One thing I noticed, quite early on in my writing journey, was that there was an awful lot of ‘support’ for would be authors.
I browsed Google a few times and if I so much as left my email address on an enquiry, I was inundated with offers of help from various places. The support is usually packaged in a ‘give us £XXX and we’ll help you get your book published’ way and the temptation to dive in and let them is overwhelming – after all, you need all the help you can get, right?
I’m not so sure you do. If I’d took up every offer of help and gone to every event that promised to make a difference, I’d have spent in the region of a hundred grand and had little time left to do anything else.
You have to be selective; incredibly so, because for every genuine offer of help, there are half a dozen or more where someone is just trying to make money or as it was put to me by someone who’d been through it already, ‘selling you the dream’.
I think this is something that anyone writing a book for the first time has to consider. Does the seller (be it of an event, a series of webinars, the latest app that lets you structure your novel etc etc etc) have the writer’s interests at heart? Or merely their own financial interests?
I know people have to make money but as writer’s we don’t have to roll over and spend it and we shouldn’t unless we are really sure. I had to be selective. Very selective in fact, because I had a limited budget and even more limited time at my disposal, so getting it wrong wasn’t really an option.
This is who and where I went to and what happened…
Because I felt so inexperienced and out of my comfort zone, I sought editorial support through The Writer’s Workshop. I also felt that someone who knew the industry would make up somewhat for my lack of knowledge. They matched me up with an editor and left us to it, and I must say the advice I got back was both comprehensive and bloody good. Of the twenty one recommendations made in the very detailed report I received, I put twenty in the final version and the one I didn’t was because it was a ‘either/or’ and I chose the other. Recommend? Yes!
Get Published Day
I wanted to find out more about the world of publishing, agents and mix with people who were at the same stage as me so I went to this event (also via The Writer’s Workshop) in London just after I’d completed my ninth draft with an open mind and with the intention of gathering as much information as I could. It was a lovely location and I met some fantastic people. The content was a bit mixed. Some bits were great (the book doctor session, for instance, gave me a lot of confidence and some useful hints), some were OK (such as the agents Q&A’s but I felt they added to the myth of ‘selling the dream’) and some weren’t that helpful (the networking bits told me that a lot of people were still in the very early stages of writing and I ended up struggling to talk with people who were ready to ‘get published’ but that might have been my misinterpretation of what to expect). Recommend? Maybe. But just have realistic expectations.
Next time: Week Nine– Part 2 (the ones I’d be less inclined to recommend)