Monthly Archives: September 2015

Indie Publishing (again)

So the manuscript is done, copy-edited, proof-read and corrected for the 100th time and, for me, the hard graft now starts – the work of getting it out there and (maybe) read by some.

I will still be publishing through createspace/Kindle in November giving me a paperback and e-book and an easy route onto Amazon, but this time I decided to do a short print run with a local printer as well. I have a number of reasons for this. Firstly, I am not comfortable with ‘selling my soul’ to Amazon and am keen to put money into the local economy. Secondly, though the author price from createspace is reasonable, postage and packaging bulk orders puts the unit cost up and the discount is pretty much lost. Thirdly, I want advance copies to send out for review and also for a number of events I have lined up.

I have been working, therefore, with local printer, Mike, at McRay Press ( And I’ve enjoyed the experience.

I’ve always been fascinated by what I call real printing. I was editor of the university newspaper and we had an old fashioned press which we would crank into action in the early hours of the morning to get our rag out to the ‘masses’ the following day. And I remember my first placement on a newspaper, The Morning News in Plymouth. I walked into the printing area which was below the newsroom and was awed by the huge machines and drums. Unfortunately for my love of printing presses, this was the 1980s and everyone was moving over to digital. During my placement the printers went on strike as they saw their skilled work being downgraded and foresaw how, in the future, it would be taken over by computers and the journalists/editors themselves.

Mike is, of course, all digital. But there’s something of those hot-leading, off-set days about Art of Survival Coverhim and his office. Maybe it is the smell of paper and ink. He has also designed for me a rather fab cover.

Once the copies come through, I will be sending them out for review, to national and local press and to those kind people of the blogging sphere who wrote about The Art of the Imperfect ( I have decided to do a Goodreads giveaway and a Kindle promotion on this, my first novel, in the hope it may create some kind of buzz around the launch of my second.

I also have various events set up: 24th October, Book Corner in Saltburn (11am-1pm), signing and short talk on crime writing (;  17th November, Lifeboat Ladies luncheon talk on crime writing; 21st November, WH Smith, Scarborough, 11am-3pm, book signing; Filey library, talk on crime writing, date TBC.

And finally, comes the work of formatting The Art of Survival for its Amazon launch (21st November). Createspace now takes word docs, so that should be fairly straightforward, and it also has a function which offers to format for Kindle. I will give this a go, even though the forums say it’s not very good. My novel uses italics a lot and this tends to disappear when saving from word into html, so I may have to do what I did last time, slowly and painfully format for Kindle myself.

As I say, this is the part I find hardest about being an indie publisher. It is wonderful, therefore, that my lovely ‘first’ readers have come back with feedback on the third in my crime series, The Art of Breathing. This means that, in between all the above, I can get back to what I really love: writing!


The Long Distance Writer – the return home

bootsI have completed my St Cuthbert’s Way – walking from Melrose in the Scottish borders to Lindisfarne in Northumberland over seven days with my sister. I’ve been back home for a week and, though I took copious notes while I was away, I have found it hard to sculpt anything into a post. The many enquiries of, ‘How was it?’ from friends have mainly been met with numerous ‘um’s followed by a bland ‘fine’.

Perversely, given my passion for writing, I found I was afraid of trying to put my experience into words. I was afraid I would lose the essence of what I’d lived through. It was unexpected. I’d not come across this reluctance before. I’d even submitted (and had accepted) an idea for a series of posts for Mslexia on walking and writing ( six posts from October to December). I thought I’d be excited to get writing, instead I was hesitant.

Polkinghorne says: ‘The realization of self as a narrative in process serves to gather what one has been, in order to imagine what one will be and to judge whether this is what one wants to become. Life is not merely a story text: life is lived and the story is told. The life story is a redescription of the lived life and a means to integrate the aspects of the self.’ (Polkinghorne, D. E. (1988). Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences. State University of New York Press p. 154.)

I did not want to move from the life lived to the redescription, in doing so I felt I might mislay something essential. Yet in order to integrate my experiences into my life (let alone communicate them, however imperfectly, to others) I have to find the story to be told, or rather, the stories. And there are many. For instance, there is: the description of the landscape; the meetings with others on the path; the sparks of imagination ignited; the narrative of my relationship with my sister; the story of my body; the encounters with histories. There are the stories which have, as yet, not presented themselves to me.

Each story-thread chosen will give me a different perspective, a different way in, a different reveal. I hope in the coming weeks on this blog and also in the posts I do for Mslexia, to unravel some of these yarns and find the means to do at least some of them justice.

During those seven days along St Cuthbert’s Way my sole focus became the walking. It even cherviotssurprised me when my sister described me to someone as a writer. I thought, I’m not a writer today, I’m a walker. I did not dwell on the past, nor look to the future beyond the walk. There was a freedom about this, as I put one foot in front of the other, the dry grass whispering against my boots at every step, the expansive sky and hills all about me. It is one of the aspects of the life as lived I would like to hold onto as I creep towards its redescription.