Since Crucial Evidence was first published as a paperback in January 2014 and then as an e-book in February, I have been ruminating on why I write and why I want to publish my writing. I had a successful career at the Bar which provided me with at least five minutes of fame with articles in the National Press, a decent but not obscene income and I enjoyed it. I knew I was a good advocate and the results I obtained for my clients established that, even if judges disapproved because I got too many acquittals. The prison officers kept a board on which they listed the barrister’s with the most acquittals and I was the only woman to enter that roll.
When I first wrote my novel I tried submitting it to agents and the occasional publisher in the hope that one of them would accept my work and agree to publish it. When I got the inevitable rejections I was worried that the book was not good enough, but I realised that the issue might well be the type of book rather than the quality of the writing. Legal thrillers/mysteries are difficult to sell although the American writers such as John Grisham and Michael Connolly appear to be very bankable. I have written about the difference between the legal systems that make that easier to do, so won’t repeat that here. See www.scribblingadvocate.com
I think too I was not a good investment for either a publisher or an agent as I was clear about the amount of writing I wanted to do. I don’t want to write a book every six months or so. There are many other things I’m interested in as well as reading and writing. Anyway the Cassie Hardman series would only run to three books as I took her career from junior barrister in her mid-thirties to silk in her early forties, and most crimes series run to many more than that – think Inspector Morse or Rebus. I came to the conclusion that the best course of action for me was to publish the novel myself. I decided that writing and publishing was a hobby for me but I want to do it as professionally as possible. I had a structural edit of my novel done by a successful author and although I didn’t make all the alterations she suggested, as I thought they would alter the nature of the book too much, I did make a number of major changes to the book on her advice and it was better for that.
I had the cover designed by a professional designer and the text was copy edited. Checking the proof seemed to take for ever and I know there are still some mistakes in it, but as the novel is print on demand, hopefully I can put those right. The whole process was not easy and not without cost – less than keeping a horse I kept telling my husband – but when I finally held the book in my hand I was thrilled. It had been worth it and when reviews began to appear on Amazon and on Goodreads saying how much readers had enjoyed the book I felt justified in my decision to publish myself. I don’t expect the sales figures to be enormous or to pay me back the money I have spent on publishing the book but I have enjoyed the process and I have learnt such a lot. Now I want to write the second Cassie Hardman novel.