HOW DID I DO IT?????
There are two questions I am being asked repeatedly since the publication of 'The Sawers From Pitcairn' and more recently 'Bullseye'.
The first is simply - 'How Did I Do It?'. Many people, particularly aspiring writers, all claiming to 'have a book inside them' and are longing to have it published - but just don't know where to start, so have asked me how I did it? How I got my two current books published and 'out there'. And this is something I too had always wanted to do/know, but - same thing - I'd never known how to do it. I have surfed the net, read countless books and articles on different aspects of writing but nothing and no-one has EVER been able to answer that one question - where and how to start??? WHAT do you do? To me the answer (now that I have found a answer, suitable for me personally) is actually very simple, although this may not apply to many authors. While I HAVE always wanted to know but becuase I didn't know the answer I have begun writing heaps of things over the years (both fiction and fact) but none has ever eventuated. Even the piece 'Edge of the Outback' which I wrote many years ago and which has been published in a couple small international publications and I understand has been read over the radio (someone got hold of a copy of it and apparently somehow that copy finished up in the hands of someone at the ABC Radio and there was mention that it would be read, but I do not have confirmation of this.) - I really have not known how to do it.
Anyway, I digress. I think the reason that I finally realised I HAD to get my father's book 'out there' was that sometime in 2009, I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling that 'something' could happen to my mother in the not-too-distant future and I felt a need to have the book published and distributed according to Dad's wishes. So....I started 'surfing the net' for mainstream publishers to begin with, but having heard how hard it is to have manuscripts accepted and published (look at the 'Harry Potter' books) I decided that was not the way to go....not for me. So I concentrated on self-publishing and again looked at all the Australian self-publishing houses - but none of them could offer exactly what I wanted. So overseas I went. To the USA. I got in contact with Xlibris Publishing and went from there. They guided me the whole way. I did my own editing, but since it was Dad's work there wasn't a huge amount to do. Mainly missing info etc. Anyway, with their help, Dad's book was published EXACTLY a week after Mum died in April 2010. The main problem with self-publishing is that you have to do your own marketing. Dad's book wasn't a problem as it was really only ever intended for private distribution although a ripple of interest is being shown internationally.
Once his book was finished, I realised that I WAS suddenly doing what I had always wanted to do. So I turned to'Bullseye' and again with the help of the team from Xlibris, was able to have it published in July 2010. I am now heavily into the marketing for this book and also working on my auto-biography.
So to answer this question, my advice would be to just sit and write. And write. And write. You will need to find a good editor (and good editors, like most professionals that are good, can be expensive) and let them REALLY go through your work, even if they pull it to pieces. You will need to contact the person and find out exactly how they like the manuscript to be submitted - including most publishing houses, you will need to type the work on one side only, double spacing, leaving plenty of margin and most editors and publishers alike do not like the work to be bound in any way at all. But again it is up to the individual editor and then the publishing house. Once the editor has finished and you have followed their corrections and usually only after MANY drafts, you could start thinking about finding a SUITABLE publisher. If you have written a children's book it is no use trying to submit to someone who is only looking for Australiana or cookery books, etc. You DO need to search thoroughly and follow their instructions for manuscript submissions exactly or your work is likely to be rejected sight unseen. Then you move onto the next publisher and on it goes. Again 'Harry Potter' is the perfect example.
But the main thing is to sit and write and write and write. Find a good editor and be prepared to work with them for some time. Then find a SUITABLE publisher. And start submitting your work, strictly according to their guidelines.
While I am now concentrating on the writing side of books, I am more than happy to help anyone who is trying to write their own book. I will recommend and contact editors on the aspiring writer's behalf and then check the websites of all the mainstream publishing houses for their latest requirements and even submit on behalf of the writer. While self-publishing was the initial answer for me, it IS very expensive and I wouldn't actually recommend it normally. The submission of manuscripts can be extremely time consuming. I have just submitted two on behalf of two aspiring writers - one has just been accepted, the second rejected so I now move onto another publisher and just keep on keeping on.
THE SECOND QUESTION that I am constantly being asked is one relating to the Giles family, which was mentioned in my father's book, 'The Sawers From Pitcairn'.The father, Kevin ('Happy') Giles was the boundary rider on our station and his family of fifteen children used to live on one of our outstations. 'Happy' was an invaluable employee and I understand that the only reason he was eventually asked to leave was due to the normal problems that have plagues most larger landholders in Australia for far too many years - drought and killer bank interest rates - meaning my father and uncle could no longer afford to pay 'Happy's' wages. Dad used to say that the hardest day of his life was when he had to ask 'Happy' to leave. Both these plagues have driven many larger landholders off their properties altogether and for some life has been very unkind. Others have managed to survive and continue on with life. But for some years back in the 1980s my father and uncle tried to run the station without paying anyone - except 'Happy'. My youngest two brothers were working up there, for free, at the time too.
The Giles family moved to the nearby town of Terowie which is where Mrs Giles continues to live and did 'Happy' until his death in 2010. I wrote a note of condolence to the widow and received a really lovely response from the eldest daughter, Mary shortly after. A few weeks later I also received an equally lovely thank you from her mother.
This family has been featured on 'Adelaide Now' which I think is a part of South Australia's 'Sunday Mail' newspaper and also did an interview with the latter which was published on July 11th, 2010. I do also understand (but not confirmed) that at least one of the commercial South Australian television networks attended and covered 'Happy's' funeral.
Through all the above and their mention in Dad's book I have been receiving enquiries from around Australia and overseas, about them. In response to this I was initially considering writing a 'Where Are They Now' book on them but to do that would have meant asking an immense amount of help and time of Mary which would have been unfair so instead I am now including a special chapter similarly titled in my auto-biography which is currently underway. It will be called: 'The Ugly Truth About LSD' ... well, that is the title at the moment and it is obviously yet to be released. But once it has been, I will be announcing it here and through my other site, good old Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and my blog.
I hope this at least partly helps all those who have asked or are interested in any way. Please if you do have any questions or do have a book inside you and want help with it, feel free to contact me throught either of my websites, or by email: email@example.com or call me on 0411 139 639.