This has been a long time coming.
Ask anybody I know and they’ll say that I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as they can remember. That’s because it’s been the case since I was a child. My childhood friends knew it. My schoolmates knew it. My friends from college and workmates knew it. All I wanted in my life was to write a novel. It was an ambition I strived to reach. My teenage years were spent writing serialisations which spurned me on, emailing the results out to those who wished to read them. When I entered college, the race for education fully took hold and sacrifices had to be made. As I got older I found myself admitting that “real life got in the way” to people who asked how it was going.
Real life got in the way. That phrase is a cop out. It was nothing more than an excuse that says I put other things before it; People, jobs, anything at all. I’m not ashamed to admit that. In my 20s I was so obsessed with the ‘provider’ mentality (work hard in the 9 to 5, get the wages, work up the corporate ladder, etc) that any scrap of ambition I to be an author had fell by the wayside. I lacked the time and the energy. This behaviour was cultivated and enforced by those who were wrong to be around. Long story short, I had a stint in hospital and reassessed the situation, moving to Gloucester in the UK.
Gloucester, if you’re unaware, is a city famed for two things: cheese and being underwater. Somehow, my brain thought it would be a perfect place to write. Fortunately it wasn’t wrong.
I managed to co-write a short story with my then best friend, now wife, Emma. Without getting all sappy, she was the one who inspired me to continue the endeavour. She didn’t as much encourage me but she breathed life into a flicking ember, turning it into a roaring blaze. The results were well received so we co-authored a fantasy story. From there I wrote title after title, finally indulging in the crazy obsession that had been restrained for so long. Stories, dialogue, prose, everything flowed as natural as breathing. I was tapping into an unexploited resource, one suppressed by those who said I couldn’t do something or dismissed it immediately.
I won’t lie. It felt good to prove them wrong.
Concepts flowed freely. Tales began to cultivate and grown. Before long I was learning every facet about the industry; the endless uphill struggle that is the editing process, advertising, trends, pitches, agents, publishers, the works. What excited me during all this is that I never found my limit. I never once reeled back and wanted to stop. Sure, I’ve taken a shot at traditional publishing avenues. I’ve received a fistful of rejections like anybody else hence why I took the route to self-publish digitally. Receiving comments by those who enjoyed my titles strive me on. Even a bad review is encouraging to better oneself and who knows, their criticism may be true. After all, it’s how we improve, is it not?
I’ve never faulted in my ambition. Since taking up the pen, giving up simply isn’t a choice. Writing drives me. Like I’ve explained before in the past, it can only be described as twisting a valve at the base of the skull so that the pressure is released. It’s going to build up again with new ideas and exciting characters, but it’ll just require a turn once more to let it all out.
Finally, with enough capital behind me, I have the opportunity to pursue this full time.
I have documents full of case studies, folders full of success stories, these one time authors who manage to become phenomenons via luck or hard graft. I have action plans, details of advertising platforms and their success rates, schedules, industry analysis, trend analysis’s, signed up for business courses… I’ve sat down with an expert to talk about turning this all into a legitimate company. Make no mistake. I am taking this endeavour very seriously. I have to. To do anything less would be folly. After all, this is my one shot.
I’m not exactly a success. I’m not an expert. I don’t have a liveable income off my titles currently. I’m not a well known name. I’ve not won the something-sponsored-prize-for-whatever awards. There is plenty against me and I’m under no illusions that nothing may come from this. I may reach my self imposed deadline and reassess things, deciding to relegate it back to a hobby. This a perfectly feasible outcome. I know this.
What I also know is that I have accomplished great things stuck in a day job and writing as a side line. Given the opportunity to commit to it fully, I’m going to excel in one form or another. I will not let myself falter at any point due to an outside influence, be it person or situation. That, in itself, is tremendously exciting.
This journey ahead will be difficult. I have no qualms about that, but I promise this to everyone: I’m not going to sugar coat the struggle with bohemian romance, or outright lies like some do on Twitter, saying they’re best selling this, or ground breaking that. This will be a brutally honest account of what I’m going through. I will say when I don’t agree with things. I will air my frustrations when required. I will praise the things that need praising. Everything in this blog will be raw, unfiltered and free from self-inflated ego stroking which seems to be a trend in this industry. I may make enemies doing so. I may make friends with this approach to honesty. I hope it’s the latter.
Either way, if you’re sticking around to see how this goes, then I truly thank you. Your support makes things feel less uncertain.