I was married to a man who drank a bit more than most but was eventually diagnosed as a chronic alcoholic. I began to write about how I felt and how I saw my life. Few people believed the problem to be as bad as it was.

I kept thinking that one day all this will be in the past and I will forget the details. With no-one to tell me how to write or how it should all come together, I found when you write from a place of complete truth and honesty it reflects in the words and people recognise it.

So many people are looking for answers to their problems and get a lot of satisfaction knowing that others feel the same way or there is someone who understands their situation. It somehow eases the burden.

We all have problems and there is never one solution to magically fit everyone. No one ideal solution. 

Writing about how you solved or improved your problem lets others see that there is an alternative. I kept thinking I could not be the only one in this situation. There must be others out there living like I was, pretending life was normal. Sadly, I had become used to this life.

I began about halfway through the problem – With an alcoholic you don’t know when it began because it creeps up on you so slowly. I wrote down lots of thoughts in no particular order over several years never thinking they would ever see the light of day.

 A year after Kevin died I thought I now had an end to the story and began to put it into some sort of order. I thought it was the end of one part of my life and put the pages away.

In November 2012 I attended a workshop run by Brian Morris of New Zealand Institute of Business Studies (NZIBS) on how to write an e-book and put it on Amazon. And the rest as they say is history.

My small book (Living with an Alcoholic Husband: A true account of living with and without a husband addicted to alcohol) has gone on to sell over 9000 copies to date. Every month since I have received royalties from Amazon.

Brian’s presentation was easy to understand and he made me feel as if – ‘Yes I think I can do this.’ It is a scary thing to put yourself out in the public arena especially on-line. I have never advertised my book, so those who purchase it have found it by searching ‘Living with an Alcoholic Husband.’

The title must quickly reflect the subject. It was originally called ‘My Concrete Umbrella’ because that is how I felt, but no-one was searching for that title at 2am.

The course also discussed the benefits of publishing on Amazon, why some books sell better than others, the power of a title, keywords and the huge importance of the cover. Online the cover is small compared to looking at a book in a library and this matters.

Brian Morris discussed at length the easy way to produce a cover online. And the fact that so far this is the only cost incurred. I personally now use different platforms.

He also discussed how e-book sales are governed entirely by the readers who buy or don’t buy your book. Not the large publishers who think they have mind reading powers and know what the public want. Proof reading, layout and the structure of the book were also covered.

Amazon will publish an e-book regardless of the quality so it has to be well written, have a great cover and have a description that hooks the buyer in straight away. Three publishers and two editors told me my book wouldn’t sell. Don’t be put off by a few negative comments.

I learnt from the course not to be too scared to try. If all else fails and for any reason you suddenly don’t want the world to see your book at the click of a key you can unpublish it. You control your book.

The first page of my first e-book  begins –

“To me the sound of a metal bottle cap unscrewing against a glass bottle is the worst sound in the world.

To my husband it is heaven.”

Between those two sentences lies my story. Don’t be afraid to tell yours.

The confidence I gained from attending Brian’s workshop enabled me to produce 2 further e-books. One from 376 letters my Uncle wrote from the Italian Campaign and ‘How Can I  Help My Alcoholic Husband.’ Brian said you could never stop at one e-book and he was correct. Reed Publishing produced 4 books of my cross stitch needlework patterns. When the company was  sold I self-published 3 further books.

Click here to see Cherry Parker’s ebooks on Amazon.

If you are interested in expanding your writing  capabilities, NZIBS has a range of courses that may fit the bill.

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