For years I always believed that I would eventually get around to writing books and, looking back, I realise that it took a quite a bit of subconscious planning before that became a reality. A starting block as second son of as a farmer with few qualifications is far removed from the modern ambitious novelist with their English A levels, degrees in creative writing, following a natural path through the media and honing their skills through a vocation. Mine, it has to be said, was something more of a struggle. In the past I have documented my interesting and unconventional path from farmer to city analyst, and subsequent revelation to give it all up in the name of sanity. Although a break-up of a long term marriage and move to a foreign country were never quite written in the road map, I think somewhere under the grey cellular matter, my life headed that way driven by a hidden desire to be writer. By a pure twist of fate (I do not believe in luck, only that one makes one’s own), a local UK publication accepted my offer of providing a monthly column about my exploits in rural France, which presented me with a spring-board to get some words in print and a chance to experiment with styles.
Now, 2 years on since I started my first novel, I have a total of ten books in print, each of which is selling copies, although sadly not in their thousands, and getting good reviews. I am not quite sure how I evolved into being a children’s author, possibly because my animal stories are suited to that generation, probably coupled with the fact I have never really grown up. However, for once in my life, I feel as though timing has at last been my good friend. Within the next few years, the digital publishing industry is about to embark on the biggest and fastest revolution in its history since Gutenburg’s invention of the printing press and I am very excited to be part of it, directly from my own armchair.
Over the last year or so, I have learned some valuable lessons about writing, editing and self promotion but, (there is always a but), many of them I wish I had learned the year before. You see, I didn’t set out to write what I have written and, although I have enjoyed every word of it, I feel that children’s novels may perhaps not be the easiest market to get into, digitally or otherwise.
My father often refers to me as an entrepreneur and, although I have never accepted that handle wholeheartedly, I suppose I should take some credit for the chances I have taken during my life when the chips were down. Using a fearless sense of vision, the time has come again for me to change, to rethink, and to experiment. So, as from 2012, I am embarking on a mission, to become someone else.
Creating characters is the greatest fun that a writer can have, so I am taking the chance to do it in real life! What fun? Profiting from a host of material that I have gathered from a variety of blogs and other sources, I am starting again, with a clean sheet of paper, with a new identity and a new direction. I will not divulge the pen-name I have chosen yet, although I have already brought this person into being through social networking. One of the reasons I need a new author identity is that not all the words that I am intending to write will be suitable for children and I do not want jeopardise my existing audience.
For the past month, I have sketched out a new novel, plot, target audience, route to market and complete project plan, which are the very things I should have done first time around. The initial book in a series is well underway and I have to admit it is quite exhilarating, throwing off the shackles of conformity whilst teasing the adult mind. Before you ask, NO, it is not porn (or Erotica to give its politically correct genre), but humour. I have enjoyed making children laugh for a couple of years, now it is time to bring a smile to a bigger audience.
The experiment will be documented as it moves along, with a goal of reaching a certain amount of sales within one year, whilst earning my living doing something else.
A few close friends and followers of this blog will be the first to get sneak previews, updates and share in my new challenging experiences.
Here’s to starting again. Cheers me dears!