In the mid 80’s, when I was a Drama Teacher with no aspirations to be a Comedian or Script Writer, I saw a hand-written sign in a Phone Box which read: “Were you the girl in the white top who smiled at me in Angels on June 10th? If so, please call this number . . .”
Even though I wasn’t the girl in question, I wrote down the number.
Twenty years later, when looking for an address in an old Filofax, I came across this number. I wondered what had happened? Had she called him? Had they gone on a date? Were they now living happily ever after? I wanted to know. So I rang. I spoke with the Mother of the guy who had put up the sign – the number was his parents’ house. She gave me her son’s mobile number. I rang and chatted with him for hours. He told me how obsessed he had become in finding this girl and the lengths to which he had gone, and, incredibly, was still going!
This conversation was the starting point of my romantic comedy novel, THE GIRL FROM THE DISCOTHEQUE…
Although by now I had written several television sitcom scripts and won writing awards, this would be my first novel and I had no idea if anyone would like it.
I sent a first draft to a few friends and I was delighted with the positive feedback. So I worked more on it and, when I was happy, sent it out to agents. Again the response was great. I signed with one of the agents who immediately sent it out to publishers. That’s when things stopped being so great. Although each publisher loved it and said that it was a funny and compelling story, they told my agent that they wouldn’t publish it as I was the wrong gender. One major publisher wrote: “Men writing about romance and relationships don’t appeal to the reading public.” Another stated:“Women readers feel that women writers cover this area far more convincingly.”
I was obviously disappointed and asked my agent what I could do. However my agent’s time was now being taken up with a ‘Celebrity’ author and was very busy finding ghost writers for her new series of books.
So, I decided that I would try to self-publish, even though I knew nothing about the process at all.
Now, just over a year later, I have sold thousands of copies both as E books and paperbacks.
I have also received some wonderful reviews:
“A touching, funny, page-turning book about what the heart wants – no matter how irrational. This is romance and comedy with a bruised heart” TONY PARSONS
“Funny from beginning to end” RICKY GERVAIS
“Extraordinarily funny! Reminds me both of Alan Ayckbourn and David Nicholls, which is pretty good!” JULIE BURCHILL
Self-publishing isn’t easy. It’s incredibly time-consuming and costly. However, in the long term, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
Oh, and if you want to find out what happened with that girl from the discotheque, then the answer is here……