Fact 1: Agatha Christie had 5 years of rejections and her books are the second most read books in the English language.
Fact 2: Beatrice Potter self published because she couldn’t find a publisher who would publish her book.
Fact 3: JK Rowling had seventeen rejections before she was published and … as they say … the rest is history.
I was reminded of these ironic facts by author Ian Andrew, when I attended one of his recent workshops on publishing. Ian Andrew is the author of successful novels: A time to every purpose and Face Value.
The publishing world has changed dramatically over the last decade, with the volume of print media diminishing and the popularity of e books on the increase. So much so it can be confusing for new writers to know where to start.
So I asked Andrew to share some of his experience and to give us his top tips for publishing.
- Can you tell us a bit about your back ground and how your writing journey started?
I was born and grew up in Northern Ireland. In year three or four of Primary School, I can recall a writing competition, with the winner’s story read out on the local BBC radio. A girl in my class won it and I was so very impressed. My ‘writing’ started from there. Little poems, short stories, growing into longer rhymes and longer stories. Eventually, like most with an interest in writing, I presumed I would get around to writing a book. It just took a while. In the intervening years I served in the UK’s Royal Air Force for twenty years before resettling in Australia, courtesy of my Australian wife.
How long did your first book take to write?
I had the initial idea for what was to become A Time To Every Purpose, in 2000. I began to write it in July 2009. Three months later I ran into a problem with the story and it took me until 2013 to resolve it satisfactorily. The book was finished a further three months from there. So, fourteen and a half years. However, once the first one was finished the next and the next followed quickly. Rather like proverbial busses.
What steps does a new writer need to take to get published?
Decide if you wish to go the traditional route, agents, publishing houses, the world of the Penguins and the Faber & Fabers etc. If that’s your wish, then it is synopsis and cover letter and manuscript sent off until you get the call back.
If, like me, you decide to go the Publish-on-Demand, independent route, then finish the draft, edit it until your eyes bleed, get someone else, preferably a professional editor, to edit it again. Get a professional graphics team to manufacture the cover, format as necessary for the publishing company you choose, be it CreateSpace or Ingram Spark or any of the others. Then take a deep breath and press publish. Then realise you should have started a marketing campaign about six months earlier.
What are your views on self publishing versus traditional publishing?
I chose independently going it alone. No one to answer to, no one to stifle me, no one to reject me. Also, no one to help me, no one to pick up the minor typos, no one to make the breakthrough into mass distribution. But, my books are globally available and reside in libraries across the globe. No agent or publishing house stopped me doing that.
Any words of advice for new writers?
Write. And read. But write. You do not need to be a round-the-world yachting guru to say that you sail. You just need your little boat and your little patch of water. So write and you are a writer. You will, like all things, get better the more you do. So what if you make the odd mistake at first. At least you are trying. If it’s what you want, then do it. Don’t be the person that says, “Oh yeah, I write, but…” Be the person that says, “Oh yeah, I write.”
Ian lives in Western Australia in idyllic surroundings, where he and his family enjoy daily visits from local kangaroos passing through. You can see more pics on his blog at: www.viewsfromtheridge.com
I hope you have found the information in this post useful and my sincere thanks to Ian Andrew for sharing his knowledge and experience with us.
thanks Ingrid. E-books certainly are gaining momentum, and if someone wants to get published I guess it is a great way to get started. Always great advice to keep writing, and keep sending manuscripts in. You never know when it will be accepted, but you won’t know if you don’t try. Happy writing Ingrid!
Thanks Jill … nice to hear from you
Very handy and timely information, thanks for sharing this Ingrid!