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  • kaz07899

A Writer's Journey

My personal writing journey began in 2011 after a chance conversation with my husband during a very ordinary trip in the car. We were chatting about one of my hairdressing clients to whom I had given a pseudonym and my husband says, “That’s a great title for a book.”

To which I replied, “Yeah it really is, I’m gonna write it!”

And that is exactly how The One Legged Lady from Balmoral Road was born 3 months later. I was teaching full time back then, so my main writing schedule consisted of me disappearing into my study, aka the little back bedroom, tapping away on my keyboard every Sunday morning, before my husband brought me a glass of wine about 3pm and announced that Sunday dinner was almost ready….I know, he’s a keeper!

The truth is, whilst I had never planned to write a book – let alone 14 books – I had always been an avid reader; right from when I was a little girl, putting little coloured stickers on the spines of all my books and giving them serial numbers that I wrote in a special book…I was a strange child!

I actually don’t think you can be a writer if you aren’t a reader – it’s a bit like trying to be a chef if you don’t like food!

Fast forward a decade and more, and I have now written 14 books and counting, have coached countless new authors from idea to publication, and set up Mabel and Stanley Publishing to help them bring their stories into the world. I feel that my strengths as a writing coach are borne from over 20 years teaching literacy and my strengths as a publisher are borne from the countless mistakes I made on my own journey!

After I had written my first book, I didn’t have a clue what to do next and I soon realised that writing the book was the easiest part. I was initially duped by a vanity press who charged me an exorbitant rate for a thoroughly sub-standard end product, and now I advise my clients to avoid such a path whether they end up working with me or not.

After that, I tried self-publishing but was soon overwhelmed by the tech needed to format and upload my books and employed the services of an assisted self-publisher. This was ok but then, after several submissions, I got accepted by a small traditional publishing house. “Eureka” I thought, “I’ve made it!” I felt like a traditional publishing deal was my golden ticket – “Move over JK, I’m on my way!” Unfortunately, what I didn’t realise was that, unless you are already pretty famous, then you are still expected to do your own marketing whilst the publisher continues to take royalties from the proceeds of your efforts. You may not pay for publishing services initially, but you do pay in the long run; publishers are businesses after all and if they didn’t charge for their services in some way or another they simply wouldn’t continue to operate.

By now I was on book 9 and feeling pretty disheartened…until I met Jo. Jo is now a highly successful author in her own right but at the time she was running a hybrid publishing house to get her books out into the world. She gave me more reliable information in 5 minutes than I had managed in 5 years, and she literally saved me. I had spent so long seeking advice and support and much of it was inaccurate, expensive, or downright unscrupulous!

After leaving teaching full time around 7 years ago and then being made redundant in the middle of a global pandemic in 2020, I decided it was time to stop faffing about and pursue my writing dream in earnest. I set up my Write of Passage Growth Academy and consequently, Mabel and Stanley Publishing, to help my founder members to publish their work after a year of writing coaching. I have now published close to 30 new authors and in 2022 wrote my much acclaimed One Year at the Dog and Duck in a series of 5 novellas published in real time throughout the year.

For the future, I continue to empower new and budding writers to share their stories with the world, from poets to novelists and business to fiction writers. I am currently growing my membership platform on Patreon, a site packed full of resources, advice and inspirational author interviews designed to give writers the kind of help and support I could really have done with when I started out!

It's been an exhilarating and sometimes overwhelming journey, but I’m so glad I made the leap because now I get to spend my working days doing something that I love…I might even write a book about it!

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