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Crucial Evidence Published

When I was awarded the degree of MA in Creative Writing in December 2009, I had about 50,000 words of a novel already written. Today three years and many words later, my novel has been published and I have a printed copy in my hand. The cover with the bar code of a DNA sample on the cover feels smooth under my fingers and there is the smell of new paper. I’m not sure I always wanted to be a writer. Certainly when I was a teenager I dreamt of writing a bestselling novel and I wrote short stories about young love.
Then life took over. I went to University and studied Law. I thought about writing academic books about the philosophy of law – after all why do people by and large obey the law- it’s a question that’s difficult to answer. But I didn’t really want to stay on at University, I wanted to get on with living and experiencing everything. I became a practising lawyer and if I wrote stories then it was in the form of jury speeches.
The life of a barrister leaves little time for anything other than work so although from time to time I would try writing a crime novel I never succeeded in finishing one. Now I have and I have a great sense of achievement. I have taken the road of direct publishing as the traditional route takes so long and is such a gamble.  crucial11
The story is of a mid thirties Barrister called Cassie Hardman. She is instructed to represent a young man, Lenny Barker, who is pleading not guilty to the brutal murder of prostitute Shelley Paulson. Initially Cassie believes him to be guilty until she discovers compelling new evidence. She risks her career and her ambition to become a QC to ensure Barker has a fair trial and will stop at nothing to locate the missing witness. Will she find the man in question before the jury retire to consider their verdict at the Old Bailey? And if Barker is acquitted who is really responsible.

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Decision Time

Kindle 3 moved all major operates to the botto...

Kindle 3 moved all major operates to the bottom. No comments on this point. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have made the decision to engage Authoright to provide a publishing package for my book Crucial Evidence. Gareth Howard, the CEO, has experience of both self publishing and of traditional publishing deals and he is passionate about authors having the choice of how to publish and indeed,making the right choice; something that suits them rather than the agent or publisher. Indeed the message I took away from the Author Lounge at the London Book Fair is that if a writer wants to keep control of the publication and marketing process then direct publishing is a good alternative. When I saw a publisher last year at the Winchester Writers’ Conference she said the publisher would want a series of five books, while I though three would be sufficient to take my main character Cassie Hardman from successful junior barrister to QC. Indeed I’m not sure I want to write so many books based on the same character or to write books to someone else’s timetable.

I am aware of some authors who have written amazing books getting very little marketing support from their publishers and having to do so much themselves. Paying for those front tables or window displays in well-known bookstore

is costly, only the books publishers think will be best-sellers get that kind of treatment, otherwise it’s do it yourself.

So perhaps direct publishing is the way forward for me. Decision made, I sent off quite large sum of money (think of it as vet’s bills for that imaginary horse) a copy of my manuscript and a synopsis and wait for Authoright to copy edit the novel and produce a cover, just as if it was produced by a mainstream publisher. I may be self -publishing but that does not mean it is going to be anything less than professional.

On another front I have formatted my skinny volume of poems for Kindle, very difficult, and for a paperback on CreateSpace, much easier; the two Amazon platforms for self-publishing. The proof copy arrived on friday and I need to check it for errors and then continue with the publishing process. Although the book will be for sale, it’s really a memento of our time living in this sixteenth century farmhouse which comes to an end this summer.

Second Quote

Last Friday I had a meeting with the director of another company who provide publishing services to those wishing to publish their own books. The cost will be about the same as the first quote I received, but there are differences in the services they provide. If I went with the first company I would have to provide my own cover design, whereas if I chose the second, the cover will be designed for me. I think that is quite important as the cover has to look good for both the paperback book and the thumbnail size used by Amazon for sales purposes.

An on-demand book printer at the Internet Arch...

An on-demand book printer at the Internet Archive headquarters in San Francisco, California. Two large printers print the pages (left) and the cover (right) and feed them into the rest of the machine for collating and binding. Depending on the number of pages in a given book, it might take from 5 to 20 minutes to print. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cost with the first company would give me five hundred copies of my novel whilst the second company prefers a print on demand, so only a few copies. Both methods of printing have their advantages and disadvantages, which it seems to me probably balance each other out.

The big difference is in the approach to marketing the book. Whilst both provide marketing services, the second company provide a much longer and more intensive service and, I think a more personalised one than the other.

I think I’ve decided that the marketing is so important that if I want my book to have the best chance of success, I would be better with the second company, but I’ll wait for the paperwork before I make a final decision. After all, the lawyer in me says, the devil is in the detail.

And just so that I get an idea how the self publishing platform works on Kindle I have decided to publish a slim, in fact very slim volume of poems I wrote while I was doing my MA in Creative Writing. I’m really doing it for myself to try and learn if Kindle and CreateSpace is a good way to publish, rather than to attract any sales. But you never know!!