Do Mind Me

Time to move forward.

There is a tendency among writers to play down achievements and to not shout too loudly about what we’re doing. 

“What? This old best-selling novel? Oh, it’s just something I put together and was lucky enough to find an agent foolhardy enough to take it on.”

Cue deflecting laughter. Maybe it’s a British thing. Wherever it originates from, it’s both counter-intuitive (because it works against your primary objective as a writer, which is, ultimately, to gain as many readers as possible) and unproductive (because it dilutes motivation and perpetuates an insidious form of self-talk that’s prevalent among aspiring writers). 

Not me though; I’m done with that. I may occasionally bad-mouth some of my work – who doesn’t have favourites after all? – but I see nothing valuable in perpetuating the myth that writing comes easy and needn’t be taken seriously.

So, in lieu of all of that ‘don’t mind me’ crap, here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

My magical fantasy, Covenant, has been edited down to 119,000 words and is being formatted for a Sept / Oct launch. It’s been a real journey of discovery, both in terms of self-publication and of how to navigate through the Lightning Source project. Once the paperback is out (currently looking at a £9.99 retail price), I’ll get cracking on the ebook version. I’ve good things about Kindle Select, but I haven’t made my mind up yet.

My thriller, Standpoint, is being resubmitted to a UK indie publisher. It was recently shortlisted in a representation competition run by the Madeleine Milburn literary agency.

I’m editing my comedy drama, Scars and Stripes, having received feedback about the way the chapters are structured (and why previous structure undermined some of the drama). I hope to have the edit completed by the end of January 2013, so that I can look at agent and publishers.

My first children’s ebook, Superhero Club, will be launched by Musa Publishing in early November. This book is a departure for me, as the protagonist is a 12 year-old girl who finds friendship and self-acceptance in the unlikeliest of places. It was one of those stories that arrived fully-formed, so I’ll be interested to see if it finds a niche. Musa previously published The Silent Hills.

Short story Perfect Circle won second prize in a future fiction competition. I’ll post a link to the author interview once it’s been completed and made available.

MAN UP!  a satirical little book is on submission to a UK publisher.

A new column starts in Discover magazine this month. Entitled The Better Life, it looks at green living through a humorous lens.

I got a great interview from radio and theatre dramatist Oliver Emanuel, which you can read over at the Strictly Writing blog.

And finally, I recently participated in a project looking at the therapeutic benefits of writing. My interview, from what I can recall, focused on grief, making sense of experiences, creating emotional connects between writers and readers, breaking down barriers, self-censorship and how writers receive and interpret feedback.

So, that’s my story. What have you been up to? What’s your good news story?


  1. Sandra Davies says:

    A round of sincere applause from me – well done, (and I know that I don't promote myself because I hate doing that far mor than I do the writing, so recognise the grace with which you've done it here.)

  2. Derek says:

    Hi, Sandra, and thanks for stopping by. I think I reached the point where I realised I was saying one thing while doing another. There are plenty of ways that life can others can limit our opportunities as writers, or talk things down. No need to give them a helping hand!

  3. Derek says:

    Thanks. I'm not the most patient of people, so my strategy is to set different projects and run them in parallel. That way, there's always something going on. Plus, it keeps writer's block at bay!

  4. Julie says:

    You've been very busy! I'm looking forward to reading Covenant when it is available. Good luck on the other projects!

    I can relate to this post as well, I have a bad habit of playing down everything I do. Something I'm trying hard to get over.

  5. Derek says:

    Hi Julie, I'm both relieved and disappointed that the 'hiding your light under a bushel' syndrome is not exclusive to British writers. I'm itching (like a flea-ridden dog, I tell you!) to update everyone on Cov – hoping for news in the next week or so.

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