in WWBB’s ‘How was it for you’ guest post.
I’ve always written stories for as long as I can remember as well as being a voracious reader. I think I started writing because I couldn’t get enough of the type of stories I liked from my local library (there was not enough money spare to actually buy books). I liked being at school because there were lots of books to read there and you got to write stories in class too. I liked history very much so it made sense for me to study history at university. There I discovered the literature of the past and how tales have evolved down the ages.
Once I left university I continued to write even though jobs then family took up more and more time. It was my escape from the hurly-burly of everyday life. Eventually I thought about having my books published – family and friends were very encouraging – so I got a copy of The Artists and Writers Yearbook from the library and started submitting to literary agents who said they accepted manuscripts of fantasy novels. I did not get very far, though some agents wrote encouraging lines on their rejection slips saying they liked my stuff, that it was well written, but they were not currently taking on any new writers.
This went on for a few years. It was quite discouraging but I continued to write regardless as the stories demanded to be told. Then I discovered Harper Collins had set up an online community for writers called Authonomy. The idea was that writers submitted their books for peer review and then voted for their favourites. Once a month the books with the most votes were read and reviewed by a HC editor. I duly uploaded my book and received my first critiques. It was a revelation, so much good advice, encouragement and hope. I loved the community, was introduced to trolls, gamers and schemers but, in the end, I was lucky enough to reach the so-called Ed’s Desk and have my work reviewed by an industry insider. Yet again, they loved the book but were not ready to take on the work of an unknown.
Well, time ever ticks on and I’m not growing any younger – as the cliché goes. At this point self-publishing was really starting to take off. I had learned quite a lot about marketing on Authonomy and there were many members of the community willing to share their knowledge and experience of both the mainstream and Indie publishing world. As a Harper Collins Authonomy Gold Medal winner (twice) I was approached by several small independent presses with the offer of a contract. Being a cautious type of person I joined the Society of Authors and let their legal people cast an eye over the documents. Mostly, the offers were okay but not going to earn me much and were of the Print-on-demand variety. As this was the case, I decided that I may as well do it myself and let the money (however much it was) come to me.
Then came a really steep learning curve as I was forced to learn about formatting, coding, cover design and a thousand other things an Indie author needs to know. Once again my Authonomy friends came to the rescue when needed. Finally, the moment came when I pressed the button and my first book appeared on Amazon. It was amazing, humbling, terrifying and daunting all at the same time and I’m glad I did it.
I’m still on the hunt for a traditional publisher but I’m also happy to be an Indie writer. Main advice? Join a writers’ group or online community to learn more about your craft as a writer and gain an insight into what you’re letting yourself into.
Sadly Authonomy has now closed but many of us have migrated to Scribblers. Please feel free to join us anytime.
The Firelord’s Crown
An epic tale of magic and adventure
Dee Harrison – a Harper Collins Authonomy gold medallist
Raethwin, the Red Witch, perhaps the greatest sorceress of her era. She sought to save her world, instead she doomed it.
The Firelord’s Crown, source of her untold power. It brought about the impending disaster but Tamilin, Master Healer and Seer, believes it might also prove their salvation.
There’s just one problem.
Two thousand years ago Raethwin’s six companions fled when their homeland was destroyed and divided the Firelord’s Crown between them.
Five made it to safety – the sixth ship and its precious heirloom vanished.
Tamilin believes that it may lie far in the uncharted north, and dispatches an expedition in search of it. Airen, a young healer and lone survivor of the venture, reaches the land called Dinith, where he hopes to find the lost piece. Dinith, however, is a land in turmoil. Magic is forbidden, the glories of the past forgotten.
Airen and his quest are not welcome but could Falath, the king’s heir, be the ally that he desperately craves? Perhaps, but Falath, descendant of the Lost Ship, has his own secrets…