Reflections of a wannabe author
It's been three years since I self-published my first book, The Lyons Orphanage and I published the sequel, The Lyons Legacy the following year.
While I never expected the book to become a massive hit, I was surprised at how hard it is to make your book have any real presence online or as a buzz of even a small group of people.
I am grateful for the honest feedback I have had from my friends and family on the first book rather than having everything sugar-coated for me.
There are flaws or issues that have been pointed out by friends/family/reviewers but for the most part, these weren't deal breakers in terms of people's enjoyment of the story. It is also true that while the negative reviews were few, they always stick in your mind more than the positive reviews.
I had planned for The Lyons Orphanage to be a stand-alone until I had ideas for a sequel about three quarters of the way through writing. I certainly can't be accused of trying to cash in with a sequel given the modest sales figures of the first book so the sequel was mainly for my benefit, to finish the story I wanted to tell and to try and improve on the first book.
I will admit that the books are slow-burners and it is a risk to take that people might not be invested enough during the slow parts to get to the action. There may be someone better than me who could break up the slowness but for the story I was telling, I don't think I could have done any better.
I had a bit of a problem trying to identify who the book was aimed at. The main character was a teenager but they didn't deal with coming-of-age issues like in most books aimed at Young Adults; this ended up being a bit of a hybrid that didn't help me to put my point across to attempt to have a publisher take on the book and it didn't help identifying suitable reviewers either.
I feel that a lot of 'beginner' mistakes could have been avoided if I had gone back to reading books as I used to earlier in my life, particularly the aspect of showing, not telling.
Having read a number of books since the release of my last book, I feel as though I have a better understanding of some of the techniques I can use in writing but also ways to simplify the writing.
In terms of writing, I am more interested in telling a good story rather than achieving literature perfection with my style of prose.
Due to the books being self-published, I still consider myself a wannabe author rather than an actual one. It has been nice to have my writing validated by friends and strangers alike but anyone can self-publish anything so I don't feel as if I have achieved anything yet.
I am working on a new book which has a clear target audience and I will try and have this one published for real. I am happy with what I have produced in the previous two books but I am not satisfied that it is the best I can do which gives me motivation for the new book.
This has never been about money or fame and there's no guarantee of success with a published well-written book either but actually achieving publication will be a step in the right direction.