Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Guest Blogger: Stephen Clayton- Author of 'The Art of Being Dead'

Today's Guest Blogger is Author Stephen Clayton. His novel, 'The Art of Being Dead' has been published by Bluemoose Books.

All writers believe that they have something to say. Why else become a writer?

I wrote ‘The art of being dead’ because it was a story that intrigued and fascinated me. I wished to discover how my main characters would behave under certain extreme circumstances and how, once their true nature and background had been fully evolved, they would relate to one another and the outside world. But it was only after I had finished the story that I came to believe that my work could possibly be of interest to other people. Then I wished for the story to be published.

The first step, and perhaps the most difficult, was to allow selected friends, those who were avid and conscientious readers, to view my work.

Encouraged by their comments I embarked upon a careful and extensive re-writing of the novel, concentrating solely upon making it as accessible to a publisher as possible. The whole process took nearly two and a half years.

I had met Kevin, the owner of Bluemoose Books, the previous year and although I wasn’t totally convinced that he would be interested in the work, I thought that it was time to seek out a professional opinion. I sent him a synopsis and just the first twenty pages of the novel. He came back within a matter of days and asked to see the rest.

Once he had confirmed that he was going to go ahead and publish I thought, in my naivety, that my work was finished. There began, however, a close working relationship with Bluemoose, Kevin and his editor, that encompassed all aspects of the publishing process, including the design and printing of the cover.

Once the book had been published I was determined to do everything I could to promote the novel and, by implication, Bluemoose Books. In this regard the support and encouragement shown by libraries, reading groups and by various independent reviewers has been invaluable.

As a first time author working within a small publishing house I am only too aware of the effort that is needed to bring one’s work to the notice of national reviewers and the general public. Any lack of ‘clout’ that an independent publisher may have in the professional book market is, in my opinion, more than offset by the care and commitment that they show for their authors.


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