Asked to suggest a subject for a debate by a branch of the Society of Authors, I suggested "Should authors become publishers?" and found myself leading the discussion a few weeks later. By the end of the session, and after publishing some 80 books the traditional way both as an author and a ghostwriter, I was convinced that it was time to grasp the nettle and take my own advice.
When printing was first invented authors published their books in joint ventures with printers and booksellers, raising extra money from patrons when needed. Publishing companies as we know them today only really arrived on the scene around 1750, but from then on authors spent all their time writing to please these business people, (and later the business people who set up as literary agents), before pleasing themselves and their potential readers. Now technology, ironically, allows us to turn the clocks back.
Charged with enthusiasm at the lifting of the scales from my eyes I realised I had a manuscript ready and waiting to be dispatched straight to the readers along the electronic highway that I could now see clearly stretching away in front of me.
"The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer" (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/86679 ) is a sequel/prequel to "The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride", a novel I published in the traditional way a couple of years ago. Maggie is Steffi's estranged mother and during the writing of Steffi's story I became increasingly intrigued by her.
Maggie left home in 1970, when she was only fifteen, and headed for London with the express aim of becoming famous. Her journey mirrors the rise of celebrity culture over the last forty years and the growth of the media which ruthlessly created it, exploiting and destroying girls like Maggie in the process. Despite the many terrible things she did I loved Maggie for her optimism in the face of endless set-backs and disappointments, always believing that her big break was just around the corner. She was determined to make herself "interesting" and only when she finally achieves her goal, at enormous personal cost, does she discover, under the full glare of the media spotlight, that the family she was running away from had secrets of their own.
All I needed was a brilliant cover and I was ready to go. I had already commissioned some photographs of one of my daughters to represent the young Maggie and the wonderful designer, Elliot Thomson of Preamptive, did the rest.