Hello and Welcome to anyone who has chanced upon this site. I am happy that we are both here!
I am a Writer (I used capitals because it is a real job even though my bank manager thinks it isn’t) and novice blogger. But I’ll go back to lower case now that I have got that off my chest.
The last many years have been spent as a freelance writer/director working on promos and commercials for large corporations: around 2000 at the last count. I have also done a lot of other stuff, which I will reveal when I have the confidence! I have enjoyed every minute, met some terrific people, but it’s now time to do something else. And hopefully meet some more terrific people and enjoy things all over again.
That something else is writing fiction. I started when I was 11, copying an SF idea from Isaac Asimov and two days later burning it because it was not as good as Isaac Asimov. Arrogant, or what?
This pattern continued for a few years, copy, write, burn…until I wrote a short story that was based on my own experiences. I kept that story and still have it. It’s not very good, but from it I learnt the value of writing about what you know. Later, I learnt that you could also write about what you could research, as long as the research was accurate.
Any writers who are reading this will know that this solitary, almost psychopathological pursuit of writing fiction is, of course, doomed to humiliation and failure. Or at best a single print run of thirty-seven books and an advance that if measured in 1763 would have bought a small sack of dried peas.
But all that has changed.
For fiction writers, humiliation is now restricted to feeling inferior to your dog because you don’t have the same sense of smell. In my case, my dog understands this and tries to be kind, but is ultimately a dog and lacking in empathetic responses that do not involve food or a ball. Success is a measure of how few words I can use to get an idea on the page during the course of day. Failure is when the page is full of words and the idea has run away laughing.
Ultimately, the success or failure of a novel depends not upon the arbitrary demands of the traditional publishing industry, but upon the reader. As both a reader and a writer I find that satisfies my sense of rightness.
This is 2011, and Amazon loves you. Or at least pretends to.
The old Gatekeepers – Agents, Publishers and that rottweiller secretary who hates your guts – are still there but irrelevant if you simply want to reveal your immaculate – or in my case, occasionally sloppy – prose, to an actual audience, apart from your relatives, or your dog/cat/gerbil. If you want to make money and are not Joe Konrath, John Locke or Amanda Hocking, then they may still have a use, but…the balance of power has changed.
The great advantage of this change is that voices which would never have been heard can now be discovered. The disadvantage is that there will be stuff out there that should have been kept in. Is that a disadvantage? Mmmm.
Back in 1995 I wrote a novel and was fortunate enough to find an Agent in A.M.Heath & Co., a London agency (thank you, Michael Thomas). Ultimately, they were unable to sell the novel, although they came close. I looked at self-publishing, but that was seen as the refuge of writers who were just not good enough to get a publishing deal.
Another agent told me that if I became a celebrity then I could get anything published. Huh. That was going to happen. So I stopped sending the fiction work out, deciding that either it was genuinely not good enough, or my treatment of controversial topics did not fit the zeitgeist.
That was then.
Many writers have since blazed the electronic self-publishing trail and we should be immensely grateful to them; they are the pioneers, even those who have only had 14 sales. Currently, I aspire to 14 readers. So, thanks, guys, you are all brilliant and heroes of the revolution!
As I learn about the ways that work and the ways that don’t I will post these to help others and hopefully stimulate discussion. For instance, I use MS Word for my writing but now find that Word creates all sorts of problems when documents are being converted to .mobi files for Amazon.
There is a solution. I think I know what it is, but I will test it out before posting it.
I can’t offer advice about writing fiction because I don’t have any advice that is worth anything at all. When I do, you will be the first to know.
My first stories are up on Amazon, Smashwords, et al. They are short ‘twist in the tale’ stories – part of my Dark Shorts series – and will be free to download on Smashwords, and eventually on Amazon (they won’t let me offer free downloads yet) so I hope you will do so and give me any feedback you feel appropriate. I will be grateful whatever you have to say about them, or any other subject. Any questions about me or my work are welcome, although I might not necessarily answer some…
I am currently working on a rather fat supernatural/timeslip novel which I hope to have on Amazon early in the New Year at an incredibly reasonable price.
Why not bookmark this page and come back to visit?
I promise I will not mercilessly promote my own work, apart from progress reports, but will try to post stuff that either relates to Writing, Writers, or is worthy ephemera, for instance: are there really Big Cats roaming about in the Peak District? Or did Adolph Hitler visit his half-brother in Liverpool in 1912? Yes to both…or maybe not…
Thinking about Hitler reminds me, if my bank manager does not think ‘Writer’ is a proper job maybe it’s time to get rid of him, since I no longer need to be robbed on a daily basis.
Thank you for reading this. Have a stupendous 2012. 🙂