In 2009 I wrote a book that I felt fitted nicely into the then trendy category of narrative non-fiction. In the summer of that year I sent it to a few agents. One agent at the reputable company Jenny Brown Associates requested to see the full manuscript. I sent it to him in May of that year. In September he rejected it - not through any fault in my writing style, he hastened to add, but he had recently taken on another work similar to mine - a quirky memoir - and had been reading the 'glowing' rejection slips that week, and based on that, felt he had to reject mine.
In late November of that year I left my home town of 38 years in South Wales and moved to Wiltshire. I got a new job due to my new partner living down that way. I forgot about my book, spending the subsequent ten months moving from house share to house share until I finally settled in a small town, deep in the heart of Wiltshire. We moved into a cottage, we got a kitten, I had no more worries so I dug out my manuscript again.
Did I have the time to do the agent thing again and spend half a year waiting while they sat on the manuscript? I have a full time job that I love and have taken on commitments in that job that eat into my leisure time. And yet, I also love writing.
Then, a friend of mine on Facebook suddenly announced they were publishing a book via Lulu. After visiting their website I discovered they were a print on demand company. Furthermore they wanted NO upfront fees at all. Yes, their site is populated by adverts for their 'premium' services (editing, proofreading etc) but as long as you followed their guidelines regarding formatting, they would host your book for free on their site, with you being in charge of the quality of the book, the price etc. Yes, they take a higher percentage of the sales off you. Yes, you don't have the benefit of a retail distribution network but...something about it appealed to me.
So, in early November I put it for sale on Lulu. Again, work commitments have so far prevented me promoting it to the extent I have wanted to. I haven't got around to sending it to any magazines (or websites) for review. I've no adverts for it in the press and haven't even had time to put a poster up in the corner shop.
All I have done is put it on my Facebook page (I only have 50 contacts on there, and only 20 of them actually 'know' me) and I have had the book promoted for free briefly on the LULU home page.
So how come I am selling two a day? TWO a day? Of MY book?
The very first book I wrote. The book that started when I was nine years old and I raised my hand in that junior school class and said "Miss, I'd like to write a book" and was finished when I was thirty-seven years old. When my proof copy arrived from Lulu, I held it in my hands for a long time, finding it hard to believe that for the small sum of four pounds (my 'author's rates) I could be holding a proper book, with proper binding, a proper ISBN number with my name properly on it.
That book is 'My Life With Kate Bush'