There has never been a better time for those with a long-held desire to write a book to have a go.
So long as budding authors don’t expect to make pots of money from their endeavours, this is a good time to tap into all the online help which is often freely available.
Lizzie Steel is a new breed of indie author, creatively responsible for her book from the first word written to the choice of medium in which the novel will be read.
The Market Deeping mother knew exactly what she was going to do with the free time suddenly available to her when she left a job she loved in Buckinghamshire to move to this area a year ago.
She had had a story bubbling away at the back of her mind, and when she and IT expert Jon and their daughter Millie (4) moved to be closer to his parents the words started to flow.
Lizzie loves reading and has previously acted as a Beta reader for other aspiring authors, checking and improving other people’s work. So, once her novel was complete, she put up a post on the goodreads website asking if anyone was interested in reading her book.
It’s only necessary to state the genre and length of the book, and then wait for responses.
In Lizzie’s case, the book, Running Home, is historical fiction. Set in 1910, it revolves around the mystery of an English woman’s flight to India with her parents, and her subsequent relationship with a native plantation owner.
Two Beta readers responded and, in what Lizzie calls her “biggest break”, one of them turned out to be a magazine editor who wanted to set up a freelance editing businesses.
Lizzie said: “She offered to edit my whole book for free. Normally that would work out at £1,000 for my book. That really made the whole thing a possibility.”
That was a stroke of luck, but Lizzie says: “At every single stage there are people you can hire in.”
For instance, the goodreads website has forums offering all kinds of advice, and Lizzie says: “Basically, everyone’s in the same boat so people are very supportive and recommend other agencies or people who would work for you.”
The next step is deciding which channels you are going to publish through, starting with vanity publishing in which the author pays for a company to produce a good-looking book for them.
Lizzie used free services: Draft2Digital to distribute ‘ebooks’ to various websites; Amazon’s KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing, as well as Amazon’s CreateSpace for print on demand copies.
The returns are small (57p for a £7.95 paperback, £1.70 for a £2.99 ebook). Visit Lizzie’s website lizziesteel.com to buy a copy.