From Voice Notes to Publication: the Story of Saz Wilson’s Mad Dogs & Me: A Comedy Diary – Jericho Writers
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From Voice Notes to Publication: the Story of Saz Wilson’s Mad Dogs & Me: A Comedy Diary

From Voice Notes to Publication: the Story of Saz Wilson’s Mad Dogs & Me: A Comedy Diary

We were thrilled to hear the news that long-time member of our community Saz Wilson recently self-published her first book Mad Dogs & Me: A Comedy Diary. To celebrate this fantastic milestone, we caught up with Saz to hear all about her journey from Premium Member to debut author.

Where did the idea for your book come from? What inspired you to write it?

In a moment of madness, I took on two giant Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies who turned my life upside down! Kiara was a menace to society and looked for trouble every second she was awake. Otis, her loyal brother, was her wingman and a serious sufferer of FOMO, so never wanted to miss out on an opportunity to join in with the shenanigans.

I would recount my daily tales of woe at school pick-up and the other mums would howl with laughter and I thought, I need to write this down! As I barely had time to take a bath, I recorded them on my phone’s voice notes instead. By lockdown I had over 300 entries and decided to turn them into a comedy diary.

Why did you choose to self-publish instead of seeking agency representation?

I used to work in film and TV and from personal experience knew that once you handed your work over to a production company, which in this case would be a publisher, you had very little control. I wanted the book to reflect my authentic voice and I knew the branding that I wanted for the cover and the website. I felt the only way to be truly happy with what I produced was to manage the whole process myself. I also thought self-publishing would be quicker than going the traditional route but with the first book, I’m not sure that’s true – there was so much to learn!

Photo taken at Saz Wilson’s Mad Dogs & Me: A Comedy Diary Book Launch

What was your favourite thing about self-publishing?

I’m not going to lie, self-publishing to the equivalent standard of traditional publishing is really, really hard. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started! I think my favourite thing about self-publishing is that if it fails, it’s down to you but if it succeeds, it is also because of you! You have the final say on the edit, the cover, everything, and as the marketer you have to be proud of what you are selling. I loved the finished copy of my book and the feedback has been incredible.

What was the hardest part of self-publishing your book?

Where do I start?! All of it was hard if I’m honest. I think the two hardest parts were that most communication is online so when you’re trying to describe creative elements in detail, it’s done through messaging which is extremely frustrating. Things that should have taken weeks, took months because of this. The other thing was the amount of third party human error. Every time the book went off for editing, proof-reading, typesetting etc. the book would come back with errors that weren’t there before. You have to triple check your manuscript until your eyes bleed!

How did you find Jericho Writers helpful?

Jericho Writers was the reason I had the confidence to self-publish. I finished my manuscript almost two years ago and joined Jericho as a Premium Member immediately. I found the courses, live webinars and team of professionals invaluable. I also felt part of a community which is so important when you’re at home trying to figure all this out by yourself.

I worked with so many amazing people on the book who I found through Jericho. Anna Caig was incredible with the marketing and Debbie Young was invaluable with the book production. I had a list of questions as long as my arm, and Debbie knew the answers to every single one of them!

Photo taken at Saz Wilson’s Mad Dogs & Me: A Comedy Diary Book Launch

What advice would you give to other authors looking to self-publish?

I would say join Jericho Writers as a Premium Member straight away. The amount of content you have access to is the biggest value for money in all the money you’ll spend, honestly. And I’m not just saying that because this is an interview with them! Check the acknowledgements at the back of my book – Jericho are the first people I thank!

I would also say really learn about the process, speak to other self-published authors and Take. Your. Time. Everything takes longer than you think and often it can be overwhelming and you need to take a break for a few days to get your head together. Having a mentor at any stage of the process is invaluable. I worked with a book coach when I was re-writing the manuscript and it helped me to meet deadlines and talk ideas through. The same when I was marketing and publishing. Courses are brilliant but can only take you so far – sometimes you need to talk to someone in the know when you’re stuck and want to chuck the towel in!  It’s not cheap but it’s an investment in yourself and you won’t regret it. However, the biggest piece of advice I would give to any new author is stay true to your vision, it’s your book at the end of the day and you are the one who is going to be selling it.

Saz Wilson is the author of her first book Mad Dogs & Me: A Comedy Diary, a hilarious and moving real-life diary about a woman who’s bitten off more than she can chew by taking on two giant mad puppies.

Saz wrote the book to make people laugh and to raise enough money to open an animal sanctuary.

You can read more about Saz on her website and you can purchase Mad Dogs & Me: A Comedy Diary now.

If you’re interested in self-publishing, you can follow in Saz’s footsteps and work with expert Debbie Young, check out the Simply Self-Publish course. You can find out more about the course here. We’re accepting applications until 4 April, apply here.