Just an update this month, together with some thoughts about being a writer, but no spouting off I promise! Well, maybe just a little…
Being a writer is so hard, it really is. Every step of the way there are insurmountable obstacles put in your way, preventing you from ever moving forward. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ll try and put this into some sort of context.
Yes, I’m published, but that doesn’t really mean very much. I’m published by Indies, so I’m not well known, nor do my books appear in bookshops. I’ve been published by seven publishers, so I guess I must be doing something right. This gives me some little cause to be grateful. I only wish editors from one of the big six liked my writing as much!
Only one of my publishers is proactive, forever giving me all sorts of advice, helping me to get myself out there in the cold, hard world of fiction, but others do nothing; they don’t even keep their websites up to date. Strange. I see it as a partnership, but I seem to be alone in that idea. Surely, it would be in their interest to help, perhaps do some marketing themselves, arrange something? Everything is down to me. And finding the time is the biggest obstacle of all and it would be nice to have a little help now and then. But no. Like I say, ‘strange’. But they are all different. Some have gone out of business, one was a crook, one is great, the others indifferent. And contracts, my God…contracts are such an obstacle. Being ‘locked-in’ is something for us all to be conscious of. Some own your characters, others own YOU. This can be somewhat scary. Just make sure you read the small print.
Other obstacles are purely personal. I write of a weekend, getting up early on Saturday and Sunday, wiring until around one o’clock. In that time I can get down anything from three to ten thousand words, depending on how swift the creative juices are flowing. During the week I come home shattered and rarely do I feel like sitting in front of the keyboard. For my latest book, I am trying to do that, as I’m gripped by the story and want it done. I love writing thrillers. They are so escapist. I don’t have to research a thing, nothing but my own imagination to push me forward. Historical fiction is tremendously hard work. I love it, but it is a much slower, more involved process. So, right now I’m writing a new thriller, and editing the second in my Harald Hardrada books at the same time. When done this will go to the publisher, and I’ll work with them to get it ready for publishing.
I’m so busy. I’ve just been reading a writer friend’s programme, and he is even busier! But, he is a full-time writer, successful, published by a top-notch publishing house with all that means. I’m so envious of him. He’s a great writer, a great bloke, but I am worn out by his energy. And humbled.
I’ll never be able to do all that.
I’m locked inside a profession I no longer respect, and a dream I can never fulfil.
I tried to get one of my publishers interested in a sequel to a book I wrote last year. But they say they will not handle it as sales have been so disappointing. So, right now I’m offering readers a free copy of one of my books if they will place a review on Amazon. An honest review. However, hardly anybody is taking up the offer. I remember this happening to me at a market once, when I was giving away free bookmarks. One man looked at me with such utter distaste I thought I had somehow offended him. ‘No,’ he said, and turned away. I followed and said, ‘It’s totally free. A bookmark.’ He turned and glared, ‘No.’ He had with him his son and daughter, and I looked down at the boy, smiling, and said, ‘Do you read? Some of my books are aimed at young people. Would you like a bookmark?’ I thought his father would explode, but the boy took it, and the girl read it. I watched them all move away, and saw the father tear it up and throw it in a bin.
So…what hope is there convincing people to read a free book, when they cannot even accept a bookmark?
It’s a hard, unfathomable world at times. Obstacles abound, and in writing they forever mount up, from the disinterest of agents and public, to the apathy of publishers. Even bookshops never reply to my requests to do book signings. Perhaps it’s me. Yes, it must be. What I need, of course, is a secretary. Unpaid of course!
Thanks for dropping by. Catch up with outlines to my books and where to buy them by visiting my website. www.stuartgyates.com. And please, don’t forget, a free book awaits if you can do a review. Just drop me a line and I’ll get a copy to you as quickly as I can.