What Makes an Author?

“What are little girls made of?   Sugar and spice or “all things nice” That’s what little girls are made of” by English poet Robert Southey. So what makes an author? I managed to catch up with Kirsty Ferry and ask just that…

Kirsty“If anyone was to ask me what makes an author – and that’s exactly what you’re doing here – I’d say it’s a combination of things.

  1. You’ll definitely need to write a book first. You definitely don’t want to wander around vaguely saying to people, ‘I want to write a book. She’s done that. I could do that.’ And you absolutely don’t want to ask fellow authors, ‘how can I write a book and get it published?’ Your fellow author will smile politely, and say ‘first write the book, then submit it.’ And you shouldn’t really follow that up with a ‘well where will I submit it? Will your publisher do it for me? I mean, they published you after all.’ Because you won’t get a polite response at that one. And certainly don’t jovially say to a fellow author, ‘you’ll be giving up the day job now!’ because chances are they won’t be and they’ve heard that a million times before and it’s stopped being amusing…
  1. You also need to be kind to other authors, published or otherwise. Everyone has to start somewhere and you’ll meet people at all different stages on your journey. You support those people, especially if they are friends, and go ‘yay well done’, even if their work isn’t to your taste. You don’t say, ‘oh, well, that’s nice, I fancy reading something like that, but can you recommend a proper author who writes that genre?’
  1. You need a bit of determination. You need to work at that story and make it the best it can possibly be so you’re sure when you send it off that it’s not half-baked and it’s not obvious that you got fed up in the saggy-middle stage. Chances are you’ll get rejected once, twice, three or more times. Please don’t give up. Nobody’s ever going to read it if it’s lingering on your hard drive. Self-publishing can be done quite cheaply now – I did that with my first couple of books and I’m glad I did. It got me ‘out there’ and confident enough to write and submit more. This book will be my 22nd for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. Imagine if I’d given up at the first couple of rejections? Also, be realistic. You have to let your book go sometime. Stop hanging onto it and meddling with it. Your publisher will change it anyway – which leads me onto the next point…
  1. You have to leave you inner diva at home. Once your book is accepted, it will be ripped to shreds. I’m not kidding. Even now I look at that first batch of edits and silently scream. Then I take a deep breath and start working through the suggestions. You cannot be precious with your manuscript. The publisher will know what their readers like. The title will probably get changed. You’ll be alerted to plot holes you can drive a bus through. You will feel like you’re the worst writer in the world and why the heck did they even take your book on for publishing? The word to remember here is “potential”. Your book is good – that’s why they took it on. But it has the potential to be amazing and a good editor will work with you to make that happen.
  1. You need a skin like a rhino. Once your book is out there, you will start getting reviews. And the reviews will not all be kind. All the glowing 4 or 5 stars that you will get will make you jump for joy – but wait until that first horrid 1 or 2 stars come in. You will forget every nice thing anyone ever said about it and obsess over the fact that someone didn’t like the colour of your cover (fact – I was marked down on a pink cover), or they decided they could have done it better and went on to animal-gefbdd1987_640explain in great detail how they could do that (fact – yes, someone wrote an extraordinarily long review on one of mine doing just that), or you will stumble upon a big long thread on Goodreads that has several people talking about how awful your characters were and other people were agreeing and adding their two pennorth (fact – yes. That did happen to me too). So the moral here is don’t feed the trolls. Don’t respond, much as you may want to. It’s really, really hard to deal with – probably the worst part of being an author –  but it is definitely a learned skill. Now, when my anonymous Amazon Hater goes in and one stars my latest release for the sake of it with just a rating and no review (fact – yeah, you guessed it – I have one!) I just ignore it. It still makes me cross, but I just wonder whether they have any books out, or whether they are still swilling around at point 1 above.
  1. You need to know a bit about social media and self promotion. A good publisher will do promo for you, but you do need to help yourself. Get a Facebook author page and keep your writing news on that so it doesn’t irritate people on your personal feed. The people who like your page are interested in your book news. The friends you have are possibly more interested in you and your pets. If they want to support you, and they’re interested enough, they’ll like your page. To me, it just compartmentalises my writing life and personal life a bit better. Twitter for me is much more about my books than ‘me’, and I keep my Instagram feed clear of writing. I have a photos page and an art page on there. Different aspects of my life, and it’s nice to have a social media platform that I don’t have to worry about updating for book news. I also have a blog and a website, and I know I need to take more care of them, but I’m sadly a bit lax there!
  1. Finally, try to enjoy it! It’s a lifelong dream for many people to become an author, and it’s truly amazing when it happens – even 22 books in! Don’t forget, though, that most of us will need day jobs as well, as it’s unlikely you’ll ever become a millionaire in this business – so it’s important to manage your expectations as well. It’s not likely you’ll get a huge advance and be JK Rowling overnight. But the first step to that is step 1 – write that book, submit it and keep everything crossed that you get to point 7 in the not too far distant future! And don’t forget to have fun on your journey. That is one of the most important pieces of advice I could ever offer you about being an author.”

ISWAW cover

It’s one thing to be asked to plan your sister’s wedding; it’s quite another when your sister is Nessa McCreadie …
Alfie McCreadie wants his twin sister Nessa to have the best wedding ever, but he’s not happy at being roped in as wedding planner – especially as, unbelievably, his main assistant seems to be Nessa’s cat, Schubert. Anyway, Alfie is a scientist. He might know his protons from his neutrons, but what does he know about weddings?

It’s Nessa who points him in the direction of Bea’s Garden, just outside Edinburgh, where he’s tasked with picking a “very-relevant-bouquet”. It’s there he meets Fae Brimham, who might be prettier than any bouquet bloom but doesn’t seem impressed by Alfie’s sensible, scientific side.
But when Nessa and Schubert are involved, surprises are bound to happen and, despite less-than-perfect first impressions, perhaps something new and beautiful can still blossom for Alfie and Fae …

You can buy Kirsty’s book from a selection of places included those below.




ChocLit-logo-WebKirsty’s other book can be found HERE

You can talk to Kirsty via one of her social media links below.


Kirsty Ferry Author


Kirsty has appeared on “Story About A Girl” her previous visits can be found HERE

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