A post about my new life as a full-time novelist
In just two weeks’ time, it’ll be all change for me as I leave the closest thing I have to a day-job to devote all my time to writing and marketing my books.
In some respects there’ll be no change, in that my commute will be exactly the same: from bedroom to study, just six paces. But instead of working for the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi, as in “ally”), I’ll be working entirely for myself.
All about ALLi
In case you’re not familiar with ALLi, let me explain a little about what it is, what it does, and what I did there. ALLi is a global, non-profit organisation for independent authors to share best practice and support, founded by Irish author and poet Orna Ross in 2012.
In 2013, Orna invited me to be Commissioning Editor of its daily blog (www.selfpublishingadvice.org), and that role soon expanded. I moderated its members’-only advice forum, co-wrote self-help books for authors in ALLi’s series of guidebooks, wrote ALLi-related guest posts on other blogs, helped man its stand at the London Book Fair, and spoke on ALLi’s behalf at various festivals and writing events around the country. As an offshoot, I also started two writers’ groups, one in Cheltenham and one in Bristol, whose membership I had to restrict to ALLi members only to keep the numbers manageable.
With a new blog post required every day, and to a specific deadline, my ALLi work had to take priority – and for a long time I hugely enjoyed it, not least because I was networking online daily with all manner of authors all over the world, and learning an enormous amount along the way, particularly from Orna herself, who had become a real mentor to me in my writing as well as in my role at ALLi.
And Plenty More Besides
I also managed to fit in a reasonable amount of writing (I’ve published five novels in the last two years), public speaking on my own account, and running the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, of which the fifth is about to take place (Saturday 27th April). However, around Christmas time, with my work-in-progress novel beset by a series of delays, I realised that if I was to achieve my long-term writng goals, something would have to give. I was operating on as little sleep and as little housework as I could get away with, and there were still never enough hours in the day. A series of minor illnesses (all now thankfully resolved) underscored the message that I was simply trying to do too much.
For years people had been saying to me “I don’t know how you do it all” – it just took me a while to agree with them.
Onward and Upward
Orna and the team at ALLi have been gracious and generous as we’ve worked on a handover, and I’ve been vastly amused to discover I’m being replaced by not one but three people! (Ok, so they’re all working part-time on what I used to do, but the thought still made Orna and me laugh.) I will continue to be ALLi’s UK Ambassador, and to write and speak on the organisations behalf now and again, but apart from that I will be my own person. If I don’t get as many books written as I plan, I will have no excuse, and no-one to blame but myself! So watch this space – and if you’d like me to alert you as I release new books, please click here to join my Readers’ Club, and I’ll keep you posted of progress.
I’ll close now with Orna’s version of this news, over on the ALLi blog. She is very kind!
New Horizons for Our Blog Editor and Self-Publishing Advice Center Manager Debbie Young
10 thoughts on “The End of an Era and the Beginning of a New One”
Thank you for that wonderful peek into your life! Recently I retired and, while nowhere near your league in the literary stakes, I have never felt such writing freedom. Best wishes for the future! Gretchen B-W.
Thank you, Gretchen, that’s very kind of you. Congratulations on your retirement – exciting times ahead for you! I have recently made friends with an author who starting writing novels at the age of 79 and who is now on his seventh novel at the age of 86. An inspiring role model for us all!
All the best to you, Debbie, as you switch gears and tracks and head space!
Well done, Debbie, for all the work you’ve done for Alli. Hope you enjoy having more time for writing, and that your writing career is even more successful!
Thank you very much 🙂
The 42cordelia comment was from Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, Debbie. The username was an old one on wordpress, and I couldn’t get it to change to my email. Sorry if you wondered who it was!
Lindsay, how lovely to hear from you! Thank you for telling me!
Goodness, you’ve worked amazingly hard Debbie. It’s brilliant that you’re making the transition to full-time writing now, I know you’ll still be incredibly productive. You’ve put so much into ALLi, it’s an incredible source of information, particularly for the complete beginner like me, so thank you for all of your hard work. Looking forward to seeing you at the next meet-up in Bristol.
Thank you, Claire, you are very kind. Meeting so many like-minded people, like yourself, has been one of the many perks of the ALLi job! See you in May!
I’ve often wondered how you did it all actually, Debbie, and I’m delighted to see you are now giving yourself more time to devote to your own writing. I wish you the best of luck with your new beginning.