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  • JT Bird

My Self Publishing Journey - Memoirs Of A Comedian

Updated: Apr 6


This week I paid for a cover designer (£600 for three designs, plus spine and back. Copies for E-Book and paperback provided) - so next month I should be able to share my choice for the novel!! Woop Woop. Also be able to tell you whether it was worth the money... Be bit awks if they ping me some covers I could have whipped up with Microsoft Paint :D

I'm looking for something simple but bold - a bit similar to the covers used for Jurassic Park and The Godfather (if you have a look on Amazon you will see what I mean). A lot of middle grade novels, in my opinion, look too similar in terms of design. They are peppered with a rainbow of colours, too many words, and just aren't eye catching enough. I want the cover that stands out on the shelf - the one that you just have to pick up and browse!! I love simple designs - and the use of just a handful of colours. It's a bit obvious but you cant go wrong with red, white and black for my money!! I had a vision of a bright yellow cover, with bold black and red text, with maybe an image of Noah's Ark - but we will see what the designers comes back with!! I CANT WAIT TO SEE.


I found plenty of designers through Reedsy.Com which is a website I really recommend; it's a simple site to use and really helpful if you're looking for editors, illustrators etc. My editor was also off Reedsy and she did a smashing job (£1200 but worth the expense - professional editing is soooo valuable).


I'm looking for something simple but bold - a bit similar to the classic covers used for Jurassic Park and The Godfather (if you have a look on Amazon you will see what I mean...). A lot of middle grade novels, in my opinion, look too similar in terms of design. They are peppered with a rainbow of colours, too many glittery words, and just aren't eye catching enough (others may disagree. Just my opinion :D). I want a cover that stands out on the shelf - the one that you just have to pick up and browse!! I lurve simple designs - and the use of a handful of colours. It's a bit cliche but you cant go wrong with red, white and black for my money!! Although I've had this vision of a bright yellow cover, with bold black and red text, with maybe an image of Noah's Ark in the mix too - but we will see what the designers comes back with!! I CANT WAIT TO SEE.


I'm ALSO exploring the idea of recording audio myself, and publishing on Audible (woo check me out. Billy Big Spuds...). I've been trying to listen to every YouTube video on the subject!! The way I see it - i'm a comedian and I've dabbled with acting, so it would be silly to waste money paying someone else. I just need to buy the kit and hide in a sound proof cupboard!! Any advice or tips would be much appreciated!!! How did you find the process?! Should I just pay a professional?! Am I severely deluded...?!


I thought in todays blog I would also share a bit more detail about my comedy background. What have I been up to for the last ten years?!

Well, I wasn't always a writer!! And I never expected to be.

I thought my calling lay in stand-up comedy, as I've won numerous awards and had a lot of success in my years of being a clown.


Around a decade ago I took to the stage for the very first time, after a dare from a friend - and I never looked back. My first gig (some ropey pub in Putney) was awful mind you, and I nearly had a nervous breakdown. It took approximately seven pints of cider to get me on stage. Fortunately I wasn't booed off, nothing was thrown at me, I wasn't chased out the venue - so I carried on. To be honest I thought that would be it. I just wanted to cross it off the bucket list. I loved writing jokes and sketches, but never in a million years did I picture myself on stage - facing hecklers, mobs, and drunkards. But, I caught the buzz. And what a buzz it is - when a room full of people laugh in unison, at some silly gag you scribbled in a moleskin notepad. There's few better feelings than that, when the wave of guffawing hits you.


One of my worst experiences was at V-Festival. An annual music festival held not far from Manchester.

It was actually a prize after winning a 'new act of the year' competition!!

A dreary tent in a sopping wet murky field, performing to a drug fuelled legion of cave dwellers - who were merely sheltering from the rain (not the slightest bit interested in comedy. Unless your act was humorous drum n bass). They were music fans, not pun fans or witty observation fans. They had not attended this festival to hear my comments on the tube and online dating. And boy did they let me know....All of them, let me know. Loudly. Angrily. VICIOUSLY

It begun with just a couple of plonkers heckling. Booooo. You're scum, get off!!!

But gradually, the joy of seeing me squirm swept throughout the hordes and they all developed a taste for launching abuse. It escalated at alarming speed. Being new to the scene I had no 'tools' to deal with this onslaught either, and decided the best thing to do was simply yell louder and louder. This failed to calm the storm...It failed undoubtedly.

After ten minutes of the twenty I was expected to jest for, despite being paid, I bailed and dashed from the stage. It was soul destroying and I wanted to swallow my cyanide capsules!!


I've never had any desire to be a full-time comedian. The life really doesn't appeal to me. Travelling around the country, staying in dodgy hotels, and performing in dingy bars for a pint and some peanuts. I'm quite content with it being a hobby.

My real passion is the writing side, and that's probably what's lead me to novels. I get far less abuse writing a book from my cosy couch - besides the odd rant from my wife, for failing to clean the kitchen. And now I get a buzz from chapters. What a wonderful feeling to read back over your work, read it aloud, and wallow in the world you've created!!


Comedy is a different process to writing a novel as well.

When i'm writing my book, I launch straight into it. I curl up with a pack of gum, cup of peppermint tea and i'm off - tap tap tap.

Writing comedy material was trickier. I would often spend hours upon hours parked in a tiny café, simply mulling over ideas in my head. Sometimes I would come away from a whole day's doodling, with no fresh ideas to show for it. It's a bit like writers block really, but occurs far more often!! You are constantly trying to find inspiration - be it through people watching, conversations with friends, in the supermarket, on the train - everything becomes a potential mine for gags!!


I've had plenty of ups and downs throughout my comedy career. I got to perform at the Comedy Store, Latitude Festival, all sorts of weird and wonderful clubs in weird and wonderful places, and on five occasions I put shows for the Edinburgh Fringe. I got to meet some great people, plenty of oddballs, and I still run a comedy night to this day (for aspiring new acts). But after ten years, I decided it was time to try something new. A new adventure. A new challenge. And what greater challenge than self-publishing my very own novel!! Wish me luck :D

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