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  • Writer's pictureCraig Dawson

The Elephant In The Womb

Sorry. Sorry. Couldn't resist that title.

Anyway, now that things are up and running, and the book is out there, doing its thing, I reckon it's about time to address one of the first things that I've had to contend with as a burgeoning author. That is, the fact that my older brother is also an author of no little renown.

I've just come back from a few days in London, suffering whiplash after returning to the quiet, mostly solitary life I've grown used to, as opposed to the crowds and crush of the big city. I love London now, now I've found that the best way to experience it is on foot, and to go exploring, and get as far away from the tourist trap as possible.

I had gone to go to the inaugural Self-Publishing Show Live event, on the South Bank. SPS complements the wider Self-Publishing Formula resource - an online teaching aid for anyone with even the most passing inclination to write books and then get them out there. This event was created for the interested to go along to learn from a variety of luminaries in the field, and also to chat to those of a like mind and share experiences of self-publishing. Now, if you happen to google the Self-Publishing Formula, you'll note that it is billed as "Mark Dawson's Self-Publishing Formula", and there's a good reason for that.

Since childhood, my brother has always wanted to write. I can remember the sci-fi odyssey he started to write on an old typewriter his English teacher had given him when he was about 11, I think. When he got older, he even managed to get a deal with a "proper" publisher for a couple of books, which turned out, his words, as "shit" and headed straight to the remainder bins, the publisher essentially shrugging and moving on to the next poor sap to exploit for buttons. He kept writing, getting better and better, banging out the words on his daily commute into London. Then, by hook and by crook, he wedded that productivity to the boom in self-publishing with the advent of the Kindle, and now, here he is, a multi-million selling author. Everyone I was introduced to at the show was told that I was "Mark's brother" - it was like being back at school all over again, but with less bog-washes.

If you have an elder sibling, you will know that, in amongst the pride and the support you feel for them and their successes, there is another response that may crop up. That, dear reader, is the urge to just say "balls".

See, I wanted to write as well. But I was lacking a fair few things. Discipline, for one. I wasn't the sort of person who could scratch out a few hundred words here and there, when I could. I need a long run-up to do it, or so I thought. People would tell me that I "really should write" and I would hand wave them away, and "oh, if I get the time". Excuses, really. Then circumstances changed and I found I had nothing but time, and that excuse really wouldn't wash anymore. So I started writing, just for myself, and somehow, before I knew it, I had a few thousand words. Then a few thousand more. Then, eventually, I had a book.

Now what? Do I tell Mark? Would he help? Would my ego and pride let my older, infinitely more experienced brother into my little secret?

Craig? Get over yourself.

I very much doubt I'll ever orbit even the same planet that Mark does. That's ok. I can say that he's been a massive help to me with all this, and I very much doubt if the book would even be released if it weren't for some of the avenues that I've gone down thanks to him and the Self-Publishing Formula. I write now, and I enjoy it, and I'm going to keep on writing, and I'll see where it takes me.

So I'm Mark's brother. No escaping it. Even my old man gets my name wrong from time to time.

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