She explained when she was younger she had three particular qualities, which have come in useful for being a writer:
- Imagination – she was constantly making up stories as a diversion
- Observation – really noticing what was happening around her
- Empathy – understanding well how others felt
Valerie’s stories were published in serialised magazines such as The People’s Friend, and large print publishers where the books appeared in libraries. Valerie had, for many years, carved an impressive niche in her genre. Then the situation with the publisher changed, so Valerie had to look at other options. She spoke to Freda Lightfoot, who started publishing her back list in 2010.
Valerie checked that she owned all the electronic rights to her whole back catalogue, as they hadn’t up to that point been published electronically. And she set about preparing them for e-publishing, which included:
Editing, extending some titles, as with e-publishing there are no restrictions in length, so some titles where scenes had to be cut to stick with the original 30,000 word limit, could be extended and allowed to breath more
Formatting and type setting for the various e-book formats – this really isn’t as simple as it seems, and Valerie is lucky to have an IT literate husband to help with this! If only we all had one of those...
Cover design. She has a common theme running across all the covers, which is deliberately different from much of the other books in this genre. The illustrations show accurate representations of the dress and situations within the books, which is much more true to the stories than some previous covers her work had been published with
This process is lengthy and Valerie has been doing it for about the last 12 months. She isn’t due to complete it for all her back catalogue until late 2014.
It was an inspiration to hear her experiences, and shows that if you really want to do something, with determination, time, and help from your friends (and family) you can succeed. Although that may sound like something from a fortune cookie, I really do mean it.
It’ll be many years yet until I have a back catalogue anywhere near like Valerie’s or Freda’s, but it was so good to hear that it is possible.
Have any writers gone through something similar? Are any of you thinking of doing it? Readers, would you indulge in a complete *buy all* spree for an author’s back catalogue if you’d just discovered them? I’d love to hear.
Until next time
Liam Livings xx