Self-Publishing, Indie Publishing… There’s an awful lot of it about.  You can spend all day every day reading self-published author blogs, visiting self-publishing websites, downloading free guides, buying How To books, or watching interviews and webinars by gurus such as Joanna Penn, Ben Galley or Joel Friedlander.  And that’s before you get round to reading the books all these self-published authors are trying to promote.  I wonder how they ever find the time…

And yet I’m about to join this massive, global movement.  What’s slightly unusual here is that I’m not publishing one of my own books, I’m publishing somebody else’s, so strictly speaking I’m not self-publishing, I’m indie-publishing.  It feels more comfortable, to be honest.  One thinks of the Hitchcock movie ‘Strangers on a Train’ – two writers randomly meet and agree to publish each other’s novel on Amazon.

Strangers on a Train

“I’ll publish yours if you publish mine…”

Only my novelist is a dear friend I met at a Writing Group over thirty years ago.  Her name is Wendy Cartwright and her novel is called TO YOU THE STARS… .  I’ve been lucky enough to have had several books published myself, but I’ve never self-published before so I’m not exactly an expert.  Why, you might ask, is Wendy Cartwright trusting me with her precious novel?  Well, hopefully she’ll be starting her own author blog soon so you might find out.

I’ve got masses to learn and I’m keen to share the process with you.  The aim is to be completely transparent, so when I make mistakes you’ll know about them.  Hopefully, there will be some breakthroughs too.   I’m going to be highlighting helpful blogs and websites that I discover along the way.  I’d love you to get involved, send me tips, tell me about your self-publishing experiences, share online resources, and ultimately of course I’d love you to take a small, inexpensive punt on TO YOU THE STARS… and see what all the fuss is about.

But that’s not for now.  That’s for much further on down the line.  Because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from all my recent research, there’s no need to rush.  Just think, if Wendy Cartwright had just signed a book deal with a traditional publisher, she’d probably be waiting about a year to see TO YOU THE STARS… on the shelves.  I’m hoping it won’t take as long as that or we’re all going to get rather bored.  I’m thinking a few months. But who knows? There’s ever such a lot to do…

Now, I am not a scientist.  I only took Biology O’ level and it was my worst result. But I’m going to try and take a vaguely scientific approach to this process.  I have vague memories of writing up school lab experiments under the headings, Preparation, Method and Result, so that’s how I’m going to blog. Starting with Preparation. Obviously.   So please, get your lab coat on and join me in THE INDIE PUBLISHING EXPERIMENT.

Next Blog:  Preparation #1 WHY SELF-PUBLISH?



Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in BOOK REVIEW

THE CROOKED HOUSE by Christobel Kent.

It will suck you in to its dark, sticky mud…


Alison is a survivor.  She didn’t make a heroic escape, rescuing others along the way.  Nor did she clamber over dying bodies to get out of a burning plane.  She just wasn’t murdered.   For years she hid, living in a new place with a new identity, refusing to confront the past, burying the family shame deep within her.  But thirteen years have gone by and Alison is starting to emerge from her long, troubled sleep.  Now she lives in London, with an under-the-radar job in Accounts at a small publishing house.  She’s made a few friends – who don’t know – and has found herself a boyfriend, Paul – who doesn’t know either.   Life is starting to feel normal.  So normal in fact, that when Paul invites her to the wedding of an old friend she agrees to attend, even though the event happens to be taking place in the very village where Alison experienced her life-changing tragedy.  She hasn’t been back since that terrible night and she’s taking an incredible risk by returning to the scene of the crime.   How will she deal with her psychological demons?  And what if the Police were wrong about the killer? They could still be out there.  Maybe they know she’s come back.  Maybe they’ve been waiting for her all this time…

It’s a fantastic premise and I was hooked from the first few pages.  The writing is assured and rhythmic; Kent knows her setting extremely well and she isn’t afraid to describe it.  A lot of recent thrillers seem to have been written in fast-forward mode, rushing the reader through the chapters with barely a glance at location and virtually no time spent on conjuring up atmosphere.  This novel relishes detail, yet it still has pace.  Kent takes us effortlessly back and forth in time, revisiting the night of the tragedy and gradually re-positioning Alison’s place within it.   An array of strange, damaged characters ooze from the grey mud of ‘Saltleigh’ on the muddy Thames estuary and there’s a creepy ‘Twin Peaks’ feel about the place.   Bad stuff happens here, the locals deal with problems in their own way and nobody trusts the police.  Detective Sarah Rutherford in her shiny grey trouser suit, starts from a position of certainty about her original investigation but is persuaded by Alison to reconsider – there is a convincing tenderness between the two women.  But there are possibly too many characters and too many sub-stories from the past and I know from my crime fiction book group that several readers became confused and irritated.  Of course, the confusion is to a large extent deliberate because rather than discounting candidates for killer along the way, Kent chooses to keep them all going until the end, when they converge – some of them in unlikely and rather melodramatic fashion – at the Wedding from Hell.  But this is just a sideshow. The actual climax inevitably takes place at the Crooked House; it’s truly spine-chilling and I wanted to leap into the story and save Alison, fearing that her survivor’s luck might have finally run out.

Tip: read in as few sittings as you can or you’ll forget who’s who.

Published by Sphere.  Recently published in paperback – available on Amazon but preferably from your local bookshop, in my case the fantastic West End Lane Books.