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IAm Elizabeth Bridges, an 83-year-old writer who, after 30 years of struggling, has just managed to self-publish my first novel. AMAA

Mar 3rd 2013 by elizabethbridge • 10 Questions • 1775 Points

Hello everyone,

This is my first time trying to post on a website like this, so please bear with me!

I'm an 83-year-old author with over 30 years of writing experience, although I've only just recently self-published my first novel on Amazon, after having tried for ten years to get this book published through traditional means.

My novel is a family saga called "The Falcon and the Dove" and it's currently only available as a digital download through Amazon ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Falcon-Dove-ebook/dp/B0097OZA1Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362247141&sr=8-1 ) , although I plan to make it available through other outlets.

As part of a writing course thirty years ago I had to write several short stories. One in particular made me think I could expand it so that is what I eventually did. By this time I had already been writing for several years, including a book about the lives of my parents, one about my time as a student at agricultural college, one about my time in Taiwan. None of these I had published but I was able to draw on these experiences when writing The Falcon and the Dove. This took five years to complete in between working as a gardener, travelling to Taiwan to work as a volunteer teacher, visiting family and friends in England and abroad.

I was born in Taiwan/Formosa, the youngest of five children of missionary parents. We came home to England when I was only one year old, to live in Eastleigh, near Southampton. My mother taught me at home, as she had my brothers and sister while in Formosa, until 1939 when I started school at the age of ten, then in the war I was evacuated to Malvern. At the end of the war I had hoped to train to be a vet but as that was not possible I trained instead to join the Land Army. I worked, mainly in dairying, until the Land Army disbanded in 1951 when I married my husband who was a farm worker. We had five children and I now have the joy of not only the addition of their partners but fifteen grand children and six great grand children. I still enjoy gardening, joining family events, church activities, working with children, volunteering, U3A, travelling.

Please feel free to ask me about my life, my first published novel, or my writing in general!

Kind Regards,

Elizabeth

Q:

Just wanted to say congratulations. I know it must be an amazing feeling to finally have that happen. Currently in college so have enough reading to do but hopefully when I graduate in a few months I'll have the time to sit down and read your work, always nice to read a fresh voice and know people are still contributing to literature.

A:

Thank you for your support, I wish you well with your studies!


Q:

That's awesome! How does it feel to finally have your work published?

A:

It was very exciting until I discovered that I had picked the wrong publisher and had to take it into my own hands.


Q:

Congratulations on seeing your work flourish into something so promising and for showing us that it's never too late to achieve a dream. :)

What advice would you give in choosing the right publisher and what are the benefits/downsides to self-publishing a novel?

A:

thankk you for your encouragement. When i was trying to get my book published by a publisher I bought the Writers and Artists year book. that gives details of the type of writing that particular one is interested in. But, as i have found, it appears to be better, if you have the expertise or if you have a good friend to help you, to go straight to self publishing. So far I haven't found any downside.


Q:

What was the hardest part about writing a book?

A:

Sticking at it once the first enthusiasm has gone and finishing it!


Q:

This is very inspiring. I'm trying to get into the world of journalism and at 28 was worried I was a bit late to be giving it a go but you've shown that it's never too late. Congrats and well done!

A:

Thank you so much for your kind response.

I actually started by doing a correspondence course with the London School of Journalism.

Don't ever give up and I wish you well for getting into the world of journalism.


Q:

I haven't allowed my ideas to be on paper because of these fears, I really don't know the first thing about the process. I'd rather it all go to waste than to be stolen, I wouldn't be able to deal with that easily. I'm happy for you, your name has that feel I'd expect to see on a good book :)

A:

Thanks for such a nice comment, I have never thought much about my work being stolen.

Do write it down and good luck!


Q:

Just registered the copyright. My husband just published his first short story for free on smashwords, they distribute it to all other stores like apple, barnes and nobles, etc. He did a lot of research, but in the end it was not that hard, just wait for the copyright to be ready and you can do whatever. Publish a few short stories for free, if people enjoy it, then you can go further. He got about 100 downloads on the first week.

His advice: "you can write, you can self publish, if you are lucky you can get away with making your own cover. But get it professionally edited". He says he sees a lot of self published work that have interesting concepts, but they could really use a professional eye. Nobody is perfect and after reading your own work a couple of times you will miss some errors no matter how careful you are.

If you do, there is a subreddit for book downloads: http://www.reddit.com/r/bookdownloads

A:

I do totally agree that at some stage there needs to be professiobnal input. I had a company called Manuscript Appraisals to check my work. That was invaluable.


Q:

I'm hoping to get into a writing career of some sort, although I'm not quite sure what kind yet. Do you have any pointers for making it?

A:

My advice is to write about things you know. Train for it as you would for any other career. Don't get disheartened. If you believe in your story never give up.


Q:

Makes me wanna write my own book, but I'm afraid I will loose interest. You prove to us that it's never too late. On a side note, we need more redditors like you!

A:

Thankyou. Do go ahead and write.


Q:

What's your secret staying so young, healthy and energetic?

A:

I haven't done anything special through my life. I guess I am one of the lucky ones.