Join me at the London Book Fair Writer Summit on 11th March at 10:40am when I’ll be on a panel discussing the life of being a writer with all its ups and downs!
The Author’s Journey: Making the Most Of your Publishing Experience
Join us for a thought-provoking conversation as we delve into the challenges and obstacles that authors face. This debate will cover a wide range of topics, including the initial steps of entering the industry, securing a publisher, and working with an agent, as well as the marketing aspects of promoting and illustrating a book. This will be an informative and practical session at the London Book Fair Writer Summit.
- Hazel Mead, Illustrator
- Tabitha Rayne, Writer, Artist, Inventor – that’s me!
- Joshua Fletcher, AKA Anxiety Josh, Therapist & Author, School of Anxiety
- Alice McIlroy, Author of The Glass Woman
Chaired by: Johanna Clarke, Senior Contracts Advisor, Society of Authors
Can’t wait to see you there – Register NOW!
The Author’s Journey…
I wanted to talk a bit more about my own twists and turns and the path that led me to erotica and ending up inventing a bloody sex toy for gawd’s sake.
Picture me, 2009, my first novel had been picked up by the first Indy press I’d sent it to. I suffered terribly with my confidence and my mental health was in tatters so this felt like a triumph.
I was under 35 so still considered a ‘young’ writer – in fact a baby in this profession! I was utterly thrilled.
I took to promoting my book with gusto, setting up talks, meetings, interviews and a banging book party. (Seriously, it was BANGING.)
My book was a very personal story inspired by my own feelings of madness. I could never figure out (neither could the medical profession) what the hell was wrong with me. I decided I must be possessed by the Devil. I looked and behaved like a normal person… just don’t delve too far.
The story was a fictionalised account of living this way. It got some incredible reviews from some awe inspiring authors and critics. My pals love it too 😀 obvs. And so I believed, that’s it! I’ve nailed it! I’ve hit the big time – I’m going to have a actual literary career and be set for life writing stories and giving talks on writing and helping others find their voices on the page. It was a BUZZ.
“My book party was BANGIN!”moi
If you’ve ever been to a writing group, read out a story or poem you wrote, and received good feedback you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It is indeed a high maker. The dopamine rush of others giving you approval – more than that – others actually enjoying your work, is thrilling.
The problems began when the press interviews started.
I had a few local and national papers lined up, radio interviews and even a well known journalist from London wanted to meet to hear about my book…
Or so I thought.
Because my story tackled subjects like self harm and eating disorders, it turns out, that was what people wanted to know about. Not the book, but the bad things the person writing it had done. When one journalist asked a bewildered me to see my scars, I felt like my soul had literally been ripped out my spine.
I’d bled on the pages of my book. I’d poured out every ounce of my being and crafted a tale that drew on my powers but that wasn’t enough.
In today’s world where everyone seems to share every most intimate detail of their lives and celebs are subjected to zero privacy, this might seem like an obvious thing. But I naively thought people would want to read about my actual book. Not me.
I completely shut down and cancelled the interviews. I thought I’d never write again.
A friend of mine told me he’d improved his touch typing by writing a porno.
“Honestly, just string together all the swearing and sex words you know and you’ll fingers will fly. you’ll be typing with your eyes closed in no time.”my pal
So I tried it. I loved it. I was GREAT at it.
I gave myself a new name and sent off my first ever erotic story to and anthology called Kinky Girls. It got picked up and I was hooked. Every story I wrote made it into an anthology and so I started writing longer pieces. Again, success! I wrote a novel, then a trilogy that got picked up by the first press I sent it to.
But all the while I guarded my identity with complete paranoia. I’d use different computers so no documents would leave a trace anywhere. I was leading a double life.
I’ve always led a double life to hide my mental health horrorshow, so it wasn’t hard at all.
But what happens now when I’ve come to terms with my ‘scars’?
I’m talking at the London Book Fair Writer Summit with some incredible writers and book peeps to talk through our different paths to making this craft our career and what it is like.
This is probably the first event where I’ll be open about my dual identity. Talking about other projects like film making, sex toy inventing and script writing too. This is the first event I’ll talk about just how much a writer has to give to promote their work. It seems harder than ever to keep your private life private. A lot of new writing talent is discovered because of what they share on social media – building their platforms ahead of writing a book. Perhaps sharing the intimate parts of your life might be easier that way round.
All I know is that it came as a SHOCK to me 😀
I wish my original publisher had prepared me, looked after me a bit more. Some of the best writing comes from the most vulnerable of people and their experiences so I think we have to be a bit more careful with them. Nurturing talent with an emphasis on the nurturing. Changing my identity was almost like a suit of armour – I could at once hide behind my new name, but it was also 100% me at the same time. Someone I could be truly authentic in what I expressed without the worry of exposing myself to my friends or family. There is a real freedom in that, but keeping it secret does also weigh heavy. Especially when you publish a new book, or win an award that you’d love to share with your friends but the fear of exposing your pseudonym is too scary. With my original name I was worried of revealing my true self as a madwoman, my new one marked me as a pervy sex demon. A rock and a hard place indeed.
When you go with a very small indy press or choose to self publish, you have to be your own cheerleader whether it comes naturally or not. Financially successful self-published authors, particularly those who have to be creative with promotion due to ‘adult content’ are some of the most shrewd business people I’ve ever met. They build their own website, do all their own marketing, branding and keep their audience engaged with superb social media and newsletters. Writing a book nowadays seems to be the easy part!
I remember seeing an interview with Kylie Minogue years ago and she was belittled for not writing her own songs, it was seen as a let down. She was like, really? I sing, I dance, I perform my ass off and you still need more? I thought, right on Kylie! We expect so much from our creatives don’t we. But unless you have a huge marketing team behind you, you really do have to do it all.
So I am really looking forward to immersing myself in the world of books and authors, sharing stories from the page and our lives.
And how we stay sane while juggling all our identities! including our bloody characters’!
Register now for London Book Fair Writer Summit and hear from so many other writers about their own Author Journey.
trailer for Inevitable
Read my very first novel, The Device, The Devil and Me now.