I am now a published author.
Maybe I need to qualify this statement: I am now a self published author.
The wonders of technology – and Amazon – have made this possible. Although it was a bit of an arseache I have published my first book on Kindle, the joyful black tablet (that’s also available on iPhone, Android and iPad as an app) that has made traditional publishers a tiny bit nervous.
I wrote this book a while ago and took the manuscript to a whole bunch of traditional publishers. I managed to actually get it on the desk of the editor who publishes thrillers and he read it and he liked it…but not enough to publish it. Which is a bummer. He – rather nicely – sent it onto three friends of his who were literary agents and they liked it…but not enough to publish it.
Then, I sort of slunk off, my tail between my legs, feeling as if I had had a great chance and I sort of blew it.
The editor gave me some good advice and told me which sections to work on and which to leave well alone; he told me to read a selection of authors who were in the same segment and he advised me to write as much as I possibly can. So, I worked on my manuscript a bit, I read some other authors working in the same sector and I started a blog so that I could get used to writing every day.
Then a penny dropped (in extreme slow-motion) that I could publish it as an ebook. So I investigated publishing on the iPad but it was so bloody complicated that I just gave up and then, one day, as I mooched around Amazon I saw – down at the bottom – that I could self publish and discovered that it wasn’t that complicated and I could use what I had. So I did.
Today, you can search for my name (Michael Shevlin) on Amazon and you will get a few hits. There is a guy who has the same name as me who is a child psychologist – that ain’t me. My book is called Insecure and is about two brothers who rob a bank even though they don’t want to and don’t know how to.
I kind of wrote it a while ago and there are bits I love (the last few chapters) and there are bits I don’t like. Some of the dialogue needs a bit of work and there are some little diatribes in it that make me cringe a bit but overall I don’t think it’s too bad for a first effort – I enjoyed writing large sections of it and I got stuck on one bit for ages…and then just wrote through it.
So. I now need everyone’s help. I know nothing about marketing or promotion or any of that bullshit. I don’t have a marketing budget like Hodder or Random House. But the way I figure it is this: I really want to write for a living and write books. I think I could be good. I am not going to win the Booker prize but I might be read by a lot of people in airports…and that’s fine by me; so I need to use my meagre network to help me sell and promote my book.
I think that if everyone I know on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn buys a copy (for the princely sum of £1.80 or something) and asks all of their friends to buy a copy…then maybe it could chart and maybe people might like it and maybe I might sell a few thousand and then maybe I can write another with a bit of interest to back it up.
I know, it’s a lot of maybes.
So, will everyone help me to stick one up the traditional publishers and when they come grovelling to my door and ask if they can publish my book traditionally I can say: begone! I smite thee! I did it without your help, you ignorant J.K. Rowling rejectors!?
Even if you don’t buy you could promote it for me. If you’ll do this for me then when it gets made into a film I’ll get you a part – all of you.