SELF-PUBLISHING Stuart White (Part 2)


In our new self-publishing series, Kate Walker continues her chat with with Stuart White, founder of WriteMentor and self-published author of Ghosts of Mars*

In a book market crowded with classics and big names, what advice can you give children’s authors marketing their books? 

It’s about mindset more than what you do. If you have the self-belief that your book is as good, if not better, than those out there with huge budgets, then you have to have the confidence to send it to the same people in the press, magazines, reviewers, podcasters, etc. Only recently, my book came second in the Primary School Book Club vote for February against 19 other traditionally published books. Readers don’t care who publishes your book, so put yourself out there like you have a seven-figure, twelve-book deal with Penguin Random House! You deserve to be there.


Post about it yourself, knowing that the people that matter will support you. Those who don’t – they don’t matter. A thick skin and strong inner belief are essential for success in any area of life, especially for authors, self-published or not.


Your book has a Type 1 diabetic protagonist; do you feel this group of children are underrepresented and do you feel you have helped to highlight the difficulties these children face day to day?

Absolutely underrepresented – hardly any books have T1D representation. It’s so misunderstood as a condition and disability, that many young people struggle to manage it both physically and mentally.

I’m not sure how much about the day-to-day stuff I’ve covered in the book, but I’ve certainly aimed to write a book with a T1D protagonist rather than a book about T1D. Those kids deserve to see heroes with T1D, knowing they can become heroes too. The condition doesn’t define them. I have Type 1 Diabetes myself and it’s frustratingly confused with Type 2 Diabetes, which is a totally different condition that rarely affects kids, so I wanted to raise more awareness about that, too.

Ten per cent of any profits from the book will go to the Diabetes UK charity to help kids managing Type 1 Diabetes.

Cover of Ghosts of Mars, by Stuart White

What advice would you give to your younger self about writing and embarking on a career in publishing?


Stop being so passive – stop trying to please people who won’t even be your reader. Self-publish sooner, don’t be afraid of the "stigma" because it only exists in your head if you allow it. Stop worrying about what other people might think about you self-publishing. It’s not giving up, or taking the easy route, on the contrary, it’s taking the much harder road ... but you have much more control over outcomes than you ever will going traditional.

The only thing you can totally control is being better than you were yesterday.


You established Write Mentor in 2018; it has blossomed into a large community – what has been your proudest achievement?

It’s been great to see so many going on to be published – we’ve so many now, I couldn’t possibly name them, but it’s the reason I continue to run the organisation on a voluntary basis.

You work as a biology teacher in a secondary school, have you considered switching to creative writing?


No, I adore science and couldn’t imagine teaching English (there’s no creative writing standalone subject) all day. I actually hated English at school – the curriculum is designed to eliminate creativity rather than develop it, in my opinion.

I went on to do a Masters in Creative Writing at university in 2014-15, remotely learning in my evenings after work. That was one of the first times I’d enjoyed learning in that context. So perhaps, now you’ve suggested it, it’s something I’d consider in the future. Equally, kids need to know how to critically analyse information, or misinformation, much more than ever before (a key skill in science), so I know I do an important job already.

Thank you so much, Stuart – and good luck reaching your target and beyond!

Ten per cent of any profits from Stuart's book will go to the Diabetes UK charity to help children managing Type 1 Diabetes.

*Header image by Tita Berredo


Kate Walker is a feature writer for Words & Pictures. Kate’s work is published in Aquila magazine. She mainly writes MG, chapter and picture books. Kate has won SCBWI’s Slushpile challenge, she was shortlisted for the Chicken House Open Coop and longlisted for both Guppy Publishing’s Open Submission and Writing Magazine Chapter Book prize. Kate lives mainly in her imagination, but also in Sussex with her two children who she tests her story ideas on when she’s not writing about gardening for her day job. Twitter: @KatakusM

No comments:

We love comments and really appreciate the time it takes to leave one.
Interesting and pithy reactions to a post are brilliant but we also LOVE it when people just say they've read and enjoyed.
We've made it easy to comment by losing the 'are you human?' test, which means we get a lot of spam. Fortunately, Blogger recognises these, so most, if not all, anonymous comments are deleted without reading.

Words & Pictures is the Online Magazine of SCBWI British Isles. Powered by Blogger.