Publishing Journeys - A Panel Presentation

Theresa Gooda, Simon Davey, Rose Bray, Wendy Swarbrick

Thursday 11 November @ 7:30pm - via Zoom



The members of the panel have all had their work published in a range of forms and formats, each will concentrate on one particular area.

Theresa Gooda is a ghost writer,
Simon Davey has had articles published in magazines,
Rose Bray has published a collection of her poetry
Wendy Swarbrick has just brought out a children's book.

Each of us will describe why we came to write and publish in a particular way, and what we learned during the process.
Members can expect some useful tips, and there will be a question and answer session after the break. After that if there's time, we'll have an informal open-mic.

It has been decided to revert back to Zoom for this next meeting as there is still uncertainty and considerable nervousness about meeting live. We will continue to review the situation for December. You thoughts and feedback would be useful.

Review of the meeting


The members of the panel have all had their work published in a range of forms and formats, each concentrated on one particular area.
Theresa has become a ghost writer, and now teaches part-time and spends the rest of her working hours writing in her garden retreat. Her ghost-writing career began when she recorded a teenage boy’s memories, the resulting book laid the foundations of her career as a ghost ‘misery memoir’ writer. She found an agent, who recommended her to a foster mother who had stories to tell (see the titles in the powerpoint on the website). Theresa’s name does not appear on the book cover, but she is recognised on the title page, she has no input to the editor’s decisions, nor to the choice of cover.
Simon talked about placing articles in magazines such as Sussex Life, Country Life and (his favourite) Environment Now, edited by the late David Bellamy. He recommended writing directly to magazine editors, either with proposals for articles, or as in one notable case an actual ‘letter to the editor’ which received a reply asking permission to publish his letter as an article, and a subsequent fee of £200. Simon felt that his enthusiasm and (sometimes esoteric) erudition – for both the natural world and arcane subjects such as car registration plates, convinced editors to publish his work. (NB Simon was too modest to say erudition – that’s my word. WAS).
Simon illustrated many of his articles with his own wonderful photographs, and also worked with artists whose illustrations enhanced the written articles.
Rose wanted to publish a collection of her poems for family and friends. Whereas Theresa found her agent from the 2016 Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, Rose recommended The Indie Press Guide published by Mslexia, which she used to choose her publisher. Rose paid for formatting and advice on many aspects of the book, but not on editing, which she did herself. She knew how she wished her poems to appear. When she found and contacted the photographer who had taken the beautiful picture she wanted to use for a cover, he agreed he could use it and did not charge her for it. Rose pointed out that Writers Magazine had a useful article on doing your own formatting in the July 2021 edition, and another called Self-publishing: The basics of marketing your book in December 2021.
Wendy confessed that is in the process of publishing a trilogy of children’s books whose first sentence came to her on a school trip in 2012. After many rejections she realised a change of tactics was needed, and joined WSW, where she heard Phil Williams and Richard Buxton, among others, talking about self-publishing. Phil talked about trilogies, everybody talked about needing an editor. She wrote two more books in the series and dared to share the books with a few readers who were very encouraging. Self-publishers gave her designer recommendations. A trail led to a designer and an editor. The designer recommended ALLi – the alliance of independent authors. Not only was the membership subscription recouped in fee reductions, but they also offer free guide downloads – self publishing, + FAQs, list of recommended independent editors, designers etc plus Amanda says they have a really helpful Facebook group.