Friday, 23 November 2012

Stigma of the Self-Published Author—Kurt Chambers

This has been a very exciting year for me as at the beginning of the year I published my MG fantasy novel, Truth Teller, as an e-book. It’s the first book I’ve ever published and it has been many years in the making. To heighten my excitement, my story has just been published in paperback also. My first thought was to tell the whole world that I had become a published author. What better way to do that than contact my local newspaper that runs stories on local people’s success stories. I have seen them print articles on local authors before.

I wrote a letter explaining about my exciting news and eagerly waited for a reply. None came. That’s strange, I thought. Maybe I made a mistake and sent it to the wrong person. I spoke to some friends that suggested I wrote a press release. What a great idea! Give them a real story they can use in the newspaper. I set about writing my story on how I grew up in the town, and about my local school and how my English teacher would be proud of me as well as be very surprised. It was, after all, a real life success story in my eyes. This time, I made sure I sent it to the right person. I waited for a reply, more confident. None came.

I am a local. I have lived in this town for forty-five years, worked at the local church as a volunteer working with local children, as well as at the schools. My family lobbied to get a zebra crossing that is now outside the local junior school. I have had three children here and three grandchildren. I consider myself as part of this community. Why weren’t they interested in my story? A local success story?

This wasn’t the end of it. When my book came out in print, my wife was so proud of me, she decided to write to a different local newspaper. They had a large ad saying, Advertise your Celebration Announcements Free of Charge. So she did, adding a picture of me (the one above) posing with my book. The ad was never printed.

Is there some kind of conspiracy against me? Or is there a conspiracy against self-published authors? I know there is a stigma for self-published authors in the publishing industry. I never claim to be right about all things, but the only reason I can possibly come up with is that my local newspapers are publishers and they have an attitude towards self-published authors. Maybe they would have been willing to run my story if I had been published by a mainstream publisher? What other reason would they have to completely ignore me and not even reply to my letters?

Is this a worldwide thing, or just a stuck-up snobby English thing? I would love to hear any other self-published authors’ experiences.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Highs and Lows of Self-Publishing—Kurt Chambers

There are many good and bad points when it comes to becoming a self-published author, I thought I would talk today about my experiences in the hope that it will be some help towards any other authors who are considering going down this route.

Let me first give you my reasons for why I decided to self-publish my MG novel, Truth Teller. I never intended to self-publish this story. I was confident I could get it published in the traditional way. I did everything that I feel an author should do. I spent a couple of years writing my novel. Once completed, I joined an online forum and met other writers, who, over a period of many years, taught me how to perfect my craft and write and edit my work to a publishable standard. In this time, I learned a lot!

Once confident that I had done as much as I could to make my story just perfect (if there is such a thing), I set out into the world of publishing, querying all the top publishers and agents, expecting to be the next big thing since Harry Potter. Then came the rejection letters. Oh the pain! My world crumbled when I couldn’t get any interest in my creation. All those years of work for nothing! My youngest daughter started calling me, The Rejectionator.

The truth was, my book wasn’t ready in the early days. I had been so eager for fame and fortune that I was blind to this. But, being a determined sort, I continued to learn and grow. The rejection letters continued to come, along with self doubt. What was I doing wrong? Were my friends lying to me? Maybe my book was rubbish. It took me many more years to realise it wasn’t my story that had a problem, but the publishers who dictate what is marketable or not. My story simply wasn’t marketable. Not the in thing.

Faced with this dilemma, I had to decide whether to shelve my story and wait for the market to change, or learn how to publish the story myself. Truth Teller meant so much to me, I couldn’t face putting it aside, and was persuaded by some close friends to publish it myself. I know now it was the right decision for me personally.

Should You Self-Publish or Not?

Self-publishing isn’t for everybody. I have given you my reasons for doing it, but before I came to this decision, I spent many years learning my craft. I would suggest all up-and-coming authors should go through this process before they ever consider self-publishing. It is a massive learning curve. Joining a good writing group will teach you how to craft your writing to a level you could never achieve on your own. It will make you a stronger and better writer. Think of it as an apprenticeship. It’s not something that can be rushed if you want to be as good as you can be. Going through the submission process is also good experience. As a creative writer, you are going to have to face a lot of rejection in your life.


On the plus side, self-publishing does give you 100% control over your work. I have known a few authors who have been offered a contract with a publisher and then had their books changed to such a point that they no longer liked their own stories in order to make them more marketable. A publisher will also like to use their own cover artists, so be prepared to have no say in what your cover may look like. Then there is the matter of royalties. Typically about 15% from a publisher, or 70% as a self-published author.

On the negative side, becoming a self-published author is a LOT of work. You will be responsible for making your work as good as it can be. If you want to do it properly, this will mean hiring someone to proofread your work to ensure it is at a publishable standard. Sadly, not all self-published authors do this and give self-publishing a bad name by publishing sub standard work. You will be responsible for purchasing your own ISBN numbers (International Standard Book Numbers). Find a good cover artist. Learn how to format correctly to upload your work to publish in e-book or print format. Of course, there are many people out there that you can hire to do this work for you, but it can come at a high price tag.

Lastly, once all this work is done and your book is launched into the world, then comes the hardest bit of all. Selling your book. This really is no easy task, let me tell you.

So, these are the good and bad points of becoming a self-published author. There are many other issues I still haven’t covered, but these are the main ones that came to mind as I was writing this. The answer to whether you should self-publish or not is not an easy or straight forward one. It depends on many things. It really is a personal choice. I hope this has been some help towards your decision, and good luck to anyone who is venturing into the crazy world of publishing.

Truth Teller by Kurt Chambers 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

My MG Fantasy Truth Teller Is Finally Available in Paperback—Kurt Chambers

I did it! I actually did it!!! My eight-year long dream came true. And wow, what a journey it has been. The most exciting adventure of my life. It all started so many years ago when what I thought was a good idea at the time. Little did I know what lay in store for me. Laughter, tears, joy, rejection, frustration, sadness, elation, every emotion you can think of, I went through it all. I never imagined in a million years how much was involved in writing and publishing a novel. It’s actually mind-blowing.

For me, this was an almost impossible task. I was the least likely person in the world to become an author. I worked in the building trade as a carpenter and had no experience in anything writing related whatsoever. I wasn’t even very good at reading. English was one of my worst subjects. By pure accident, I started working with children as a volunteer, helping to run a Brownie pack. Twenty-six screaming kids aged seven to eleven years old. It was so much fun. I became an official member of Girl Guiding UK and did this for about six years. Working with children is an inspiration. They inspired me to start writing children’s novels.

I spent a couple of years writing my first book, and when it was finished I sought advice on what I should do. I didn’t know anything about writing or the publishing industry. A friend of mine suggested I join an online forum and talk to other writers, so that night, that’s what I did. I eventually found my way to the Young Adult Novel Workshop where I met some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They took me under their wing and started teaching me how to be a writer. I became friends with writers from all over the world. The writing community is the most amazing place in the whole world. So many wonderful people who put themselves out to help me and asked for nothing in return. It was nothing short of awe inspiring.

Eight years since that day I decided to sit down and write children’s stories, I can finally announce to the world that my book is available to read in paperback. It is such an amazing feeling. Truth Teller is book one is a series of three fantasy children’s books: Truth Teller, The Wrath of Siren, and Favian’s Law. I hope to have all three books published by the end of next year. I also have another complete novel, Unknown Reality, a sci-fi/fantasy novel that is almost ready for publication.

Today is a wonderful day for me. It really is an almost impossible dream come true. I can never thank all my wonderful friends who helped me on this journey. Without them, this would have never happened. I will never forget what you have done for me. Thank you with all my heart.

There is a moral to this story I would like to share with all other up-and-coming authors that are struggling to bring their stories into the world. There were so many times when I thought I could never do this, but I was told time and time again that there is one golden rule. Never give up! I wanted to give up more times than you could ever imagine, but their advice was the most sound advice I ever had. I didn’t give up and now this day has come. The moral is, never give up. Dreams really can come true. Good luck to each and every one of you.

Truth Teller by Kurt Chambers

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Amazon US

Amazon UK

Truth Teller Reviews:

Dawne Dominique - Multi-published author and professional cover artist.

The Truth Teller is one of the best children's fantasy book I've read in a long while. Charlotte is so easy to picture in my mind, and the fantasy aspects are brilliant! There are underlying currents of "real life lessons" that are subtly included...ideal for parents looking for that perfect bedtime story to read to their children. I loved the entire premise of the novel and will definitely be purchasing the next ones in this series.

Kurt Chambers has captured the genre with a wonderful story that will delight many a child's (and adult's) imagination.

Annie McMahon - Editor, published author, and Novel Workshop moderator.

This book has everything a bestseller should have: compelling story, endearing characters, vivid descriptions, genuine emotions, and a lot of surprising twists and turns. This is a story about a friendship that transcends race, gender, age, and even realms, between Charlotte, a ten-year-old girl, and Elderfield, a teenage elf. Beautiful and heartwarming. I strongly recommend it and have reviewed Kurt’s story on my blog, Dutch Hill News.

Ralene Burke – Writer, Editor for Wives in Bloom:

Honestly, I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to read these books. Kurt has written an amazing series that emphasizes such wonderful themes as friendship, family, hope, and faith. I’ve read Truth Teller and Wrath of Siren and, even though they are MG, enjoyed them immensely. If you’re looking for wholesome reads for your children, check out the next big thing for MG.

Truth Teller is also available in all e-book formats from here:

Amazon UK: Click here to sample or buy

Amazon US: Click here to sample or buy

Smashwords: Click here to sample or buy

Goodreads: Click here to sample or buy

Shelfari: Click here to sample or buy

Barnes & Noble: Click here to sample or buy

You can connect with the author at:

Author’s Web page

Author’s Blog