5 year project: September update

do you have goalsI’m taking part in Misha and Beth’s Five Year Project and my five-year goal is to write a novel and get it published. So, I should have been sending my historical novel, The Reluctant Scribe, out to agents. In fact, I’m so disillusioned with the process of trying to find an agent, I’m considering abandoning the quest altogether.

On a more positive note, there are several other writing projects I ‘ve been working on with better success. Here’s an update:


Walking the English Coast – (non-fiction book):

Finally published and looking good!Walking the English Coast, a beginner's guid, author Ruth Livingstone

This is my ‘how to’ book – a 250-page epic – for newcomers to the world of long distance walking.

  • Beautifully illustrated with full colour photographs.
  • Well laid out with plenty of white space and box inserts.
  • Professionally edited.
  • With a lovely cover that says it all, I think.

So proud to see it up on Amazon and to have had a smattering of excellent reviews and a small but significant number of sales.


THE SHED - jpg thumbnailThe Shed: collection – (fiction booklet):

This 48-page booklet contains four short stories, three of which were previously published in magazines, and one of them – The Shed – won first prize in a competition.

I asked the talented Lizzi Wakelin to illustrate the stories and, again, had the text professionally edited.

It’s just appeared on Amazon.co.uk.

Now all I need are some reviews and a few sales.


Other writing projects

  1. I’m due to have a non-fiction piece published in one of the autumn issues of BBC Countryfile Magazine.
  2. And I’ve been commissioned to write an article recommending coastal places to visit for a local magazine, Stamford Living.

The Orbital Contract – (YA sci-fi novel):

Meanwhile, the first draft of this novel has been waiting since January for some attention. Yes. Must get on with it!


Author: Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, Doctor, woman, etc.

16 thoughts on “5 year project: September update”

  1. Ruth, I’ve published traditionally with publishers, but now we are Indie publishers. This was a conscious decision. Publishing is changing beyond recognition. The old days of publishing are, I think, over. Now, even if you get a contract you’re expected to do all the publicity yourself – and often for a pathetic 5 or 10% royalty. I’ve heard of many traditionally published writers who are spending most of their royalties doing this.
    The so-called “Gatekeeper” at a publishing or agents office is likely to be a 21 year old doing his or her first job after graduation. They know they can only pick out a few from the pile and literary merit rarely comes into it.
    We now have complete control ourselves and get a 70% royalty, rather than the 5 or 10.
    We’ve put out half a dozen novels in the past two years. With a traditional publisher that’s about the time it would take for them to get one out.
    I’ve put a few pieces out on Indie publishing on my blog if you type it into the search at http://www.johnbainbridgewriter.wordpress.com
    It’s sad that the old gentlemen publishers have gone, but their firms have been mostly taken over by international business corporations who only like to support safe bets!
    Good luck with your writing.
    Regards, John Bainbridge

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    1. Thank you for your helpful words, John. I’ve enjoyed your walking books. Have read Rambling – the Beginner’s Bible and the Compleat Trespasser. Have also bought the Wayfarer’s Dole, which I’ve been saving for a rainy day. Not yet read any of your fiction. (So many books, so little time!). Intellectually, I KNOW that self-publishing is no longer the second-best way to go. But I can’t let go of a longing to be published via the traditional route as far as fiction goes. Stupid, I know. In the meantime, I have a number of other walking related books in the pipeline, and planning to self-publish them too.

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  2. I’ve given up on agents too, as well as publishers. I think in the current publishing situation, self-publishing is the only way to go, so you did very well with your books.

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    1. Hi Olga. Trying to make my mind up whether to self-pub the historical novel or not. Maybe I’ll have a few last pushes to see if I can snare an agent. People say if you are self-pubbing it’s best to have a number of books out there. So far I’ve only got one proper book and a couple of booklets. Hope your writing s going well.

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  3. What I do find disturbing are the stories I hear of traditionally published authors, moderate sellers perhaps, who are being dropped by their publishers so that the publishers can concentrate on churning out celebrity memoirs etc. Publishers of old would be quite prepared to make losses to build up the reputations of new and promising writers. Sadly, no longer,

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  4. Wow! It looks like your non-fiction book is getting a start on the attention it deserves, and you have a book of short stories out! I’m impressed by all your hard work and dedication. Best wishes with your YA novel!

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