Life Stories

Delving Deep: Diversification while building a new life

I didn’t start writing because I wanted to be an author. I started writing because I really liked words and enjoyed storytelling.

Words were extraordinary tools, and with them, I could not just shape some of the worlds around me, I could build whole worlds inside me.

I was also an artist. I was drawing before I could walk. My art was more obvious, so it got more attention, but behind the scenes, I wrote. My first novel of roughly 20,000 words was put together by the age of ten, all patiently hand-written in school exercise books. All gone, thrown away by parents needing more storage space on the bookshelf for school books and proper things. Oh well.

I kept writing. Novels, poetry, short stories, essays galore, all above and beyond anything required of me at school. Also, all gone, but some still remembered, including one recently re-written and now being considered by a publisher.

My life has revolved around my art more than my writing, but a serious breakdown a couple of years ago, subsequent financial ruin and now seriously bad health has condemned me to the house and a reorganization of my priorities and goals for generating an income. I still make my art, but I’ve looked to writing as a possible means of earning a living. My problem is it all takes so long to sort out, so now I’m delving deeper into the literary world.

Being an artist and one-time graphic designer and desktop publisher, I thought about offering authors inexpensive cover art design, page layout and even editing services. My first novel I self-published, so I went through the process of formatting for Createspace and Smashwords, covering both printed and e-book, meaning it’s now released on Amazon as well as Kindle and all the rest. I made mistakes, learned, fixed things up and sent material off that ended up looking fine and passing all the technical checks. My cover art isn’t some cheap-looking thing even though it cost me only $40, and all up I considered it professional and attractive.

So now, still as poor as a church mouse but with a few tools at my fingertips, I figure I might give writing “post-production” a go for those looking to self-publish, and even provide outsourcing services for publishing houses. I can beta-read, edit, format for print and e-book, create cover art, do some illustrations if necessary (though not kids books stuff, more – say – maps for fantasy novels), manage to upload and sorting out any technical hitches along the way.

I have to do something, because welfare is not where I want to be, and the prospect of working again is a positive I need in my otherwise despondent life.

I’ve carefully explored what I can do online without having to spend money I don’t have. I have a WordPress blog for my writing, a Niume blog for my art, a Facebook page for both, a presence on the Australian Writers’ Forum and a Twitter account, which is tied to a shop on Etsy used to sell my art. So far so good, but folks are reticent to spend money on art when there are elections and wars and all the fear, uncertainty and doubt being bandied around at the moment, so literary services seems a logical next step.

We shall see…

This post is contributed as the Guest post by Rob Munro