Belladrum Book Talk

The other day an amazing thing happened. I gave a talk about my books at Belladrum Music Festival – and several strangers came up afterwards to buy them! It made me feel incredibly happy. Tearful, even.

I think it’s because of something all writers (and other artists I’m sure) face on a regular basis: rejection. To experience the opposite of rejection was a welcome change.

In ten years I wrote three books (a memoir and two novels) and had them rejected by every literary agent in the book (the book in this case being the Writers and Artists yearbook). It’s difficult to keep going in the face of repeated rejection, especially when writing is such a time-consuming business. I devote to it almost all of my free time, and a considerable amount of sleeping time. I have hollowed out eyes and pale pallor to prove it, too.

The decision to self-publish was nerve wracking because it means putting yourself out there without the endorsement of the established publishing industry – the Indie Author has to wait and hope the readers will 1. Find and read their book, and 2. Like what they read without the knowledge that a ‘proper’ publisher has thought it good enough for publication.

It sometimes feels as though the traditional publishing industry is like a gigantic walled fortress, beyond which are the millions of book readers. The new author stands small, manuscript in hand, not even knocking at the door but shouting across the moat to ask if they’ll lower the drawbridge. Because without getting through the castle, how is the author to reach the readers?

Random sentries that patrol the ramparts fire poisoned arrows at the cowering writer: Your book isn’t a clear genre. Our lists are full. There’s no market for a book like that. Go and knock on a different castle wall. Sometimes they use the cannon: Your dialogue is stilted. Ouch.

What being a self-published Indie Author feels like is giving up waiting at the fortress gate, running around the side of the castle, scaling the wall, throwing some books over to the readers, and waiting to see if they like them. And I’m only brave enough to write this post because of the positive feedback I’ve had: as of this morning Daughter, Disappeared has 74 top Amazon reviews (in nine months) and Glasdrum has 56 (in four months) – this blows me away every time I think about it! And the other day when I got the opportunity to talk about my books at Belladrum Music Festival on behalf of Ness Book Fest (5-8 Oct 2017 in Inverness, with a super line up of events), it was amazing to me, bag of nerves that I was, that some people listened to my talk and liked the sound of the novels enough to come and buy them. Nice one.

Castles are often boring stuffy old places anyway – climbing walls is way more fun!

For more information about Ness Book Fest (5-8 Oct 17), please like their facebook page:

If you are interested in trying either of my books, here are the links to read reviews or purchase:



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