about writing and life and God

Is e-publishing the way to go?

on September 11, 2012


I was going for a walk, heading off the road through a sea of overgrown brambles, when I came to this ancient turnstile. If you look at the picture closely, you’ll see that it doesn’t sit in the middle of the path where it should, with a wall or a fence on either side so you have to slow down to a stop and then push your way through, turning the heavy wooden arms of the stile to let you past.

No, this one is off to the side. The path goes past it.

It’s not stopping anybody, or slowing anyone down either.

My friend Pat Wood ( has posted a cry from the heart today today about rejection. And how I empathise! A while back I got to the stage where I simply didn’t send out my work (the novels I was writing) any more. There seemed little point. Each one had come back with a rejection, despite earlier encouragements, requests for the full manuscript etc. And with the spectre of my husband’s dementia ravaging my life, I just didn’t need any other miserableness! So although the itch to write remained (as I mentioned yesterday) and had to be scratched, I’ve simply stockpiled the results and focused on the non-fiction where – gloriously – I had a contract in hand before I got down to writing.

Until the latest book. It came to me differently from all the others. I’m a lay preacher and often lead worship at a lovely Methodist chapel out in the Norfolk countryside where a retired farmer and his wife generously invite me to lunch afterwards. True Christian and rural hospitality. While she finishes off the lunch preparation, he takes it upon himself to entertain me. And one day, hearing that my birthplace is Wick, a small fishing town in the far north-east of Scotland (quite close before you fall off the end), he asked did I know about the religious revival amongst the Scots fisherfolk in Yarmouth in 1921.

I didn’t. Next day, a bit bored after doing my emails etc., I googled it – and was hooked. I knew there was a story there waiting to be told. Like Michelangelo who said he saw the statue within the piece of marble and it only needed chipping out and freeing, I knew I had to read more, learn more, immerse myself in this subject and the story would emerge. And it has.

It is a story of love and sorrow, secrets and lies than come back to do terrible damage – and it tells of the love of God and the redemption that is available through Jesus Christ to turn people’s lives round. And I am privileged – and thrilled – to be allowed to write it.

Now we come to the crunch: am I doing this just for me? Few Christian novels are published in the UK, and the US market does appear to have closed doors (and impassible systems!) for non-US writers. So should I simply e-publish, probably on Kindle?

It seems to me that the e-publishing route is the one that bypasses the turnstile.

Someone, way back, when confronted by that turnstile, simply refused to be stopped. They found another route – which, according to my picture, is now the recognised pathway.

Is this how it’s going to be with publishing?





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