Or perhaps I should just stick to 'Hi!' And as a newbie blogger for Authors Electric I should really introduce myself.
Alex Marchant, author of historical fiction for children, at your service! [doffs cap with a flourish, bowing deeply]
I write ‘author’, of course, as we’re all authors on here. But I still say the word – and write it – with a momentary (or longer) hesitation. Because, unlike all the other fine bloggers on here, I’m very much a newbie at this too – and I have to be reminded that, yes, I can call myself an author. I have written a book (in fact, more than one), I have published it (even if independently – and, after all, that’s all the rage now), and I am earning money from it. Well, some, anyway... enough to record on my upcoming tax return.
A hesitation, or two, also occurred when I received the invitation to join the Authors Electric team. What could I bring to the party? I’ve been writing my own blog for a few months now, but it’s still early days. I have a few followers, fewer perhaps than I might have if I didn’t repost everything in full on my Facebook page. I’ve been on Facebook rather longer, and it’s there I feel most comfortable – and where many of my readers appear to have come from. So far.
|Facebook banner of Alex Marchant Author - yes, 'Author'!|
But after that hesitation came the thought that perhaps the newness of all this might actually be of some interest. The hesitant journey of someone just starting out, learning the ropes, plunging into the brave new world of being an author – and of navigating the minefield of independent publishing.
Sorry about the mixed metaphors. As I said – newbie. Or at least, intermediate, perhaps. A newbie would probably die rather than allow such a mishmash through all the drafting and redrafting and re-redrafting. Maybe I’ve just reached that stage where I’m slightly more relaxed about such things. Hey, ‘it’s my voice – I have to let it shine through’… Or maybe it’s because it’s that time in the evening and I drew the cork out a little while ago.
|Not today's bottle - honest!|
Anyway, perhaps recording this journey of mine into this uncharted ‘here be dragons’ realm of indie publishing may be of interest to readers of Authors Electric. I hope so. Do let me know. There are some exciting times to come – for me, at least.
So to return to the introduction . . . Though only just published for the first time, I’ve been writing fiction for as long as I can remember. First of all it was derivative of C. S. Lewis, then of Alan Garner, then Tolkien, then – of far too many to recall now. Next, life got in the way – with university, early career, kids, the writing had to take a back seat. But a few years ago, a milestone birthday made me reassess – and reminded me of what I really wanted to do.
I completed my first children’s novel, Time out of Time, and began to submit it to agents and publishers, while I embarked on my second. It was then, after a number of rejections of the first manuscript and about six chapters into the second, that the next milestone in my writing career came along: the announcement of the discovery of the grave of King Richard III in Leicester.
|Richard III, King of England, Wales and France|
Thus was born the sequence of books starting with The Order of the White Boar (myBook.to/WhiteBoar), which was independently published in October 2017, to be followed later this spring by its sequel, The King’s Man. These first two books aim to tell the story of the real Richard III (not the Shakespearean monster), for children aged 10 and above, through the eyes of a page in his service, Matthew Wansford.
From the very beginning, I planned to self-publish if I couldn’t find a publisher, as it’s important to me to get the word out that the real Richard was very little like the evil, child-murdering tyrant so beloved of traditional history since the Tudor period. But when it came to it – when I finally finished the books – I felt the time and effort needed to craft individual submissions might be better spent on learning how to publish the books myself. So after only two early rejections, I set out on that path.
I have to say I’ve been thoroughly enjoying much of what this journey entails – the new challenges, stepping outside my comfort zone. I’ve plenty more of that to come over the next few months, with myriad plans in place to publicize and sell the books. And I’d love to share the journey – all its highs and lows – with you. Welcome to my new blog. To paraphrase Margo Channing in All About Eve: ‘Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!’
|His Grace King Richard III gives The Order his royal seal of approval|
* The address with which King Richard and other monarchs began their official letters.