Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Dare to Self Publish

Once upon a time, those who dared to self publish were ridiculed and looked down upon.

'Vanity publishing', as it was then known, was said with a sneer and the condescending subtext that if you had to pay to publish your work then that work had to be Crap with a capital C.

If you weren't able to get an agent / publisher and you didn't have the thousands of pounds required to publish your own book, then your book was destined to remain in Literary Limbo*. 

(*Literary Limbo can usually be found in a shoebox under the bed.)

But then the internet exploded on to the scene.

And hot on its heels, came the e-book.

Now, not only could anyone (with access to a computer) self publish, but they could do it for free.

Cue much hand-wringing from the great and the good of the literary world.

I was once on a panel with a couple of best-selling authors and a renowned literary agent. 

We were supposed to be giving a masterclass on how to get published.

When I recommended self publishing, I was greeted with a mixture of horror and disdain from my fellow panellists.

They then went on to practically beg the audience not to self publish.

'There's far too many awful books out there already,' one of them cried. 'Please don't add to them!'

They reminded me of those spoilt brats in the playground who only let a select few play their game.

'Don't threaten our elite little club,' they seemed to be saying, 'We need to feel special.'

As you might have guessed, I cannot bear this attitude.

I believe that we all have the right to express ourselves in any way we choose.

We all have the right to write.

And we all have the right to publish our writing if we want to.

Over the past couple of years, there has been a definite sea change.

The term 'vanity publishing' has disappeared from publishing parlance.

Self publishing - both the term and the act - is becoming more and more commonplace.

Sometimes, it's even referred to as 'indie publishing'. Seriously, could it get any more rock-n-roll?!

I know of many traditionally published authors who are now choosing to self-publish books.

I also know of many self-publishing authors who, having built a readership, go on to win book deals with major publishing houses.

In my own case, my first four books were traditionally published. 

Then I chose to self publish my debut young adult novel.

This novel, Dear Dylan, went on to win a national book award, and win me a four book deal with a traditional publishing house.

But next week, I'm going to be self publishing a non-fiction book called, Finding Your Inner Cherokee.

I have chosen to self publish it as an e-book because I want to be able to give it away for free.

And that to me, sums up the joy of self publishing.

It gives you full control over your work.

It gives you freedom of expression.

It gives you the freedom to set your own price - and even give away books for free!

And really, what could be better than that?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

You Are Still a Writer

Sometimes, it can feel like the hardest thing in the world to actually sit down and write.

Sometimes, it feels as if the whole world is conspiring to stop you putting pen to paper.

And this can be a real pain in the butt!

Last week, I was coaching a writer.

One of her main frustrations was having to juggle so many things that she felt as if her writing was being forced on to the back-burner.

I could relate straight away - and I bet so many of you can too.

If you need to earn a living, go to school or college, or bring up a family it can be exhausting trying to write as well. 

And so sometimes, you give up trying.

But if writing is your passion, not being able to write can feel like a part of you - a vital part - is withering away.

And this makes you feel crotchety


on edge.

But all is not lost.

For those times in your life where you are genuinely too busy or too tired to write, remember this:

You are still a writer.

You still have thinking time.

You can still be plotting and planning in your head.

You can still be growing characters in your imagination.

You can still be jotting ideas down in a notebook.

You can still be allowing a story or poem to percolate.

You can still be using your life experiences as inspiration.

You can still call yourself a writer 

Because writing is in your blood.

You are still a writer.