Johnny Tudor | Welsh Author and Actor

Autobiographical Novel Frees Johnny to Tell All

"The traditional publishing route is so difficult these days. My first publishing deal was a traditional one, whereas this one is hybrid and to be honest I haven’t found much difference. I chose SilverWood because they were recommended to me by my editor; she had seen SilverWood’s product and thought it was excellent and I have to say, Peg’s Boys looks every bit as classy as my first book. During the publishing, they gave me a lot of options, so I could discuss what I needed. I had a good connection with them and my publishing assistant got back to me quickly every time. Then after the marketing session, I got a Twitter account and set up a podcast. Although I would’ve preferred a traditional publisher, I’ve had just as many contacts this way, and because I’ve contacted them all myself, I’ve had more publicity than last time."
Johnny Tudor | Welsh Author

Author Profile

Johnny Tudor has been in show business all his life. He’s an actor and entertainer who has embraced all forms of the business, appearing in musical theatre, drama, television, radio and film. He’s best known for acting in the hit TV shows Gavin and Stacey and Stella. He has directed pantomimes and a musical for the welsh channel, S4C. His first foray into writing was co-creating the drama production Say It With Flowers, reflecting on the life of Dorothy Squires. It opened at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff before going on to do a successful tour.

In 2017 he became a published author, having written a complete biography on the life of Dorothy Squires, entitled My Heart Is Bleeding. From his varied experiences, Johnny reached a point where he wanted to write his memoirs, but turned to fiction to free up his creativity. In 2020, he published Peg’s Boys with SilverWood Books. He says, "Before, when I wrote the biography for Dorothy Squires, I knew it would be popular with the public because she was married to Roger Moore. But I’m not a famous household name. I thought if I just did it as a memoir, it wouldn’t sell as well. So, I wanted to write it as a story."

In the two years writing his semi-autobiographical novel, Johnny found a routine of about two hours a day suited his concentration and lifestyle. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, he was writing in between gigs, because he was still getting calls from his agent. He sought out professional support to edit his work too. "I sat down and wrote the book first of all; I didn’t even think about how to publish it. I thought if I did it as a memoir, it wouldn’t sell as well. So I wrote it as a story to appeal to the wider community. I really enjoyed the process of the writing. To help me finish it, I set up a few sessions with my previous editor, who had gone independent by then. Sophie pointed me in the right direction and helped me edit some of things that looked too much like a biography."

Exploring self-publishing versus trade publishing

At first, Johnny explored whether trade publishers might be interested in his book. He recalls, "I thought about going back to my previous publisher, The History Press, but they aren’t really into novels. So I sent it to a few other publishers, and got some nice replies. What I realised was, unless you get in with one of the Big Five, you don’t stand much chance and you still need to do the marketing yourself anyway."
In the end, it was a commercial decision for Johnny to self-publish because the percentage he received in royalties from his trade-published book was low. However, he realised it needed to be a high-quality book. He confirms that was why he chose SilverWood. "My editor had seen the products created by SilverWood and had met Helen personally. When Sophie recommended them, I got in touch and received a very nice email straight back from them."
Johnny found the cover design process most interesting. He remembers speaking to the designer to explain what he wanted, "The three kids are the main characters in my book and I wanted the cover to express the concept of them walking over the mountain, with seven miles to go to Cardiff. She came back with a very good design, which gave a good flavour of the valleys. It’s lovely now it’s printed, the quality of the paper feels good and I like the way the matt finish on the cover gives it a bit of gravitas."

Raising the profile of Peg’s Boys online and in the media

Although Johnny would have preferred a traditional publisher, he’s benefitted from plenty of media coverage since launch by developing his own contacts with the press and radio journalists. "SilverWood gave me some great advice after the publication of where I could go with my marketing. I’ve set up a Twitter account, been in touch with all my contacts and launched a podcast show with my friend Mal Pope, which is live on all services - the Mal and Johnny Show. Actually, I think I’ve had more coverage this time, including write-ups in the local press, and I’ve done around 15-20 radio show interviews and two TV appearances."

His last word of advice? "You have to be on it with your publicity. One connection can lead to another. But if you’re going to write a memoir and you’re not a famous person, you’re only really going to sell to your nearest and dearest friends and family. Writing it as a story was a very cathartic process for me, thinking about the places I’ve been - such as when I worked in Germany; my character Peg visits Germany in the book. So, I have used a lot of my experiences, and the characters are an amalgam of people I know, rather than talking about them too personally. And that’s added a bit of intrigue because the people interviewing me are trying to work out which bits of the book are real!"

Read more

If you enjoyed this success story, you may also like our Learning Zone article: Why Writing a Book is the Greatest Gift to Yourself.

Work with SilverWood

Discuss working with SilverWood's Helen Hart by dropping her a line here.

Peg’s Boys

Peg’s Boys

Johnny Tudor



“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins