This week we’re talking about Independence Day. As I’m from the UK and not too keen on voicing any political opinions, I’ve been informed that I can write about my journey as an independent author instead. So here goes:
After I’d written my first book ‘The Porn Detective’ in 2013 I was all set to find a literary agent and reap the rewards. However, I was soon to find out that this was not as easy as I had first thought. A London agency kept me hanging on tenterhooks for one whole week, but then decided not to represent me after all. Another agent liked the story and wanted me to re-write the whole book in the third person. When I had done this and sent it to her, she failed to reply. Many agents and several rejections later I was miserable and even more downhearted when another agent emailed back and told me that the story had already been covered in the book/film ‘Dear Jon’.
To cheer myself up I decided to shelve the project and write a humorous book. Thus ‘The Pilates Class’ was born. By the time I had finished it I had discovered Kindle Direct Publishing, and decided to self-publish both books. I then won a free edit in a Goodreads competition, sent off a few chapters of The Pilates Class as requested, and when the edited chapters came back I realised the layout of both of my books were all wrong.
I spent some time re-editing both books and then wrote my bestseller ‘A House Without Windows’. I happily sent it off to various literary agencies, but then I found out that Emma Donoghue had already written ‘Room’. No wonder I was receiving so many rejections! To top it all, thyroid cancer made an unwelcome resurgence, and after a third major operation I sat at home and waited to die.
However, I have an excellent surgeon. I didn’t die, and fortunately am still in remission. I continued self-publishing, and the continued moderate success of ‘A House Without Windows’ has given me the confidence to carry on writing, especially when it won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015. It continues to sell in 2016, and has just been translated into German. At the moment on Goodreads 2410 people want to read it.
After publishing three books I realised the importance of building an author platform. Most of the time I had previously spent writing was now given over to pushing the books I had already written under the noses of readers. The noses did not exactly sit up and take notice, and more often than not they turned up and sniffed, but nevertheless I carried on writing. So far I have completed 8 novels, 4 novellas and 18 short stories.
I learn something new every day about this writing process through reading others’ WordPress blogs. I continue to blog and have joined a couple of blogging groups. I stay active on Twitter and Facebook, have created a monthly newsletter on my website, and now have signed two of my manuscripts ‘Repent at Leisure’ and ‘The Donor’ over to Creativia Publishing, who have made a better job of the layout than I ever could. In time I may even sign them all over, but it’s early days yet.
My writing journey is still progressing, albeit agonisingly slowly. I can paper the walls with the amount of rejections I’ve received, but I sell one or two books every day whether they be e-books, paperbacks or audio books, and am having the time of my life doing something I love. Whoop!
Please do have a look at my Amazon author page if you have a minute. You can see what I’ve been doing while I’m sitting at home writing and not waiting to die:
How’s your journey going?
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