Friday, 13 April 2018

'Right trusty and well beloved, we greet you well'* by Alex Marchant


Or perhaps I should just stick to 'Hi!' And as a newbie blogger for Authors Electric I should really introduce myself.

Alex Marchant, author of historical fiction for children, at your service! [doffs cap with a flourish, bowing deeply]

I write ‘author’, of course, as we’re all authors on here. But I still say the word – and write it – with a momentary (or longer) hesitation. Because, unlike all the other fine bloggers on here, I’m very much a newbie at this too – and I have to be reminded that, yes, I can call myself an author. I have written a book (in fact, more than one), I have published it (even if independently – and, after all, that’s all the rage now), and I am earning money from it. Well, some, anyway... enough to record on my upcoming tax return.

A hesitation, or two, also occurred when I received the invitation to join the Authors Electric team. What could I bring to the party? I’ve been writing my own blog for a few months now, but it’s still early days. I have a few followers, fewer perhaps than I might have if I didn’t repost everything in full on my Facebook page. I’ve been on Facebook rather longer, and it’s there I feel most comfortable – and where many of my readers appear to have come from. So far.

Facebook banner of Alex Marchant Author - yes, 'Author'!

But after that hesitation came the thought that perhaps the newness of all this might actually be of some interest. The hesitant journey of someone just starting out, learning the ropes, plunging into the brave new world of being an author – and of navigating the minefield of independent publishing.

Sorry about the mixed metaphors. As I said – newbie. Or at least, intermediate, perhaps. A newbie would probably die rather than allow such a mishmash through all the drafting and redrafting and re-redrafting. Maybe I’ve just reached that stage where I’m slightly more relaxed about such things. Hey, ‘it’s my voice – I have to let it shine through’… Or maybe it’s because it’s that time in the evening and I drew the cork out a little while ago.

Not today's bottle - honest!

Anyway, perhaps recording this journey of mine into this uncharted ‘here be dragons’ realm of indie publishing may be of interest to readers of Authors Electric. I hope so. Do let me know. There are some exciting times to come – for me, at least.

So to return to the introduction . . . Though only just published for the first time, I’ve been writing fiction for as long as I can remember. First of all it was derivative of C. S. Lewis, then of Alan Garner, then Tolkien, then – of far too many to recall now. Next, life got in the way – with university, early career, kids, the writing had to take a back seat. But a few years ago, a milestone birthday made me reassess – and reminded me of what I really wanted to do.

I completed my first children’s novel, Time out of Time, and began to submit it to agents and publishers, while I embarked on my second. It was then, after a number of rejections of the first manuscript and about six chapters into the second, that the next milestone in my writing career came along: the announcement of the discovery of the grave of King Richard III in Leicester. 

Richard III, King of England, Wales and France

Thus was born the sequence of books starting with The Order of the White Boar (myBook.to/WhiteBoar), which was independently published in October 2017, to be followed later this spring by its sequel, The King’s Man. These first two books aim to tell the story of the real Richard III (not the Shakespearean monster), for children aged 10 and above, through the eyes of a page in his service, Matthew Wansford. 

From the very beginning, I planned to self-publish if I couldn’t find a publisher, as it’s important to me to get the word out that the real Richard was very little like the evil, child-murdering tyrant so beloved of traditional history since the Tudor period. But when it came to it – when I finally finished the books – I felt the time and effort needed to craft individual submissions might be better spent on learning how to publish the books myself. So after only two early rejections, I set out on that path.


It’s been tough, I’ll not deny – not the writing, hardly even the production of the books, but rather the marketing. There have been many times when I’ve wished I had the marketing and distribution departments of an established publishing house behind me. But traditionally published authors still have to reach out to potential (and existing) readers on social and other media these days, even if they don’t have to create their own adverts or package up and post their own review copies. And virtually every day I receive a boost by chatting with readers who've enjoyed the book or intend to enjoy it! The support I've received has been amazing.

I have to say I’ve been thoroughly enjoying much of what this journey entails – the new challenges, stepping outside my comfort zone. I’ve plenty more of that to come over the next few months, with myriad plans in place to publicize and sell the books. And I’d love to share the journey – all its highs and lows – with you. Welcome to my new blog. To paraphrase Margo Channing in All About Eve: ‘Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!’

His Grace King Richard III gives The Order his royal seal of approval

* The address with which King Richard and other monarchs began their official letters.



9 comments:

griseldaheppel said...

Welcome, Alex, and I love your greeting which I too will adopt from now on. Your books sound intriguing; and good for you that you've self-published them - you're certainly not alone in that! And OF COURSE you are an author, at least as much as me who have (self) published 2 books so far and am working extremely s-l-o-w-l-y on my third. Farewell for now (as Richard III surely ended his letters).

Debbie Bennett said...

Welcome, Alex! You'll fit in here just fine - the wine bottle is always open...

Katherine Roberts said...

Welcome to the team, Alex! I love that cover.
Good luck with the book, it sounds intriguing.

Chris Longmuir said...

Having dipped your toe into the Authors Electric pool of talented authors I'm sure you'll fit in fine, so a warm welcome from me as well because although I'm a lapsed member I visit here every day.

Umberto Tosi said...

Greetings and welcome Alex! T'was a pleasure reading your lively new post. I look forward to more and wish you best of luck with your works!

Alex Marchant said...

Many thanks for the welcomes, everyone, and all your good wishes! I'm looking forward to mixing a few more metaphors on here over the coming months and maybe fishing out a few more medievalisms for your delectation. But now, as it's Friday, I'm going to content myself with a search for the corkscrew...again... Cheers!

Jane said...

Welcome to the fold (and stabled)!

Helen said...

Hi, had never heard of this blog before seeing a tweet about it. As someone who hopes - someday! - to write a medieval historical novel, with perhaps 10 mins to think about it after a day of work, kids and chores, it’s nice to discover something like this to help with motivation and inspiration. Getting my teeth into the WoTR so look forward very much to reading your White Boar book, and perhaps reading about how you craft, research and develop your stories.

Alex Marchant said...

Many thanks, Jane! And also thank you for your comment, Helen. Good luck with your plans to write - I hope you won't wait as long as I did to do it! But, my goodness, it can be hard with such a full-on life, I know. A huge part of the battle is simply finding the time and the energy to make a start (quite large chunks of my books have been written on holidays, when everyone else (early-to-bed partner included) is in bed - and there are no distractions from everyday chores, TV or Internet!) If my blog can be of any help, I'll be delighted! Please do have a look at my other social media links, and my individual blog at AlexMarchantBlog.wordpress.com :)