21st Apr2015

Writing: making the right choices

by Lloyd Paige


This year’s London Book Fair moved from Earl’s Court to Kensington Olympia and the process had its teething problems. If you exited Earl’s Court train station you would’ve waited for a replacement bus service to take you to the venue and on a scorching hot day it was just too far to walk. So you would’ve had to get comfortable while waiting but this may be something that we just have to get used to.

Once I reached the venue I wanted to know the exact location of a particular event and was passed between polite members of staff because no one knew. I ended up with The Insights Guide so that I could locate the event myself and to be honest I expected these teething problems. But they could’ve been minimized if the fair’s Android app had the full location information alongside its events. Maybe that’s something which can be implemented for next year.

When you love books perseverance is sometimes key and after stepping into the venue I felt a tinge of excitement. There was a lot of space – which is a good thing – and plenty of light, and I first visited the Kindle Direct Publishing session where Mark Dawson, Keith Houghton, Stephanie Hudson, and Mel Sherratt were the main voices. The attendance was very good, with many wanting to know what to do and where to start with regards to self-publishing. So how do things stand curently? Well it’s not to be frowned upon anymore, in fact quite the opposite. Many self-publishers have been successful and more than a few have made the transition to traditional publishing.

Yet for the aspiring writer it can be a tricky route to navigate, an onslaught of the mind to know what angles to cover after the story has been written. That’s why there’s nothing like receiving advice from those that have been there and done it. Questions were raised and advice was given.

Here are a few examples

Keith Houghton: (when writing the story) follow your gut instincts and follow your heart.

Mel Sherratt: experiment. Change the cover if it’s not working, change your key words if they’re not working change your metadata. Change your product description. Don’t stand still and put a book out there then leave it.

Stephanie Hudson: a book cover is an important thing. You want something people can recognize, and have faith in your work.

Mark Dawson: I’d definitely recommend you look at giving your first book for free so that you reduce all the barriers of getting it from you to your readers. Price is a barrier, especially for someone who has never heard of you or read your stuff before, and think about advertising.

It has always seemed to be a case of personal preference as to whether authors should seek a traditional route or self-publish but when we think about it there’s no good or bad. There’s no right or wrong. There are just passionate authors with important decisions to make for the thing they love doing, with feasible options on the table.


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