When I was twenty seven years old I wrote a play titled “Ebbtide.” It was first performed by a good amateur drama group in Waterford City called ‘The Smith School of Acting.’ It was deemed pretty controversial at that time as it touched on the unmentionable, namely incest. I also claim the unique distinction of being the first playwright to have the word ‘feck’ spoken onstage in Waterford. That was all back in 1965 so that has to be taken into context. The play was subsequently performed at various venues around the country by various groups. Two years later I penned another play ‘Weekend Appointment’. A Carrick-on-Suir theatre group took this to various festivals and won an award at Tralee.
After that I pursued other things in life, such as getting married, moving to Tipperary and buying a pub. After various ups and downs in life I now live on a farm near New Ross.
Five years ago I had a serious heart operation. When I was recuperating from this I decided to go back to writing. As you know writing can be a great therapy–it takes your mind off the stresses and strains. Anyway I succeeded in writing the novel ‘Redferne.’ I got the manuscript printed in book form in Kilkenny. I had a book launch at the New Ross Library. The book is basically a comedy. For a self-publication it sold quite well–around 1300 copies.
Those sales were all in the local area. The large book distributors refused to handle anything that wasn’t a mainstream publication. Perhaps that has changed since, I don’t know.
Four years on I have brought out a book of short stories, called ‘Tales of the Bright the Dark and the Bizarre.’ The title, I feel, conveys all there is to know about the content. The launch was again at the Library, New Ross.
For this latest venture I made inquiries and SilverWood Books was recommended to me. It is a self-publishing outfit but they do a bit more, as regards proof-reading, etc. I hadn’t heard of Writing.ie back then. Anyway I’m happy with the finished product. It costs a fair amount and you need to sell around 200 to break even.
I didn’t submit this new book to any mainstream publisher. Why, you might inquire – I felt they’d probably turn it down, and even if they did accept my best effort it could take years before it would hit the shops, so I decided to publish myself.
What advice can I offer about self-publishing? For a start, don’t get too many copies printed. You could end up with a lot of unsold books. A friend of mine got a couple of thousand copies printed and ended up selling a little over a hundred. You could opt for POD (Print on Demand) where you control how many you want available. Create Space and Lulu offer very good terms to the self-publisher.
My two books are on offer as eBooks and in paperback on Amazon. They were only recently offered for sale in eBook format so I haven’t a clue as to how it will turn out. They are only in competition with hundreds of thousands of others!
Very best wishes to anyone who is in the throes of writing a best seller.