Category Archives: Self-Publishing

My Writing Life vs Sleep! A Tale of Spontaneity


The trouble with adrenalin is it is the nemesis of sleep. Half past midnight, Mr G has spent the day without me, he is tired and I am lying there in the dark, willing sleep to come. In the end I am up and downstairs again and I have to write – write it all out of my system!

This alone is not conducive to sleep. I am stimulating my brain with thoughts and technology, a bright screen in a dark, quiet room. I could blame the Americano I had at 7pm at Park’s Café. Or the Indian meal I have just shared with 23 other hungry poets.

Park's cafe 2

I know the cause.

My creative spirit has had a date with herself today and she is as excited as a child on Christmas morning. I have spent the entire day and night with like-minded souls and have pushed my own writing life and plan up into 5th gear.

I still cannot believe how strange it is that when you set your heart and mind onto something, everything falls into place – as if it was meant to be. Happily ever after (for now!)

I have so much to share from today! inkspill tiny dancer

Like all good stories (this one is true) I shall start at the beginning…

Mr G and I had plans for today as the weather was sunny and tomorrow is forecast heavy rain across the whole country. He bought me/us/ our garden some tulip bulbs last week and we were going to plant them and then go to the allotment to pick beans and sweetcorn. allotment

We were awake early. We had breakfast and then chilled out. A while later the post arrived. We both had a white envelope and I was convinced the bank had mailed us both. I was wrong! AND I LOVE GETTING POST! inkspill heartMine was the latest programme of events from a mailing list I am on. I discovered Writing West Midlands back in February and was gutted I had missed so much good input (in January) – I think I may have made up for it since!

I had already checked out the new programme online, some of it went in and some of it didn’t. So I read through the pamphlet and came across a Network Meeting held today. The last one I went to was back in the Spring and it led to meeting a fair few writers and signing up to a scriptwriting workshop/ course. That meeting was about an hour away.

This one was close to the boarder of Wales, I used a route finder and found out it was only 1.5 hours away. (My sciatica often kicks in after an hour of driving, but I thought I would be okay.) It was 11:30 when I decided to go and it took me an hour to sort directions (no sat nav as yet!) Inkspill biroI had to write them out by hand as we are also not hooked up to any printer! (What kind of writer am I?!) I had to get up properly (we were in PJ chill mode) by the time I told Mr G of my plans I literally had time to kiss him and run out of the door!

Here is where the adventure begins…

For starters I had forgotten the rule of adding 30minutes onto the estimated time a route finder provides. Then the ‘country’ traffic was half the speed it should have been. Plus I was navigating myself from a scribbled A4 sheet and road signs. I reached the point when I thought this 70 mile journey was a waste of time and decided to find a nice tea room and then head home before the book launch tonight.

Then the writer inside me pinched me hard and said … Ian Billings and SIMON THIRSK! And I put my foot down and drove on!

I reached the stage I knew I would be late, I tried not to panic. I had been driving for over an hour and a half and I was still a good 20 miles away.

I began to get concerned once I arrived at my destination and got trapped in the one way system of the town centre with the name of a street for parking and no idea how to get there or what road I was on.

This had been advertised online (yes I checked the parking too!) as cheap rate parking for the day. I didn’t get close to a ticket machine to find out, some angel walked past me (and interpreting my harassed I am late for the writers’ meeting face to be oh my – I haven’t got any change for the meter) she offered me her ticket that had plenty of hours left on it. This isn’t usually possible in my part of the world as we have to type in our registration plates.

So now not only is my parking sorted, but due to the mini detour I had already seen the roads I needed to take to get to the library and it was less than a 5 minute walk. The only mistake I made was trying to get into the Council House building – which is not open at weekends – the library was next door! inkspill books

And what a swish place it was (all our libraries have been redesigned as hubs for the 21st century.) I felt sad I wasn’t early, would have loved a mooch around, the children’s section was an actual castle! WOW!

(Real pictures of today will be uploaded and added tomorrow.)

alarm-clockI was late … Ian Billings (Children’s writer) who I also wanted to hear, was close to the end of his talk when I arrived and quietly squeezed into the back row. To make me feel better there were at least 4 others who all arrived even later than me (we had obviously all used the same route advisor!) 😉 I caught the gist of Ian’s projects and the end of the talk. (Later after the event – in the ‘networking’ part, I was able to speak to him at length about what he was doing/ working on.)

It was Simon Thirsk (joint-founder and Chairman of Bloodaxe Books) that caught my post-breakfast attention. They are a specialist poetry publisher that I recognise from my first time round, having been published throughout the nineties and early noughties. Most of the small presses and publishers I worked with are no longer in existence or have been gobbled up by main players, or lost there funding and disappeared.

motivation best I have also taken 2013 as my YEAR OF LEARNING. A lot has changed in the past 13 years, and I knew that listening to what Simon had to say would save me a days research at least!

In addition to all of this post-breakfast thought (and I hadn’t even had porridge!) I marvelled at the fact that less than 2 weeks ago I made the decision to stop sticking my fingers in all the genre writing pies and focus on one – poetry – get out there again as a poet and reclaim my space on the circuit. (I had established a name for myself before but in places that were 70 miles North and 200 miles South) I have never really existed as a poet in the Shire. That is what today has been about, but I hadn’t planned it starting with such a BANG!

I wrote pages of notes and picked up a little gold-dust too. The room was packed and some good questions were asked, lots of conversations were born out of them.

When it came to a close, I started to feel awkward as I often do before the mingle. I need to get some business cards made. (Next mission!) I knew I wanted to speak to everyone on the panel as well as some fellow writers and poets.

I met lots of interesting people and exchanged details with a few of them.

wb I met other teachers who (like me) have made the same decision to upgrade the creativity dream and downgrade the day job… by the end of today the total was 3. I wish us all luck and success with this one.

I also got to speak to both Simon  and Ian. image2 Ian Billings

I then spoke to Jonathan, the Chief Executive who I have met and spoken with about 4 times this year (5 months), I wanted him to know my plan and make some offers. I will be following up emails on Monday and keep my fingers crossed for some very exciting opportunities. I was thinking of years to come (in my Olympian Mission/Dream) but basically ‘why wait?’ was his response! I can start now. Obviously as far as paid opportunities they will (hopefully) come later. Experience is something I yearn for as much as learning and I know all too well that catch 22 – of this is what I can do -this is what I want = ‘Lovely dear, where is your proof? What have you done?’ CV’s need to start somewhere.

motivation make I look forward to new horizons on the near future front.

I was having such a good time mingling that I nearly forgot I was 2 hours drive away from the Book Launch and a quick glance of the clock confirmed I had 2 hours. I said my goodbyes and exchanged details with people before hot footing it out of the library and back to my car!

I did look for someone to gift the ticket to (which still had 1.5 hours on it!) I saw that they had recycle bins. The back of my car has been full of shoes to recycle since the end of July. Now I have space behind my seat again to stuff everything I take out with me.

imagesCAMNY23K One important thing I took from today (other than getting rid of old shoes taking up valuable handbag space!) is something I hadn’t considered before. It is Jonathan Davidson’s advice;

SUPPORT FELLOW WRITERS’ – WHEREVER IT IS POSSIBLE, this includes BUYING their books. We all know how important those sales are post publishing. Offer more than a congratulations if you can.

PART 2 Link to follow

The Wonderful World of Self-Publishing – Rhetorical Composing II – The Final Article




The Wonderful World of Publishing, Options available to writers.

Researching the global acceptance of self publishing has been an interesting task, in this article I am not arguing against traditional publishing (the route I have personally taken) I have gathered information to help writers make informed decision when they are ready to publish. Every author has the right to make their own publishing decisions, for niche writers it is a market that will work well. I will also dispel the snobbery surrounding alternative methods of publication.


In light of advances in technology and changes in how we read books, there are plenty of options open to writers in the 21st Century, including e-publishing. Self-publishing used to be looked down on by ‘real writers’, nowadays there is still a stigma attached to self-publishing but depending on your writing goals it could be a successful route and be quicker and more financially rewarding than the traditional publishing route.

If you have reached the end of your editing and your manuscript is ready to submit, you may want to read this first. You have a choice. In the olden days (maybe a decade ago) self-publishing was seen as what you did after you pursued a publishing contract with the publishing houses and failed. Nowadays many authors are turning to short runs or e-publishing as an initial choice, there is a growing trend amongst readers to access material and resources this way and there are even annual book awards for self-published books. It has been known for self-published author to beat an author on a publishing house list to an award, beating other titles that had been traditionally published. Advances in technology also mean that self published books no longer look inferior to mainstream publications. Of course to be a best seller in that league you would need relentless marketing.
So are you considering self-publishing as a route to marketing your writing?

What it means
Self-publishing means taking personal responsibility for the management and production of your content. This means the publication of any book by the author, without involving an established publisher. You are responsible for the whole process which also means, you are in control. There are plenty of services and companies willing to take your money if you wish to outsource, cover designs, layout and formatting, proof-reading, price, distribution, marketing and PR. Even authors who choose to pay others to do some of the hard work can produce short runs for under £500.00.

Some Publishing houses have had to reduce the amount of books they list. In 2008, for the first time in history, more books were self-published than those published traditionally. In 2009, 76% of all books released were self-published, while publishing houses reduced the number of books they produced. Self-publishing used to be an expensive option. Preparing the book cost, purchases had to be bulk bought and you would need somewhere to store them. (Bastable, ‘The Telegraph’, May 2013)

New Technology has led to advancement and changes across the whole publishing field, including how authors can produce their own books. Let’s look at the variety of different publishing options open to you.

Technological Advances
Print on demand technology allows the author to print books only once they are ordered through global distribution channels like, Online retailing and an increase of the number of people who shop online, dominant players like Amazon have enticed readers away from bookshops into an online environment. The popularity of ebook readers and tablets and the changes in the shopping habits of readers. Ebooks are a tempting option for the self-publishing writer as they don’t cost a lot to produce.

Money, Money, Money
Mark Bastable, an author who has had three books traditionally published and then turned to self-publishing wrote an article for ‘The Telegraph’, published last month (May 2013) promoting self-publishing. He states; “It can be lucrative, though. David Gaughran, author of the e-publishing manual Let’s Get Digital, calculates that nearly a third of Amazon’s topselling books are self-published. The writers of those books are collecting 70% of the purchase price, which is three times what they’d be given by a traditional publisher.”

It is NOT Vanity Publishing
Self-publishing is not ‘vanity publishing’, it is no longer seen as the last resort for the talentless. Quite the opposite, self-publishing is a proactive choice for any writer. Thanks to authors like Stephen King who decided to serialise his novel ‘The Plant’ online in 2000. (He reportedly made half a million dollars from the experiment.) Self-publishing is a flexible and viable option. Why else would writers repeat the process or recommend self-publishing to others?

If you still need convincing maybe this will help, a list of Self-Published Best Sellers!

Self-Published, Best Sellers
Laurence Sterne‘s Tristram Shandy (1759-67) was self-published.
Between the Acts is the final novel by Virginia Woolf which was self-published by her Hogarth Press.
Ezra Pound‘s A Lume Spento was sold by him for six pence each.
John Ruskin at the age of 11 sold a book of poetry he self-published with his father.

Other authors who self-published include Marcel Proust, Martin Luther, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jane Austen, and Derek Walcott.
Contemporary authors have also self-published. J. K. Rowling sold the e-book versions of the Harry Potter series directly from her website, Pottermore.

Will you join the revolution generation?

Rhetorical Compostion II – Brainstorming Activity – The Beginning



Over the next week I will be posting parts of my next Rhetorical Composition II assignment, part of the brief is to publically publish it. I have chosen my blog. I have also chosen a subject area which may be useful to the followers of this blog (with some help and encouragement from you – see Related Articles). cloud_writing2


I have chosen to focus on Self-Publishing, for the record the first time I free-lanced (in the 90’s) I was of the ‘traditional print publishing camp’ because the whole process back then was different and there were many poor examples of books that weren’t picked up for a reason.

However, with the advances in technology and the way people receive the printed word, the advent of e-readers, niche markets, having several friends successfully market their work in this way and the global recession, I am beginning to reconsider my ‘snobby’ opinion of self publishing.

So here is my assignment brief.

imagesCANYEEWSYour opinions matter!

  • Please leave a comment, discuss the content and your own opinions freely.
  • Please remember that this is for an academic research project – although the purpose of the writing is to inform and persuade you.
  • Grammar and technical writing errors needn’t be pointed out, it is a peer reviewed course and with international (ESL) students we are not focusing on the level of language used.




“I’m interested in” Statement:

As a writer, I’m interested in creating a series of blog posts that are intended to persuade an audience of writers to consider the self-publishing route in light of e-publishing and technical advances over the traditional route of publishing. Self-publishing used to be looked down on by ‘real writers’, nowadays there is still a stigma attached to self-publishing but depending on your writing goals it could be a successful route for you and be quicker and more financially rewarding than the traditional publishing route. These articles will also inform the readers of details about the world of publishing.

They are intended to help writers who have reached the pitching stage to consider which route they’d like to take. Many writers start with a list of publishers and once that list is exhausted they look into the route of self-publishing. My articles will help them in this process by informing them with the how’s and why’s and what’s.


Researching and collecting facts to be used as the core of my rhetorical appeal. Recent research shows that many more writers are considering the self-publishing route. There are a wide range of resources available to me to complete this research, I have already collected a range of media articles, blog posts and web links as a starting point.

Definition: Stasis Brainstorming Questions

 Facts The problem is the stigma attached to self-publishing despite advances in technology and global markets that writers should and could take advantage of.  The problem may possibly never be changed, although some print publishers have struggled (as all business) in the recession and with the advancing market on electronic books maybe people will see self-publishing as a positive alternative.

As I complete my research I will also ask myself useful critical questions such as:

  • Where did I obtain the data and are these sources reliable?
  • How do I know they’re reliable?

I am almost certain that the facts I will discover and statistics will support the argument that self-publishing should be seen and validated as another possible option and not something that only weak, amateur writers do. I am sure I can use this research to add to the strength of my persuasive argument.


The problem is the stigma attached to self-publishing. Opposition from writers, publishers, editors and agents. The larger class of events this issue stands in is – the world of publishing and the how’s and why’s for new writers.


It is a good thing that there are a variety of publishing options, it is a bad thing that this route is looked down upon because for many writers it may be the most logical option.  This issue is not as serious as my PSA (Public Service Announcement) however it is a subject area I hold a personal interest in and it fits my blog and might help some writers I know too. The problem affects writers and publishers.

Here, I’d need to acknowledge any counterarguments that exist and persuade my audience that having a working knowledge of the self-publishing process may have beneficial results for their project. I need to first undertake some research, gather some facts that I hope will demonstrate that self-publishing may be the way forward for some writers.


  • Related Articles:


ENDNOTE: The great website I discovered this morning whilst in Ohio State University Mode is an online graphical dictionary. It can be used as a good starting point tool for writers. Find it here and have fun!