Monday, 2 March 2009

Back to writing

I am currently re-drafting the beginning of my next book and it has occurred to me how much of this self-publishing lark has nothing to do with the simple act of getting your thoughts down on paper. Or a screen. Or a digital dictaphone.

Assembling these often random ideas into a coherent story also takes a lot of time but I quite enjoy doing that - drafting and re-drafting until the story has a direction that and sense of purpose that makes it almost write itself.

Once I have that all important orientation in the narrative, the story assumes a kind of critical mass and I get carried away by it until it's finished. It always needs more polishing once I've reached The End but by then I can see the whole story, something no amount of planning can bring out.

So that's the writing part, the easy bit.

The self-publishing manuals are also telling me to do a whole lot of other things. Some of them I find easy, others I don't. And if I am to be a writer who actually writes - instead of being only a publisher - I've decided I'm going to have to ignore their advice and do what I like.

No change there then, some of you might think.

My point is that the To Do list for a self-publisher is endless and I can't do all of it myself. So I choose what I can and like doing and don't do what I can't or dislike.

I haven't had much success so far at getting reviews for my books. In fact, if just one review qualifies as a successful then I suppose I've been unsuccessful - so far.

"So far" is the balm that restores everyone's optimism. Who can tell what ripples i have created over the interweb? What out of the corners has my message reached? How long will it take for the ripples to bounce back to me as I sit like a spider at the centre of my far-reaching tentacles, mixing my metaphors and touching people's lives everywhere, sometimes without them even knowing it?

Unfortunately, publicity is critical and I would be delighted if my ham-fisted efforts resulted in some. Publicity is what publishing is all about but if newsapers and magazines have a policy of no reviews for self-published work then I have to look for otehr avenues for promotion. And thise 'ere blog is one of them.

I don't have the time to chase up media types with short attention spans. I don't have the time to tout my books around bookshops. And I am not a particularly good salesman, either.

I know conventional publishing wisdom dictates that I should have a book launching party for The Wormton Lamb but I have no idea of how to organise one.

Why bother about these negative character traits, though? I ought to be capitalising on my strengths, not worrying about my weaknesses.

So that's why I am writing again, and writing with a clear conscience. It doesn't matter that I haven't built up a media blitz yet. The long dark evenings are ideal for a little introspective fantasising. The next part of The Soul Trader Trilogy is taking shape.

Bob Blackman - never knowing overhyped - that's me.

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