As I approach the release of my sixth book in June, I find myself in a reflective mood. It’s eight years since I started this crazy publishing journey and a little over twelve months since I gave up the day job to concentrate on my writing full time. When I signed my first contract with An Unfamiliar Murder, back in 2010, I admit my impression of what being an author entailed was pretty naive. I was still working in the day job at the time and, like many debuts, I harboured the romantic notion of an author sitting in their garret, passing the days creating stories for their publisher to share with the world.
Perhaps once upon a time (if you’ll excuse the pun), the life of a novelist was much like this. But, these days, there is a lot more to sharing our books with the world than penning stories alone. Obviously, this is, and should be, still the core of what we do and, in most cases, our passion. Without our stories, we have no product. This year, I’m moving into self-publishing with my new DC Beth Chamberlain (Family Liaison Officer) series, and I’ll be taking on both the role of the author and publisher which has naturally increased my workload. But even as a traditionally published author, there are so many other pulls on our time than writing alone.
When I signed my first contract, in 2010, I was immediately advised to join the online community and sign up to the social media channels. After the initial nerves of wondering what the hell I was going to say(!), I did as I was told and have since embraced this platform. I might be shy, but like others, I do love to chat, especially about books, and it’s been a wonderful experience meeting other readers and writers through Twitter and Facebook; indeed many of which have gone on to become close friends. These are now channels which I make time for and check daily, as well as dealing with emails. Then there’s the public speaking. As a natural introvert, those nerves took a lot longer to overcome and I still experience the butterflies when I put together and present talks. I also had to find space in my tiny little house (currently under my dressing table!) to store a stock of books to take to events with me. I run a website, a blog and a book club. Over the last few days, I’ve been gathering my business receipts and updating my accounts in readiness for my accountant to begin work on this year’s tax return.
This is no more than anybody else running a business, and if you are a writer or an aspiring writer, you’ll already be aware of these add-ons to the role of what we call an author. If you’re a reader, perhaps this post gives you an insight into the other areas of the industry that make this an ‘author business’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Creating stories that others read and enjoy is still the best job in the world; I just never realised, when I joined the industry all those years ago, that there was so much to it!
Most recently, I’ve been looking at the GDPR legislation changes, which govern how we keep personal details. I’m lucky to have a loyal base of readers and wanted to take steps to look after the people who subscribe to my blog and my book club to ensure their personal information wasn’t shared elsewhere. I don’t claim to be an expert on GDPR, by any means, so I employed (I’m still getting used to that word!) the services of the wonderful Bhambrabland who made some changes to my website and blog. When you visit my website now, you might see the odd pop up about GDPR, but please be assured that they are nothing to worry about, they are merely there to protect your personal information.
I’m off to concentrate on writing book two in the DC Beth Chamberlain series before something else crops up to surprise me. Thanks for stopping by, folks, I really appreciate your continued support.