The Writing the Future report puts a figure on this lack of cultural diversity, estimating that ethnic representation within the publishing industry is just eight percent. Another key statistic highlighted in the report regards UK literary festivals; at Edinburgh, Cheltenham and Hay festivals, a measly four percent of the programme was made up of UK Black and Asian writers.
You may have a hundred thousand words of great content, but you may end up stripping away half of that content to preserve your best posts. It is worth thinking about whether you want a literal version of your blogs in book format or whether you can do more with the text when planning how it might be read on the page.
So here I am, no longer in the world of generous advances. My book will have to work quite hard to earn its keep. But at least it's out there. Amazon is criticised for undermining bookshops. But if more novels see the light of day and more readers get to read them, that surely has to be a good thing, doesn't it?
I'd never wanted anything like I wanted to be a writer. I remember spending whole days sitting around and moping about how I'd never be good enough/would never manage it/would never get to be an actual writer. I realise now that this was somewhat pathetic... but it did half lead to some very vague experiences of publishers before the competition.
Times are changing. Self-publishing is no longer 'vanity publishing' - a vaguely embarrassing exercise in assuaging one's writerly ambitions by paying large sums of money for a small run of leather-bound copies of a book - but a very real and increasingly credible alternative to mainstream publishing.
Self-publishing is a double-edged sword because, whilst it provides people with a direct route to market, some of the cheaper, automated publishers offer their services to absolutely anyone, regardless of the quality and presentation of the written work. This is where the problem lies, as it's not the content or the idea of self-published books that often lets it down, but the delivery...
Today, more books than ever before in history are being published. Thanks to self-publishing, over 10 thousand new books are hitting the shelves every month. 20 years ago, if you'd written a turkey and couldn't find an agent or find a publisher, then you'd just have to go off into some dark pit, lick your wounds, and write a better book. Not any more though.
You see, for most people who aren't literary fiction fans - reading is an intimate activity to be done at home on your bed with next-door's cat and an open packet of Twirl Minis. It goes hand in hand with being able to get up and go to the kettle. Reading is not a social activity, and yet book events are still fixated on the author's mouth moving.
My writing straddles too many genres to be categorised. So I turned Indie. However, when my self-published, first novel made it to the Amazon bestseller list, I realised I had a niche: a group of readers around the world who liked what I wrote. They wanted to know what it meant to come of age in a complex environment like India.
Of course I could just go and seek out a pirate version of the book. I'm sure that someone has already ripped the Kindle version of the book and made it freely available on a pirate website, but I'm a writer myself. I know that people who put months of effort into books deserve to get something for their efforts.