At the 2019 Festival we welcomed a panel of successful authors to talk about their very different journeys into the world of publishing, from self-published Amazon hits to bestselling traditional paperbacks. Our Routes into Publishing event featured Lucy Foley, Rachel Abbott and Tracy Bloom.

In the audience for the event on Saturday 1 June was Kayte Genders, a local writer working on her first novel. We asked Kayte to tell us about her writing dream, why she came along and what she took away with her from the Routes into Publishing discussion.

Kayte Genders

Kayte Genders

Get the words on the page, believe in yourself and write the book you want to read.

I’m Kayte Genders. Wife, mother, teacher and writer – not necessarily in that order! I’m busy writing my first novel. Writing is the dream.

As an aspiring writer who is plodding through my first draft, I was excited to see that one of the first events at the festival was about different routes into publishing.

Even though I’m a long way from submitting, I was drawn to the fantastic line up of authors chosen to speak about their different publishing journeys – Rachel Foley, Tracy Bloom and Rachel Abbott.

It was refreshing to know that the traditional route of finding an agent and then a publisher isn’t the only way. What struck me most was that being an author today is a balance between writing and creating content to keep visible and connected to the readers.

Being an author is very much a business and having a presence on social media as well as developing direct contact through a mailing list is an important part of success.

I was fascinated to hear about their writing process. All the authors agreed that you need to write the book you want to read and that book needs to be the best it can be before it goes out to the world.

They also spoke about the importance of getting the words on the page and editing later, as well as the need to be flexible with plot. Writers need to know their characters inside out to make them come alive. Although, when you do, be prepared to let characters dictate your plot!

The message that I took away was the route that you choose to pursue will depend on you as a person. To self-publish there’s more involvement as your book is your business, even with digital publishers. You need to be prepared to put in the hard work to market your book but you don’t need an agent to submit and there is a quicker turnaround.

Traditionally published authors have a team of people to make their book the best it can be but they still have to be proactive to engage with readers.

The hour whizzed by but what I heard today will stay with me for much longer.

You can hear more about Kayte’s own journey into print by following her Twitter account @KayteWriteDream.

If you’d like to know more about the world of publishing, read our interview about life as an author with creative writing tutor and horror writer Alex Davis.

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Derby Book Festival

29 May – 6 June 2020

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Derby Book Festival is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Charity Commission for England & Wales Number 1159763