Secrets of Success

By now, I think that even the cat in my front garden knows that being a self-published author is so much more than writing a good book.  I don’t know who owns that tabby, but he’s seen enough of what goes on here to understand that selling a book requires a completely different set of skills.  Self-publishing is an all-encompassing business, requiring the right balance of thoughtful introvert and hustling extrovert – all in the one body.  It demands the fierce commitment and creativity of a tortured artist to produce the work,  nestled uncomfortably alongside the patter and schmooze of a street vendor to sell it.  Not an easy combination to pull off.

All writers reach this point after publishing their first book, when the cold realisation sets in that nobody’s really bothered that you spent the guts of two years researching and writing your book.  What’s more, they probably expect to download it for free!  The humanity!!  Because you see Amazon is a business – as well as being an opportunity and the sooner we learn to treat it as such, the sooner we will achieve our own idea of publishing success.  You have to learn to ride the wave, so to speak, in order to give your book the best chance of being noticed in a sea of self-published authors.  And at the end of the day, that is what we are all striving for, to have our stories read by more than a handful of people.

So now is the perfect time to pick up on all of the hints and tips shared by some of the best ‘Authorpreneurs’ in the business, as following on from the London Book Fair, lots of self-published authors are out and about discussing success in Self-Publishing, Book Marketing and Running A Business As An Author/Entrepreneur.  Check out author Joanna Penn‘s article for The Alliance of Independent Authors, written prior to IndieReCon, a global conference focussing on all stages and levels of self-publishing and featuring authors such as Mark Dawson and Rachel Abbott.

How They Do It: Preview of Success Tips from IndieRecon Speakers.


It’s alright not to feel ok

To mark World Mental Health Day, I am releasing a revised eBookProne to Panic cover

edition of my non-fiction title, Prone To Panic.

It all began back in 2005 when I published my book with iUniverse.  Scratch that.  It all began in 2002 when I started experiencing panic attacks and my life took some weird and wonderful turns that inspired me to follow my dreams and write a book.  I felt passionate about sharing my experiences and trying to help other people who found themselves in a similar situation, so I gathered all of the advice, knowledge and tips that I had accumulated over the years and wrote Prone To Panic.

I have since gone on to become a full-time writer and published two novels, The Cross Of Santiago and The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris.  When I was recently given the opportunity to regain the distribution rights for the digital version of Prone To Panic, I jumped at the chance.  After years of wanting to update my eBook and finally have a say in how it was priced, I was like, ya-huh!

So, as an established self-published author, I was delighted to get back in the driving seat and take control of my book again.  The only dilemma I faced was how this would fit in with the ‘author platform’ I had created for my fiction work under my nickname (or nom de plume if you’re posh!) Evie Gaughan.  I could continue to keep the books separate, but the truth is that writing Prone To Panic gave me the confidence and the belief that I could become a writer, and without that book, I’m not sure if I would be an author today.  And so that is why I have decided to announce the release of Prone To Panic (Revised Edition) on my blog to mark World Mental Health Day.  As the book is still available to buy in print with iUniverse under my full name, Evelyn Gaughan, I have published the new eBook edition under that name too.  Simples!

Prone To Panic (Revised Edition) is available to download for 99p on Amazon and Smashwords, and you can also read it for free with Scribd.  My main aim in writing this book was to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and to let people know that it’s okay to talk about it.  If you or anyone you know is experiencing panic attacks or anxiety, this is a book full of empathy, support and information.  The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone.  As I said, you can still buy the original print version on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I will leave the last word to Heathers 😉

Thinking Outside Of The Box

So the other day when I was chatting with Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat … Oh did I not mention?  Yes, Joanne and I go way, way back.  To February 7th 2014 to be precise.  Okay so we weren’t exactly alone and it wasn’t exactly in person… alright it was a live web chat with Stylist UK!  But still, it’s kind of amazing to be able to talk to one of your writing idols and ask them about their process, insights and experience.

Now what I’ve always loved about Joanne Harris is that she doesn’t stick to any one ‘formula’ when it comes to writing successful novels.  Her stories tend to jump all over the place – my favourite being Blackberry Wine, probably because it has a dual narrative and two separate timelines, one set in present-day France, one set in Yorkshire twenty years earlier.  Then there’s the non-fiction cookbook My French Kitchen and most recently The Gospel Of Loki, a fantasy novel based on Norse mythology.  While her central themes of everyday magic, being an outsider, the sensuality of food and obviously her connection to France run through her novels, she is not afraid to take on different genres.

The question of exploring new genres was a very important one for me.  My own debut novel, The Cross Of Santiago is a Time-Slip novel, also with a split narrative and separate timelines.  I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed writing that novel!   Historical fiction can be so engaging and the research like an exciting treasure hunt.  Tying up two completely different stories into one novel was challenging but so rewarding and I think it makes for a very interesting read.  But do I want to write an endless list of Time-Slip novels?  I’m not sure.  I love incorporating historical elements into my stories and I’m sure I will write another Time-Slip novel, but I’m not sure if I want to feel pressured into staying in the one genre.

Like Joanne, (I call her Joanne now!) I have found my own distinctive style and writing voice and would hope that this is what readers would look for when they decide to pick up one of my books.  Because what is the point in taking readers on the same journey, over and over again, just to play it safe?  Now I’m sure we all know traditionally published authors (who shall remain nameless!) who are very successful at rehashing the same old formula time after time.  The powers that be tell us to find our genre and stick to it – apparently that’s the only way to build a fan base.  But surely in self-publishing there has got to be a bit more leeway when it comes to expressing yourself as a writer?

So, that was my question for my BFF Joanne 🙂

Evie GaughanAdded: 07 Feb 2014 – 13:09 GMT 

Hi Joanne, Such a pleasure to chat with you! I wondered, after the success of Chocolat, did you feel a bit pigeon-holed by your readers or publishers? Did you ever feel obliged to write a certain way to follow up on that success? As an Indie author, sometimes I worry if I can ‘bring readers with me’ if I wish to change direction. Blackberry Wine is one of my favourites by the way!

Joanne HarrisAdded: 07 Feb 2014 – 13:13 GMT 

Hi Evie, all my books are so different that I don’t think my readers pigeon-hole me at all. In fact I’ve found them very accepting of all the different areas I’ve chosen to explore. On the other hand, publishing loves to create little boxes to put us into. I’ve been fighting to keep out of the box all my life – and so far I think I’ve managed…


Now I know what you’re going to say – when you’re as successful as Joanne Harris, you can write whatever you damn well please!  But I believe that it is her willingness to disregard the status quo that has won her so many loyal readers.  She is a writer that writes for herself first and foremost, and as a result, she has a list of books that are varied, unpredictable and exciting.

My new novel, which is currently going through it’s third draft, is also set in France and while there are historical elements, it is mostly set in the present day.  I think my writing style connects both novels and again the themes of family, identity and belonging are to the fore.  I hope I can surprise and excite my readers as much as Joanne Harris – and having Johnny Depp star in the adaptation of one of my novels would be nice too.  Just sayin’.

5 days left to win a copy of The Cross Of Santiago

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let all my loyal followers know that you have 5 more days to enter the competition to win a free copy of my novel.  Entry numbers are low, so you have a pretty excellent chance of winning!  Just enter here, it’s quite painless 😉

I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has bought a copy of the book and to let you know that The Cross Of Santiago is available for download on every kind of e-reader known to man!  Here are some new links:

Sony Reader

iPhone, iPad or iTouch


Of course it is also available on Kindle and don’t forget you can download Kindle for PC here, so you can read Kindle books on your laptop or computer.  So happy reading and let me know your thoughts 🙂