My Self-Publishing Story
I first got the writing bug around age 12 but started with incredibly soppy poetry which always rhymed. From 13 onwards I wrote angst ridden teenage poetry, so embarrassing the existence of it probably shouldn’t be mentioned. Round about age 14 I wrote my first novel in the fantasy genre – Panthra. Due to the constraints of school and long hours spent at the ice rink training for competitions I abandoned my novel and began to write short stories. I however kept up the poetry and have piles of notebooks on a shelf as evidence of my early productivity.
After moving to the UK my notebooks stayed tucked away in a trunk and didn’t see the light of day until I went off to university as a mature student. Even with all the required reading I still managed to write a fair amount of poetry and began the bare bones of an idea for a science fiction novel which centred round the environment. I finished this novel before I started my teacher training but it was left to languish on a computer disc. Remember those?
A good many years into my teaching career I found myself whiling away odd moments between planning and marking, on a rather long short story (15,000 words) about a young woman who has a terrifying ability. This was the piece of writing I decided to take along to my writing holiday in Skyros. The group comments I received about this story spurred me to leave teaching so I could focus on writing. When I told my dad of my decision he didn’t blink an eye and supported me without a moment’s hesitation.
In 2012 my dad died and my rebellious streak asserted itself in a desire to do something to honour his passing. I now had a completed novel from the 15,000 word fragment. I was editing whilst sending letters and emails to agents and publishers – getting the usual rejection mail as expected. But my father’s death prompted me to do SOMETHING more concrete with my novel which now had a title – Six Dead Men.
Unbelievably, an opportunity arose to publish in e-book format without any expenditure on my part at all through a beta website called Autharium. At that time e-publishing was a much debated topic and people were convinced it would have no place in the world. I thought, “Well, what the heck – it’s not costing me a penny.” So I forged ahead.
I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was doing but the e-book went into the world and I told my friends and family all about it. I made the sum total of £12 in royalties and could not have been prouder.
What I hadn’t counted on was all the other stories in my head just begging to be let out. So naturally, I had to do something about them. My first toe dipping experience of self-publishing stirred the desire to write more, learn more, develop as both a writer and independent author. I realised I’d started something which needed to be taken to the next level and the next thereafter.