Earlier this week, I told you all about the story of me and writing stories. It’s a side of me I’ve been habitually hiding for years but, well, the secret’s out now! That’s the backstory behind this thing. (This thing currently being almost 50% funded on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/3dwGg1z *Does small dance*!) But I haven’t really explained why self publishing, why this book, why now. So here we go.
1. Stop Asking Permission
I often ask myself “What lie does this hero believe?” Not because I think of myself as a hero, but because I’m actually reminding myself of an idea that is sometimes used in story structure. Your main character (hero) believes something at the start of the story that isn’t true. Their journey through the story leads them to recognising that belief as a lie and improving/growing/whatever as a person.
Now, if we can just challenge our own beliefs and spot ones that might not actually be true, we can skip the epic journey and just broaden our horizons. For example, I started trying to get published in an age before eBooks. Self publishing was looked down on as cheap and nasty, vanity publishing. It wasn’t “proper”. So even in this world of print on demand and accessible, professional online tools, I was still hunting around for a publisher. I was waiting for permission, for someone else to give my writing a gold star.
Once I’d recognised this false belief – that the only “proper” way to get published was traditionally – I was free to see self-publishing in a new light. It’s no longer niche or necessarily poor quality. In fact it’s the way to go if you’re practically minded and like doing things your own way.
2. The Time is Never Right
Again, this is something I preach about adventures, but was completely ignoring in the world of writing. I tell people all the time that you will never feel ready for your adventure. You just don’t. You can plan as much as you like, but there will always be some element of mystery. Eventually, you have to jump.
The same is true, it seems, of publishing books. You can tweak your manuscript eternally. You can wait for a lucky number day of the month to post your chapters to an agent (done it). You can wait until you’re not too busy or too lonely or for the day you move to Paris. It doesn’t matter what the excuse is, there will always be one. But nothing will happen at all unless you begin.
I realised that I was waiting for the planets to align. For the perfect… I don’t even know what. But time was ticking on and luckily, the voice in the back of my head started shouting at me.
3. The Second Best Time is Today
I love the Chinese proverb about planting trees: the best time was 20 years ago, the second best time is today. Because if everyone took the “it’s too late” attitude, there would be no trees. Or at least no beautiful rows of beeches along country parks that must have been planted by someone who never saw their arch.
Crazy though it seems, I was starting to get into the realms of “it’s too late” for starting to publish books. I know this is ridiculous – many authors don’t start until well into their 50s or 60s or later. But I was an impatient child and I really wanted to be one of those published teenage authors. Well, life didn’t have that in store for me, but the next best thing I can do is make up for lost time. And by far the quickest way to publish is through self-publishing. Not the easiest, certainly, but you cut out all the queueing.
4. Some People Wanted to Read it
I would never have been able to boldly go into the self-publishing world if I wasn’t connected with a group of people who might want to read my book. As dearly as I would love to publish children’s novels, I simply don’t know where you find people who buy them. All the people who follow me on social media, read this blog or know me through life have one thing in common: adventure. And adventure in the sense of expeditions and mountains, not swords and sorcery.
Walking All the Tors in 2018 was such a big event for me personally that I’d started sketching out the story for it as soon as I’d come home. It’s kind of how I deal with things and process them: through writing and story. So I had a rough outline for this book that I thought, actually, some people might want to read. Either because they like reading about long distance walks, or they like Dartmoor or they are curious about what happened out there. I can find people who might buy this book. This is the one I should try to self publish first.
If you’d like to support the Kickstarter I’d really appreciate it! You can’t have too many books: http://kck.st/3dwGg1z