A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God  

(A Psychological Thriller with a shocking twist)
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I’ve always had a great love of books, right from an early age. My first memories are of reading books like Biggles and Just William. I loved to transport myself into the story I was reading, and often wondered how the author managed to create such captivating stories filled with lifelike characters.
At school English Language and English Literature were my favourite subjects, Literature especially as I got to read classic stories like Cider With Rosie, Great Expectations, Treasure Island, To Kill a Mockingbird to name but a few.
As time passed, I tried my hand, mainly for my own pleasure, at writing short stories and then poetry. Many were about my angst at being a teenager and learning about life the hard way. I never thought I’d have the stamina to write a full length novel, although it was a distant dream of mine.
I scraped through my O Levels at the second attempt, and on leaving school my aim was just to get a job of sorts and earn some money. Unfortunately, any aspirations I had to be a writer were put on the back burner indefinitely when I started work as a bank clerk. Even so I continued to read, mainly on the journey to and from work and during lunchtimes. My favourite authors were Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Wilbur Smith, Robert Goddard, Ken Follett, Alistair MacLean, Hammond Innes, amongst many.
In the early eighties, I got married and had a family, and concentrated on my career in the bank. Then one day with nothing on the television, I decided to try my hand at writing a book. A fictional story about my school days when I’d suffered at the hands of bullies. Surprisingly the words seemed to flow, and I never got bored. I finished the first draft in longhand, and started on another and then another. Eventually I had quite a collection filed away destined never again to see the light of day.
In the meantime, in an effort to improve my writing, I went through several correspondence courses, all of which in my opinion was a waste of money and effort. Never one to give in, however, I set about sending out three chapters of what I considered my best book to a number of agents. A stream of rejections followed, sufficient to cover all my bedroom walls. I stupidly believed my unedited work was good enough to be published.
Unable to see the situation clearly I carried on in the same vein, editing and proofreading my own work. Bad idea! As an author misses his own mistakes. Little did I know.
My lifesaver was Amazon and Kindle self-publishing. I thought I’d give it a go, and put out three titles out under my real name, and actually sold a few copies, but got bad reviews. Most found fault in the amount of errors in grammar and spelling. I had to take the books off Amazon, and feared the end had come. I seriously needed to do something about my reputation. First, I confided in my wife, an avid reader who has a natural knack of spotting errors in other people’s books, even well-known authors. She offered to proofread and edit my books for me, and so a partnership was born. First, we changed my author name, and went through each book meticulously, line by line and I was amazed at the errors I’d made. It took a year for the first book ‘Against Her Will’. Now my wife is not a professional proofreader or editor, and while the book wasn’t perfect, I felt confident about putting the book out. It did OK. It didn’t sell truckloads of books, but enough to make a bit of money.
Only when the second book, ‘Missing – Dead or Alive’ came out a year later did my sales escalate. From about 100-200 a month to 2-3,000 a month. Since then every month I’ve managed 1,000 a month or more. But to this day I’m not sure how I did it. Maybe luck played a part, maybe the books aren’t bad, maybe it was because of my twitter activity - I tweet about my books a lot, but not too much, so hopefully people won’t think I’m spamming. I’ve changed my keywords on Amazon, thanks to Kindlespy and Kindle Samurai, a couple of pieces of software that have worked for me. I’ve tried paid promotion services and some success with the better ones like EReader News, Bargainbooksey, and a few others. Bookbub the best if expensive site still eludes me despite numerous attempts to get on it.
I’m exclusively on Amazon because of KDP, but I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing, but decent page reads and good royalties make me want to stick with that at the moment. I know I’m missing out on about 40% of the market, but I’m reasonably happy right now. I keep the price of my books low 99c/99p because I’m worried about losing sales and also even with 34k sales I don’t feel I can call myself a real author until I have a bestseller. And as I do everything myself without professional help it seems unfair to charge any more.
What I will say is writing is damned hard work, I’ve sweat, blood over the years, made many mistakes, been down lots of times over a string of bad reviews, poor sales, not being able to get the book right and so on. But I’m not one for giving up, I am persistent, and am prepared to listen to valid criticism. I have several more books in the pipeline and other ideas I’d like to expand on, if and when I get the time with all the promotion I have to do. Reading too is a love of mine, but I rarely have time to read more than half a dozen books I like a year.
Now having retired from the bank, I’m able to devote more of my time to writing. This is despite having grandchildren to look after three times a week. If someone asked me for advice, I’d say never give up, get your book as good as you can, get it proofread and edited, get a great cover (There are lots of good book cover designers out there), and be prepared for lots of ups and downs along the way. If you want something badly enough, you can do it.