The Story Behind Bookcamp

Our Bookcamp training programme is ideal if you want to self-publish your books, control your budget and have the support of experienced self-publishers to ease you through the process.

We have strong values and ethics about sharing knowledge, empowering and supporting you to produce the most professional book possible. We love the community that we are developing, helping you to market and sell your books too. This is why we developed our unique Bookcamp programme – we thought we would share how it came about and what brought us to this point.

When I (Sinclair) focused on writing to help me cope with the tragic loss of our son Calum to meningitis in 2007, my first target was to finish the book. I had always written but life had got in the way (something many of you will recognise) and there were a number of unfinished stories on my computer. My work career had somehow wandered into the world of IT, fixing computer problems and then web design. Writing was something I did to switch off from the stress and unleash my creative side.

About a year after Calum died I decided that life really was too short to not do what I loved and so the Reluctant Detective began his journey from my imagination to the written word. Spurred on by the encouragement of Kim and close friends and family, I did finish the book but the next question was how to get it published.

I contacted some agents and publishers but had no success. I was determined not to leave my book, that was dedicated to my son, lying in a drawer so I decided to self publish. My very first publication was a PDF version that you could download from my website. I was delighted with what I had achieved and we celebrated the achievement with a book launch where we gave everyone a copy of the first chapter. This was back in 2010, just as the eBook readers were taking off and this was my next challenge. My IT skills were put to the test figuring out how to format my book for the eBook readers but after several attempts (and lots of swear words) my book was now on sale to the world.

I have a love of books, I read all the time and our house is full of books. I wanted to have my book printed but I had no money to pay a printer for a run of books. More searching and Kim discovered the self-publishers dream – print on demand publishing! More skills were put to the test, this time it was typesetting, testing fonts, sizes, working out margins and gutters. My flat book cover now needed a spine and a back cover, bar codes and an ISBN. The learning process was steep and infuriating at times but I did it! I had my paperback in my hands.

Now all I had to do was sit back and wait on the sales starting! That proved to be another steep learning curve – How do you market a book? What is social media? How does distribution work? Where could I sell it? In reality it was about a year before I answered these questions and the sales started. With the sales came the reviews and I found that people loved my book, they wanted more and so my career as an Indie Author really began. I have now published 9 books that have achieved great success, my Glasgow-based ‘The Reluctant Detective’ series and spin off police detectives Russell and Menzies, have sold over 100,000 copies and I have books in the Amazon top 20 bestsellers lists.

When I started self-publishing I knew nothing about the publishing world, but I have learned so much in the last few years. Other authors started to ask me how I had produced my books, and after spending many hours over coffee with writers, Kim suggested that we could help more people if we developed a training programme. We knew it can be a difficult and tough learning process for writers who want to self-publish, and many turn to service providers to produce their book. With packages often costing thousands of pounds to publish one book we recognised a need for an affordable alternative that puts you, the writer, in control.

Kim, who has also self published her own book From Heartbreak to Happiness, has a background in training and coaching and we knew that we could offer a different approach to help writers to self-publish. Our training has evolved too from a very intense full day course, through evening classes to our online flexible Bookcamp programme.

We are really proud of what we have developed. Bookcamp is a wonderful blend of practical publishing knowhow with coaching support and encouragement. We help you to learn not only how to produce professional quality books but how to make the most of your strengths and go for success. Kim and I have blended our skills to make this programme unique. We say that I am technical and Kim is mental!!

Last month our Indie Authors Scotland business was boosted by being selected for Scotland’s premier start-up and investment programme for creative industry entrepreneurs, the 2014 Starter for 6. Our Bookcamp flexible training programme really impressed the Starter for 6 team and we are so delighted to have been chosen in what is a highly competitive process. With the support of Starter for 6 we are extending our reach to help more writers and adding extra support for authors as we truly want to develop a centre of excellence for self-publishing.

Indie Authors Scotland already has global reach with authors in Scotland, England, USA and Canada participating in the Bookcamp. Our writers benefit from making connections around the world and it means that we can help market and sell books together. With Starter for 6 help we are building a worldwide community of independent authors and that has huge potential for us all.

When I started writing The Reluctant Detective I never dreamed that we would be helping others to produce their books. Kim and I are delighted to be helping people like you to achieve their dreams, we get so excited when our authors publish their books we are like the proud grandparents ( Kim says auntie – she’s not old enough to be a granny!) We set ourselves a target to help 100 authors publish their books this year and we have a few deliveries expected soon.

We would love you to come and join us in the Bookcamp or if you know of someone who needs our help please share our message with them.

- Alasdair Currie

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