I'm a 'normal' guy called Dave. I'm a husband, a father, and a dog owner. This is my life.

So i wrote a book…

Me and my daughter love making up stories. I love helping her imagination grow, and she loves hearing the weird and wonderful things that fall out of my brain.

We have have a system for thinking up stories. Creating characters and scenarios gets a bit tricky and samey after a while, so we devised a way to mix it up.

1) pick a colour. (Red, as an example.)

2) pick a non-living object. (Banana)

3) pick a second colour. (Turquoise)

4) pick a living object. (Starfish)

Now we have the basis for our story. This one would be about a turquoise starfish that stumbled upon a red banana, probably in a rock pool at the seaside, and what happened next.

That, however, is not what happened with this book. I went off on a tangent one evening and just started talking before my daughter could ask me to pick a colour. I talked for a while, and my daughter was thoroughly enjoying and engaged with the story. So much so, that she started talking about it the next day. She was trying to tell her aunty about it, but couldn’t quite remember. So, as the person that told the story, she turned to me…

I had absolutely no idea. I could remember roughly what i said, but if I’m being honest, i just opened my mouth and let words continually fall out. I decided at that point i was going to type it out for her. So, i spent the next few evenings at the laptop trying to remember what i had been talking about. Adding in some more details and creating back-stories. Before i knew it, i had been typing this book for a month. I had something of a story, but i remember from English classes in high school that the best way to tell if something you’ve written is any good is to read it out loud. So, next bedtime, i read it to my daughter.

She was ecstatic. She loved it even more than the first time round. I made notes of bits that needed improving, and revelled in the fact that i had made her happy with simple words. Each night i sat back at the laptop, adding extra bits, removing repetitive or pointless bits, trying to remember something, anything, that i had learned in high school English (28 years ago). Eventually, i had something that i thought was good enough to be called finished.

I gave a copy to a couple of people to read over. They had been hearing that i was writing a story for months, and were quite interested by my description of it. All good feedback, much to my surprise. I gave a copy to a couple of people that i knew would have no bother telling me how bad it was. All good feedback again. Now, I’m a pessimist, and the biggest critic of literally everything I do. I don’t think i have ever created, fixed, amended, or tweaked anything and been happy with the results. So this was unusual. My wife even gave it to an acquaintance, an author, to read. All good feedback again… At this point, I’d had more than one response saying i should go ahead and try and get it published. So i looked into this.

Publishers will publish the book, but i needed editors, cover design, isbn registration, marketing, sales strategies… There’s way more involved in writing a ‘proper’ book than i first thought. So, i looked for a one stop shop. A publishing agent maybe? (I was/am new to this, so i was Googling everything) i sent out a few copies of my manuscript to a few agencies, then waited. I waited for what seemed like an eternity (i think it was only a few weeks in reality) until eventually, i got a reply. First agency. “We would be happy to represent you.”




Okay, so this was happening. Now, I knew from the offset that this wasn’t going to be free. I’m not an idiot. Nobody works for free. The agency that contacted me was Authoright. Gareth was my point of contact, and he was an absolute gem of man. He talked me through what he thought of the book, the different levels of services they offer and what I should expect from them, and what realistic expectations for publishing my first book should be. My expectations are pretty low anyway. The only thing i was expecting was to have a final finished physical book for my kids’ bookshelf, written by their dad. If I make my money back, that’s a bonus!

So, I read through the contract, picked the level of service I wanted, and paid the fee. My comfort zone was well and truly a dot on the horizon by now. Being so sure and confident of my own work, that I was willing to back it up with thousands of pounds. But this is for my kids. To show them that what starts as a spark of imagination can explode into a physical real-world outcome.

Now, the waiting. I am by no means a patient person. I can’t help it, I have the attention span of a moth and the patience of a runaway train. I warned Gareth that i may email him more often than expected and that I didn’t mean it in a pushy way, etc. He was very reassuring and gave me more information on what the process was, how long it would take, and milestones for the journey. I was very comforted by this and grateful for his patience (in advance).

I managed to control my urges to email him every couple of weeks by writing out the email and hitting cancel instead of sending it. Basic, but effective. We back and forthed every now and then with conversations about the rough publication date, the edits, the cover design, and the blurb. Until eventually, it was the month of publication. I got the email I had been dreading yet waiting eagerly for. The final(ish) one. The publication date.

Suddenly, this was all very real. I wrote a book.



A book…

In just over 3 weeks, I will officially be a published author. Me. What is actually going on? Did I go to sleep one night and just not wake up? Is this my final dream? No, this is actually happening!! A couple of hours after agreeing the rrp and the publication date, i checked Amazon. I don’t know why, just randomly felt the urge. And there it was… The book… My book… With my name on it! This WAS real!

Amazon screenshot
Amazon screenshot.

So now, I have gone from a general feeling of indifferent happiness that I am creating something in the real world for my kids, to this weirdly intense feeling of excitement! I am a published author. I made something. My kids will have a physical piece of their dads imagination dedicated to them and shared with the world!

This isn’t the end, though. After reading the book for the millionth time throughout this process, I know I can improve. So, i have already started writing the second instalment. The story continues with the same theme, but there is more depth, more substance, and more mystery. The story – like my kids and their imagination – will grow, evolve, and flourish. (I hope)

Now, I just need to get this next story out of my head and onto paper.

I could never have done this without my family supporting me, pushing me, encouraging me, and criticising me. To everyone that listened to my brain-farts, who read snippets and rough drafts, who put up with my constant “have you read it yet? Have you? What did you think? Really?”

To everyone that may, in the future, read this book.

To all of you and everyone else.

Thank you!

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