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...

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

An Indie Author States His Case...

I first heard the term 'indie' associated with music - bands that couldn't, or didn't want to, get signed up to record labels and decided to go it their own way. And I admired them. I didn't particularly like the music too much but I admired them all the same. I used to play in a band in my late teens - Sparkling Rain we were called - Buddy Holly meets Bob Dylan meets The Housemartins - never quite worked out... Keyboard player was great, the drummer was fantastic and me, well, perhaps I just didn't have the belief I needed in myself to 'go indie'. That was a long time ago though. I'm now 42 - secret of life and all that.

I've always had a thing for the underdog and I've no idea where that came from. Perhaps being a Dagenham & Redbridge fan leaves me pre-disposed to such a trait. And I guess I've gravitated unknowingly (or perhaps sub-consciously) to books and films that re-assert that desire I have to see the small smite the mighty - or give it a good go anyway. Films like Harvey, novels like The Grapes of Wrath and the music of people like Jonathan Richman, Todd Snider, Billy Bragg and The Band have confirmed to me that I am not alone in believing that everybody deserves a chance to have their desires fulfilled. With another side of my persona being at times self-destructive it may be difficult for you to believe that I am actually an entirely peaceful lad! All these battles go in in my head you see. But over the last few years I've learned that writing helps me to make sense of all that goes on within and around me. Wonderful! Now where's that publisher? Where's that agent? Where's that adoring public???

I'll tell you where - at the end of a long line of hoops, commerce, heartbreak and wonder. Exactly the same line that my little band were faced with. We jacked it in (getting an electric shock off the mic stand and spending two days on an elderly ward when you're 20 can make you think twice about your choice of career - particularly when you should be down the pub watching World Cup '90)

But like I said earlier. I'm 42 now and I'm not giving up for anybody. So I published Tollesbury Time Forever on Kindle in January. It's received 58 five star reviews in the UK and has been wonderfully received in the US. I published the novel I wrote when I was 22, A Cleansing of Souls, in February and people have been saying some lovely things about that too. And I'm 67,000 words into my next novel, The Bird That Nobody Sees.

So to all the agents and publishers who have whizzed off a compliment slip to me saying thanks but no thanks or just were too busy to reply - I understand, I do. We're in a different business it seems. Yours is a financial enterprise. Mine well, it's about trying to make my dreams come true. But that's okay. Would I love a publishing contract? Bloody right I would! Would I like to have an agent represent me? Absolutely! Will I let the fact that I don't have either stop me? Nope. Not on your big fat nelly!

So, yeah, I'm what is termed an 'indie author'. I wonder when I check my sales reports every day (a billion times a day!) if that last sale is going to be the last sale. I check out the forums and the twitters and the Goodreads. I try not to get too high about the highs and too low about the lows (as the great John Still - Dagenham & Redbridge manager - advises) and I try to keep on writing.

Finally, if anyone ever asks you what an Indie Author is, give them this:

Definition - "somebody who loves to write and nevers give up."

An Indie Author, that's a fine thing to be...


Tolllesbury Time Forever - Amazon UK
Tollesbury Time Forever - Amazon US

18 comments:

David Barber said...

Well put, Stuart. Great post.

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you David!

Vegetable Heaven said...

Where's that adoring public?
You know where - we're all here waiting for The Bird that Nobody Sees!

Stu Ayris said...

And you'll be the first to see it, don't you worry!!

Groovydaz40 said...

As a wise man once told me...Keep on keeping on.

You're doing fantastic brother.

Stu Ayris said...

...like a bird that flew - Tangled Up In Blue!!!

I see this as us all in it together mate, I truly do. Long live the people!

Valerie Byron said...

You are so deserving of recognition, Stuart, and I shall do I can this side of the pond to promote Tollesbury Time Forever. Valerie

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you so much Val!!! You don't know how much I appreciate it!!

marja said...

What an honest and heartfelt blog. I'm so glad I stopped to read it, and I can relate to you on so many levels. Thank you for sharing, and no, don't EVER give up.
Marja McGraw

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you Marja! When you realise how many honest, courageous, wonderful people there are around, giving up is not even an option! And I count every writer who has struggled, cried, started again, wondered and struggled some more. Words have kept this race going for hundreds of years and it's for people like us to ensure those words continue with integrity.

Now where's my wine...

Benjamin Sobieck said...

Love this bit at the end:

"If anyone ever asks you what an Indie Author is, give them this:

Definition - 'somebody who loves to write and nevers give up.'

An Indie Author, that's a fine thing to be..."

Col Bury said...

Great post, Stu.

Be very proud of your achievements, feller. I've watched with admiration as your 'story' has blossomed and flourished. Long may it continue...

Regards,
Col

Stu Ayris said...

Thanks so much Col. It's being connected to people like yourself that makes this whole business so wonderful. Up until Christmas my writing was a solitary pleasure that at some level could be equated to drinking on your own in as much as:

- you enjoy it
- people don't quite understand why you do it
- it will never be socially acknowledged as having any merit

In the last few months though all that has changed around thanks largely to people like yourself, Darren and David.

And I still like drinking on my own!

Rebecca Bloomer said...

Well said! I'm applauding and cheering.

Stu Ayris said...

Thank you Rebecca! Hurrah to you!

Wayne Borean said...

I wouldn't worry about having an agent or a publisher. In many ways you are better off business wise doing everything yourself.

Dean Wesley Smith wrote an article titled "The New World of Publishing: The Big Hurry" about this. I got curious, and ended up putting Dean's numbers into a spreadsheet. I then wrote "The New World of Publishing: The Big Hurry – A Different Look" as a follow on to what Dean had written, and included my spreadsheet for download.

Quite frankly the numbers that Dean came up with are terrifying. My modified numbers (read the post, it explains in detail) are different, and just as scary. Maybe more scary.

Here's the link - there's a link back from that page to Dean's article so you can compare the two.

http://madhatter.ca/2012/02/15/the-new-world-of-publishing-the-big-hurry-a-different-look/

Wayne

Ger Tysk said...

Found this post through @JFbookman on Twitter and it resonates with me. Thank you for saying all the things that I've wanted to say for years!

Stu Ayris said...

My pleasure Ger! There's good people everywhere and words are wonderful. Changing the world is easy if you just blink at the right times!