I came into this world of writing quite late in life. I mean the world of actual print runs and publishing. I had of course scrawled naïve novels into exercise books in my childhood; they languish still, six decades later in my attic.
Confined to the house, due to caring for a parent, I wrote Ellen’s Tale and whiled away my limited spare time. Then one day it was finished and my head was full of plans for a sequel. Well! A sequel eh! Publish? Or try anyway. I spent a few weeks pondering if what I had written was any good, deciding it wasn’t bad.
I was going the traditional way at first, it was the only way I knew. Then a serious health scare and major operation later I began to question life’s mortality, when one is of retirement age. But, but, I wanted to publish. And so began the new world of indie publishing. I was au fait with the internet in that I ordered books from Amazon and bought stuff off e-bay but social networking? it was just an expression in the newspapers.
I joined Facebook and stood alone in empty echoing halls. Busy, frenetic life scurried all around but how to get into the stream, without being knocked over, was a puzzle for so long.
I joined an online writing group and they advised, encouraged and didn’t seem to mind when I came daily with my endless ‘how do you. . . .?’ they were my first friends on Facebook and I remain eternally grateful to them.
Publishing a book on one’s own is a daunting business, especially if the only use one has had for the computer has been typing and shopping. There were no laptops around when I was at school. So DTP? What was that? Photo editing? How did one do that? PDF? Ah come on, help the old lady:( It came, it came. I mastered them all. With the help of my strict friend from forever/now editor, the words were knocked into shape, a bound copy produced, a whole box of them- what excitement:).
With the help of my new friends in cyberspace I discovered how to produce e-books, found new friends, found fresh sites of a helpful kind, found new networking sites, learnt how to market on the web. I found, through this ever and rapidly expanding network of friends and followers, workshops, competitions, challenges and endless, patient, kind hearted and generous encouragement. So that now three years on, with four books published and two more due this year, I look around and barely recognise myself. Think back on all the skills I have mastered, all the new corners of the world I have been too, the new language in my vocabulary and I have to shake my head in slight bemusement. The third age as they rather boringly refer to my time of life is so much fun and so very exciting.
I am over the next few months going to be discussing all those steps I took and all the skills I had to discover, and maybe along the way encourage any others, who think they can’t, that they can.
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