The self-publishing can of worms.

Agent number 73 was a no. They were all no’s. Not that I’m really surprised. Aside from my psychology award I have no noteworthy experience as a writer and, as many of the agents said to me, it is a very subjective industry. I suppose they need to take on well known clients, or people with some previous publication history, to know they’ll be able to sell the book. Sally Bloggs over here has none of that.

Never mind though. Initially I was well and truly gutted but after 150 rejections I decided my ego couldn’t take anymore battering so off I hopped onto the ever popular self-publishing band wagon.

Oh My God! Daunted is somewhat of an understatement. And that’s coming from someone who had actually done some prior research into the area. Nothing could have prepared me though. From book-signings to blog tours to facebook groups, and then there’s the cost.

Thousands of pounds to get your book into print format, the cover design, marketing, distribution, more marketing.

Its definitely not the easy way out that many people seem to see it as. There are (a lot of) people out there who think they can make a quick quid or two from posting their cheap looking novels in a few facebook groups, but that just aids in promoting a negative image of the self-publishing world.

To get to a decent looking novel in these groups you have to scroll down past tens of covers of half naked/fully naked people by which point you give up. In addition, the sites, even though having thousands of members, are all filled with authors competing for wall space so its unlikely your going to make a sale. It sort of reminds me of a virtual cattle market.

Overall, Self-publishing is by no means an easy way to earn some cash. The hours are long, the expense is great and you need to really love what you do to make it work.

Still, i’m hoping that the rewards will be there. For me it isn’t about earning money, although a few quid would be nice, its about doing something I love and creating something that others will love. 🙂

 

 

Why Writing?

People sometimes wonder why I decided to start writing, after all, my CV is cram-packed with healthcare and psychology related experience. I love psychology and as my friends and family know I am always keen to get the root of a problem and pull it out.

I suppose this is where my love of writing comes from. I am not someone who finds conversation easy. It’s often after the argument/debate/hissy fit that I’ll suddenly realise ‘Damn, I should have said….’ but nevertheless, I can’t help myself digging, even though I know it can be self-destructive.

That is why writing is magic. If I could have all my important conversations via essay I would be very happy. Never again would I be laid awake on a night wishing I would have said something else, because all I have to do is pull out my lap top and add it in. Ta Da!

It was very much the same for me when I wrote my first novel. I could really get in there and perfect it, filling in a bit here, taking out a bit there until it is polished and as perfect as I can make it. There’s something very soothing about printing out 300+ pages and having a stack of written words in front of you… or maybe that’s just me.

It’s also an incredibly good distraction when things get too much to deal with and I started writing seriously during a very difficult time. Over the space of three years I became a single parent, started a business, completed a post-grad and teaching course, lost two grandparents and a great-grandparent, had a house sale fall through, another relationship breakdown, my son diagnosed with autism and to top it all off I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder myself.

I genuinely believe that it was writing that got me through that time as I could block everything else out and have control over something, even if that something was as small as re-reading the same sentence over and over. Early on in that time was when I decided to write seriously.

I strongly urge anyone who is going through a hard time to find something, anything that they can lose themselves in: Art, music, poetry, anything that can take the edge off the trouble in a healthy way.

It became clear to me that being a single parent and a career woman was not a possibility for me. (I have so much respect for the single parents out there who manage a full time job as well; the parenting part alone is like 2 full time jobs.) I decided it was time I focused on something which would allow me to spend as much time with my boy as possible.

I had always written poems, essays and even kept a diary and my head was always buzzing with new ideas for stories, (I am perfectly happy to admit I am a drama queen.) so I decided I had nothing to lose. I bit the bullet and started self-studying while also setting up a small laundry and ironing service to enable me to pay the bills.

I am confident that eventually I will get published. My work may not be JK Rowling or George RR Martin-eske but there is much worse work out there. I am currently going through the arduous task of agent hunting, but query number 73 wasn’t a no. It wasn’t a yes either but a ‘get in touch after X-mas’ which was enough of a boost to keep me plodding on through those listings. 

 

 

Hello world!

Hello. I have finally made it to the blogging world after much deliberation. Seems it wasn’t as complicated as i’d thought. I have two purposes in being here, firstly to support my writing career, and secondly to slowly develop a site to help and support people with mental health issues.

I’m an award winning psychology post graduate but I am new to the creative writing scene. I started writing short stories around 12 months ago and  I have found my passion, and skill, lie in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I will be posting numerous short stories etc, in order to promote my debut novel Eden: The Eighth Day. The Series, Eden, is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic fantasy with a roman undertone and it is something I have thoroughly enjoyed writing and can’t wait until the day when i get to see it out there in the real world.

As for my other ambitions for being here, I would really like to give something back and put some valuable and personal experiences to enable people to, or at least begin working towards, overcoming limitations.

Mental illness can be so crippling and, for me at least, getting help for unseen problems has been a huge mountain to climb. The books cost money and never really do what they say on the tin, the wave of the hand in the doctors surgery because they don’t really know what to say, and the loneliness. How can you explain or describe something which hurts in your mind? (hey doc, the old amygdala’s playing up again today!) you don’t know what it is, you know it isn’t normal but you can’t describe it.

About 12 months ago I finally got through to someone and was diagnosed with having Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Bi-Polar disorder. Since diagnosis I have felt much more certain that I can still achieve success, the limitations being something which is possible to overcome and even capitalise on.

With every weakness comes and equal and opposite strength. That’s my belief at least. Although I may agonise for weeks over a mis heard comment from a friend, I can apply that very same overthinking skill to my writing. My preference towards perfection earned me awards for my academic work and hopefully it should pay off in my creative writing too.

Of course it wont always be so clear cut though, but my point is to make your life work for you rather than the other way round. Aim for the ideal but be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.

I saw an image recently floating around on facebook where a monkey, an elephant and a lion are all asked to climb a tree. That is the perfect example of how our self-esteem gets broken in the first place. But if you can accept that you are not a monkey (hard, I know. They are pretty darn cute.) and that you are a lion than you might just become the best hunter out there.

An example could be ADHD. Someone with ADHD is always going to struggle in an environment where they have to sit at a desk and concentrate on a boring task all day. It isn’t fair to compare them to their colleagues. However, with a very active mind they may excel in presentations or in customer service. Just an example.

This is what I want though. Although I have postgraduate psychology education, I am still not a psychologist. That dream was replaced when my beautiful little boy came along in 2011, Now? I want to be mum first, but I still have this huge yearning to do something, to help in someway.

I have a strong in-built belief that while ordinary people can achieve ordinary things, exceptional people get to achieve exceptional things. If you’re ever in doubt just remind yourself of that.