As a child, I wanted to write books when I grew up. I wrote stories for friends and family and dreamed of the day I could share my imagination with other people. I assumed all I needed to succeed in my chosen career was talent, and a solid grasp of the English language. When I became an adult, I found it wasn’t quite so simple.
Firstly, it takes a lot of time to write a book, but I also needed a paying job which took up most of my time. Secondly, I could devote every spare hour to this endeavour only to find no-one wanted to publish my book. I can understand why publishers are picky; the cost of a print run of thousands of books must be significant. But I needed a publisher, to arrange printing of the book, and to distribute it to book shops where people would go to browse. I didn’t get past the first hurdle – once I had a job, I didn’t have time to write.
Years later, I was made redundant. I got another job but after a few years, I was told I was going to be made redundant again. It seemed like a good time to reconsider a career as an author.
That’s when I discovered that the world of writing is very different now. I no longer need a publisher. Fewer people go to bookshops to browse, now people buy online and download e-books. I can publish my own work as an e-book.
The beauty of this is the elimination of the waiting time. I finished my book, The Lost Castle, on a Thursday, and by Sunday of the same week, somebody somewhere was reading it on their Kindle (thank you that person – you made my day!). I have also published a print-on-demand paperback, which means I only pay to print books that have already been ordered. And that’s all great…
The challenge is promoting the book. I could sell it at a heavily discounted price to get my name known, but I won’t make any money for some time with that approach. Many well-known bloggers, YouTubers and magazine and newspaper journalists will only review books they have been paid to read or that have been provided by a publisher with whom they have a relationship. Advertising also costs money, and I don’t have a publisher to help with any of this publicity.
So now, as well as being an author, I maintain a website and author pages, write a blog and tweet. So here’s the big question; will any of these efforts reach potential readers I don’t already know, or am I still writing stories for friends and family? Ask me in a few years.
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