I’m saying a big hello today to Audrey Davis. Her debut novel, A Clean Sweep has just recently been released via eBook.
Love comes around when you least expect it. Fifty-something widow Emily isn’t expecting romance. Nor is she expecting a hunky twenty-something chimney sweep on her doorstep.
Daughter Tabitha knows something isn’t quite right with her relationship, while her boss – Abba-loving Meryl – thinks she’s found the real deal. Are they both right, or pursuing Mr Wrong?
Emily’s sister, Celeste, has the perfect marriage … or does she? Can a fitness tracker lead her down the path to happiness or heartbreak?
Susan is single, overweight and resigned to a life of loneliness. There was the one who got away but you don’t get another try, do you?
Sharing her route to publication, it’s over to you, Audrey.
It’s been five weeks since my first novel – A Clean Sweep – was published on Amazon but I am still giddy with excitement. I am an author! An actual, people-are-buying-my book author (or otter, as my lovely Dutch friend pronounces it). OK, I’m a very long way from topping the best seller list but that’s probably because I’m clueless about the marketing side. More of that in a little while …
My writing journey began several decades ago – yes, I am old – when I trained as a journalist and worked for many years in provincial newspapers and various magazines. My relationship with my now-husband Bill took me to Singapore, Australia and the south of England before we moved to Switzerland in 2002. Along the way we raised two boys, now all grown up and living in the UK, but we remained in the land of cheese and chocolate. Any dreams of writing were put aside as I focused on never-ending house renovations which still challenge my French-speaking abilities but at least I provide entertainment for the local workers.
It was in February 2016 that I signed up for a Start Writing Fiction course run by Future Learn, an offshoot of Open University. Within a few weeks I was totally hooked, exchanging ideas and reviews with fellow students from all over the world. It was one short exercise that gave me the idea for a longer story which then grew … and grew. With no firm plot in mind I found characters popping into my head, along with vague notions of what might happen to them. Five thousand words became twenty thousand and on it went. I ran sample chapters by friends who were effusive in their praise (probably because they are very nice and polite people.)
I submitted my book to several publishers but was met with kind rejections (or just totally ignored). So, I decided to go down the self- publishing route using KDP. After a lot of online researching I discovered something called Vellum that allowed me to paste in my book which was then converted into beautiful e-book format with minimum stress or need for technical expertise.
With almost 90’000 words in the bag I approached a UK-based editor/proof reader who came back with a detailed critique and a fully-annotated manuscript. Turned out I was a serial ‘head hopper’ which was news to me but something I set out to rectify. Some weeks later I also had a lovely cover designed by a talented young friend of my boys. Then it was just a question of taking a deep breath and submitting it. Now I spend far too much time every day checking my sales statistics and looking to see if any new reviews have been posted.
As I said before, marketing my book is far harder than actually writing it. I use Facebook and Twitter and have paid for some boosts, as well as linking people to my website which is still very much a work in progress. I’m now working on a shortish prequel which I intend to use as a freebie magnet to draw in more readers for A Clean Sweep. Beyond that, a lot of people advise writing a series of books which fills me with terror but it’s on my ‘to do’ list along with making my website/blog much more professional. My computer science graduate son has promised to help with that one.
I love reading other people’s stories of how they wrote their first book, the challenges they faced and their journey beyond. I think writing fiction is fun and addictive, but it’s important to be disciplined if you want to have any kind of success. I recently read of a successful author who produces around 5’000 words a day. A day! On that basis, I should be able to knock out another full-length book in 18 days. Ain’t going to happen. I know my limitations (inherent laziness being one of them).
Anyway, I’m very proud of my first chick lit novel. I really hope to add to my Amazon bookshelf soon. Wish me luck!
A Clean Sweep is available to buy now on eBook. Click to view on Amazon UK.
Audrey is also on Twitter: https://twitter.com/audbyname