Sometimes I think the web may be inducing extreme binary thinking – everything here is either evil incarnate and all our children will be pornographers – or, it is our great salvation, where we will collaboratively experience some kind of sharing rapture.

People get their knickers in a twist equally about self-publishing. All ‘traditional’ or ‘legacy’ publishers either deserve to die goes one tune, while the other pipes that self-publishing will democratize all our voices, we’ll all write books, which will be marvellous but for no money and Amazon will rule the world.

Here’s a tale that is somewhere down the middle.

And here’s the trailer for The Gritties which is OUT TODAY (made by 17-year old son Owen, who would like you to note that he is available for hire)

The Gritties Trailer 2 from Owen Davies on Vimeo.

This story – based on a group of women in South Wales during the miners’ strike -has obsessed me for about 4 years. When I got an excellent agent at William Morris to represent it, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, no publisher they approached wanted it.

Maybe my story’s just no good – but during this period of submission I became acutely aware of the disadvantages of being a working ordinary class writer, dealing with working ordinary class material.

While I waited to hear from her, one of the commissioners(an heiress), tweeted:

‘Sitting by author’s pool in Languedoc, eating goat’s cheese with honey’

I tried to imagine what she’d tweet if she came to Barry:

‘Sitting outside chippy in Fontygary, looking at Aberthaw power station’

Somehow, I couldn’t see it…

I felt a failure – both talent and birth-wise.

Anyway, eventually and with great advice and editing from Clare Christian, I’ve published The Gritties myself.

And I’ve gone from failure to huge exhilaration.

The Hunt For Readers

While I’ve had 9 non-fiction works published by traditional publishers, and have worked with some lovely and highly intelligent people there, am at present not inclined to revisit them.

The little Gritties site I made to go with the book has just had 500 page views so far, which is tiny, but it is 500 more than a trad publisher would have got me before publication ( take a gander, if you like). And I’ve discovered, through friends, that the market for my book- based on keenness to read it- are fans of Philippa Gregory, historical novelist.

So the next experiment will be to try and find these readers. If you know any, please let them know that they can download the novel herefor free for one week. ( And any sort of online appreciation of this via Facebook. twitter etc, in return would be much appreciated…you have to be shameless with this selling stuff, don’t you?)

Am talking about The Gritties in Cardiff on May 10th, London May 12th and Kidwelly, July 28th and 29th.

So I’m sorry this blog post is more about me than you this week – but would love to hear any of your views on any of this.

By szcz

4 thoughts on “How Self-Publishing Rewrites Failure”
  1. You should be very proud! you’ve related a very personal experience there, and knowing you as well as i do, I know it means you have grown and benefited in any number of ways through out this process.
    Having been brought up during the strike, and the other actions that went alongside (my Dad was a Steel Worker, and my Grandad a Miner) Im not sure I will be able to read your book, so recent do the memories and hurt and confusion of that young boy still inside me feel.
    But I will certainly try it! And I’ll share it
    This book feels important, so it deserves that
    I am in the current vernacular totes impressed!

    1. And totes thanks Tony for commenting on this…it’s amazing how many people I’ve met who still hold such vivid memories of what this time meant to them, who were forced to cross picket lines, or who felt enormously guilty at the miners’ plight – or quite the reverse…

      Lots related still relevant today.. how politicians act with selfish pragmatism, how tribal we become under threat, and how torn the mining communities were between protecting jobs for the future but not wanting their children to end up working there…

      I better shut up – in case I feel a sequel coming on…appreciate you being totes supportive, too.

  2. Downloaded and started reading the book this morning, after checking out your Blog, and have only stopped because have to go to a meeting! Very engaging vivid and Welsh, can’t wait to read more. Away on the 10th or I would have come to the presentation in Cardiff. Brilliant as ever Pippa and well done to Owen, the video was excellent.

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