Sounds good, right?
Yet, before I sold over 1.5 million books, I had twelve years of rejection from traditional publishers and two agents who were unable to sell my work because it was deemed to be too cross-genre (I’m sure it was at the time – I have never been one to fit into a box.) I had several nail-biting occasions when one book or another was taken to final acquisition meetings and then fell at the last hurdle.
I was a wreck. Mountains of rejection created a rollercoaster of emotions but I just wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Finally, tearing my hair out after facing more rejection, I decided to self-publish my first novel Taunting the Dead. If I could sell a respectable amount of copies myself, maybe then I could get a publisher interested. It was time to find my own audience.
Was it the right time, right place when I published my first ebook? Was it luck, or sheer grit and determination never to give up? Was it the fact that if no one ever paid me a penny, I would continue to write regardless? The writing was a part of me.
Even though it is more mainstream now, in 2012 self-publishing was frowned upon. Yet, it’s what some authors choose to do full-stop. Because they can. There are numerous choices available. So I really dislike all the stories around most writers being these poor souls who don’t earn money. I know this isn’t true as I know a lot of people who are making a good living from their words. Some are even living the dream!
In my opinion, there has never been a better time to be a writer. There are LOTS more opportunities now than there were when I first started to write IF you are willing to put in the work, learn your trade, persevere and keep on going. Because, well… let’s face it, procrastination is easy and working hard isn’t.
Take this website, for example. I’ve been meaning to create Start Write Now since 2014 but I came up with excuse after excuse. The timing was never right. I signed another book deal and was going to be too busy. I didn’t have any free time. I’m certainly not work shy, but do I need to add even more work to my already busy life? Besides, who would want to read my blog? What could I teach anyone?
But wait! Maybe, if I turned a negative into a positive, I could flip things round a little. Could I plan better to reach more goals? Could I learn new techniques to help me manage my time better? With the right mindset, how much more could I achieve? Could I see this project through to The End?
You get the picture? It was fear that was stopping me. So I asked myself one simple question.
That, in a nutshell, is why I founded Start Write Now.
Humour me and re-read all the words highlighted in blue throughout this post. I’m sure these cover issues that most writers are familiar with. So, over the next few months, I intend to build this website around four topics – mindset, writing, business, and knowledge. Hopefully, this will be useful for authors, writers and entrepreneurs. There will be guest interviews from authors and publishing representatives, lots of how-to tips plus reviews of business and writing books I read, that you might learn from too.
As well, there will be a whole new system to help you get things done which I shall be revealing in 2020.
Want to join in?
Come and follow me on Twitter at @startwritenow
I’ve also set up a Facebook page, Start Write Now, where I’ll be sharing all the information that you can find on the blog. I will be doing a regular #AskMel feature – the best question each month will win a prize – and you can also chat with other people about writing. Writers are a very friendly bunch so if you are a member of Facebook, all you have to do is click on the link above to be added.
There’s also a newsletter you can sign up to.
I have no idea if this venture will be successful or not but I have to give it a go. After all, imagine what I would have missed out on had I not pressed ‘publish’ on December 8 2011 and launched Taunting the Dead.
Are you ready to start right now? Sure you are!
All about Mel
Mel Sherratt is the international bestselling author of 14 novels, with two others written and ready to go, selling over 1.4 million copies. Shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Dagger in the Library award, she has also been named as one of her home town’s top 100 influential people for the past three years.
Previous to independently publishing five novels and working alongside publishers as a hybrid author, she worked for Stoke-on-Trent City Council. She was a housing officer for eight years, and then spent four years working as a training and development consultant in Adult Social Care, where she took care of their press and social media platforms, edited a quarterly magazine and wrote training policies and strategies for 1400 staff.
Represented by Madeleine Milburn, Agent of the Year (The British Book Awards 2018), Mel regularly speaks on panels at festivals and conferences and has been featured in numerous publications such as Forbes Magazine, The Guardian, Mail on Sunday and the Writers and Artists Yearbook 2016-2018. She has been a guest on several podcasts including The Self-publishing Formula Podcast, The Creative Penn and The Worried Writer.
Mel often writes for her local newspaper, Stoke-On-Trent Live (The Sentinel) and works in partnership with a cancer charity, Douglas Macmillan Hospice, raising money as a guest speaker at literary lunches and masterclass events.
None of this would have been possible if she hadn’t finished that first novel. Even though she wrestles with self-doubt on a daily basis, her message is always about finishing what you start, and never giving up, no matter what.