Hi, I’m Tim Rees. My background is BBC drama and before that the military. You can read about my life in the army in my memoir, In Sights: The Story Of A Welsh Guardsman, published by The History Press in 2013.
During my time with the BBC I made many films and dramas, including one about a period of my life titled, Mimosa Boys, which was broadcast on BBC1 as a Play For Today. It was a wonderful period where I worked with BAFTA and Emmy award winning directors. I left the BBC to focus on writing my own scripts and ended up writing the novel first so my story is set firmly on the page – my experience with the BBC taught me scripts are rewritten and change from the original script due to budgets, director’s idea’s and perspectives and then the actors come in with their own ideas on the character they’re playing. Making a film is an intensely creative process and it is a process I love, but after finishing my first novel, which is Raw Nerve, I knew I’d been born to be a novelist first and foremost, mainly because the creative intensity is doubled and my relationship with the characters is so much more real than working on a script where it’s necessary to leave it to the director and actors to flesh-out character.
After I’d finished Raw Nerve, I sent it to an agent who immediately signed me. Very soon after that I was flying to New York to sign a deal with HarperCollins. Whilst in New York an actor friend had just won a Tony Award on Broadway, so we hooked up and in his dressing room I met a film producer who asked what my novel was about? I thought for a second how best to explain the story, “It’s a fictitious scenario about why Colin Powell didn’t run for the White House,” I said casually. The producer’s knees buckled. “I have to read it,” she gushed, so we arranged to meet up the next day with my agent. As you can imagine, this was very exciting times. Everyone who read the book loved it. So why didn’t it get published or made into a film, you may well ask? Well, although all the junior editors in the major publishing houses wanted to publish, on every occasion the plug was pulled by the President or Vice-President of the company because it was considered too controversial. One VP actually stated they couldn’t be associated with riots in the streets and another said I was stretching credulity to breaking point and beyond – I think they were referring to the fact I was suggesting a black woman could be elected to the White House. It’s laughable now since Barack Obama has been elected twice.
Anyway, I kept writing and had a short story commissioned by the BBC. It was broadcast as part of an arts series of shorts stories with a twist. After finding myself in the wilderness for a few years – I was actually in a relationship with a woman who had children, so time to write was minimum to non-existent – I was pushed and prodded by a new girlfriend to write my memoir – she loved all the little anecdotes I kept recounting. Once that was completed I very quickly got another agent who placed the book with The History Press. Since my experience with the traditional publishing in New York, the publishing industry as a whole had changed radically. Amazon had exploded onto the scene and indie authors were in the ascendency. It seemed everyone was writing books and publishing them immediately via Amazon, Smash Words and a host of other self-publishing platforms. In 2012 I did try self-publishing Raw Nerve, but I was very unhappy with the format, so unpublished very quickly. At that time I tried to read a couple of self-published novels, but the writing was awful and I didn’t get past the first chapter with either. So I forgot about self-publishing and focused on the next thriller I’d write, which turned out to be Delphian. Upon completion of Delphian, I sent it to my agent who, even though he loved the book, told me it was far too long for a debut novelist – yes, according to the traditional publishing industry I was considered a debut novelist rather than a published author, because memoirs and novels are very different animals… After some research, I did discover my agent was right. The traditional publishers were no longer taking risks on novelists without a track record in sales. It’s about price point; the target is two-hundred and fifty pages because beyond that the cost of printing a book escalates. For the big name authors, such as Stephen King and John Grisham, they are happy to commit to a very large print run to get the price point right, because they know the books will sell. But to print a novel over two-hundred and fifty pages for an unproven novelist the publisher has to take a risk on a big print run, and publishers no longer take risks, so I’m told.
So I decided to self-publish Delphian and set about writing a novel within the two-hundred and fifty page bracket. The result was WTF, which is an experimental novel for me. Anyway, the story came in at two-hundred and twenty-seven pages. But I’ve self-published that novel as well. The reason for this is I had experienced success with Delphian and I really like the way Amazon pay monthly and I wanted to support Amazon’s innovative Kindle Select or Kindle Unlimited programme where readers, for a subscription fee, can download as many books as they like. The author gets paid according to the number of pages read. It is a great idea.
I also tried some more indie author novels and found the writing standard to have improved 110% from my earlier experience. What I read were very well written, great stories. I realised indie publishing is now at a professional standard and want to be a part of this new revolution. So now I’ve recently republished Raw Nerve to add to Delphian and WTF.
Raw Nerve is available here: http://viewbook.at/RawNerve
Delphian is available here: http://viewbook.at/Delphian
And WTF here: http://viewbook.at/WTF
Let me know what you think. Thanks.