Publishing: It’s Your Decision

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen an increase in people talking down to or just downright insulting those of us that self-publish our books. I don’t understand this mentality. There are many reasons why someone might choose to self-publish their work and several different ways that they can do it. None of these reasons means that they are any less of a writer or that they deserve to be talked down to or treated like crap.

For me, self-publishing was always the way I was going to go. So when I wrote Creatures, publishing using KDP seemed like the logical choice. It was my first book and something that I just wanted to get out into the world. I didn’t fancy spending hours trying to bag an agent or a traditional publisher, and it meant that I could have more creative control over the story, look and feel of the novel. Yes, there is a lot of work required for marketing your self-published book, but even that is nothing compared to querying multiple places.

Creatures did alright going the self-publish route, so when it came to my next novel, The Next Stage, it was a no brainer, really. Even though I knew that this was a better novel than my previous one, I still wanted to have complete creative control over my work.

Being a traditionally published author doesn’t mean that your work is any better than those that choose the self-publish route. I’ve read some brilliant self-published stories just like I’ve read some shite traditionally published ones.

Editing of self-published books is another thing that has been dragged through the dirt. Many self-published authors do so without any financial backing. They have to do everything from writing, editing, cover creating and marketing themselves. Sometimes things slip through the cracks editing -wise. I get less annoyed by errors in a self-published book than I do when finding them in traditionally published books that have professional editors behind them. Plus, the good thing about self-publishing your book is that if you or someone else spots an error, it’s a simple case of editing your manuscript and re-uploading it, whereas God knows what it would take to change a traditionally published book.

I’m not mentioning any names, but one person in particular on Twitter has been kicking up a stink recently and trying to rip self-published authors to shreds. However, when I looked into their publishing, they’re using a hybrid publisher. A hybrid publisher is a publishing house that wants you to pay and do all the work, but they take credit for the work. In other words, you pay for the privilege of being a self-published author. In simpler terms, you get ripped off! Maybe this method works for some people, but it seems too dodgy to me. It certainly doesn’t give you the right to piss all over other people’s hard work. I got an offer from a hybrid publisher for The Next Stage, but I didn’t have £3000 – and wasn’t willing – to throw at them to basically do nothing

I guess what I’m trying to say in this blog post is simply this; stop being a dick. People have reasons why they take the route they take with their work, and it’s not for anyone else to comment on.

I’ve had it said to me that self-published authors aren’t real authors and couldn’t get traditionally published if they tried. The thing is…I don’t want to try. I’m happy – as are many other people – with the way that I publish, so I say again; stop being a dick.

This post turned into a little more of a rant than I originally planned, but I get fed up of idiots gatekeeping being an author. If you write, you’re an author. Whether you publish your work or just have it in a notebook that only you look at. Don’t let anybody tell you what route to go with your work. At the end of the day, it’s your time and effort that’s gone into it, so do with it as you see fit.

Whichever way you decide to publish your works, remember one thing – don’t be a dick.

University Nerves

Come September I’ll become a student for the first time since I was 17 as I head off to university to study creative writing.

I had my place confirmed several months back, but when this week I officially registered, it all became real; I’m actually going. Although I’m excited to go to uni and study something that I love doing, there’s still a part of me that’s very anxious about going.

I quit my job in IT back in May of 2020 as it was having an adverse effect on my mental health. After working in the industry for around 13 years, I had gotten to the point that I really didn’t want to work in IT for the rest of my life. I had started to resent it. It was a big step for me to take, as work had always been the one constant in my life, and it’s what got me through some tough times. So when it no longer helped, I felt lost.

I had no idea what I would do, but I knew that I wanted to give writing full time a try. However, there was always something in the back of my mind telling me that I’d probably end up having to go back into IT, even though I didn’t want to.

When it got to Christmas, I felt like I had to do something; otherwise, I’d spend my life feeling kind of worthless, so after discussing it with Alex, we decided that I should apply for uni.

Again, I didn’t want to do anything IT related; if possible, I wanted to do a course that would help me with my writing as I felt that I could really make a go of it. After browsing some courses online, we came across the creative writing one. After reading it, I was excited about the possibilities that it could create for me. I already loved to write, but I wanted to get better, so why shouldn’t I give the course a go.

I applied that night, but there was still a part of me that thought that I wouldn’t get in. Due to some pre-diagnosis struggles with my mental health back when I was doing my A-Levels, I didn’t get the best grades and thought this would hold me back as there would be someone better that could take my place.

I spent the next few months on the edge of my seat, waiting to hear back. Of course, I knew I would only hear after a certain date, but that didn’t stop me from checking the UCAS portal daily to see if there had been a response.

Pretty soon after the end date for applications had passed, I got an email offering me a conditional place. I didn’t know what this meant, but I already dreaded what I might have to do to get a confirmed place. Luckily, the only thing they wanted was a copy of my A-Level results and not long after I had sent this in, I had a full unconditional offer for a place. I couldn’t accept it quick enough – I’d done it.

There was still that annoying part in the back of my brain that was telling me that something would go wrong or that it had been a mistake, and they’d soon realise and rescind the offer. But they never did.

With my place confirmed, all I had to do was sit back and wait. I’d gotten my student finance sorted pretty quick, so now I just looked forward to starting.

So, here I am now, a month or so away from starting, and it’s hit me – I’m going to university. I never thought that I would ever have the chance after f!cking up my A-Levels so spectacularly and never having the confidence just to apply. This is one of the biggest things to happen to me in my life, and I still can’t believe it.

I don’t think the anxiety will leave me for a while yet. I know once I start, I’ll probably be fine; it’s just the anticipation and not knowing that kills me. It will all be new to me, and I’m never great with new things. But I want this so much that I’m willing to fight through the anxiety and my stupid brain to get where I want to go. I’m going to make the most of this opportunity that I never thought would happen.

Over the past few years, I’ve done several things that I never thought I would do, get engaged, write a book and now go to uni. Despite all the issues I still have to fight with, I feel that my life is actually going somewhere now, and I like it.

I’m going to spend the next few weeks putting together blog posts and continue work on, And Then I Killed Her, as I don’t know how much time I’ll have for these things when I start my course.

I leave you with this if there’s something that you’re thinking of doing but haven’t yet:

Getting Prepared

The past few weeks have been manic – I don’t mean inside my brain either. There hasn’t really been a time when someone hasn’t been coming and going from our house and it’s taken its toll on my mood. Although I’m not hitting a full on depressive episode, I’ve not been feeling right.

After discussing it with Alex, we decided it was probably a good idea to get in contact with my doctor and see what they say. Unfortunately, they’ve not been in for the last two weeks so I’m currently stuck managing it myself. I’m not doing too bad of a job and have felt a bit better now things are getting a little less chaotic, but I still don’t think I’m at the level I was before we moved.

As the days pass, we get more and more things sorted out for the new house. We’re still in a little bit of a limbo as far as the flooring for the bathroom and en-suite, but it’s nothing that we can’t live with.

With this in mind, I’ve been wanting to get back to writing one of the many WIP novels that I have but so far I’ve not been able to. When I first started to struggle, I took not being able to write in this way to heart. It was really doing my head in not being able to focus enough to continue with what I wanted to. But now, I’ve taken my focus away from novels and more on my blogs.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I’m heading to university in September. Once I start I’m sure I’ll have less time for blogging, but I don’t want there to be any huge gaps where I’m not posting so I’m taking this opportunity to get some written and scheduled so I don’t have to worry about them. No doubt there will be some that I write at the time as I progress with my uni work or anything else that I’m doing, but as far as gaming posts and probably even some writing posts, I want to have them banked.

For the writing posts I’ve been writing up my paranormal experiences in my flat in Eccles. The first of these was posted on Monday and part II will be coming next week. I don’t know how many of these I will write, but at the minute I can see there being at least 5 or 6, but we’ll see.

Depressive episodes suck. But, it’s all about making it through to the other side. As I said, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself when I’m not able to do certain things, but at times that’s difficult. My time away from social media has helped me some as I’ve not been getting annoyed at idiots on there, so that’s something.

Another week is over, so I’ll wish you a good weekend.

Learning More About My Craft

This morning I had some great news about something that I have eluded to in previous blog posts.

From September, I will be becoming a student as I start my creative writing course at university. I didn’t want to say anything until it was all confirmed because I worried that something would go wrong and I wouldn’t end up going, but this morning I had final confirmation that I’m sorted, and I’m actually going.

Going to university was never something that I thought I would do. I kind of checked out at college when my bipolar was truly getting out of hand and thought I had missed my chance. If I did go, I probably would have done something IT-related, and now, given that I’ve fallen out with IT, it would have been a waste.

I’m going to study creative writing with a view to learn more about my craft and improve in any areas that I might be lacking.

Yes, I’ve written three novels so far that have generally been received well, but I’m not so up my own arse that I think I can’t learn and get better at it.

It’s been a long time since I did any kind of study, so I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a little bit nervous about going to uni, but I’m also excited to go and genuinely look forward to it.

Writing is something that I’ve only really discovered in the past few years, but I’ve found that I really enjoy it, and for the most part, it helps me get through some of my worst days.

When I quit my job in IT last year, I worried because it was all I’ve ever known. I knew that I didn’t want to go back into it, but it’s all I’ve worked in for over a decade, and I didn’t know what else I would do. I didn’t have the confidence to try to get a job that related to writing. I’m hoping this course will give me more confidence in my skills and allow me to build on what I can already do.

Whilst on the course, I will still be writing my novels where I can and posting blogs, but obviously, I will be a lot busier than I am at the moment. This does worry me a bit as I’ve gotten used to my current schedule and the way that I work, so making significant changes will probably knock me a little bit, to begin with. But I’m feeling optimistic about it all, and I know that it will be something amazing that could lead to bigger and better things.

Recently I’ve not been feeling great. The stress of our house move and everything that goes along with it has knocked me for six. But, this news this morning has done a lot to help me feel better and remind me that there are good things, and they do sometimes happen to me.

Regarding what I’m up to at the moment, I’m struggling to continue work on any of my current in-progress novels. Still, I am able to write blogs, so I’m trying to get a stock of them ready to go, so I’m not doing them at the last minute or worrying about doing them when I’m not feeling great. This news has left me feeling a bit more motivated so I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to my novels soon.

I’m still staying away from social media platforms for a bit as they were just starting to annoy me, but I’m sure I’ll be back at some point.

For now, though, that’s it from me. Have a good weekend all.

Blindsighted is available on Amazon now.

A Bit of a Dip: Taking a Break

This blog is a little late today as it took me a while to write it for reasons I’ll explain below.

It’s been a stressful few weeks. We’ve moved into our new house, and since then, it’s been pretty much non-stop with people coming in and out doing jobs.

I wish I could say that I’ve been okay through this, but the stress has hit a limit over the past few days and has sent me down into a depressive episode.

So far, I’m doing okay (compared to other episodes). I haven’t forgotten where I am or thought that everything was a dream – so that’s good. But I’m still not feeling right. I only went back to writing last week, and I just couldn’t get into it. I’ve managed to write a couple of blog posts for the bank, but I’ve not been particularly productive other than that. I managed to do a read-through of what I have written so far for The Next Stage 2, but when it came to writing something new to continue the story, I just hit a wall. I don’t want just to type anything because I don’t want to ruin what I have, so for now, I’m just going to leave it.

I can’t pinpoint precisely when this depressive episode has come on, it’s just been bubbling under the surface for a few weeks, and I’m now realising it for what it is rather than just trying to push through. Tears have been shed, and now I’m just exhausted.

I think a break from things is required, so I don’t think I’ll be around all that much on social media until I feel a bit better. I’ll still try to do some blogs because writing does help me when I’m able to do it. I’ll try to work on my stories where I can, but I’m not going to force myself to do it if I can’t.

Alex and I agreed that I need to talk to my doctor about it, but as usual, she’s not in this week, so for now, we just have to try to manage this as best we can.

I’ve had some good news about something in the past week, but even that’s not been enough to pull me out of this episode. I know that I have some great things in my life, and I’m surrounded by people that genuinely care about me. But when I feel like this, it’s hard to see that. I feel myself just wanting to be alone or hide from the world.

I hope this episode won’t devolve into the one I had a couple of years ago when my mind pretty much melted, and I couldn’t function at all. I just need to manage it the best I can and do what I can to help me through.

That’s it for now. See you soon and have a good week.