Monday, 11 July 2011

E-publishing. Tales of frustration and delight

There are a number of excellent blogs and web-sites which will give you a great insight into how to self-publish on Kindle and other e-readers. Here are two just for a start. The first is by the ever-informative David Gaughran.

The second is the website of Dean Wesley Smith

The series of blogs that I am about to write aims to serve a different function. This is to tell how I went about getting published, the mistakes I made and how I overcame them, the frustration, (there was and continues to be plenty) and the joy and delight at seeing my books on the internet and being bought.

So, first, a little back-story. Since the age of twelve I always had two ambitions. One was to be a teacher (all those holidays) and the second was to be a writer. I taught for twenty years. More importantly, I have written continually since the age of eleven.

I had minor success. Lots of encouraging rejection letters, a competition winner, a story on radio. In 2008 I won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story in the style of The Wind in the Willows. As well as winning, and getting a certificate, I had the pleasure of seeing my story in print and the cover of the anthology featuring a scene from my story. I also sent submissions off to agents and publishers without being taken up.

When I had a serious accident three things happened. The first was that I lost focus on my business. The second was that my injuries meant it was difficult for me to turn over even a paperback book without dropping it on the floor. So, the third thing that my accident caused was my purchase of an e-reader. I couldn't get a Kindle for a month so I bought a Sony reader instead. I fell in love with the thing.

My life continued to change. I enrolled on a creative writing course with my old university, UEA. I wrote much more than I had ever done before.

And then I heard about Stephen Leather.

Stephen Leather does not write the sort of book I normally read. However, I was intrigued by his novella, The Basement. I enjoyed it and began to read more about him by looking on his website.

I was struck by his generosity in talking about his writing. Most of all I was fascinated by his arguments for why he published e-books. I thought, if such a successful author as Stephen Leather writes e-books then there was no shame in me doing so. Then he mentioned Amanda Hocking.

All residual thoughts of the perils of self-publishing and vanity publishing flew out of the window. I started on my journey.

Tomorrow, How I chose what to publish and my first big mistake

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