Thoughts on Writing & Self Publishing.
Updated: Jul 28, 2019
As an author, i'm often asked what drove me to write a book? I would have to answer it's always been there. I think I was about 20 and I'd just purchased my first real computer. A 286 PC with a 5 1/4" floppy disk drive and a piece of software called Wordstar. Looking back it was really antiquated, however as I began to touch the keys and words began to form. I realised I wanted write a story. It was called Squirm. It was the tale of a small town sheriff in Maine who was investigating a series of bizarre murders. I think I was going through my Stephen King phase :-) Anyway, I always loved a story with a twist, and in this case it was the sheriff who turned out to be the bad guy. He had a dual personality. Of course it was never actually published. I accidentally deleted the files and of course I never had a back up. Alas, my first masterpiece was lost. But it did teach me a valuable lesson, no, not the backup thing. It was not to give up. People have told me that they love my work and that I write like Dan Brown. I've won awards etc, but if asked why I write? I would have to answer because it drives me. It's like a burning passion inside me, I can't stop. After writing chapters in various tech books I decided to write a novel. Now of course, the first question you may ask is can I do it? Well sure enough, sentences soon become chapters and before you know it, you have a book.
When complete, I began to look for a publisher, this was a journey that taught me some tough lessons. Firstly, I spent a fortune on the services of a so called professional editor. Who in the end did nothing for my book. Secondly, when I approached publishers and literary agents, the result was a series of numerous no thank you's. At this point I began to sense that this was a very snooty industry, full of arty types, who weren't really interested in giving you a chance unless you were somebody or knew somebody. I remember showing a my published book to a major book retailer, and I kid you not, within a second, he rejected out of hand. Simply because it didn't have Random House or Penguin label. As you can appreciate this was disheartening and so for my second book I didn't bother looking into these so called professional services. I went down the self publishing route. The downside here is that I'm responsible for sales and marketing as well as the writing. .
On the subject of selling, I found that quite easy. I'm an international speaker at many worldwide conferences, so I already had an audience. So much so in fact, that i've probably sold around 10,000 books just by word of mouth. The other lesson I've learned about this industry is that it seems to be not what you know but who you know. So why do I bother? you're probably asking yourself. Well I can't you tell the number of times that someone has come up to me at a conference and said, "Andy I loved your book" and they then proceed in great detail to describe their favourite scene, or how it would make an awesome movie.
For an author, those are magic moments. When a complete stranger suddenly believes in you. and as I progress as an author I realised that's what I need from an agent or a publisher. I need them to not only love the story, but also to believe in me. Now of course, that's the hard bit. But hey ho, you never know ... perhaps one day.