Eight years ago I gave up on traditional publishing and went the indie route, and I’ve never looked back.
But before the indie publishing revolution, I had my own defining moment when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was eight or nine years old when I wrote my first story, Planet A for Acid. It was a sci-fi epic which would have taken you all of twenty minutes to read… if that!
On and off over the years I wrote and wrote. It was all long-hand onto foolscap notebooks. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I decided to try and get some of my work published and announced to my family, full of confidence, I was going to be a writer. So, one day I went to a shop that sold typewriters and I bought a small portable typewriter. It took a while to teach myself to type, and to this day I still only use two fingers, but by gum I was pretty fast in my 30s.
Once I had mastered the keyboard, and the tippex, I hunted for an agent. That was the beginning of my yearly purchase of the Writer’s and Artists Year Book. Ideal for finding the right agent for the right genre. Tentatively I started approaching agents. It was the right book to use, but I was not getting the right agent to take me on.
Over the following years, no, decades, I didn’t manage to get a single word published. However, what I did learn was how to type, how to spell, how to punctuate and how string a sentence together that made sense. In other words, I learned the rules of my trade and I learned my craft. I’m not perfect, I’m not brilliant, but I can write a book.
I eventually despaired of sending covering letters to agents and publishers and receiving the inevitable standard Oh, what a good story, but it doesn’t fit our current book list, so no thank you letter back. I could have papered an entire house with them. So, I gave up on traditional publishing. Then, a few years later, the Amazon Kindle was released and I realised my writing career was not over, there was another way to get published. What was once frowned upon as Vanity Publishing was now de rigueur and the indie author/publisher had arrived.
Oddly enough, about six years ago, I was approached to see if I had a short sci-fi story that would fit into an anthology a publisher was putting together. As it happens I did and my short story was accepted for publication in the anthology. I had made it both traditionally and as an indie. Life sometimes through you a curved ball.
I’m 65 years old in January 2020. That makes me an old timer of around 35 years trying to get published. It’s been a long slog, but a good one.
Since going indie I’ve written more, published more & sold more than if I had stuck to the traditional route. That is down to pure self-determination and gritted teeth to not only get the book written but also published and sold. I may not be a rich author, but I can say with pride that I am an author.
Thank you Amazon for the kindle and thank you Tippex for the best correction fluid known to the writing world.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2019