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The Homemade Tart

June 16th, 2017

The Writers Bureau memoirs course helped me produce the draft for my first book, The Storm Within the Rose: My Family and Alzheimer’s. My next task was to turn this mass of words into a book people would want to read. With no publishing experience whatsoever I decided to self-publish completing each step of the process myself. It seemed slightly less crazy than trying to convince a publisher or agent that I, an unestablished author, had written a book that would sell.

So l started to create my book which I affectionately nicknamed my homemade tart. The filling was to be a mixture of sadness, humour, nostalgia, information and pictures, poured into a casing of chapters, headings, indented paragraphs, page numbers and front section before topping with an eye-catching book cover.

The Filling

Achieved by adopting my own 3Rs method of write, read, revise repeated many times before enlisting my cousin and  a retired English teacher as proof-readers, after which I repeated the 3Rs several more times.

The Casing 

I worked hard at making my headings and indentations uniform by using the Microsoft toolbar which I could navigate quite competently until the innocent little page number and the angelic sweet header decided to play hide and seek. I needed to permanently delete them from the first few pages and make them appear correctly in the body of the book. I kept deleting and they kept reappearing in unexpected places, all by themselves. There was plenty of in-depth technical advice online but my ageing brain cells refused to interpret this into anything useful. I felt like a three-year-old reading Shakespeare. So after making a copy of my work I fiddled with the page layout tab experimenting with section-breaks until finally evicting them from where they were not wanted. It felt as satisfying as swatting an annoying fly.

The Topping

Producing the cover was much easier than expected and at last I had something that resembled a proper book. I resisted the urge to repeat the 3Rs again and using Amazon I published.

At my book launch I told the audience that my book was written from the heart giving guidance and essential information about the devastating impacts of Alzheimer’s. I’d tried my best, I explained, to make it error free so I hoped they’d forgive me the odd mistake. The biggest surprise was that people bought my book, and then I worried that they would criticise any imperfections but instead I received genuine praise, appreciation and support.

Now I feel proud of my homemade tart, free from professional copy-editing; the filling might be a little messy in places and the casing a bit wonky, but it has informed, entertained and raised awareness as well as money for the Alzheimer’s Society without a soggy bottom in sight!

Available as paperback or E-book from www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1520381069

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MW17gillianatack to sponsor me on my Memory walk in September – and thanks in advance for your support.




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