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In a fascinating talk top-selling local author Mark Dawson described how he went from being a ‘not very good lawyer’ who just wanted to write novels to a highly-successful author who has sold 2 million digital copies and owns a highly-successful self-publishing business.

Mark, creator of the popular John Milton books, told the first of the Autumn Talks series at the Grosvenor Arms in Shaftesbury on Thursday night how his discovery of self-publishing via Amazon transformed his writing, his business and his life.

Having made just 11 dollars in a month from his first online book he decided to take a chance and offer it online for free for a temporary period – and saw 50,000 people download it over just one weekend.

‘I could see that this was a thing,’ he told the audience at the Grosvenor Arms.

Encouraged by the growing popularity of his work, Mark says he wrote four books – around a million words – in a year while commuting from Salisbury to London every day for his day job as a film censor.

Eventually by late 2014 he earned about £25,000 in one month from his books and left his day job to focus fully on his writing and self-publishing business.

‘It was Emancipation Day,’ he said.

Mark Dawson
Mark Dawson with one of his latest books – in print form – at the Grosvenor Arms, Shaftesbury.

Now as well as writing Mark travels the world, teaching about self-publishing and giving talks, plus developing new markets in audio books, television and even now in print.

Mark, who still lives in Salisbury, likens the mainstream print publishing industry to the Titanic heading towards the icebergs.

‘And I’m one of those icebergs,’ he said, pointing to how self-publishing can bring in around 70 percent of book sale receipts for an author compared with perhaps 7 percent in ‘normal’ publishing.

For more on Mark’s self-publishing visit here.

For more Autumn Talks at the Grosvenor Arms visit: www.gillingham-news.co.uk/event/autumn-talks-at-the-grosvenor-arms-shaftesbury

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