A Thoroughly Published Writer?

Louisa Leontiades On Writing, On Writing-General

It’s so easy nowadays isn’t it? Churn out a few thousand words, run spellcheck, format it and get some photos from istockphoto.com. Hey presto, you’re ready to self publish on kindle, and if you’re really persistent Amazon’s create space. E.L. James did it so why can’t we?

But as it turned out churning out thousands of words was tough. Making them good words was even tougher. After three rewrites, I decided that I was done… ran spellcheck, formatted it and pressed (self) publish.

But the goal of most writers – and me – was still to be published by a proper publisher. It’s the first acknowledgement that someone, somewhere, of some authority thinks that you’re any good at writing. My worst reviewer put this on Amazon following the first release…

“I suspect other reviews must have be left by friends and family of the author as it really is absolute rubbish. A waste of time & money.”

Luckily Amazon UK at least seemed to pick up on the fact that the review was written by someone who had a) not bought it  b) who created the pseudonym specifically to create that review (and then reviewed nothing else). That the other reviews were mainly 5 star – and not by family and friends, helped.

It’s the bad reviews you believe though.

Was my book really not worthy of being published? Because the fact you’ve managed to pour out your heart and soul into words, doesn’t mean that anyone else wants to read it anymore than someone might want to read your teenage diary (even if I recall that some spotty kid called Adrian Mole did pretty well there).

“The Husband Swap” – my book – is the story of a couple who falls in love with another couple. It’s my story. It’s fairly unique as memoirs go, there’s only 4 or 5 out there of the same nature. But within open relationship circles, there are some really respected texts, bibles if you will. Polyamory in the Twenty-First Century, The Ethical Slut, Sex at Dawn & More Than Two. Mine wasn’t one of them. Of course.

But then it happened. The authors of More than Two, Franklin Veaux & Eve Rickert – people I’d respected, quoted and interviewed agreed to publish the second edition of my book. Heavyweights in the polyamory world not only liked it enough to read it and mention it, but also to publish an extensively revised second edition.

It’s hard to describe the elation of this moment. I’m not sure I fully believe it even now. It’s as if Simon Cowell came down and gave me a record contract with all the clout that he has to promote it.

‘Ah I remember when I got a record contract’ said my boyfriend fondly reminiscing. ‘Everyone was so envious. It was only a small indie label but still.’

‘You were twenty.’ I said. ‘The industry was different then. It was vinyl. That was huge. And you even had groupies.’

‘Now’s your time. I’m so proud of you.’ he said. ‘Remember though… it might feel like you’ve crossed the finish line. But the real work starts here.’

My boyfriend's vinyl... he's third from the left.

My boyfriend’s vinyl… he’s the cool dude third from the left.