Writing: a long road of obstacles – Isabella Davidson

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By Isabella Davidson

The road to writing a novel is one full of obstacles which must be overcome, one by one. But do not give up. Each of one of us must follow his/her own road to our own writing success story.♥

On Writing

From the outside, it is easy to think that all you need is talent to write a book. When I once told a friend that I was going to write a book and start a writing class, she said, ‘But all you need is talent.’ That is not completely true. It helps to have talent, but more importantly, you need that drive to write a book. I needed a writing class for guidance, motivation, support, and feedback and it is one of the best things I did when I enrolled in a Novel Writing Class at the Faber Academy in London.

My writing tutor and editors I met have all told me that the most important thing you need to get a book published is tenacity. Tenacity, perseverance and determination are three huge ingredients necessary for writing success. It is about sitting on that chair every day, typing or writing down word after word and getting the first draft done. Then it is about editing, editing, editing, cutting out so many precious words that you have to let go of. And then one day, you will finish your book, the day when you can no longer look at your work without cringing and hating it and you realise it is time to stop. And perhaps this book won’t be published, and possibly not the next one, but each experience helps you hone your skills and learn your craft.

Some of the biggest writers didn’t have their first or second novel published; it took them years of crafting and patience before getting published. Stephen King and Sebastian Faulks are two prime examples.

On Publishing

The publishing industry is very fickle. I learned this when agents and editors came to speak to my class during a ‘Meet the Agents Day.’ All they could talk about was the current trend and trying to predict the next new trend. They all follow trends like a flock of sheep; psychological thrillers are the hype so agents were all looking for psychological thrillers. Others were looking for YA (Young Adult), following on from the Harry Potter and Hunger Games fame. My book, they said, was passe; chick lit is dead and over, they told me. Ten years too late. Not new enough. Not original enough. All they wanted was the next big bestseller.

But I believed that there were still readers interested in my story and I persevered and I didn’t use a traditional publisher, which I am really happy about. You have to have complete self-belief in your story. And now my book is being published next month, it will be launching at The Notting Hill Bookshop and I will be appearing in The Saturday Times Magazine! Again, persistence is everything.

On Marketing

It used to be that publishers did all the marketing, but now, it is up to the author to do most of it. Before I started on this journey, I didn’t know much about book marketing. Now, I feel like I know too much. One lesson I have learned is that you should set aside a certain amount of time for marketing each day, whatever is right for you, but not more and not less. There is so much book marketing you could do, it could easily take over your life, as it did mine, so plan carefully.

With the internet, book marketing can mostly be done online, which is lucky for small, indie books like mine which may not get the big press interested. Here are the marketing strategies that I used: Goodreads and a Goodreads Giveaway, book bloggers, niche bloggers (depending on the type of book you wrote ie. chick lit or thrillers), some press marketing, and social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook). They say you need five points of contact before a buyer buys your book, so it takes up a lot of time, patience, and again, perseverance. It’s so time consuming but it is essential to get readers to buy your book, there is no way around it.

I can’t pretend that it’s been an easy road – there have been plenty of ‘I want to give up’ moments, ‘why am I doing this’ moments, and plenty of tears, but I battled through each obstacle, and now, I am so proud to see my dream come true and to finally be able to hold my book in my hands this month.

Isabella Davidson is the author of the popular blog, Notting Hill Yummy Mummy, which chronicles the entertaining lives of west London residents. Through the blog, she has written features for the Times, the Saturday Times Magazine, Corner Magazine and efinancial. She wrote The Beta Mum during the six month Faber Academy novel writing course. Prior to starting her writing career, she worked for a Nobel Prize winning humanitarian organization and for the NHS. She currently lives in west London with her husband and her two small children.


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