A Cure for “Writers’ Dip”

“And this is another great thing about being a writer, that nothing you do in your life ever goes to waste. You cut it out in little stars and scatter it into the heaven of everything you write.” -Anne Shakespeare.  This is a quote from The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare, written by Arliss Ryan and copied from her website.

I love writing. I’ve felt privileged to have the opportunity to create worlds and characters, tell stories and share ideas.

This banner was created using quotes from some of Once Removed's brilliant reviews.

This banner was created using quotes from some of Once Removed’s brilliant reviews.

BUT I don’t love marketing and promotion. Worse, I’m terrible at it. So even though my debut novel, Once Removed, has had loads of brilliant reviews, after the initial flurry sales have slowed down.

cover LLLPeople who read my memoir, A Life Less Lost, came back and bought more copies to give to friends (even my neighbour, who once told me she thought reading was a waste of time, has bought 3 copies to give away) but sales have been in the hundreds and not the thousands.

The frustrating drudgery of trying to persuade folk to part with their money to read my books has caused a deep dark “writers’ dip”, making it very difficult to write the next one. It’s not that I want to be famous ~ I DON’T. And it’s not the money. The problem is that no publisher will take the risk or put in the work to publish books that won’t sell because the author won’t/can’t do their share. And I have no wish to self-publish or to spend months/years writing a book no one will read.

And then today, something wonderful happened. A brilliant new review appeared on Amazon and has encouraged me to keep trying:

Once Removed is an incredibly powerful book dealing with great sensitivity issues ORcoverpbthat shocked, moved and saddened me by turns. It is an astounding debut by KB Walker.

The storyline follows two main characters, schoolgirl Beth and her teacher, Abby. Their two strands are told in alternating points of view as Abby, believing her pupil to be self-harming, reaches out to Beth.

Based in a small town, the growing friendship between teacher and pupil is watched with suspicion and, when Beth disappears, Abby becomes the target of a hate campaign by her neighbours and the local press.

The two intertwined storylines deal with fear and self-loathing, dysfunctional families and various forms of bullying and pressure to please others, but the novel also makes the reader look critically at the way society and individuals are quick to jump to damaging conclusions without being in possession of all the facts.

Without including spoilers it is difficult to say more, but what I will say is this: when I woke I reached out for my kindle before my eyes were properly open. I finished the book this morning and have not been able to get the characters and their lives out of my head ever since. Abby, Beth, their family and friends, became so real to me that I find myself hoping they each find their own way to redemption and healing.

Characters living on after the book is finished? That’s the sign of a first-rate author in control of her material.

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