Grey Fox: A new chapter in my life

Ron Jackson, South Wootton ANL-140506-083309001
Ron Jackson, South Wootton ANL-140506-083309001
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They say that everyone has a book in them, and that may well be true. You only have to walk into any bookshop or browse Amazon to see books in their tens of thousands and now that the Kindle and tablets (the bête noir of book lovers) have become “must haves”, reading matter has never been more available.

The number of successful writers is none the less tiny in relation to the number of people who read and you can put this down to two simple reasons.

One, it takes an awful lot of time and dedication to sit down and write a book and two, getting a book accepted for publication is akin to winning the Lottery.

Trying to get that first time novel in print is probably the most frustrating and soul destroying thing you will ever do.

Having said that, an awful lot of people do write – my mother wrote poetry, something I never knew until after she had died and I found it sad that she had not been able to share her jottings with anyone.

I’m sure she was not alone in being reticent about sharing her inner feelings and thoughts with a friend or family member.

I know of others who would love to have a kindred spirit with whom to share their work, but they rarely do for fear of ridicule.

Several years ago I wrote two novels – they were saved to those, now outdated, floppy discs which modern computers have long forgotten how to access – I thought they were a damned good read but sadly no-one volunteered to read them, let alone publish them.

I then wrote some short stories, which again languished in a drawer never to see the light of day.

For Christmas, five years ago, my granddaughter gave me (ostensibly from my recently born great grandson) a completely blank book headed “Dear Great Grandad – From You to Me – A Journal of a Lifetime”.

At the top of each page was a question requiring an answer about my life. For three years it sat naggingly on my desk until I had the courage to pick it up and make a start.

I soon discovered there was no short cut to answering those questions meaningfully and for several weeks it consumed a great deal of my time, energy and thought.

The task of completing that little book however re-kindled my urge to write and I fished out two short stories I had written nearly 20 years earlier; made a whole lot of alterations then pondered on what to do with them.

About four months ago I read an article on publishing books in a Sunday magazine and discovered that Amazon operates an online publishing service; I followed this up and for the hell of it decided to “give it a go”.

Nothing is truly straightforward, but after resizing the page, designing a cover and deciding what to charge for the finished article, then proofing the result; by some miracle it was accepted and now, it is not only in print, but available as an e-book.

I have no idea if anyone (except me) will ever buy a copy or read it, but it is really good for one’s ego to see your work in print.

Book number two is in the final stage of acceptance and my advice is – “If YOU think YOU can write” it doesn’t matter a damn what anyone else thinks – go for it! You never know it might just catch the eye of Booker.