In March 2011 I went to a writers’ meeting in my local library. It seemed no different to any of the other meetings I’d attended; I got out my notebook, made myself a coffee and chatted to friends little suspecting that by the end of the meeting my life would be changed forever.
Our guest speaker that day was a young indie author called Penelope Fletcher, who was there to talk to us about self-publishing. She spoke clearly and simply about the process and how much she loved it. I remember thinking with absolute clarity, ‘I can do that’. So I did. As simple as that. Self-publishing has, quite literally, been a huge turning point in my life and I’d like to tell you just how I went from feeling bruised and battered by the whole publishing process to feeling confident and in control.
Prior to hearing Penelope speak I had no idea what was going on in the publishing world, I was completely unaware of the revolution that was taking place and was still sending off manuscripts to agents and publishers and then sitting and waiting patiently, knowing my place, for their replies. Nowadays, the immense power that agents and publishers once held over the fate of writers no longer exists and indie authors are a force to be reckoned with. Frankly, I count myself extremely lucky to have been a very small part of this revolution and for me the transformation has opened doors I didn’t even know existed.
Since March 2011 I’ve published the YA novel Unlucky Dip, 3 books in the children’s series The Burly & Grum Tales, 2 short stories in the same series, and I’m also working on making them into audio books.
If you’re hesitating about whether or not to self-publish, let me highlight some of the very positive aspects:
Self-publishing doesn’t actually have to cost you a penny - you can publish your book for free so you literally have nothing to lose by putting your book out there.
There are no rejection slips! Yay! I’ll say that again – there are no rejection slips!
You learn so much, it’s brilliant, exciting, wonderful! 2 years ago I didn’t even know what a kindle was. Now? I have books published in both e-reader and print format, I run a website, a Facebook page, write a blog and I tweet. I’ve learnt about marketing, how to edit and present a book, I’ve even made trailers and I’ve created an audio books (with more on the way).
You get to meet and talk to people who are on the same wavelength as you. I used to think I was a little odd and, indeed, it could be that perhaps the jury is still out on that one, but it is wonderful to talk to other people about storylines involving groblins, time travel, fairies, talking bears, etc. as if it’s the most normal thing in the world.
The whole process gives you hope – there is always that chance your book will take off. I was told I’d never be published. Can I just say a quick hello to Kitty Bullard from Great Minds Think Aloud Independent Publishing? Hi Kitty – thanks for signing me up!
It gives you confidence. I had so many doubts about my writing ability but over the last 2 years I’ve had some great reviews and over 150,000 of my books have been downloaded. My writing can’t be that bad!
It restores your faith in human nature. There are avid readers out there who love new authors, who want to encourage you. Let them see what you can do, don’t hide away!
I work full time and have a long commute into London, I help support my son who is now at University, I look after my father who lives locally and has Alzheimers. I’m not Superwoman, I’m an ordinary mum who has found something that gives me passion, and I’ll let you in on a secret - there is no Big Secret about how you go from feeling unsure and lacking in confidence to feeling great about your writing, it’s really very simple – just go ahead and self-publish. Dig out that book that’s lurking hidden in your computer, go on sites like Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu etc., read their instructions on how to upload your book and then do it. Yes, it takes concentration and effort, but when you read your own words on your Kindle or hold the printed version in your hand for the first time you will feel incredibly proud of your achievement. So to those of you who are hesitating - don’t - just take the plunge, be brave, hold your head high and be part of the indie revolution!
Burly and Grum
Unlucky Dip Amazon
I live in Essex with my son, who is studying at University, and my two cats, Puzzle and Bud. I’ve always loved writing and in January 2011 I got together with some friends and set up a writers’ group at our local library. One of our first guest speakers was a young lady called Penelope Fletcher who talked to us about self-publishing – I was so inspired I went back home, found some stories I’d written for my son when he was young and started the process of learning how to self-publish. I published 3 books in the Burly & Grum series and then in July 2012 was lucky enough to be signed up by GMTA. I’ve enjoyed every single second of my journey so far, learnt an incredible amount and I’m looking forward to the future!
There are always high stakes to play for in the world of gambling, but it’s a world 15 year-old Holly Maddon knows nothing about until her step-mother tries to kill her. The race is on as she tries to discover what her step-mother is up to and whether her father was murdered. She comes up against gangsters, multi-million pound land deals, treachery and deceit, she’s kidnapped, shot at and loses just about everything she loves – it’s a rollercoaster of a ride and Holly's intent on turning the tables.
Elizabeth Eisen is 23 year old freelance illustrator from North London. She graduated from the University of Westminster with a BA Hons in Illustration in 2011 and has since worked on commissions ranging from album artwork to editorial. Further examples of her work can be found at www.elizabetheisenillustration.co.uk.