I Was a Writer But Balboa Press Helped Me Become an Author

From time to time in this space, Balboa Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. These are the words of Raewyn Harlum, author of “I Was Only Nineteen“ and “Coming Out: Memoir of a Psychic”. You can find out more about Raewyn and her book on her website, www. RaewynHarlum.com, and Facebook. Download the Balboa Press free publishing guide to receive more information on self-publishing your book with Balboa Press.  


My name is Raewyn Harlum and I have been a writer from the age of eight years, but my publishing journey with the lovely people at Balboa Press turned me into an author. I still sometimes say aloud “I am an author.”

I started writing my first book ‘I Was Only Nineteen,’ after my husband died. In the cold, dark, lonely nights of that cruel winter,  I would write and eventually fall asleep just before dawn. I had to tell the story for the daughter I had to relinquish, who did not understand how hard my life had been when she was born, and that at that time I had no other alternative. In fact at that time I also had no hope for a future.

SKU-000986074My second book ‘Coming Out: Memoir of a Psychic,’ started out as just memories jotted down for my grandchildren, but then halfway through I realized it was going to be a book.

I asked the Universe to find me a publisher. I did not have any idea how to find one. A friend rang me one day and asked if I had read Louise Hay’s book ‘You Can Heal Your Life.’ When I finished the book, I read in the back the address for Hay House Publishing. I rang and asked what did I have to do to submit a manuscript and was told that they were not taking any more until 2016, so I asked if I could have the number of a Self-Publishing business and was given the number of Balboa Press.

My first contact was with Alexa, who told me she would be my Publishing Consultant. How grand that sounded to an aspiring author.

Alexa told me that I would still have total control of my book from start to finish. She sent me a document in which I read about the three stages I would go through.

1) Submission of my manuscript. There was a checklist so my manuscript would follow guidelines set by Balboa Press.

2) Production, where I would work with the design team, review e-proofs and approve revised e-proofs.

3) Distribution, which started with printer set-up.

SKU-000984357I was then assigned a Publishing Services Associate, Mary, who was my check-in-co-ordinator. She took me through the steps of submitting my manuscript. She was always available when I had a question to ask.

Every step of the publishing process, someone was there to guide and help me.

I must admit, I was a real greenhorn when I submitted my first manuscript, ‘I Was Only Nineteen’’, in fact I cringe when I think that I did not even have a space between each chapter, because I thought that the printer would do that. By the time I submitted my second manuscript, ‘Coming Out: Memoir of a Psychic’ I had learnt so much and now my mantra is rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

At first I had resisted having an editor thinking I could save money and do it myself – how naïve. I learnt so much from the editors who helped me with both books. All that valuable information is stored in my memory to help me make my third book the best it can be. My editors polished up my material, which they said showed promise.

What a marvellous, exciting, and educational journey publishing my two memoirs has been, too many people to name and thank for their help during the journey.

How surreal the moment when I received an email from Adie, “Congratulations, your title has gone live.”

I jumped in the air and yelled “YES, I am an author.” My cat Panda came running when he heard the commotion.

“Mummy is an author Panda,” I told him.

Thank you Balboa Press!

Balboa Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BalboaPress, by tweeting us @BalboaPress, or by emailing dghosh@ balboapress.com. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. Balboa Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *