It’s been a while since my last blog (but a beaut holiday in Bali intervened!) Lately, I’ve been involved in an online discussion about the changing face of the publishing scene, and how difficult it is for writers to earn a living wage out of their writing. So I thought I’d take this as my theme today, particularly as I’ve been invited by Bob Clary, Marketing Manager at Webucator to answer a few questions on this topic to be shared on their own blog **. So: why do we write, and what are our goals? I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. I’ve always loved stories; those worlds often seemed (and still seem today) more real than the real world I inhabit. Originally I started writing stories because (growing up as I did in a small town in Africa a long time ago) I used to run out of books to read – and so I wrote my own. Nowadays, I write because I’m haunted – by the voices of characters and by visions of what happens to them, because I become interested in their stories and I need to find out what’s going to happen next. Writing fulfils me. Writing (in the words of CS Lewis) helps me to find out what I think. And at the end of the day, having written the story, I want to share it with the world – a goal so much more easily reached in these days of digital publishing. For example, my latest novel, I, Morgana is published by Momentum Books, the e-pub arm of Pan Macmillan. And from January next year, Momentum will also be publishing my six-book medieval crime series, the newly packaged Janna Chronicles aimed at the adult fiction market. Also on their books is the sequel to I, Morgana, with the working title of Return to Camelot. So I consider myself very fortunate to have both their interest and their support. But of course, more and more authors are also going the self-pub route, and I’ve tried that too. Both of these options mean that you have instant access to an international market as opposed to the local market targeted by your (print) publisher. The downside is that, unless you also have print options with your e-books, as I have, there’s nothing tangible for authors to flash about, and for people to see. So – my advice for new writers would be: writing is not for the faint-hearted. If you’re in it for the money, try another career path. If you’re in it because you’re passionate to tell a story – then, like all of us, you live in hope that your novel will catch fire and become a best-seller – and even, oh joy, be turned into a movie! On that note, one of my novels (for children, titled Ghost Boy) is in pre-production for a movie, and I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed about that! In the meantime, and to help pay the bills, I do a whole lot of other writing-related things. Promotion on social media takes up valuable writing time, but helps to get the word ‘out there’. I also write articles and short stories for a variety of journals, magazines and anthologies. I am on the books of several speakers’ agencies and go out talking to both students and adults about researching and writing my novels, and also conducting workshops, all in a wide variety of genres that reflect my own work which encompasses fantasy, crime, history, social realism and non-fiction. Of course, having a ‘real’ job (as well as writing) is also an option! ** http://www.webucator.com.