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I'm not a Writer! 😟

At ASPA, we do not believe that you must be a Poet Laureate or a Pulitzer Prize winner to put words to paper. Don’t get us wrong, we are as interested in quality as we are in writers feeling comfortable about their art. But if you think about it, the idea of one person being responsible for everything from concept to realisation and then publishing too, is quite a big ask. Imagine you wanted to redecorate your room, and you were excellent at painting and okay at putting furniture together but had done no wallpapering. Does it not make sense that you would ask someone else to do that part?

There are so many ways in which you can get support with the process of writing which would mean that you would do very little yourself if you wished. I’m writing this as we near Christmas and every supermarket, the Works and anywhere else where books are jammed in, seem to offer the same diet. Lots of friendly and, let’s be frank, some unfriendly faces from the media gurning at us from a cover. Few of them will have written the book and most will have used a Ghost-writer. Often the Ghost-writer will interview the client at length and then they will write the book with the client’s approval.

Of course, you don’t need to use a Ghost-writer, you can access help and support with any aspect of the process and for most people, they particularly worry about the use of English language, which after all must be accurate, if not readable. There is now a lot of help available with this aspect of writing.

I recently enjoyed a documentary about Robbie Williams in which he defended the notion that although he wasn’t a musician, he understood the format of songs and how they worked and, yes, he did write all those successful songs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with him having a musician helping him to put it all together. It can often can lead to better results.

So now to the hard bit. First, who would you trust? Well, if you share any of your ideas with anyone else, make sure that you have them sign an NDA. If someone is a genuine friend or associate, they will understand that you want to protect your idea. For anyone else you may use at any other stage of the process, be sure that you are happy that they will do what you want. Ever been to a barber or hairdressers and know exactly what you need? Tell them exactly what you want, and then they do something different? It is very important that somebody understands what it is you want to say in your book and how you want to say it.

Then there is the issue of cost. Thankfully, there are services now which are available to self-published authors that offer quality without breaking the bank. It is a substantial risk to spend thousands on a book that might not even get published, so spend some time researching what/who is right for you.

My background as a historian has meant that I have had a long-term respect for oral history. Even parts of our history that we believe to be legend, often turn out to have some basis in fact. And of course oral history is a way in which we can access primary sources at a low cost. You would be amazed at how many grandparents want to tell their tale and they know, as we all do, that the time is limited in which this can be done. In this way, your work might be the story of someone else, and the published book may well be a gift for that person, or a legacy for many generations to come. In this scenario, you can do all the interviewing and recording and even the rest of the process if you wish. If not, find suitable services that will do that for you. As someone who is interested in my ancestry, I wish that my forebears had left more of themselves for me to study and enjoy. However, as my mother and father met in the during WW2, I am still deterined to tell their amazing story one day.

Remember, as a self-published author, there are many options as to how you would go about completing your book, including those tasks at the end of the process, like the publishing and promotion of your work. Don't do everything alone.


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