First of all, thank you for your interest. Frankly, I wasn’t sure anyone would be interested in hearing anything I had to say as an author. I’m new to this whole blogging thing, but I’m a fast learner and some in my family feel that as an author, I need deeper engagement with social media. So now I have an Instagram presence (sloanblecher_author) and a website (sloanblecher.com).
As an initial discussion topic, I intend to share my experience of writing a book. It’s been eye-opening for me, and I hope you will at least find it interesting. And I’ll take you through some of what I’ve learnt about getting a book published. That exercise has been so much harder than I’d imagined. There are so many publishing options and I’ll share why I chose the path I did.
I’ve always wanted to write. In high school, I wanted to be a journalist and I wrote to multiple newspapers about journalist cadetships, to no avail. I ended up in a rewarding alternate career, almost by accident, but never lost my enjoyment of writing. Writing ‘The Shadow’ has taken some time. I started thinking about it seriously maybe 10 years ago but hadn’t progressed beyond a broad outline of the plot, with as many dead ends as coherent plot threads, and the initial 18-page first chapter after 5 years. I wondered if I was up to it and how long it might take if I did eventually write a novel of substance with a storyline that would be interesting. I wondered whether I had any idea of what made a book or a story, interesting. What thoughts are exercised by a reader that encourages them to read the next page or next chapter and to perhaps eventually recommend a book to their friends? It was then that I seriously asked myself: Do I really want to write a book and if I do, why?
After weeks of soul searching and some rather feeble attempts to fat out the storyline through the use of mind maps, I’d progressed no further on either the book’s plot or why I’d want to do this. It was increasingly becoming clear that it wasn’t going to be as simple a task as I assumed. But how hard can it be? Data around the number and types of books published varies wildly, but as best I can tell, there are over 12,000,000 e-books that have been listed on Amazon. Estimates run as high as 50,000,000. The data on this stuff is all over the place but it seems that the current run rate is up to 50,000 new e-books and several thousand new physical books a month. My point in sharing this is simply that those numbers tell me there are a lot of folks that haven’t had the difficulties that I found in getting started. Looking under the covers though, it seems that less than 1 in 10 of those books are fiction. Most are non-fiction and include a lot of self-help books, books on health, autobiographies, children’s books, and textbooks, for example. While the majority of ‘The Shadow’ is based on actual events, it is ultimately a work of fiction.
I naively thought that once I’d decided to become an author, I would sit down at my computer over a bunch of weekends and the magic would just happen. It didn’t, and that’s the first of two significant reasons that I decided to figure out how to do this. I wanted to test myself and find ways to overcome whatever the invisible hurdles were that were standing in the way of getting this done. The second reason was that I had what I considered to be a very interesting story to tell. Some of the things that happened and are fictionalised in ‘The Shadow’, could not happen today. Readers will perhaps find some of the scenes outlined, confronting. There were times when I found myself in tears at the keyboard, wondering to myself whether what I had written accurately characterised what I remembered from years ago when these events took place. After testing these events with a select few that were also part of the story, I am confident they do. It’s just that they don’t seem real from the standards of behaviour that we find acceptable today.
So I knuckled down to write a book. I soon realised that I did not understand the discipline needed to progress from thoughts to coherent words that flowed and made a story. Tune back in here for deeper insights into how I approached that task and how I overcame the challenges that encountered along the way.
P.S. I got word today that ‘The Shadow’ should be available to order through Amazon within 2 weeks.