An Author’s Guide to Self-Publishing

alan parkinson

Alan Parkinson, self-published author

“Meeting people for the first time, the usual ice breaker is “What do you do?”  Since I gave up my full time job I can now proudly proclaim “Writer.”  But then the inevitable follow up comes; “Are you published?”  Instead of answering in the affirmative, I usually mumble “Self published” as if it’s something to be ashamed of.

“We’ve come a long way since the days of vanity publishing and being self published is something to be proud of, yet there is still that nagging doubt that you aren’t a writer until a ‘proper publisher’ has noticed you.”

Regular listeners to the 99% Perspiration Podcast might remember Alan Parkinson from episode 16 of season 1.  Back then, Sunderland-based novelist Alan was juggling writing around his full-time office job, filling his early morning and evenings to unleash his creativity in ways he couldn’t during the day.  Fast-forward to now, and with a third novel nearing completion, self-published author Alan has traded in his full-time managerial office job to write novels full time.  He’s taken the plunge a lot of people dream of doing.

If you’re an emerging writer or author, read on.  Alan’s sharing his advice on self-publishing.  The pitfalls, the triumphs, and everything in between.

Continue reading “An Author’s Guide to Self-Publishing”

99% Extra – Sheila Quigley, thriller author

Sheila’s an hilarious woman.  She’s the kind of person you could easily spend an afternoon with and wonder where the time went.  She’s a best selling crime/thriller author with an impressive 10 novels under her belt, and a fan-base which stretches from her works’ local setting in Hougton-Le-Spring, all the way to death threats from Down Under (from her fans in Australia, who apparently really don’t want her to hurt their favourite character.)

“There’s a lot of luck in getting your work published, but it all depends who you’ve got behind you.  There are some fabulous people who’ll do anything for you in this business, it’s beyond belief, but there are also some turds.”

We’re sat in the corner of the National Glass Centre’s cafe, in conversation with the Houghton-Le-Spring crime writer, and it actually feels like a conversation.  She’s on our level, we’re on her’s.  And it’s so humbling to meet someone who’s as down to Earth as the people gathered to meet her.

“I don’t plan,” says Sheila.  “I’ll have a title in mind, and a blank screen.  And I never know where it’s going to end up.”  But that’s what makes writing so exciting for Sheila.  “To me, writing a novel is like reading a novel.  I always get surprised, and I never know what will happen from chapter to chapter.”  No planning?  No structure?!  Stick that in your Writing 101!  “Because I want to know what happens, that’ll compel me to write.”

12539979_10153916875438552_676560072_nShe doesn’t even keep a log of events/characters.  “It’s all in my head.  I didn’t have an imaginary friend as a child, I had a dozen.”  But keeping such a rich world in her head at all times has its drawbacks too.  “I need to write one novel at a time.”

Whilst Sheila admits she doesn’t get chance to read as much as she’d like, she says it’s a very important part of being a novelist.  However – and here’s what really surprised me – she doesn’t read any crime novels.  “My favourite book is ‘The Strand’ by Stephen King.  I’d recommend it to everyone.”

“Don’t bother writing if you’re just chasing a path to fame and a big pay check,” says Sheila, “you need to be invested.  If you really, really want to do it, for the love of it, do it.”

Sheila still values the old system of publishing; getting on board with a publisher and having them (to some extent) promote the book for you.  But she advises you should “start by seeking an agent first.  Most publishers won’t look at anything without an agent’s backing.”  But she also values self-publishing.  “I know of many people who’ve become successful through publishing work themselves, and then being picked up by an agent.”  

“There’s more opportunity for emerging writers now than there’s ever been.”

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It’s been a whirlwind of a journey for Sheila, since she began writing novels in 2004.  12 years and 10 novels later, it’s fascinating to learn some advice from one of the local greats.  But there are still some twists and turns in store Sheila had one of her biggest dreams-come-true:  Her debut novel ‘Run for Home’ was adapted for the stage and showcased at the Greater Manchester Fringe last year.  Sheila says she’ll never forget the experience of her.  “Seeing my characters come to life in-front of me was truly amazing.”

For any emerging novelists reading this, I’d thoroughly recommend you meet as many writers as you can.  If there’s a meeting, or a book signing, go and say “hi”.  Ask questions.  Make connections.  Because they may turn out to be thoroughly lovely people, like Sheila, and they may well start you on the right path.  “There’s a lot of luck in getting your work published, but it all depends who you’ve got behind you.”

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And, as always,
Stay productive, stay awesome!

Jay Sykes
Executive Producer, 99% Perspiration

Episode 16 – Recognising Your Value

On Episode 16 of 99% Perspiration:

Laura Lucas is a leadership and business coach, who “specialises in helping ambitious business owners, leaders and professionals set and achieve their goals.”

 

Laura Lucas

Click here to listen to Laura Lucas

 

Living in Dundee, Scotland, Laura launched inspirential.com in 2014, which provides training and guidance to help business flourish. They say “time is money”, but in Episode 16, you can hear Laura’s take on the value of both time & money.

Laura shares with us her specific guidance for creative types, and talks about her upcoming 7-day course on Periscope for graphic designers, and how they can make the most of their creative work.

Alan Parkinson is a self-published writer living in Sunderland, who manages to find time to write alongside a full-time job. His first novel, Leg It, is available on Amazon, and his second novel, Idle Threats, is due for release in the next couple months.

Click it to hear from Alan Parkinson, author of Leg It

Click it to hear from Alan Parkinson, author of Leg It

 

He’ll be the first to admit he’s not a natural with self-promotion, but over time Alan has learned key lessons about how to promote yourself as a writer, and has strong advice for people who are looking to take the plunge with releasing a novel.

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Until next time,

Stay productive, stay awesome!

Episode 9 – “You Can’t Go Wrong with a Badger with Guns”

99% Perspiration - @99Podcast

Click here to listen to the podcast on iTunes

 

Episode 9 features well-known graphic novel writer Bryan Talbot. His incredible creations include Granville, Brainstorm, the Adventures of Luther Arkwright, and Alice in Sunderland.

Then we go from a heavyweight in the world of graphic novels to one of the foremothers of community radio in the UK; Caroline Mitchell, well-known for setting up Fem FM, a female-only-run radio station in Bristol, and several other community radio stations.