Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

My Life as a Writer

on March 15, 2014

This was written as a guest post for Chick Lit vs Fantasy

Why I Became A Writer

It wasn’t really a decision.  I wrote stories as a kid, just because it was fun.  As a teenager, I belonged to a fan forum for the TV show Farscape and a number of us wrote stories.  Partly because we wanted to and partly because we were interested in one of the minor characters and there wasn’t that much fanfiction about him.  We turned into a mini writers’ group, all encouraging each other.  That’s when I wrote my first stuff that was actually worth reading.

Writing an original novel was on my long-term to-do list, as it is for a lot of people.  At 20, taking some time out after finishing school, I decided I was going to do it.  So I did.  That was The Dr Pepper Prophecies.  Five years later (on another gap year), I wrote After Wimbledon.  At 30, I discovered I could publish to Kindle and suddenly I was an author.

What I Like About It

There are two kinds of really great times to be a writer.  One is when someone else tells you that they loved your work.  The second – just as important – is when you read back something you wrote ages ago and think, ‘This is good.  I’m proud I wrote this.’

As a stay-at-home mum, it’s great to have a job that’s completely flexible, although I could use a few more hours in the day!  Trying to fit in all the writing, editing and marketing necessary to be successful is very difficult.  There’s so much I would like to do that I just don’t have time for.

What I Dislike

Getting bad reviews is never fun.  It’s impossible to write a book that everyone will like, so you have to accept that some will come.  Most of them are fair, but occasionally you get someone who wants to hurt.  Sometimes they succeed.

With each book – no matter how many good reviews your previous ones have got – you live in fear that no one will like it.  You have to keep letting your babies go and hope they find a place in the world.

Overall

Having your work out there is very cool and I think it’s fantastic that anyone can publish these days.  Plenty of great work gets turned down by traditional publishers because it’s a bit different, or because they just can’t afford to take a chance on an unknown author.  Now you can publish your work yourself, for free if you like (although most writers fork out money for things like professional cover design), and find your audience.  There’s one out there for everything, although it may be small.

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4 responses to “My Life as a Writer

  1. I would love to proofread your work as long as it’s a print copy. I have more trouble proofing from my Kindle. I know it makes no sense, but it’s an issue I struggle with. Thank you for this opportunity. michelle_willms at yahoo dot com.

  2. Mark Gardner says:

    I tell people who are afraid to write that if they’re “one in a million,” then there are still like 7,000 people just like them who will read their stuff. So go ahead and write already! Your audience will eventually find you.

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