As some of you will be aware, I haven’t written a book since Children of the Universe the second volume in The Book Ark series, and that was two years ago. At the time I had reached my long held ambition of becoming a published author and had a modicome of success; I had certainly discovered that there were many readers out there who enjoyed my work and I had finally killed the little goblin who, for as long as I could remember, would dance around my ankles at any given opportunity and point out all the reasons why I wasn’t really a writer, but when enough people start to tell you that you are “great'” at what you do, even those of us with the very lowest of self confidence start believing it (just as when people tell you for long enough that you are useless… you end up in a place of excruciating low self esteem, but that is a story of battle for another blog). The bottom line is, this time two years ago I had become completely disillusioned with the whole business of writing, my aspirations fell far short of the realities and a host of little things here and there chipped away at me and persuaded me that this writing lark wasn’t for me after all… and I was most certainly never going to make anything like a living from it!
So, off I went to turn 50 and pursue other money making schemes (see FABB FADS) but my published books continued to sell at a trickle and as more and more people heard I had given up writing, the more and more I heard the reasons why I shouldn’t, actually I was completely overwhelmed by the number of people who not only believed in my talent as a writer much more than I did myself, but I also discovered there were a lot of folk who actually got something very positive from my stories. I started opening my ears and I grew to understand that my dear, darling husband, who just happens to be my biggest fan and the number one ardent for me to start wordsmithing again, was RIGHT, there is far more to be made from writing stories than monetary gain — which, given he works to support my full time literary and creative endeavours, is some huge belief in what I do! Certainly the stories in my head didn’t stop just because I had laid down my metaphoric pen, there are a lot of angry characters roaming around in there still waiting for their stories to be told, including a whole army of rather annoyed Vikings who have been held in freeze-frame for about 15 years now! On top of the 20 or so novels I had in my head already ideas were still flinging themselves at me left right and centre, ignoring the closed sign which I felt I had hung in my brain. Then, of course, there is that other aspect which I know an awful lot of fellow writers experience, that annoying thing where if you don’t take up an idea when it first comes to you, you can guarantee someone else will come out with the exact same thing that you were going to write three or four years later… it is said that angels come and offer you these ideas and if you don’t take them up and run with them, they eventually move on to find someone who will… I for one have come wholeheartedly to believe in this myth.
The steep and rocky path back to writing has been one of signs and signals, and boots up the backside that, as much as I may have tried to run and hide from it, seems to indicated that there is some universal agreement that I was born to be a writer and a writer I am, it is in the very fibre of me and not something I can just take off like an old coat and leave at the charity shop for someone else to pick up. Writing, it would appear, is what I was put here to do! After a lot of brow beating and heart searching here I am, relaunching my career, and writing not just one, but two books! Knowing I was plunging myself back into the fire, as it were, I have spent many weeks assessing what my new aims and goals are with my work. To be honest my vision hasn’t changed much, to write great stories that will entertain, inform, touch and maybe in someway, now and then, be pertinent for the reader. What I have lost is any belief that my writing will be in anyway a serious source of income to support me — yes, I know there are many of you who say I could easily be the next JK Rowling, and I am extremely flattered by that, it would be very lovely if that happened, but for the now I am taking it out of the mix. Once my husband and I agreed that I was to purely focus upon the creativity of what I do it felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I have always said that in an ideal world I would simply write my tales, someone would publish them, people would read them… and I would be getting on with the next. It hasn’t been like that before because there has been a great focus on marketing, an aspect of this business which I loath, I know it is necessary, but I am a writer not a salesman… worse than that, I am a typical writer who doesn’t believe in her own ability enough it sell it to herself, let alone other people. Being self-published there has also been the whole production side (I don’t just write the books, I do 100% production side too including the covers) which has its challenges and can wear you down a bit when all you want to do is get on with the next book.
Luckily for me a lot has changed in the self-publishing arena over the last two years, one of those things is KDPS/Amazon’s Kindle Create – which I only found out about tonight. Newly launched it has just come at the right time for me and should make the whole production side of publishing a walk in the park – if it delivers what it offers. It means that we will be reissuing all my previous novels back into paperback again, as well as revamping the electronic versions. In the coming weeks all of my previous novels are being revised and reissued with new covers, as can be seen below. We will be putting the price up a little on Kindle, as I would like to try and see £1 from a book sale, rather than the 28p I currently make, but I want to keep the prices as low as I can for my readers. Amazon and the like provide an absolutely fantastic platform for us independent, self published writers and they rightly take their cut from the sale price. The economics of book sales is very interesting but from me to JK Rowling you can guarantee that the author will only be getting at best about 30% of what you pay for your book, at very best they will see 70% of a Kindle book sale, if they have done every aspect of the publishing themself. Discounts on books in bookshop or online generally cme out of the writers cut – just so you know. I am currently working on two novels a black comedy called The Roald Dahl Care Plan for Elderly Parents and The Enlightenment of Malmsey Fox which is a prequel to my planned William Byrd series — for William Byrd think of a cross between the Scarlet Pimpernel, James Bond and Ross Poldark, and no, Book Ark fans, I haven’t forgotten I owe you volume 3, Enemies of the Book and I can tell you that volume 4 The Masters of Time won’t be far behind it, packed full of all your favourite characters.
So, that is it… Janis Pegrum Smith, the relaunch. Expect lots of ‘relaunchey’ stuff on the run up to Christmas, which I hope you will all share, share, share – after all that is what social media is for. I am so blessed to have some fantastic fans of my work out there and it is through their word of mouth I have gained all the readers I have thus far, keep up the good work people, and thank you, again, for all the nagging – your belief in me and what I do far exceeded my own. Never ever miss an opportunity to tell an artist about how much you enjoy their work, whetter that be writer, artist, actor… creators are often the most fragile of vessels who struggle daily with their worth, sometimes a few words from an admirer of their work can be all it takes to keep that creator creating and not throwing in the towel forever. If you aren’t following me on Facebook, or haven’t moved over to the new group from my original page click here https://www.facebook.com/groups/janispegrumsmithfanpage/ and please do follow me — a writer can never have enough ‘followers’ 🙂 x