The wonderful, awful business of being an author. Ask me anything!
The thing people most often say to me, when they find out what I do, is “I’ve never met an author!” I assure them that there are lots of us about – just check out the #amwriting tag on Twitter! But if there’s no author in your life, either, then you can ask me whatever you want about any aspect of writing. Just please don’t ask me for the magic formula to get your book accepted by a publisher or agent! If I knew that, I’d be selling it on eBay for millions.
Let me fill you in a bit about my life as a writer. I’ve been writing professionally since 2007, when my first novel, Leda, was shortlisted for the Scripture Union New Fiction Prize (under its original title, Over the Mountains). I later went on to self-publish Leda, and my modest success with that led to my writing two novelised biographies for small-press publisher Christian Focus.
Since then I’ve produced a couple of ebooks of short stories myself, written an audio adaptation of The Snow Queen for an online audiobook company (Word of Mouth Productions), and I’ve written for magazines like History Today, Prima and Premier Christianity.
That’s a list of my successes, of course. I’ve also had disappointments and closed doors. I have a couple of novels still waiting to find a home, and, after some good feedback but no ‘bite’, I’ve recently taken the decision to self-publish my non-fiction book Why Everything You Know about Robin Hood Is Wrong. That will be taking up a lot of my time in the next couple of months because self-publishing well takes an enormous amount of work.
Of course, I also have to balance my writing, revising, publicising and submitting around my other commitments. About 60% of authors need a second job to survive, and I’m with the majority here. I’m an in-demand Albanian-English interpreter, as well as an editor and proofreader for hire. And that’s before you even think about having a personal life! It’s difficult to balance everything, and difficult to organise your time since you don’t know if or when a magazine will commission an article or a publisher will want you to make changes to your manuscript.
So it’s a difficult, stressful job with low, insecure financial rewards. But on the other hand, the thrill of seeing my name in print has never gone away, and the idea of people reading what I wrote, stepping into worlds that I conjured up with just some keys and a screen – that’s magical.
So if you’re curious about this wonderful, awful profession, ask me anything!
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