This post is in response to WordPress’ #wordprompt for April 2022.

I have been writing for a very long time, putting pen to paper since I was about ten. I have become quite comfortable with storytelling over the years and have invested a lot in developing my style, finding my voice, and working out a process that works for me.

But over the last few months, I have felt very green.

Green (adj): of the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.

(slang): meaning inexperienced or new to something, deriving from freshly cut wood that still shows green wick.

In a world where blogs are used by organisations and individuals to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in their niche area, it seems rather counter-productive to be admitting I feel inexperienced at something I have been doing for so long.

Of course, it isn’t writing itself that is the issue here, but the step I took last week, that has left me feeling green.

Last Tuesday (19th April), for those who haven’t been following this site, I self-published my first Sci-Fi Novella, The Forgotten Fairground. It was a moment that I have been working towards for a very long time, and when it arrived, yes, I was overjoyed to count myself among the ranks of published authors (‘self’ prefix or not), but there was also a sense of stepping out of my comfort zone and feeling all at sea (another reason for feeling green, this time around the gills).

But I reminded myself that this isn’t the first time I have felt like this and it certainly won’t be the last.

What does it take to be an author?

About six years ago, this was the question I asked myself. Actually, I asked Google and it came back with a million and one responses for me to wade through. This was the point at which I started taking my own writing seriously and I wanted to know what ingredients went into becoming a successful author. If you want to read more about what led up to this, click here.

At the time, I didn’t know how to get myself noticed as an author. I hadn’t even finished the first draft of anything back then, and I certainly hadn’t begun to entertain the notion of self-publishing.

The main pieces of advice I was able to take away from Google were:

  1. Write something – this seemed an obvious one. No point trying to be an author with nothing to show for it.
  2. Increase your social media presence – publishers and agents like to see authors who can draw a crowd.
  3. Develop an online platform – the greatest recommendation for this was to set up a website with a blog, which is exactly what I did.

What goes into a blog?

My website is the result of that advice. When I was getting started back in 2016, I had no idea what to do with a blog. I didn’t know what I was going to talk about or how it would be received. For the first week or so, I tried a couple of different things, posting random snippets of pieces I had written previously.

A couple of weeks in, though, I discovered WordPress’ daily one-word prompts, and was fortunate to be hit with inspiration for their word of the day, Desert. A little while after that, another daily prompt offered up Eyes, and between these two posts I found my stride.

I realised I could write about things I had been passionate about for a long time, things that one way or another have influenced my own work.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Jump forward six years, and here I am feeling as confident in blogging and running my website as I am with writing fiction.

Should I self-publish or go traditional?

At some point over the last six years, this question arose in my mind. It is something that most authors will come up against at one time or another. For me, this came up as I finished drafting my first novel. I have previously gone into my reasons for exploring self-publishing, but choosing to do it and knowing how to go about it are very different things.

Yet again, it was internet-based research that helped me along, together with a few helpful classes on SkillShare. Since August last year (when I decided to take the plunge with The Forgotten Fairground), I have taught myself the basics of cover design, Kindle Direct Publishing, Social Media Marketing, and so much more.

And, as much as I have learned, I know I have only just scratched the surface. The publishing industry (whether you are looking into traditional or self-publishing) is vast, and holds so many options for writers. On the one hand, this is wonderful and means you don’t have to feel forced on to one particular path. But on the other hand, it can be overwhelming to navigate – details of which I will no doubt be sharing in the weeks to come.

So, why am I telling you all this?

As daunting as the last few months (and especially the last week since my book launched on Kindle) have been, it has also been an extremely exciting and rewarding time. After all, it would be boring if any of us got to a point where we truly knew everything about our chosen fields.

I am looking forward to the point where I can write confidently about self-publishing and offer my own personal insights and anecdotes for other writers to learn from. But I am mostly looking forward to working out even more as I go.

There really is something quite comforting in knowing that no matter how long you’ve been doing something, there is always something new to learn. Even the oldest trees have that little bit of green just beneath their bark.

Available now on Amazon Kindle

“Every choice you’ve ever made has brought you here …”

Nick’s quiet life is shattered when he follows Megan through a mysterious mirror and discovers a vast network of parallel worlds, all connected by the Eternity Mirrors.

Unable to return permanently to his own world, and pursued by terrifying shadow creatures, Nick joins a group of Outsiders – others who have left their worlds – at their refuge in the Rift Between the Worlds. But life in the Rift is far from simple. Devoid of all natural resources, Nick and the Outsiders must venture into the worlds to scavenge what they need while evading the ominous shadows.

With danger waiting in every world, and secrets lurking in the Rift, do the Outsiders have what it takes to survive?

And can Nick come to terms with his new life?


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