to Joyfully Jay. Rebecca has come for the second of her series of posts about her self publishing journey for her book Captain Merric. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

New Adventures on the High Seas of Self-Publishing

Welcome to my second in a series of posts where I am exploring the idea of self-publishing and extending a short into a novel. Last time I prattled on about the extension, and now I’m moving on to casting anchor on the good ship self-publishing.

Up until this point in my writing career, I have been published by small presses, but with the upsurge in self-publishing and recent closure of romance houses, I felt with my new project that I had the opportunity to try something new. Captain Merric my newly extended pirate escapade, is ready for its role as my virgin *cough* sacrifice.

I’m very keen to have a quality product. I want to be proud when I launch Captain Merric into the world. Now as good as first draft can be, it is still a first draft, and I know the limitation of my own writing well enough to realize that I’ll need help to make my rough diamond sparkle. A large part of my day job is project management, so as you can imagine I set out on this adventure with a bloody long to-do list, and brainstormed everything I needed. I read more blog posts on self-publishing than I thought even existed and wheedled info out of wonderfully patient fellow authors and finally settled on a plan.

I think I really should mention that my wonderful plan had a carefully constructed timeline that I completely buggered up. It took me much longer to get to the first draft finished than I’d imagined – and add in unexpected kiddie illness and my lovingly crafted timeline went poof!

Anyway, once I was finally on the way, I sent the beast to a couple of betas. I’ve worked with two fellow authors, Lillian Francis and Elin Gregory before, and as always they gave me wonder insightful feedback (and each had their own preferences – Elin told me I was on my own for the sex scene LOL!)  and helped me start the of transition first draft. Beta readers are worth their weight in gold, and I highly recommend an author to get a couple whether they are submitting to a publisher or self-publishing (I actual have several betas I can call on but once again my timing screwed up my master plan….). For me I’m too close to the words to see the issues and this is an excellent way to stop the plot holes swallowing you up!

Now, here’s the tricky part – editing. Some writers are lucky, they can self-edit and have the most amazing manuscript. I can’t. Boy, can’t I – I am the queen of the bloody long sentence. That’s one of the many reasons why I originally went with a publisher, so I needed an editor. Now I have worked with a couple in the past, and thanks to my timeline snafu an editor I had happily worked with before was now not available when I was ready. I really like the idea of having two different editors, so I had a second editor lined up for later, thankfully she was available to step into the breach and I handed the captain over for a complete scrub down. Finding the right editor within your budget is very important. And I have found two lovely ladies to work with who really get my writing and are able to dig deep and root out my issues. Now I have bad experiences in the past, so you may have to undergo trial and error to find someone to work with, and for me it’s not just about the edit but the communication.

Where I am now is in the midst of the second round of edits (the editor I work with will do several rounds – not all do and you need to decide what it is will work for you), and I have another copy editor lined up for later. This is my way of getting the shiny diamond, not all authors need or want multiple rounds or editors but for Captain Merric appears to be working.

Next time I’ll share my mind-boggling trip into the self-publishing platforms and hopefully by then I might have made up my mind what to do!


Here’s a brief glimpse of what’s in store (unedited so hot of the presses!) – I couldn’t resist a sexy waterfall scene 😉


Even with roar of the falls he could hear Edward’s delighted laugh as he let the water pummel the back of his neck, pasting his long hair to the sides of his face. With a whoop of delight Edward launched himself into the pool with a glorious splash. He grinned at Daniel filling him with a deep pang of longing.

“You can’t enjoy the water from up there.”

Daniel ignored the voice of common sense that told him it would be terrible idea and stepped of the rock into the water. He kicked out to reach the surface, emerging to see Edward floating on his back as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Daniel envied him, he knew Edward had his own problems, being captain of the <em>Opal</em> did not come without its difficulties, but he seemed to be able to push them away and not think about them.

The water was divine, he’d swam in the sea from time to time, but this was nothing like that. No salt or waves, only the sounds of the forest with the birds singing and the waterfall. He floated over to the side, leaning against a rock for support and able to put his feet on the bed of pool. Edward swimming leisurely from side to side was a wonderful sight to behold. Daniel was glad his lower half was hidden beneath the surface as there would be no mistaking his ardour. His life didn’t afford much opportunity to indulge his sexual needs, not that he had many. But Edward had awoken something inside of him he thought had died.

He closed his eyes for a moment, soaking up the peace and tranquillity, cracking open an eye when he realised Edward was coming to join him. “You look happy. I don’t think I’ve seen you so at rest,” Edward said as he came to stop in front of him.

“The place is magical. Thank you for showing it me.”

Edward’s gaze lingered on Daniel’s lips. “My pleasure.” He stepped closer. “This is my special place—I don’t share it with others.”

“You shared it with me.” Daniel licked his lips, unsure how to decode the expression on Edward’s face.

“There is nothing I would not share with you.”


Captain-Merric-use-this-one1Draft blurb for the new Captain Merric (subject to – and very likely to – change):

Set adrift and left to die by his mutinous crew, the last person Daniel Horton, officer in the Royal Navy, expects to come to his rescue is Captain Merric, the infamous pirate. Merric is known as much for stealing his victims’ hearts as their jewels; however, Daniel’s world is about to be turned upside as he recognises Captain Merric as none other than Edward Merriston, a man he’d once loved, lost and grieved for.

Edward can’t believe Daniel Horton is on his ship. Learning that Daniel thought him dead and hadn’t dismissed him all those years ago, Edward will do everything in his power to get Daniel to give them a second chance of happiness. Daniel needs to get back to a British port to save his reputation and to brings his subordinates to justice, but Captain Merric is not about to let him go without a fight.


r-for-rebecca1REBECCA COHEN is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.



For your chance to win a copy of the ebook of Captain Merric, once published, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’ll pick the winners (4 in total – one from each post), after the cover reveal in March – so plenty of time to comment. The contest will close Monday, March 26th at 11:59 pm ET. 

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FILED UNDER: Excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post
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