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One Thing I’ve Learned Is That I Am A Writer!

Author Q&A with Andy Bailey

Andy Bailey challenged us to create a cover design for the first book in his ‘Martin Dash’ trilogy.

It’s a tale of twists and turns; a hybrid novel, part thriller, part mystery, and part romance. Throw in some satire, and you have quite a mix for creating a book cover that Andy wished to have starkness as well.

Andy Bailey postAndy’s cover evolved, and along the way we had the pleasure of working with a fantastic writer who likes to challenge convention.

Andy was kind enough to answer a few questions so we could delve into what makes him tick. He told us how he’s come to feel he was born to write, that at the tender age of 52 he’s not sure there’s much left to learn about himself, and much more…

Q. Andy, what have you learned about yourself through your writing?

I’m 52 now and am not sure how much there is left to learn about myself! (I know that you’re not supposed to say such things but there it is.) However, one thing I think I’ve learned is that I am a writer (whether a good writer or a bad writer is another question!) This may seem a strange thing to say but I don’t think I’ve previously reached a point where I’ve been able to say about something: ‘this is what I was born to do’.

I’ve always been casting about, trying this and that without, ultimately, setting upon anything but feel that I have, finally, stumbled onto the discipline that is, ultimately, going to give me a proper sense of fulfilment. Having written (and self-published) my first novel I do feel the conviction that this is what I am meant to do.

Q. What advice would you give to other writers looking to self publish?

Now this is not a deliberate plant on the O’Connors’ website but, honestly, the best move I made was to spend some money with as it bought me:

(a) a fantastic design that I would never have equalled in a month of Sundays

(b) the technical support in passing the cover (in its correct format, etc) across to the printers, and

(c) a whole range of ultra-helpful and practical advice from both Peter and Caroline along the way.

Beyond that, a writer friend (Pam Brough Sandiford who supplied one of my blurbs) advised that, when I’d finished the book I should file the manuscript in my sock drawer and come back to go through it again three months later.

I completely disregarded this and ploughed on with the process but now am torn as to whether I should have actually done this as, by now – several edits later – there has been quite a bit of tinkering around and I wonder if I would have benefitted from that break.

Having said that I think my fear was that, if I did that, I might lose some of the drive and head of steam that I’d built up. I don’t know!

Q. What were the easiest and hardest aspects of self-publishing your book?

As it happens, I found that dealing with Createspace and KDP was the easiest part of the process (and, no – I’m not on commission with them, honest!).

It was simply rather refreshing dealing with big corporate entities (which they are as part of Amazon) that actually use their market strength to make things easier rather than harder. I do realise that there may be wider issues surrounding their market share (as there always will be in markets that are getting dominated by one or two players) but, here, I’m  just talking about the experience of dealing with them.

One thing I think I’ve learned is that I am a writer! Share on X

Probably the hardest part has been the editing – what a drag! Every time I went through the chapters I seemed to find something else I’d missed before. The near-universal advice seems to be to get a professional to do it but I’m afraid I couldn’t afford it and I have to admit that I harboured a residual fear that I would resent having someone else tinkering with my pride and joy!

Q. Which other writers do you admire and/or inspire you?

My first serious love, writer-wise, was Franz Kafka and he remains my favourite; there’s something about his authorial voice that’s transcendent and other-worldly, so that he transports you to a place that’s completely strange and gripping – what more could you want?! ‘The Trial’ is probably his most famous work but it’s ‘The Castle’ that’s stayed with me the most. Whenever I think of it I, straightaway, feel that I am K, walking towards the forbidding doors of the citadel.

My favourites also include Albert Camus and James Joyce; Camus I’ve always found very muscular and earthy, with a very attractive sense of detachment; Joyce is just so alive, his ‘Ulysses’ a colossal monument to the gaiety and horror of human experience.

Q. What’s next for you in your writing career?

What I’m currently spending quite a bit of time on is the promotion and marketing of ‘Martin Dash’, whereas what I really want to be doing is getting on with writing the next – the second – volume of the trilogy.

If I had more time I would be more content spending some of it on promotion and marketing (as I do want to be in position where I am interacting with readers / other writers, perhaps sparked by some of  the ‘issues’ addressed in my book) but, given the lack of time I suffer from, I am impatient to get on with actual writing!

Andy Bailey’s ‘Martin Dash’ is available on Kindle


We’re Peter and Caroline O’Connor. Creating beautiful book cover designs for authors all over the world is our passion. Every author should be able to benefit from a beautiful book cover design (not just the lucky few who get signed by a big publisher). We design, podcast, and coach authors full-time so we understand your struggles.Currently accepting new clients.

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