When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, expat blogger Jack Scott enjoyed the celebrations with a big smile on his face. He had every reason to be cheerful and optimistic about 2012 as he could now officially boast about his new-found status in society as a published author.
His book called Perking the Pansies was released just before Christmas and has already received rave reviews on Amazon and in the blogosphere.
The book focuses on Jack and his partner Liam as they set about selling their house in the UK to a psychotic neighbor and moving to Turkey to adapt to their first year in a Muslim country.
Eccentric expats, troubled times, hilarious scenarios and some quirky quotes are all inside the book.
So, the success of Jack as a published author got me thinking. I used to have dreams of publishing a book, however long resigned myself to the fact that my concentrations span stops at 500 words and I have to rely on pretty pictures to tell the story for me.
However I was still interested to know how Jack did it, so I hooked up with him for an interview to discover the secrets to getting published.
From Blogger to Published Author
Hi Jack – Your blog and your book both have the same name “Perking the Pansies”, but how do they differ?
I learned some valuable lessons from David Steddall, who was the English Literature teacher at my South London grammar school. “A story should have a beginning, middle and end,” he would say. I’ve stayed faithful to Dave’s mantra.
As an expat blogger, I have published short, random series of comic observations on the blog (as fun as that is to write). However the book is the full story of our time in Turkey, warts and all, peppered with quirky characters, driven by a dramatic plot and rooted in a strong message.
It’s not all camp, light and frothy. We’ve experienced some dark moments here.
So the book’s not a travelogue or a ‘how to’ manual?
There are plenty of books out there about the majesty of Turkey or the depth of Anatolian culture. Many are beautifully written with stunning illustrations but I wanted to write a human story from the perspective of a gay couple living openly and contently in a Muslim country. This has never been done before. There aren’t many of us here.
How did you find a publisher?
Believe or not, I found my publisher, Jo Parfitt, on Twitter which just goes to show the power and reach of social networking these days. Jo, who owns Summertime Publishing, knows her stuff. She’s an accomplished and successful author, writing mentor, journalist and publisher with 28 books and hundreds of articles under her belt.
Jo specialises in publishing books by ex-pats, particularly those who have something original to say about living abroad. I sent Jo a sample of my work and she thought I had an interesting idea with a different angle. That was the first step to getting published and Jo helped me throughout the whole process till the book was finally in print.
Did you sign a contract before completing the book?
Normally, contracts are signed when the first full draft (or most of it) is complete. In my case, Jo offered me a contract after seeing the first five chapters. When I got the email I did cartwheels around the room as it is nigh on impossible to find someone prepared to take a chance on an unknown author or an expat blogger.
How does a published author get paid for their book?
Well, getting published will not make you rich overnight. The author has to share the filthy lucre with the printer, designer, publisher, distributor, retailer and many others. Most authors get less than 10% of net profits. This is why self-publishing has become so popular. The downside to that particular approach is that many self-published books are vanity projects, often badly edited and lacking a professional finish. Summertime Publishing attempt to provide a much fairer deal to authors with a return higher than the industry average for the right book.
Is it necessary to be a blogger for a book to be successful?
A blog and the effective use of social networking, particularly the big hitters like Facebook and Twitter, are vital for getting any product out there. It doesn’t matter how good a book is, if no one knows about it, no one will buy it. All you’ll end up with is a box of books gathering dust and cluttering up the garage. Unless you’re Katy Price, of course. But then, who could compete with her magnificent assets?
That was my interview with Jack however I felt I could not finish the article there
I read the book and it provided me with many laughs, some of which I want to share with readers. Jack has a prolific style of writing. He subconsciously makes the images form in your head and describes people, places and events in such a way that makes you wonder if he has a god given talent of assessing social circles and human interactions.
The result is a dynamic read that will leave you hooked.
My favorite excerpts from the book…
On leaving a well-paid job in the UK and finally deciding to make the move
“You okay with this Jack? You’re a big cheese. You’ll miss the kudos.”
“Mild middling cheddar, and I won’t. Can’t believe they paid me off though.”
“They couldn’t wait to get rid of you. You’ve been a liability for years.”
On Turkish drivers
In a moment of instant rapture she closed her eyes and only came to when the car clipped the kerb. Liam searched for a seatbelt while I clung on to the hard rear bench.
“So why here? Why Turkey?” she asked.
“I’m afraid the seatbelts broke off years ago, dear.”
Reading a handwritten poster in a restaurant
- Inglish Quiz Nite with Fish n Cips
- Jean’s Bingo and free Cips
- Special Meet Curry and Cips
- Big Belly Dancing
The best quote!
“Well, there’s no such thing as an atheist at thirty thousand feet when the engines fail.”
I hope you will all join me to wish Jack great success with his book and say congratulations.
Perking the Pansies on Amazon – Paperback and Kindle
The official site of Jack Scott – http://www.jackscott.info/
Jack Scott on Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/jackscottbodrum