There was a time when self-publishing was considered rather infra dig. But not now. Everyone is doing it – from established authors, to those who just want to see their work in book form. So why not you? Well, maybe because you can’t face the hassle of learning all the technical stuff that goes with it.
That’s where we come in. We can not only help you with the writing of your memoir, should you wish, we can design the cover in just the way you want it, and then transform your work into an e-book for Kindle and other e-readers and a print version for print-on-demand. Check out the details here, and then do ring for a chat if you have a project you think we can help you with. You can contact me on 01892 512323 or email email@example.com.
A little while ago I received an unexpected email from an Afrikaner asking me if I could re-print my biography of the extraordinary Nico Smith, the Afrikaner anti-apartheid fighter who risked his life in the struggle for black justice. Since the fall of apartheid, he wrote, the Dutch Reformed Church had lost many members who felt angry that they had been misled and misguided. They needed to know that there were some Afrikaners who had stood out against the rest. One such was Nico Smith. As a result OUTSIDE THE GATE: A white man’s fight for black justice in South Africa, is now available on kindle, and will soon be available as a paperback. Both have a new introduction from Douglas S. Bax, Moderator Emeritus of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa, and an endorsement from Professor Piet Naude who wrote: “As South Africans struggle at the current moment to live beyond our trenches of race, gender and especially class, this book is a must read to inspire us to move beyond the enclaves that hold us captive… I warmly recommend a re-edition of this book.”
There you are in your garret, writing your heart out, month by month, sometimes year by year, and when your baby finally is born, and the publishers take over, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d done your bit. Not so. After publication the amount of marketing you, as the author, still have to do is staggering. There are articles to write, TV, radio, and newspaper interviews, talks, .. blogs! Of course it’s heady stuff, but not always comfortable.
Over the last few weeks I’ve had some good experiences and some bad ones. Radio highlights were definitely the Jeremy Vine show for the BBC and the Andrew Morton Show in Canada. Very different journalists, but both brilliant, empathetic interviewers who gave you space to speak and made you feel comfortable and relaxed. Unlike the ghastly experience I had with Premier Christian Radio!
You also have no control over head-line writers – especially for the newspapers online – and some of these have been pretty scurrilous!
But the really rewarding aspect of all of this has been the number of strangers who have written saying how much ONE YELLOW DOOR has comforted and encouraged them. Writing about your own life is not comfortable, but their emails and letters have made the whole venture worth while.
The publication of my own memoir, ONE YELLOW DOOR, has taken all of us by surprise, reaching No 1 in the Amazon best seller list in three categories. I’m still not quite sure why! But with articles in The Guardian and The Telegraph, and appearances on the Lorraine Kelly show and several radio shows, here and abroad, with the Jeremy Vine show scheduled for early next month, it’s all been a bit of a roller-coaster. More articles either by me, or about the book, will be out in the New Year.
The problem now is that I have to get cracking on another book before all the broohaha subsides and I am left with just the allotment to dig.
Thank goodness for the Oldie Writing Courses, which provide us all with considerable fun. If you haven’t been on one yet, try to. The punters are an amazing assortment of funny, clever and attractive people. I hope to encourage them – and you – to look at our new Personalised Memoir Writing Courses online. They’re fun, and will put you in touch with a personal tutor who will give you detailed and careful feedback on your work. There’s nothing like the encouragement of another writer to help you through those blank patches, which we all get from time to time.
Scurrying to finish an article for The Telegraph, due out on Saturday 31st October, about my memoir ONE YELLOW DOOR, to be published by Darton Longman and Todd at the end of this month. Photographer came yesterday but small cat insisted on being in as many shots as possible. This will not add gravitas to the proceedings! Article by Joanna Moorhead should be in the Saturday Guardian, on the Family Page, this weekend, October 24th. It then remains to be seen what the reaction will be. Time to run away, I think….
Things are now beginning to hot up as we head towards publication of my latest book ONE YELLOW DOOR, a memoir of love and loss, faith and infidelity – a subtitle we struggled with, incidentally, as this book is all about fidelity.
It’s a nerve-wracking business, having your memoirs published. Too much information out there. But there were things I really wanted to say, despite the fact that they will undoubtedly bring me dingbats, as my Dad would say. (“Dingbats” – where on earth did that expression come from….)
Some people may be offended, others shocked, but I hope, over-all, that the book will open the door to some sensitive discussions and maybe offer a window to look through for those who have struggled with conventional theology.
Just finished one of the books that has given me more pleasure than any other. This was the reason I started LifeLines Press. For this book alone it has been worth the years of VAT returns, production nightmares, cantankerous clients (not that I’ve had many, of course), and sleepless nights. I will let the client speak.
“LifeLines Press, and its publisher Rebecca de Saintonge, have given me and my family a gift beyond price: the publication of ‘The Memorial Book’, my accounting of the Hirschhorn and Fischer families’ ordeals through the Holocaust – the stories of those who survived, and those who didn’t survive. Throughout the many months of the book’s preparation Rebecca showed exemplary good taste in the design; she gave expert advice gently and unhurriedly; and was immensely patient to deal with all the changes, additions, backtrackings and my own anxieties that I imposed on her. The result is beautiful. I hope she can continue to serve others in the same manner.
Norbert Hirschhorn MD.
There are all sorts of creative writing workshops on line, but ours is a little different. For one thing, we want to make it personal to you, so that we work on those areas of writing that interest you most, or which you find most problematical. We have no fixed schedule, so you can do the course at your own pace, and you will also have the opportunity to have the first 5,000 words of your finished memoir critiqued at a later date. You can find more details about the course here, but do feel free to email us if you just want to chat it through.
Another fun workshop with The Oldie Magazine. The day was devoted to aspects of journalism – travel writing, blogging and writing reviews. My session was on the techniques of interviewing – how to ask questions (and how not to ask questions) and, most importantly, the art of listening. Not always as obvious at it may seem.
These Oldie courses are always great fun. If you haven’t been on one yet, and can get to London, give it go. The punters are always fascinating, and yesterday we had a particularly interesting crew – among them a circuit judge, a farmer, a couple of physicians, a probation officer, a Woman with an Interesting Past (which she was delightfully unrestrained in telling us about), a couple of secretaries, a former woman priest, and a whole handful of others whose common denominator was not just a desire to write better, but a wonderful sense of humour. But what else would you expect from Oldie Readers? These events are usually rounded off by Jeremy Lewes, the deputy editor, whose gift as a raconteur is second to none.
If you’re interested in writing, and want your confidence and spirits lifted – join us. I guarantee you’ll leave with your feet dancing on the pavements, and your imagination fired up and ready to go!
by Rebecca de Saintonge
Having spent so much of my working life helping other writers with their memoirs, I’m delighted that my own, ONE YELLOW DOOR, is to be published by Dartman Longman and Todd in October. Although it’s quite a short book – only 50,000 words – it took ten years to live and a further ten years to write. As you may know, books are reviewed well in advance of publication so that suitable quotes can be printed on the dust covers. Sara Maitland has already read the text, and this is what she said about it.
A small book about all the truly big things: love, loss, tragedy, joy, purpose, pain and laughter. It is – sometimes shockingly – candid, often very beautiful and shot through with courage, faith and a fierce heart-breaking tenderness.
More about ONE YELLOW DOOR nearer the time!