I first decided to make writing a career when I realised that my son’s disability meant he would always need someone at home. It didn’t seem fair that my wife would never be able to return to nursing, so in 2003 we swapped roles. I became Matthew’s full time carer, wrote when he was at school and began submitting book after book.
|image c/o seatletimes.com
|A first look at our new council house. Image: Colin Mulhern
PromotionThe publisher offered a promotional package that included a London book launch, a professionally produced YouTube trailer, press releases, newspaper reviews and an ebook version – this was the early days of Kindle, the ideal time to break into the ebook market.
The ebook never came out. I had to create the YouTube trailer, organise my own book launch, sort out school and library visits and contact local press.
MoneyThe money was dire, but I had a foot on the ladder. Book 2 did rather well. It sold international rights and made it to the final three for a major YA competition. Book 3 was due for release in 2015. My career was going great, right?
Wrong. There was no more money, the publisher cut all ties and my agent retired.
Hitting the floorIn 2015, when Matthew was sixteen, his disability got the better of him. Grief took over our lives and the world stopped.
After a long break, I set out to write something completely new, something for the younger end of the children's market that Matthew would have liked. My agent wasn't confident about the book or that end of the market, so we split on good terms and I set about finding a publisher myself. I got an offer of a deal just three days after sending the manuscript out.
I was devastated. I had failed in making a better life for Matthew when he was alive, and now I’d failed in doing something in his memory. The traditional world of publishing had led to frustration, misery and depression.
But there was another option...
A brave new worldI decided to dip my toe into the world of Indie Publishing (a fancy name for Self Publishing). Despite the stigma, it's a whole lot of fun. I found the whole process to be quick, simple and very enjoyable. It also meant I could write whatever I liked. So I wrote another children's book, a gothic horror for adults and a rom-com. It was like I'd found a toy shop and was playing with everything I could get my hands on. I was having a blast, but I was also a bit blinded by the Indie success stories.
|L.J.Ross Image:BBC News
Is it really the promised land?
What kind of writer do you want to be?
|CLASH in my first in-store display.
|A Facebook friend found Arabesque!