Guest Columnist – Author Michael Whitehead

A quick introduction, my name is Michael Whitehead, I grew up in Calverton and went to Colonel Frank Seely school in the 80’s. About a year and a half ago I decided to try writing a book. You see, I had heard about a new way of approaching the whole ordeal, self-publishing. I don’t mean spending hundreds of pounds to have a few copies of my book printed, just to have them sit on a shelf in a local shop. What I’m talking about is having your book on Amazon alongside Stephen King and J.K. Rowling. Both eBooks that can be read on Kindles and similar electronica and paperbacks can be released this way and the only person you have to convince over the worthiness of your work, is you. It requires effort on your part, but then what worthwhile thing was ever achieved without a measure of hard work?

Dreams are wonderful things. The trouble comes when they remain dreams. It takes a little courage to try turning our dreams into a reality. I always wanted to write a novel, but the idea that I might put in all of that effort and then not become one of the chosen few published authors was too much of a risk for me to take.

I’ve sold books in The UK, USA, France, Germany, Japan, India and Australia, all because of the wonder of the internet. Has it made me rich? Not even close. Am I famous? Not slightly. Have I had great fun and made some pocket money along the way? Absolutely. I have three novels on Amazon right now and people read them, some of them even like them. I’m not the next big thing but I’ve managed to turn my dream into a reality. If you’ll bear with me, I will over the next few editions of The Gazette, tell you how I did it and talk you through doing it yourself. Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can.

I’ll show you that with almost no risk, except your time and effort, you can make your dream a reality. What have you got to lose? We will talk about writing your book, editing, cover design and marketing. Hopefully at the end of it you can tell someone else about the day you decided to stop dreaming and write your book.

So the first question is, what do I write? The simple answer is, the book you would like to read. If you try to be the next J.K. Rowling I assure you, it will not work. Put simply, because there already is a J.K. Rowling. You have a voice, don’t be shy to use it. I have a love of history and horror stories, so that is what I write. I take historical situations and turn them into horror tales. I have destroyed the Roman Empire with Zombies, and unleashed ancient evil aboard a Victorian Frigate. Does everyone like my books? Some do and some don’t but we can’t please everybody. The main thing is to write a story that you find fun to write.

I used to say, I haven’t got time. It’s a fair point we are all busy, but if you want to do a thing you have to decide how important it is to you. Is following your dream worth more than a nightly trip to Coronation Street? Would you rather read for an hour before bed or write for an hour instead. I bought a bluetooth keyboard for ten pounds and connected it to my phone. That way I was able to start writing on my lunch hour at work.

We can find all the reasons in the world not to do something, but you only need one reason to give it a try, because you want to. So start writing, a short story, a novel, an article for The Gazette. Do it for fun or because you hope to be rich, it’s up to you. Then next time we will talk some more about how you turn that dream into a reality.

Legion of the Undead books One and Two, and Seas of Blood by Michael Whitehead are all available via Amazon.

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