Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 3 May 2015

Taking Yourself Seriously by Gill Stewart



Am I a writer? A proper writer? 

I was first taken on by a literary agent in 2008. I have been a ‘published’ writer since 2009, with four novellas that have also gone into Large Print. I have been on the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) committee for the last two years. But I have to admit that I’ve only started to feel like a real writer over the last few months. Why? Because I suddenly have two full length novels out in paperback. And to someone of my generation that’s what a real book is – paper and ink that you can hold, with a proper cover and blurb and dedication.

I suddenly feel I can tell people I’m a writer, because my stories are no longer just in magazines or in Large Print in the libraries (not that I don’t appreciate having my books in the libraries – PLR is very welcome!). Now I can show friends the actual books. I can put cover photos on Facebook (or here). I can point people to where they can buy both the real book and the no-less-real (I suppose) e-book.

I can offer to give talks in schools and to book groups. I can go along to book festivals and feel like more than an aspiring writer. Why does it feel so different? Why is it so much easier to take myself seriously as a writer? It’s not that I’m making much money (yet ...). I think it’s that someone, somewhere is taking me seriously – and I need that final validation to take myself seriously as well.

So many thanks to fellow members of Paisley Piranha (https://sites.google.com/site/paisleypiranha/), the collective with whom I published my Young Adult novel Music and Lies in March. And many many thanks to the lovely Accent Press (https://www.accentpress.co.uk/) who have just brought out the first of my women's contemporary novels, Sunshine Through The Rain, in April. They are bringing out the second, The Lost Woman, in July.

I know I’ve got a long way to go, and will probably (definitely) never be a famous a name. But I am a real, published writer. And that makes me happy.


13 comments:

  1. Congratulations on becoming a 'real' writer. Enjoy. You've been a real writer in my eyes for some years. Still, I know what you mean about the pleasure in having your own book to hold. I remember carrying my first one from room to room in the house as though introducing a baby to its new home.

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    1. Lovely image of the new baby! Thanks Mary.

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  2. I am with you all the way on the printed version of our work being the one that means most. I mean, an ebook can be deleted in a split second, and we can't pass them on, or leave them on buses and trains for someone else to pick up and enjoy. Great post.

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    1. Thanks Linda. Part of me feels embarassed and old-fashioned for not feeling the same way about e-books. But part of me just loves that feel of the paper! I do love your idea of being able to pass on, too.

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    2. Well, now you can have the real book smell in your room while your read your e-reader. http://ebookfriendly.com/book-smell-perfumes-candles/
      I expect it's only a matter of time until they develop e-readers which feel like 'real' books.
      And, I have to say, I like the extra money I make on the digital version of my books!

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    3. You're absolutely right Mary. All my sensible brain cells tell me digital books are just as good AND make me more money. But there's still something about those real ones ...

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  3. I'm with you on that, Gill! There's nothing quite like the feeling of holding a real book in your hands. It's the first time, after all, you see everything you've written as a single entity, not electronic pages on some device. It's a great feeling - well done on getting there, and here's to the many more that will surely follow.

    Love both covers, by the way!

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  4. Thanks Jenny! Two completely differnt cover designers but they're both great.

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  5. Congratulations, Gill. I wish you every success with both books.
    I have yet to experience pleasure of holding a book I have written in my hands. I'm gradually getting used to hearing people refer to me as a writer, but a hard copy to complement the e-book would be lovely. I live in hope!
    Joan

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  6. Congratulations, Gill. I wish you every success with both books.
    I have yet to experience pleasure of holding a book I have written in my hands. I'm gradually getting used to hearing people refer to me as a writer, but a hard copy to complement the e-book would be lovely. I live in hope!
    Joan

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    1. Thanks Joan. And you ARE a real (and very good) writer. It's strange that we still have this hankering after ink and paper. I would say it's an age thing except my sons always want a 'proper' copy of any book they really like.

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  7. All your hard work has paid off, Gill, many congratulations.

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  8. Thanks Kate. And I'm now realising what a lot of hard work there is still to do. Marketing, researching, networking - oh yes, and writing the next book!

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