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Monday, 25 January 2016

British crime writer @RobRoughley shows that being dyslexic hasn't held him back

Robin Roughley
in WWBB’s ‘How was it for you’ guest post.
How times change, cast your mind back a mere twenty years and we have writers tapping away at their typewriter or, if you were at the cutting edge of technology, your word processor trying to write the next best seller. I was there, holding down a job and writing every spare minute I could get. Then sending the first three chapters out to agents only to get it back six months later dog eared and stained with coffee cup rings with the obligatory ‘not for us', post it note attached.

Fast forward and now you can upload a novel in a few strokes of the keyboard and hours later there it is in all its eBook glory, how wonderful, how bloody magnificent!

I can’t spell for shit, being dyslexic meant I left school with a good brain but scared to apply for any jobs that required the filling in of forms. So I drove trucks for a living, a solitary working life. But the stories kept growing in my head; fermenting like someone making their own home brew and sticking it in the shed waiting for it to mature.
Then suddenly everyone had a home computer, and I started to read about companies like Amazon who would allow you to put your book on their site for people to buy and read.

I remember feeling like a stone age man crawling from his cave only to see a spaceship go flying by.

It took me a while to fathom out what it was all about and yet here I am with ten books on sale and happy as a pig in muck.

It had always been my dream to be a published author I wanted someone in the ‘business', to say ‘yeah this guy can write, let’s sign him up.’  The call never came and now I thank god for that!

How fantastic that I can now call myself an ‘indie writer', instead of ‘vanity author', how amazing that I can write what I want and when I want. I control when I put a book out, the cover design and the marketing, not easy but so rewarding in a multitude of ways.

For those dipping their toes in the water of indie writing, I have found one or two things that you must do without fail.

Firstly, once your book is finished polish it, leave it for a couple of weeks and then polish it again, but don’t waste the time in between, start on the next one.  You
must write even when your writing feels like the ravings of the village idiot. I have sat at the computer and the words have flowed out of me, head bent, fingers flying like Beethoven on crack, going great and on a roll. Then when I have read it back it has been utter tosh, nonsense and pathetic. Beware of this euphoric writing stage. The best stuff comes out slowly, and can feel like rolling a pea with your nose, but this is the good stuff, the vein of silver that you can follow and use.

Secondly, never rely on one book to make your name, we have all read tales of the first time author who writes one book and it takes off and rises like the Wily Coyote strapped to an Acme rocket.

These are the exception and not the rule, so write and keep going, don’t stop, don’t falter, this is a job and must be treated as such.

If all the stars align and people start to grab a copy of your first book, usually for free, and start to leave reviews, then tell them how grateful you are that they took the time to take a chance.

Readers are our life’s blood, without them we remain the man in the cave looking up at the passing starship, good readers will tell others about your books and word will slowly begin to spread.

For the indie writer there is no other way, we rely on others to help, we need their input, be it the boffins who invented the computer to the people at companies like Amazon who thought of the idea to help unknown writers and make money in the process. To the wonderful readers who simply love to read and tell you how much they enjoy what you do.

So don’t contemplate writing that novel, just get it done, it will be hard and infuriating at times but it will leave you invigorated and wanting more, and that’s a promise.

Right I’m off to the shed to see what’s brewing.

The Needle House is the first of the DS Lasser crime books

The West Pennine moors, endless miles of unspoilt, windswept beauty and a haven for the weekend walker and nature lover—and a killer.
Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fotheringay, a wannabe researcher, investigates the powerful landowners who once owned great swathes of the countryside, including the farm, she now calls home.
Amazon.UK | Amazon.com

At first, grandfather, Ronnie Fotheringay, is delighted author Patrick Fossey takes an interest in her findings but that’s until a body on the moors is discovered. He’s left wondering if it was a mistake to get the writer involved. Some history needs to stay buried after all.

DS Lasser is determined to dig deeper than Fossey and further than Jenna. But this is a town on the skids: no jobs, no money and no hope, and with secrets stretching back over four decades, blackmail and murder reaches out to ensnare the innocent as well as the guilty.

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