Monday, 5 September 2011

The more I learn

It seems that the more I learn about the net and all the uses to which it is put the less I know what I am doing. I would love to know if anyone ever reads what I write on Twitter, Facebook and where-have-you. I am trying desperately to tell the world about my first novel, 77, and to find out who can seperate the fact from what is pure fiction and the many parts where I have allowed fiction to enhance the fact.

If any author who has experience of writing for the Print on Demand market would care to make contact I would welcome him/her with open arms ... metaphorically anyway. I mean, I am a respectable - well, nearly respectable - married man.

At the very root of 77 there is a serious question: can a 17 year old male student and a 35 year old woman even hope to share a love that will stand the tests of time? What would be their immediate problems? What would their predictions be for the long term? What might happen when the pressures of time demand immediate action?

Learn more here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Now is the Hour

There were a few hitches along the way and I needed to learn an awful lot in the process, but - Bingo! - 77 is up and running.  It is available through Amazon as a Print on Demand book. Now I must learn the gentle art of marketing: not, I must admit, my favourite pastime. It uses up good writing time.
Those who read my first book, The Presence, a Memoir of Miracles, which was not fiction, may be surprised that, in 77, I have written a number of explicit sex scenes, no holds barred. And while most would perhaps describe 77 as a romance, I prefer to call it a love story. 'Romance' is, for me, a word all to often associated in fiction with glitz, glamour and exotic surroundings. 77 is set mainly in the terraced streets of a Midlands city. It takes detours through Paris, London and Edinburgh. Whatever, it is a story of the  deep and abiding love between two people. It is a love story.
The two protagonists are David Andrews and Kate Harper-Jones. At the start of the story they are 17 and 35 years old respectively. He is a repressed 6th form grammar school student, she an ex-teacher and a mother of two separated from her husband. The development of their relationship, with some emphasis on the long and painful process to maturity suffered by David, is the main theme of the story.
Adolescent trauma and its long term effects, rejection, bitterness, forgiveness, humour, horror and self-sacrifice all find a place in the unfolding plot.
Let me here be brutally honest. From start to finish 77 has been written with an eye on on its appearance on screen. Film makers and TV producers please note.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Out of the doldrums

Monday morning, and a good one at that. It should not be long now before "77" will be in the market place as a Print on Demand book. You never know, I might even sell one. That much at least is assured. I will be ordering a few for my own use. Not that I will read it; I am quite familiar with the story. It has been a part of my life for many years  before I ever thought of putting pen to paper.

There is a small part of the story that is more or less factual. This part is autobiographical. I wonder if readers will be able to work out which part.

Would it be possible to offer a prize to the first reader to spot the autobiographical part(s)? I would need to lodge details of this with an independent person or body first, but it should be possible. I wonder ...

I have done all I can for the moment to market the book, although I will be coming back to that one in time. For now I can return to "Harry". I really look forward to that.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Vanity or persistence?

Well! Smashwords have approved my application to go on their premium list. I'm away. Or am I? I really have serious doubts about the value of writing a book, which involves an unbelievable anount of effort, that will more than likely languish along with goodness knows how many thousands of others in some remote corner of the net. Even when I have done all I can to spread the word I have to wonder if the rewards will justify the sheer effort. I can't even say that my vanity is satisfied. It is not.

Faith, self-belief, talent and so on and so on matter. Of course they do. They are all in the melting pot called motivation, which is another important quality. But! The best writers can be the worst self-publicists, and vice versa.

I write from compulsion. I believe there is a lot I should write before the grim reaper visits ... but I can't write while I'm doing the rounds of marketing an earlier work. Frankly, I resent the time doing what I like least - publicising myself and my work - when my next work, "An Angel called Harry", which will be the most important book I ever write, is being frustrated by all the fancy bits a traditional publisher would do on my behalf.

Sure, the net enables me and a lot of others to expose our work to the risk of being bought by someone, but I would far sooner see it on the shelves of Waterstone's and Smith's. I might then even be able to see someone buy it. What a thrill!

Sorry people, I feel in a somewhat cynical mood at the moment. No doubt I shall recover. I might even manage to get "77" some acceptable publicity, which I very much hope will not just be down to the rather saucy sex scenes to be found in it.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Three muted cheers

Well, I suppose there might be space somewhere for a very muted cheer, or three. I have finally managed to get "77" on the Amazon and Smashwords websites and for sale. Why, though, does the process have to be so complicated? And why, in the end, was it more a matter of luck than judgement that the desired end was reached? Now comes the job of marketing. Again, the question: how the hell is it possible to make one book stand out from the rest ... and with the message, "buy me", emblazoned across it? Is any effort justified by the result? Or is it nearer the truth for me to say that I am far more interested in the writing than the selling? I dunno.

I know how frustrating it can be to have a book turned down by the mainline publishers time and time again - I've been there - but, on the other hand, is it really desirable that anything can be published on the net regardless of its value? The reading public are bound to find it ever more difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. Will the end result be that readers return to books that have been published in print my the mainline publishers ... and in an e-format?

At the moment I can, if I am vain enough, bask in the glow of having my favourite work available for purchase online but what, really, have I gained? Surely nothing but a sop to my vanity and an anodyne to appease the anger and frustration of repeated rejection. Somebody please tell me that I have it wrong ... that recognition is just round the corner.

Saturday, 26 March 2011


If I was granted one wish by my unfortunately non-existent Fairy Godmother I should have to ask for a crash course in the successful marketing of an e-book. I believe I have done all that can be done, at least for the moment, but it is really pathetic. Were I to have something - like a book! - to carry around with me I could possibly do more. I might arrange speaking engagements; even, though heaven knows how, organise book signings in Waterstone's, Smith's and a batch of independents. Without a book, well, there doesn't seem to be anywhere to start, apart from the social networks like Facebook and Twitter. But they, surely, can be used to some effect ... for all I lack expertise in working with them. Let me see what I can do. If anyone has a suggestion (or two, or three) about how to go about this please leave a comment, preferably polite.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Overture and Beginners

It is one thing to publish a book in Amazon's Kindle store, quite another to bring it to the attention of potential customers. This is the BIG problem ... which tends to support the point of view which states that the foremost assets needed by any writer are a compulsion to write and insanity. I could be a new Dickens in waiting, you a Sebstian Faulks, it matters not. The chances of creating a presence in the bookworld (let me not be posh and say "literary world") are virtually non-existent. But when you've gotta write you gotta write, regardless of the rewards, or lack of them.

They, this wondrous body of they, say "write a grabbing opening". And so I wrote an opening to "77" which, I think you will agree, is grabbing:

"I rather think I'm very much in your debt, but would you mind taking your hand from between my legs? People might get the wrong idea."
The woman put her question to the youth with a composure quite remarkable in the circumstances of their meeting ...

Does that grab you? I hope so. Notice, though, that the line is spoken by a woman to a youth. An age difference! And it is 1951, a time when hypocrisy in all things sexual ruled supreme. Even so, some were virgins - young men as well as young women - when they stood at the altar, which was not altogether a bad thing.

Needless to say, while this scene describes the meeting of the woman and the youth, it is only the start of something more lasting, dramatic and traumatic.