In the month which sees the release of my autobiography Adapted I thought I would devote this month to telling you a little about the process of publishing and releasing a book. I must admit, now that everything is done I have been feeling a huge sense of relief but also a feeling of uselessness. So I’m occupying my time by writing blogs and attempting to mix with the stars to secure great interviews for you, my adoring audience!
I still can’t believe that I have a book coming out in a couple of weeks. To me it doesn’t feel real and every time my publisher sends me a photo of what the book will look like, I have to take a moment to realise it’s mine! Seeing my name and photo on the cover of the book is a fantastic, rewarding experience and reassures me that the hard work is finally about to be paid off! In my excitement I have also wondered if any of my experiences with the writing and publishing process may be of use to other budding writers out there. So I thought I would take this opportunity to chart the book’s journey from the initial idea to its forthcoming publication.
It’s actually amazing that I’ve actually written a book considering how long it takes me to read. I must be among the slowest readers of all time which made the editing process all the more gruelling. Drafting and redrafting is something which I always struggle with because once I’ve written something I like to move on to the next thing but I knew that this was going to require patience and every time I sent it off I just assumed that was it…but I was wrong! At university we were always taught the huge importance of the rewriting process and I have to admit to taking this advice with a pinch of salt. To me, naively I thought if I was happy with it then that was all that mattered, somehow dismissing the requirements of the reader. It was only when I was lucky enough to secure a publisher that I realised the true extent of the redrafting process.
After emailing a whole host of publishers and literary agents throughout the UK with a full synopsis of the book together with the first ten pages, I started to reside to the fact that I would have to self publish. Self publishing is a great option for writers who know that they have a definite audience who will guarantee sales but for a “novice” like myself I had no idea how the book would be received and through not holding any weight within the industry, I thought it would be an unnecessary gamble. Yet as if by magic, I received an email from a publisher in Lincoln who unbelievably liked the concept of the book and although it required more drafting, she saw something in it that she liked.
Taryn Johnston is the solo founder and CEO of FCM Publishing who specialise in non-fiction tales of human endeavour from adult bullying to autobiographies of celebrated sportsmen such as the jockey Bob Champion. It seemed incredible how a professional publisher of this high calibre could actually see potential in me and my book. I was used to mixing with a whole host of media professionals through my work with my documentary Following The Money and the interviews for my website but this was the first time that someone had been willing to give me a chance based on the credibility of my work and it felt amazing. Throughout the last year, it has been great to get to know Taryn and develop a productive working relationship, proving to myself that it’s possible for me to work in a professional arena. Beyond being a published author, this is proof that I no longer need the support from a third party to strike up a professional understanding and this means a lot to me.
Together with Taryn, I realised the true potential of the book. It was no longer just something I could work on intermittently while I was waiting for a major project to fall into my lap. Suddenly Adapted was my main priority and I began to feel excited about the places it could take me. Yet before it could be deemed a finished article I wanted to seek the approval from my immediate family, after all it wasn’t like it was a fictional story and the last thing I wanted to do was misrepresent someone or even worse myself. My family has always had an enormous amount of enthusiasm and confidence in whatever I’ve tried to put my hand to and have always been proud of the things I’ve done, even if they have been rubbish! So when they had severe concerns about some of the content within the book I felt I had to listen. This resulted in another draft of the book, taking into account their comments. For a project which I deemed to be finished over a year previously, Adapted was certainly a labour of love!
So in September 2018 I launch the long awaited Adapted to what I hope will be rave reviews. A massive thanks to everyone who’s helped me with the development of the book, from my patient carers who have spent hours upon hours scribing my utterances onto a word document to Taryn and FCM Publishing for believing in the concept. Adapted aims to be available from all good book outlets including Amazon from early September with the official launch on Tuesday 11th September at The Quay Arts Centre, Sea Street, Newport Isle Of Wight PO30 5BW. I’ll also be doing a book signing at the Newport IOW branch of Waterstones on Tuesday 2nd October from 11am to 1pm. I’m also delighted to announce that I’ve been invited to be a guest speaker at this year’s IOW Literary Festival on Thursday 11th October from 4:15 pm at Ward Avenue, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 8AZ
(For more information click here). So if you want to know more about the book please come along and you never know you might even want to buy a copy!
Adapted has been a long time in the making and I’m so glad it’s finally been able to have its moment of glory. Beyond that I hope it too inspires other people to tell their story and by reading other people’s perceptions of their own lives may just make our own that little more easier. Enjoy!