This week Jane Cable interviews David Ledain about why he believes he can sell more self-help than fiction and why he decided to turn his own experiences into a book. Find out more about David at www.gaydad.co.uk.
I am a gay dad and to protect those I love I write using the penname – David Ledain. I live on the south coast of England and have two sons. When I was going through the process of coming out and separating from my wife, I couldn’t find anything about other gay dads like me, so I wrote a book: Gay Dad – 10 true stories of divorced gay men with kids, living in the UK today.
How much of your working life does the business of books take up?
I write fiction as well, and the two different sides to my writing take up a lot of time, but mostly that is marketing and promoting, which some people find dreadful and they are uneasy with. I love the new challenges and surprises that meeting interesting people and talking about my work brings. The first radio interview I did was very daunting, but the presenters are there to get you to talk about your topic, not to bamboozle you as they might a politician. I do try and write something every day, even if it’s only a paragraph or two, or just go back and do some editing.
What’s your business model to earn a living from writing?
I realised quite quickly, after I had written and published my first book, that I wasn’t about to be giving up the day job to spend my precious time doing what I love, which is writing and researching, as a full-time occupation. What I also learned, having published Gay Dad, was that non-fiction, especially when it concerns true life stories, sells much better than fiction, and this got me to think about how other self-published writers might benefit from telling their own stories and personal experiences to engage more with their audience. I am currently developing this idea with two fellow self-published authors who have also found a much more receptive market in their non-fiction work than they have in their fiction.
What do you consider to be your major successes?
Gay Dad has been, and will continue to be, successful. But I measure success not only in the number of sales and royalties I make, but in the number of times I get approached by radio presenters to come on their shows, editors asking me to write pieces for their magazines, or people wanting to set-up LGBT courses and ask for my input. The greatest feeling is when guys send messages of gratitude for the support they’ve gained from reading Gay Dad and the other men’s stories, and for bringing the subject into the open and making the public more aware of what I believe, is a far more common thing than we realise.
Tell me about your latest project.
I am happiest when I’ve got many irons in the fire and lots going on. Consequently, I have just launched the Gay Dad website www.gaydad.co.uk ; I’m in the process of writing a self-help guide for independent authors to tell their personal stories; I’m writing the third novel in my fiction series and have drafted the storyline for a new series about a gay FBI agent set in the 1950’s. Lots going on, and the different income streams also means I am getting nearer to my dream of being able to make a living from doing the thing I love – writing.