By Christine Lister
For the past thirteen years, I have aspired to be a writer. I am a writer. I can write and write well and have lots of ideas.
BUT… Six books published to little or no acclaim, or commercial success, meant that for the past few years, I couldn’t find a publisher even remotely interested in my work, not even the last chance saloon of publishing, me. The kind of books and themes I envisaged were not seen as commercially viable.
Feeling both me and my creativity were past their use by date, I stopped writing and was swallowed up by a hole, a big black hole. For nearly two years, the inertia and despair, magnified by that bastard bug called Covid, claimed me. The creative life I loved and revelled in, a thing of the past.
Suddenly a light appeared in the guise of an email from Exisle Academy about their mentoring program. Like a sinner wanting to be saved, I grasped at the opportunity. Anything to start writing again. And I have, but not in a vacuum, which has been the lonely plight for me and most writers I know.
The one-on-one access to Gareth St John Thomas for a few months, a highly skilled mentor with years of wisdom, experience and insight into the industry, was a precious gift. For me, the forthright feedback, particularly when it related to the commercial viability of my proposal, alternated with encouragement, and subtle suggestions for improvement, were all designed to stretch me, challenge me, bring out the best in me. And they have. I not only believe in myself again, Exisle believes in me, too.
The difference between Exisle’s program and the many others I have been involved with is that, first and foremost, Exisle is a successful and longstanding international publishing house. They understand writers, writing and the market. Second, their mentors are publishing personnel, professionals whose day-to-day business is publishing. They know what they are doing and why. Such a rare commodity in writing teachers.
Third, I believe this is Exisle’s way of paying it forward. Exisle Academy’s mentoring program is a gift with a belief in the future of books and writers. It is an investment in writers, not only to help them write, but to understand the ins and outs of the whole of the writing, pitching, publishing and sales and marketing process, everything needed to achieve commercial success.
Creativity on its own is not enough. Knowledge and access are power. Exisle Academy empowers writers to negotiate the publishing jungle and keep on creating books. In short, the mentoring program provides insider information about publishing that is not available in any other context.
Invest in yourself, so Exisle can invest in you.
Christine's next book, Goddesses in You, will be published by Exisle Publishing in late 2022.
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