HOW DID I DO IT????
There are two questions I am being asked repeatedly since the publication of 'The Sawers From Pitcairn' and 'Bullseye'.
The first is simply - 'How Did I Do It?'. Many people, including aspiring writers, all claiming to 'have a book inside of them' and are longing to have it published - but just don't know where to start, have asked me how I did it? How I got my two current books published and finally 'out there'. And this is something I too had always wanted to know but - same thing - I didn't know. 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 an answer that suits me) is actually very simple. Write - simple, just write. And keep writing. Just get it all down. On paper, on the net, however you like, just get it down.
Once it is on paper you will need to find a good editor/proofreader. And it could take many, many drafts before you have a final copy ready enough for publication.
At this stage, I began surfing the net looking for publishers who would take whatever I was offering. Their manuscript submission and other requirements change regularly and they will not even look at your work if you have not adhered strictly to their current requirements. It also appears that some of the publishers are now not accepting work unless it is submitted through an agent so finding a suitable agent is also a priority. Again you will need to surf the net and adhere strictly to their manuscript submission requirements. Many do not take unsolicited work at all - others do sometimes - it is essential that you do keep a very close eye on this. Like the publishers they won't even look at work if it does not comply with their requirements.
As I did with both my books, self-publishing could be considered, but this also proves to be very expensive and you do have to do your own marketing. I surfed the net looking for mainstream publishers to begin with but knowing how hard it is having manuscripts accepted and published (look at 'Harry Potter' - perfect example) I quickly decided this was not the way to go. So I concentrated on self-publishing - no-one in Australia could offer the exact package I was looking for, so overseas I went. I eventually found Xlibris Corporation in the USA and they were excellent. They guided me expertly from go to wo and understood the urgency for publication so pushed as hard as they could for me. I will never forget their help with this.
I think the reason that I finally realised I HAD to get my father's book published (the urgency as mentioned) was that at some stage in 2009 I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling that my mother would not be with us much longer and I dearly wanted to have the book out before she died. I did my own editing/proofreading but as it was my deceased father's writing, there wasn't a huge amount to do. Mainly information/gaps to fill in. Anyway the book was published exactly a week after Mum passed away. I am told that she knew it was about to be published and it made her happy. So I am content with that.
Once that book was completed and distributed (although the latter continues as interest gradually grows) I suddenly realised that I was doing what I have always wanted to do - but have never known HOW to. I then turned to 'Bullseye' and again with the help and guidance of the people from Xlibris I had it published in July 2010. I am now heavily into the marketing for this book, which is proving to be an immense challenge and one that I am absolutely thriving on. I am also working on my auto-biography.
While I am now concentrating on the writing side of books I am more than happy to help anyone who is also trying to write a book. I will recommend and contact editors on the writer's behalf and keep a close check on the sites of all the publishers, both mainstream and self-publishing. I will also submit manuscripts on behalf of the writer if requested. This can be a very long, time consuming and frustrating process and usually ends with disheartening rejections (again, 'Harry Potter'). I have recently submitted two manuscripts for other people - one has been accepted, the second rejected (apparently it missed by 'one vote'). So now I move onto another publisher and keep going.
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 which plague the larger landholders in Australia - drought and killer bank interest rates. Meaning my father and uncle could no longer afford to pay 'Happy's' wages. Dad used to say the hardest day of his life was the one when he had to ask 'Happy' to leave. Both these problems have driven many larger landholders off their stations altogether and for some life has been very unkind. Others have managed to survive and continue 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 two youngest brothers were also unpaid labour at the time.
The Giles family moved to the nearby town of Terowie. Mrs Giles continues to live there as 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 received an equally lovely thank you from her mother.
This family has been featured on 'Adelaide Now' which I believe is part of South Australia's 'Sunday Mail' newspaper and they 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 channels attended and covered 'Happy's' funeral.
Through the above and their mention in Dad's book I have been receiving