Steve Scaffardi may be a stand-up comedian but his self-publishing efforts are no laughing matter. Flavour catches up with South London’s funny man about self-publishing The Drought, a hilarious novel about a young man going through a dry patch

When did you realise you could make people laugh? And what makes you laugh?
I have always been a bit of a joker within my group of friends. The things that make me laugh are everyday situations. People are funny, whether they’re trying to be or not.

You’ve been doing stand-up gigs since January, what was the first gig like?
I was so nervous! I brought down lots of friends to support me. Someone filmed it for me and its funny watching it back, mainly because of how bad I was!

Which came first, the comedy or the writing?
The writing, I studied journalism at university and worked as a journalist for three years. I’d tried to write a book several times and then I had the idea for The Drought.

You chose to self-publish your novel; how did you discover self-publishing?
I’d tried getting my book published the traditional route by sending my manuscript to literary agents but I got the standard rejection letters. Then I spoke to a friend who had self-published, and the more I found out, the more appealing it became.

Can you explain briefly the main steps in self-publishing a novel?
Self-publishing is D.I.Y. So after you have written the book, you can either pay a company to help you or go it alone. A self-publishing house will do things such as proof read, edit, design the cover, arrange the printing, registration and get you on Amazon. Self-published books are printed on demand so when someone orders a copy online, the book gets printed and sent out.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to write a novel?
Be prepared to work hard, put lots of hours in for little return, and develop thick skin but you need to enjoy it. When I was writing The Drought I came home and wrote every evening and every weekend for three months. You need to write everyday but you also need time to just think of ideas.

What do you think are the advantages of self-publishing over a traditional bookdeal?
The big advantage is that you have more control over what you write and publish. A big publishing house may force you to make changes you don’t want to make.The book is about a young man, who goes through a dry patch in his love lifeafter a break up, how much is based on your experiences as a single man? Unfortunately quite a lot! There was a period a few years ago where I had basically forgotten how to talk to women. The book contains real-life stories from my own attempts with girls and some from friends. Some of the stories are exaggerated for comedy affect, but sadly most are true!

His friends are pretty bad at giving him advice, what help did you get from yourfriends when it came to writing your book?
I got help from my male and female friends. I would basically listen to their horror stories over a pint and then write about them. The girls simply confirmed my suspicion of how rubbish us guys can be when we’re trying to impress a girl.

It’s a very funny story, what has the response been like from those who’ve read it?
Most of the guys who have read it have said they can relate to the stories and situations, which is what I wanted. I think the funniest stories are the ones you can relate to.

Which authors would you say have inspired you?
I am a big fan of Danny Wallace. I also like Mike Gayle as he writes about relationships from a man’s point of view, and that is certainly something I have tried to do with The Drought.

What does the future hold for Steve Scaffardi?
I’ve just got into the final of the Golden Jester comedy competition. I’m now in the final five so hopefully that will lead on to some bigger gigs. As for the writing, I am already planning a sequel to The Drought and I would love to turn the book into a screenplay as lots of people have mentioned it reads like a film. You can buy ‘The Drought’ now on Amazon in paperback & e-kindle version.

Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveScaffardi

By Melody David