Wednesday, 27 March 2013



There’s no big mystery in writing a book. The English language has 600,000 words, give or take a preposition or two. What you’ve got to do if you’re a writer is to choose some of those words (relax, you won’t need all of them), juggle them round until they’re in the right order, insert some punctuation marks, and bingo, you’ve got yourself a book. And if you’ve chosen the right words, you could well have yourself a blockbuster, on the New York Times bestsellers’ list for 36 consecutive weeks. You retire from your day job, do an interview or two with Oprah and Jimmy Fallon, and sit back to count your royalties. Easy street at last!

I did all that with my book EFL minus the B.S. Well, Oprah has yet to call, and the NY Times has yet to discover me, but I’ve done the writing bit. That was the easy part. Now you’d think that once you’d typed ‘The End’ on your manuscript, all your work would be over. Think again. This is where it gets tricky. You’ll need a publisher. So, you send your manuscript off to a bunch of literary agents and publishing houses. I did that – seventeen of them. Three months later I had accumulated seventeen rejection letters. Some were your standard form letters; a couple were real letters. “Your manuscript is a good read and deserves a wide audience. Unfortunately, because of the downturn in book publishing we have cut back on the number of titles we publish each year, and must regretfully….”

So then you eat the words you’d said just twelve short months ago, and decide to self-publish. You look up self-publishing on the internet, and narrow your search down to the two big players in the field: Createspace and Lulu. Both stress the fact that the publishing process is simplicity itself. It ain’t. It took me nearly five months of confusion, frustration, tantrums, and fruitless nights to get it right. But then, at last, finally, a package arrived for me in the mail. The first ever physical copy of my book. I gazed at it, sniffed it, gently riffled through the pages. I went to sleep with it under my pillow, then next morning I gazed at it, sniffed it, and riffled through the pages. It’s mine, all mine! Look everybody! See this wondrous, beautiful work of art. I made that. Me! Unaided! Do you want to hold it? Alright – have you washed your hands this morning? Here….

So, you’ve got a book. One problem remains. You’ve got a book, but no-one else has got it, or even heard of it for that matter. You’ll have to publicise it, promote it, flog it for all you’re worth. That is if you want to sell more than the two dozen copies your family and friends have promised to buy. If you’re self-publishing, you’re on your own when it comes to book promotion. How to do it? Blogs, articles, free copies to reviewers, press releases, advertisements in EFL publications, whatever you can dream up to get your book title out there in the market place. And that’s exactly what I’m embroiled in now. Oh me, oh my! To think I’d breathed a sigh of relief when I typed in ‘The End’!

Oprah still hasn’t called.


“EFL minus the B.S.” is now available on Amazon and Kindle.

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