How to Be a Good Writer

When I couldn’t find a publisher for my book, I published it myself’ J.T. LAWRENCE IS AN AUTHOR AND BOOKDEALER. SHE LIVES IN PARKHURST WITH HER HUSBAND, MICHAEL, AND THEIR CHILDREN: JAMES, FOUR, ROBIN, TWO, AND ALEXANDRA, SEVEN MONTHS I took a risk…

How to Be a Good Writer Photo Gallery



AND IT PAID OFF!

Are you brave enough to leap into the unknown? These four women did, and changed their lives for the better Writing has always come naturally to me. In primary school I would create comics and stories, or even type out novellas documenting my eccentric childhood habits – like bathing with socks on! So it seemed only natural that I’d end up becoming a writer. My first book, The Memory of Water, was published in 2011 by a small indie publication house, but it wasn’t as easy to get my next book in print. I was never that keen on selfpublishing; I felt like it had whiff of desperation about it, like someone who’s not good enough to make the team who decides to play anyway.

But then, also in 2011, I wrote a book called Why You Were Taken that changed everything. It was a predystopian sci-fi thriller set in a water-crisis hit Joburg, and I knew it was good enough to find readers, but no one wanted to take the risk of publishing it. I was told that science fiction doesn’t sell in SA, and international publishers said that it was ‘too South African’.

After three long years I was about to give up, when I decided that I no longer wanted it burning a hole in my drawer. I decided that the only way forward was to publish it myself. I took the plunge and uploaded it on Amazon as an e-book and print-ondemand. I gave a few copies to family and friends, without the expectation of making any money. I was surprised not only by how well received the book was, but also by how much I absolutely loved the self-publishing process. It’s a relief to be out of the soul-destroying submission game – no more waiting around for years while your once-shiny manuscript fades in your hands.

It’s exciting to control your own projects, and there’s greater financial reward as there’s no middle man. I published three books last year, and have another three planned this year. Three of my titles have been on Amazon’s bestselling lists and I’ve been invited to the Franschhoek Literary Festival, as well as the Kingsmead Book Fair. A reader recently contacted me, to say that The Underachieving Ovary – my 2016 book that’s a noholds-barred account of infertility – has changed her life. Moments like these, and the recognition of my writing, make me wonder why I didn’t self-publish sooner!

Maybe You Like Them Too

Leave a Reply

+ 53 = 55