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Spreading the word; COVER STORIES FOUR WRITERS ON PUBLISHING THEIR OWN BOOKS.

Everyone has a book in them, according to the popular saying, but now it's becoming easier to get your story self-published. Indie Authors Scotland, run by Sinclair and Kim Macleod, help writers get their books into print. And here, MARIA CROCE talks to writers who have published their own works.

I hope quotes HOLISTIC practitioner and businesswoman Aladin Ali decided to publish a book to raise funds to build a school in Bangladesh.

BOOKStrength other Aladin, 44, from Glasgow - mum to Yaseen Rahman, 15 - has compiled inspirational quotes in her book Wind Beneath Your Wings, which she published with help from Indie Authors Scotland.

Aladin Ali 44, Glasgow "My father passed away around 20 years ago but, when he was alive, he helped the community where he was from in Bangladesh," said Aladin.

Then when she visited the village, the local people asked if she could help.

"There were primary school children studying in this tin shack. The local people said they wanted to build a school for 200 the in my children but they didn't have funding. The children were so motivated about learning so I thought I could do something to help. I didn't want to ask people for money, so I thought I'd donate money from a book.

give to people "I'd already been writing inspirational quotes and putting them away in a drawer. Then when I came back from Bangladesh, I felt I should put them in a book."

Aladin turned to Indie Authors Scotland for help. She then included a little of her life story as a single mum battling back after losing a business, alongside the positive quotes in the book.

"I got up and pulled myself together," she said. "I hope the quotes in my book will give strength to other people."

I've earned practically nothing but you do it for the passion David Magowan 35, Cambuslang DAVID doesn't mention to colleagues that he writes books in his spare time.

The builder, 35, from Cambuslang, near Glasgow, said: "You get a few strange looks."

He's also an actor and loves reading so he decided to try writing.

"At school, I always wrote short stories. I studied as an actor but there was very little work. You need to do a job to pay the bills so I do bricklaying and home extensions.

"I'm self-employed and can take time off for auditions. And I write in the evenings on a laptop. It does consume a lot of time."

He originally had a book published in paperback but admits sales were poor. "Then I met up with Sinclair and Kim and realised I could publish an ebook for Kindle," he said.

"I'm not very tech-savvy but they showed me how to do it. It's a good way for new writers to get seen, we are more accessible. Considering how cheap an ebook is, people are more likely to take a chance on a new author." He's gone on to self-publish a dark crime novel called Gerrity's Law.

"I'm now working on my fourth. I've earned practically nothing but you do it for the passion. It's satisfying when you get a good review - and to know you've written something that means something to someone, that's great."

It just takes time and dedication but it's never too late Graeme St Clair 66, East Kilbride RETIRED lawyer Graeme has been writing for years but work always got in the way of him finishing any of his books.

Graeme, 66, from East Kilbride, is married to Doreen, 65, and the couple have four children and four grandchildren.

With the help of Indie Authors Scotland, he published his first ebook last year under the name Graeme Gibson. It is a romantic thriller called The Genus Complex, set in 1960s Glasgow, and he's now working on the print version.

He said: "I was an engineer before I was a lawyer, then I retired as a lawyer 10 years ago and I carried on working, running a wine business and keeping active. Then, two years ago, I could concentrate on my writing.

"There are so many people writing books that if you send a manuscript to a publisher your chances of being picked up are minuscule. Whereas, if you self-publish and do it reasonably well, and your book is readable, then you've got it out there. It only takes someone to be interested in it for word to spread.

"I don't know how many I've sold since last August - it's more than 1000 and I'm quite happy with that. And the reviews I've had have been good.

"Everyone has a book in them, it's just it does take time and dedication. But it's never too late."

I was determined not to leave book lying in a drawer Sinclair Macleod 48, Bishopbriggs SINCLAIR started to write books but he never got round to finishing them because he was too busy working in IT.

But when he lost his 12-year-old son Calum to meningitis in 2007, he found that focusing on writing helped him cope.

A year after Calum died, he decided life was too short not to do what he loved - and so became determined to finish his first book The Reluctant Detective.

"I contacted some agents and publishers but had no success. I was determined not to leave my book, which was dedicated to my son, lying in a drawer so I decided to self-publish," he said.

Sinclair, 48, who lives in Bishopbriggs, near Glasgow, with wife Kim, 47 and daughter Kirsten, 14, used his IT skills to create an ebook and learned about print publishing and how to use social media to engage with readers.

He has gone on to self-publish nine books and sold more than 100,000 copies.

He has four books in the Amazon top 20 crime fiction/ noir category and has launched bookcamps with Kim to help other authors self-publish using his own expertise. His latest book, The Harlequin Part 3, was published last month.

"Lots of people were asking how I'd done it and, as Kim has a training background, we decided to offer courses. Then we developed the bookcamp online so people can access help anywhere at any time."

The couple have gone on to help around 20 authors self-publish so far. "A lot of the mean paying a lot of money for one book but we say, 'Here's the information for self-publishing'," said Sinclair.

"It's information such as how important the cover is and the font and making sure you back up your work. I honestly believe, like any product, the market will decide. If it's good, people will say so on Amazon but if it's not good, it's not going to sell.

"The majority who want to write know how to write and they read a lot. It's about finding people who enjoy what you write. People have different motivations for selling a book but, whatever your motivation, it's still important that what you put out there is professional.

"The sense of community is very important too and we have regular meet-ups to help each other out.

"I love books and I don't want the publishers to disappear but they have to adapt to the landscape. Some writers start with self-publishing and then are picked up by publishers.

"There's definitely a place for both."

Top tips for professional self-publishing 1 Get your book edited to ensure your story flows well, and your grammar and spelling are spot on.

an interesting blurb to attract readers.

2Write your book available as an ebook and in print.

3Make 4 Connect with readers and other indie authors to market your book.

5 Design an eye-catching cover that entices people to look inside.

For more info, check out www.indieauthorsscotland.co.uk

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HE'S FULLY BOOKED Sinclair Macleod with some of the novels that he's published
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 6, 2014
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