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Writers' & Artists' Blog

Self-Publishing My Children's Books

Victoria Brock

Children’s author Victoria Brock shares her story and tells us how she found success in self-publishing.

I really struggled at school and, at eight years old, I was sent to an all-girls convent school where I was taught by nuns - it was strict, scary and very tough for someone who wasn’t very academic. I'd sit at the back of class wondering what was going on while all the other girls were putting their hands up to answer questions that I had no idea about, and nobody seemed to care.

Then, one day in my English lesson, we were asked to write about the 1987 hurricane that had happened a few nights before. I went home, thought about it and wrote every detail down about that night and what I had experienced. A few days later, my teacher took me to one side and told me how amazing my story was and that it had totally taken her to where I was that night.

From that day onwards, I dreamed up stories, wrote poetry and always believed that I would one day have my own book published. In April …

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Write About What You Know

Alison Baverstock familiar advice to the would-be-published. The idea is presumably that being on home ground will help you get started; providing you with lots of material to write about – as well as a strong idea of the potential audience.

But what if what you know bores you? What if you are just too busy living your life to want to describe it to others?  You may have more fun thinking about something that is new to you –I have heard fiction authors say many times that it’s more interesting to explore something that has not affected you yet – but might – would feel, and to let your imagination go.  Joanna Trollope talked in interviews about the fascination of finding out about how supermarkets worked as preparation for The Rector’s Wife and from hearing her speak, she clearly enjoyed the research she did for The Soldier’s Wife.

For my own part, while I was first published through writing about my role as a publisher, it was distance from the profession that gave me the …

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In Praise of Beta Readers

Writing advice

In my previous blog post, I discussed the idea that, once you’ve written your manuscript and got it to a point that you’re reasonably pleased with, you need to show it to other people. No matter that you might feel naked in doing so, exposing your deepest thoughts to the eyes of others – it has to be done. I’m not just talking about people in the industry – I’m talking about people around you, friends and family who are representative of the actual audience you’re hoping to reach. And so this post is dedicated to my beta readers, and their place, in my opinion, as an important part of the writing process.

I wasn’t familiar with the term when I started writing but, as I started to trawl through the blogs and community sites, people kept mentioning their ‘beta readers.’ I was familiar with the concept but had no idea it had a specific name. When I started writing about Ambeth, I had a couple of good friends, one in Canada (who was …

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Writing Is Worth It


So, here we are. My book's being published this week and I finally get to irritate people by starting conversations with 'Well, as a published author...' 

It's easy to forget everything it took to get here. The late nights, typing away and getting frustrated at just how bad my story was, are easy to justify now I get to hold the book. Staying home while friends went out seems like an easy choice now I know it all worked out. At the time, though, they were immensely difficult decisions. I had low moments when I wanted to throw my laptop across the room and long periods when I didn't write a word because of course it was pointless, and of course I was rubbish, and obviously this stupid dream had to come to an end.

Those moments – ones that I know other writers are going through right now - are exactly why I wanted to write this post. I know what I needed to be told back then, and I know what I want to tell others right now: Don't give up, because it will be worth …

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The Next SJ Watson?


I am a writer who daylights as a healthcare manager. I write because I am compelled.  Characters and plots come sometimes at the most unwelcome of times, like when giving a presentation at work. So, I write.

I read accounts here and in/on other publications about the challenges of writing, getting representation, being published, staying published and making a living as a writer.  The tales of success - be it Emily Benet’s or Jojo Moyes’ - are seductive. So, I write.

One of the enduring ideas about writing is of it being a singular pursuit. I wasn’t sure going it alone was the right option for me at this time, though.

Several years ago, when I decided to focus on writing short stories, I did an Arvon residential writing course. I’ve written many short stories and entered a few competitions, but the course gave me the confidence to start my blog, Desert River Writer, eighteen months ago.

This year, as I approached my fortieth birthday, I thought about what I’d like to …

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