The author is an Irish gal called Elaine Heney and she writes in what you might call an Irish style. Lots of short stories about life as well as horses, and some nice explanations of how she deals with various situations she gets into with her horse. If you meet El in real life you can hardly understand what she is saying - I think she comes from some remote part of Ireland that has lost touch with the modern world. I'm kind of reading the book hearing her speaking in her accent at the same time - so it's like talking to El and having subtitles, which actually I could do with when I talk to her in real life.
But what I really wanted to talk about, and what I also really like about this book is that it is self published. Hooray for El I say.
* * *
My wife has worked in the publishing world since before I met her (obviously I would have stopped her if I had met her before), and over the years I have come to despise books. Honest books are few and far between, and when you find one it is truly a joy. It doesn't happen often. Most honest books don't make it past the costing stage of the publishing process, and most don't ever see the light of day. Some of us are so desperate to get our names in print we compromise. We allow the publishers to use our ideas and bastardise them into some hideous commercial production, even down to having the title changed.
Some brave souls publish their books themselves and most of those books end up sitting in cardboard boxes out in the shed. I have 350 copies of my first book sitting out there myself. Sarah advised me to publish 500 but me, the eternal bloody optimist, went for a 1000.
My second book was actually commisioned by a publisher. My commisioning editor is a good friend and she allowed me to write my book as I wanted it to be. It was published a few years ago and I am happy to say, I love that little book. I am really grateful that I was given the chance to write it and if I'm honest, I have almost made my career out of it.
My third book sits languishing on my desktop. It's a great little book but it is about as commercial as I am. I originally planned to publish it through Lulu.com, which is a fantastic idea for self-publishing. You can get your book published and printed one copy at a time which hopefully ends the '350 in the shed' situation once and for all. I stalled in the production stages though - you have to produce the book in a pdf file which means you have to have adobe acrobat, I think (am I right?).
So don't back off from writing. The published writers aren't necessarily any better, in fact in a lot of cases they are obviously worse. It's kind of the same as blogging - in a lot of cases the bloggers are better than the paid journalists, and I guess that's why some journalists don't like bloggers. But what I am trying to say here is this - don't ever think writing is the preserve of the 'special few'!