About Me

Tollesbury, Essex, United Kingdom
I was born in the Summer of 1969 in Dagenham, just on the border of East London. School was largely unproductive but enjoyable, setting me up for something of a wayward but interesting life! On leaving school I had various jobs including putting up stalls at Romford Market, working in a record shop, putting up ceilings, gardening and road sweeping. After resigning from an insurance company to play in a band, I found myself unemployed for two years. Then finally I got back on my feet and I've been a psychiatric nurse since 1997. I wrote A Cleansing of Souls when I was 22 years old and followed it up with Tollesbury Time Forever almost twenty years later. I started writing The Bird That Nobody Sees in September 2011 and it was released in July 2012. In terms of writing, my heroes are Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck. I would also include Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits as literary influences. So that's me I guess - scruffy, happy and in love with literary fiction, music and life...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Thoughts and Plans

Now this publishing onto Kindle is something of a baptism of fire. For a start, I thought it would be much more difficult and take much longer for a book to actually be available on Amazon. But with the right help (thank you Lily Childs!) it can take a couple of hours to format the manuscript and then just three or four more hours for the book to go 'live' - and open to the scrutiny of all! When I look back to the unending months when I was trawling through the Writer's and Artist's Yearbook for agents and publishers that may be suitable, then printing out page after page to send them, agonising over query letters and trying to work out what the hell to put in a synopsis - all to get absolutely nowhere; well was the Kindle option just a bit of an easy get out for me?

I guess the answer is - "YES - AND SO WHAT?"

And for that, I have to thank the teenage communist recalcitrant who still occupies a large proportion of my forty-two year old mind. He has always been helpful to me - even got me thrown out of economics at school after calling the teacher a Thatcherite Bastard after said teacher had begun ridiculing the miners during the strike of 1984/5. So no more pleading with faceless agents and publishers boy - just get it out there and let it fall where it may!

I guess the most time consuming part was choosing the cover. Rebecca (my wife) painted several options but we ended up taking a photo of a painting she had done a year or so ago of the salt-marshes, which are about ten minutes away from where we live. I stretched the photo a little, gave it a sepia tinge put it through the G.I.M.P software (I know, I chuckle every time I see it on my desktop) - and there it was, all ready to send.

In one sense, publishing this way is straightforward - in another, the work never stops as all the responsibility is yours in terms of the pricing, the promotion and the networking. Here are my experiences, over the first three weeks of each of those elements:

1. Pricing - basically, using the Amazon self-publish option you can set the price, between certain parameters, and change it as and when you want. You get 70% royalties if you charge £1.49 or more and 35% royalties if you charge £0.75 to £1.48. The royalty received is about £1.00 per sale at £1.49 and £0.26 a sale at £0.75. I have, as some may have noticed, tinkered quite a bit with the price - and I apologise for that. I have come to the conclusion, after three weeks, that (as I fully expected - thanks to my teenage recalcitrant communist me again!) the more people that read Tollesbury Time Forever, the more fulfilled I would be. As any of you have read it will know, there are some thoughts in the book that I hope will resonate - and that can only be a good thing. So, for a while at least, the price will be set at its lowest. It looks like the wire strung across the bedroom wall full of coathangers will have to serve as a wardrobe for a little while longer!

2. Promotion and Networking - now initially I thought this would be the hardest thing but the people I have met have made it feel like the simplest thing. I have to thank the lovely people who I have come to know on Facebook, Goodreads Kindle Forum and the UK Kindle Forum for their wonderfulness and their support. It seems Tollesbury Time Forever is indeed 'falling where it may' and, fortunately for me, that is at the feet of fine people.

So what of the next few weeks? Well, the following things are in the pipeline:

  • My friend, Luisa (who is lovely!) has offered to do a Press Release for me. I'm still not entirely sure what this means but it sounds positive. We are going to work on it over the weekend so will keep you all posted.
  • Sarah at Saint FM (local Essex Station) has contacted me asking if I would go on her show in the next couple of weeks. Again I will keep you posted.
  • Tollesbury Time Forever has been nominated by the UK Kindle User Forum as one of ten books to be voted for as the Bookclub Book to Read for February. Obviously this will be a huge boost, and ineed achievement. I'll let you know how it goes.
  • In terms of writing, I have given notice to the publishers of my first novel, A Cleansing of Souls, so in thirty days time I will have sole rights to it. I am in the process (along with a lovely Goodreads person!) of revising it and will be releasing it as an Amazon ebook in March, with a new cover painted by Rebecca. So I guess if you're thinking of getting A Cleansing of Souls now, don't worry really - wait until March! Once I've finished the revisions I will then be free to get going again on The Bird That Nobody Sees which I hope to have completed and released by the end of August this year. And following that I will be working on four short stories for young teenagers about a girl called Tremble - the first one is called Tremble, Peanut and the Boy and  may well be released under Rebecca's name as it was her idea and she is contributing the storylines.
So there you go! Thank you again everybody - any questions or comments, just fire away - and if I can be of any help to anyone, please let me know - "We're all in this together!" - It is time we reclaimed that line from Cameron because he is, according to the teenage recalcitrant communist me (and indeed the rest of me!) a complete cock. Whereas we, good people, are bloody WONDERFUL!


Vegetable Heaven said...

Indeed, Stuart, you are wonderful!

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Excellent post! I was about to purchase ACoS, but will wait until March.

Groovydaz40 said...

I have to leave a comment on any post that calls Cameron a cock. I'd say this: Cocks and indeed hens are useful whereas Cameron is of no use. Except perhaps as a door stop.

As for TTF a fine novel that deserves all the praise it gets. Steer me in the direction anywhere it's nominated for anything and I'll tick that box quicker than Cameron cuts jobs.

Nick Wilford said...

You're becoming quite the local celebrity, Stu! All your success is deserved - TTF is a very special book. I'm sure you'll have a full on walk-in wardrobe soon!

Stu Ayris said...

Thanks so much Nick! How are you getting on with it? Somehow I feel more at home with my wire (which is actually twine wound around picture hanging wire and finished off with electrical tape for extra durability!) Well when you haven't got much you have to be creative eh?!

Tom said...


Congrats on getting TTF out there, have just downloaded a copy. I hear what you're saying re getting 'traditionally' published, it certainly can be a frustrating experience. I'll be going down the self pub route myself pretty soon with my book Wilderness of sinners.

Will be back to you with a review in a week or so!

Stu Ayris said...

Thanks so much, Tom! Very kind of you! I guess the frustration comes from the industry judging to a large degree how much money any given book will make them. The word 'indusrty' is I suppose something of a clue!!

Good luck with Wilderness of Sinners - will definitely be looking out for it when it's up and running.

And if you could do a review, that would be wonderful! Enjoy the book!