"I began writing as a child - writing stories instead of doing my homework - and it was something I used when I became a teacher. Basically, I bribed my students with a promise that if they behaved all week, on Friday afternoons I would tell them ghost story!
"But I didn't really entertain the idea of writing a novel until I retired from full-time employment at 58. I then accepted a part-time job at the National Centre for School Leadership and used my spare day each week to I prepare for my new career as a writer of crime fiction.
"I knew that I could write, so I wasn't daunted about approaching a publisher. I’d had a number of non-fiction books published over the years on careers education and school improvement. The only question was whether or not my work would appeal to publishers in an increasingly difficult market, especially - as was made clear to me by a literary agent - when my age counted against me. So I decided to self-publish with Amazon on Kindle Direct Publishing. I had no idea it would turn into a career.
"Self-publishing gave me with a way to share my writing with people and as a first time writer it was the best way to get my work out to the biggest possible audience. Within three years I had four titles in the Amazon Kindle UK top ten bestselling British crime fiction category at the same time.
"For most of my career, writing was about administration, education, inspection and formal reporting. There was little time for the creative urge that welled up like a secret untapped reservoir. Now that I am able to self-publish, it feels like all of my creativity has been released and that I can write freely and connect with people who want to read what I put out there. Since the first piece I self-published, the momentum’s been incredible.
"I've now written nine books in the DCI Caton Manchester Murder Mysteries series; one anthology of short stories; one young adult novel and a book of walks in and around Manchester based on the DCI Caton crime series.
"I keep to a routine, working in my study during regular working times with breaks. I work the equivalent of two full, and two half days a week when writing a novel.
"I love writing, but love living too and being a self-publisher means I only have myself to answer to.
"I have four grandchildren. The teenagers all claim to enjoy my crime novels and are always grabbing the family’s Kindle to read them. The seven year old seems to be impressed because she tells everyone that her Grandpa is an author - even strangers!
"Encouragement comes from the feedback I receive directly from my readers, so many of whom are kind enough to let me know what they thought of my books, of where I’ve got it wrong and to urge me to hurry up with the next one. And of course, from my wife who has encouraged me throughout.
"As for advice, it's the same for anyone of any age: just do it. Do it for one of the following reasons: because you need to; because you have a story to share; because you would love to give something to your own grandchildren that they can cherish now, and remember you fondly by. Don’t be deterred by the daunting prospect of traditional publishing. It has never been easier to get your work out there."
Find out more about self-publishing with Amazon here
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