Saturday, 4 July 2015

Advice for New Authors

With an overwhelming majority with one vote, this blog will be ‘advice to new authors’!

Sit down, make yourself comfortable. Have you a cup of coffee/tea? 
OK, listen up people. What I have to say on this subject is important.
1)      You will NOT be an overnight success!
Get that idea straight out of your head. Now! Go on; clear it. That way disappointment lies.
Let me tell you about some of the ‘greats’…
·         Agatha Christie – 5 years it took her to get a publishing deal. She now has sales totalling over £2 billion (a feat only outdone by Mr Shakespeare himself). Om mani padme hum Agatha.
·         JK Rowling got 12 refusals, and was told to get a day job. Doh! She now has set records with four of her books. I hope those publishing houses are crying themselves to sleep.
·         I love this one as a fellow indie: Beatrix Potter…heard of her and her “bunny book”? She was rejected so many times she turned to self publishing (which was a lot harder back then, I can assure you). Now sold over 45 million!
·         Louisa May Alcott was told to “stick to teaching” when submitting ‘Little Women’, but she is still in print 140 years later. That publisher is not (*chuckle*).
·         Stephen King’s Carrie was turned down no less than 30 times! Can you imagine that? The guy's since written a book on how to write. 
·         But even that’s outdone by ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ by Richard Bach, which was rejected 140 times! That’s some grim determination right there. Kudos to Richard.
·         Even Jewish sweetheart Anne Frank was rejected 15 times. Shame on them!
Am I getting through here?
2)      So, if we learn anything from the above it has to be: if at first you don’t succeed try try again (and then keep on trying. Try until you think you can’t possibly go on, and then once you’ve done that, guess what; try harder).
3)      Please write something good
I’ve read some books that make me cringe. At least get a proof reader or two. Preferably an editor too. Spelling and grammar mistakes in books are a massive turn off. You can get away with a few; to err is to be human. But if your book is riddled with errors you will never succeed.
4)      Don’t be needy
So, you must set up social media accounts. That’s a given. You knew that already, I bet. You clever folk. But don’t just sit there harping on about how wonderful your book is, buy buy buy. Boring! Get some interaction going; talk to people, pretend you’re interesting. 😉
When asking for reviews don’t just blurt it out within the first sentence of your social interaction; how rude! What I’m saying is, don’t ram your book down people’s throats.
5)      Write because you love it
Very few authors actually manage to quit their day jobs. I know that’s the dream, but please don’t expect it. See, I’m trying to protect you from disappointment again. Write because you feel your life is empty without it, not to try and make a quick buck.
6)      You will get frustrated
Jealousy is a very natural reaction, especially when a talentless chav bint like Katie Price gets announced “best selling author of the decade”, outranking the great JK Rowling. She doesn’t write the novels; she has a ghost writer, and hasn’t even read them – for crying out loud! You’ll want to seethe with rage and jump up and down shouting, “WHY GOD, WHY???” Oops, just me? 😜
Do not envy others’ success; they have their own life path, as do you. What will be will be.
Now breathe, and relax, let it go (sorry, instruction to myself; got a bit worked up thinking about Katie!) 😁
But then, what do I know?  I’ve been self published for 2 years, and almost made back the cost of one of the covers of my four books. Don’t take my advice!
Interesting facts…I just looked up the best selling authors of all time (since records began, but not sure when that was), and the list was created in 2012, but quite interesting:
1)      JK Rowkling - £237.6m
2)      Jamie Oliver – £126.4m
3)      James Patterson - £100.7m (American)
4)      Terry Pratchett - £93.5m
5)      Jacqueline Wilson - £83m
6)      Dan Brown - £ 82m (American)
7)      John Grisham - £74.6m (American)
8)      Richard Parsons - £69.5m (for GCSE guides, really??)
9)      Bill Bryson - £67.6 (awesome American)
10)   Delia Smith - £64.4m
If you want to see more, the link is here
I make it 35 out of the 50 are English; yay, I may stand a chance yet!

And yes, my nemesis is there at number 46 (and another at 26). Thre’s a lot of food books in the list, maybe because we don’t have the same family culture any more, so we turn to books and not our mums to teach us to cook? Or maybe because of all the new foods we can choose from, and we want to have a clue what to do with a starfruit?
But I’m chuffed to see Mr Man author Roger Hargeaves is in the top 50; those books were a staple of my childhood. And Bill Bryson makes me laugh. Many of the authors on there get the thumbs up from me actually (I’m sure they’ll be relieved to know that!?).  “Oooh, I’ve sold £x million, but now TL Clark praises me I know I’ve made it.” Haha.

7) Support one another
Yep. Make friends with other authors, read their books, leave reviews, share their news. We are all in the same boat, and there's plenty of room.

btw, if you want to read what other authors have to say, take a look at Self-Publishing! In the Eye of the Storm! Yours truly makes an appearance (but takes no royalties at all from this).
OK, enough of my mind vomit for this blog? Yeah, go do something interesting now. Go! Shoo!

Always in love & light,


  1. Some great advice here. Write becuase you enjoy it, and produce the BEST product you can.