Monthly Archives: May 2015

Adventures in writing – sick of scams

Oh Goddddddddddddddddddddd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I sometimes truly believe I am a lone voice in the wilderness.

Okay, here we go.

I came across a ‘free’ course on how to promote books, as I am pants at promoting. I don’t have it in me. I may not be alone in this. I’m not a salesman. I write, I create, and I know there are a hundred and fifty thousand people out there right this minute screaming at me (hah! ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND? What am I, nuts?) telling me that in this modern world, you have to be a salesperson, you have to get out there, promote yourself, give your all. Find your platform, your voice, and shout it out…Jeez, I’m even beginning to sound like all of these people!

Look, I can’t do it, ok. I’ve acted on stage. Biggest audience? Three thousand people, baying for blood. Live. I did it. Smallest audience? One old lady, seeking warmth from the cold, and I put in a performance that would have you eating your own heart! I can act, but I can’t be myself. I’m no good at that. Here’s an example…I had a colleague come up to me who had just requested me as a friend on FaceBook. ‘I never knew you were an author!’She’s been in school for FIVE YEARS. I’ve been writing since…well…since. I am NO GOOD at this sort of stuff…So, I downloaded this ‘course’.

It was pants.

I remember when I was selling magazines in John Menzies and this guy, who always came in and bought his newspaper from us, suddenly said to me, ‘What are you going to do when you retire?’ I looked, blinked, didn’t know what to say, couldn’t find the words, so I shrugged. He laughed and said, ‘When do you want to retire?’ Again, I sort of danced around the question…’Er, when I’m old and I can’t go to the toilet any longer without help.’

This was not the answer he was looking for. So, he invited me back to his home for a ‘seminar’. And there I sat, listening to the BS. How to earn fifty thousand in your first year, a hundred thousand in your second…and so on and so on.

This is the same.

And after this wonderful course that taught me absolutely sweet Fanny Adams…I get an e-mail inviting me to purchase the all new, all dancing super-dooper course on ‘How to be a best-selling author’ and if I did it NOW, I could save, save, save. Yey!!!

At the amazing bumper price of only $99 dollars a month (reduced from $127…wow, really? SUCH a saving!!!) I could learn how to be a best-selling author.

Oh Goddddddddddddddddddddddd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am reminded of those scams from Nigeria, where they drop you an e-mail to ask you to send them all your personal details (including the location of birthmarks on your children) and all you have to do is say yes, and they will deposit 10 million dollars into your account. Keep it there for a week, keep half of it, and sit back and count all those lovely greenbacks!

It’s all BALLS!!!! And the sooner we wake up to it the better. There is no easy way of creating a best-seller, people. Unless, of course, you can write a book telling everyone how to write!  Wouldn’t that be cool. I’ve looked up these ‘experts’ and they have written lots of books. All around 20 pages long and all to do with how to write a best seller. And the mad thing is, people are buying this BS!!!

Look, it’s not rocket science. The first part is the hardest, no matter what all these idiots say –  you have to be able to write and then YOU HAVE TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD BOOK. And after that, you write another, then another, and you don’t stop. That’s my credo. Don’t stop. To hell with them all. Just keep writing!

Oh…just to prove any form of marketing doesn’t work at all, my book ‘Whipped Up’ is on special offer and on virtual tour. You can read the reviews, but nobody is buying it, not now, not ever, so…nuff said.

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Adventures in Writing – virtual book tour for Whipped Up lost amongst the sadness…

I’ve been reading up on this creating an e-mailing list stuff which is clogging the airwaves (is it airwaves when you’re using the internet? Mm…). Anyway, it’s like every other piece of ‘advise’ you get out there. It’s naff.

Marketing guys – and gals – are sure great at telling everyone how easy it is. So-much-so that Amazon is now completely full up with 99 percent crap. So, I’m beginning to seriously ask myself, what is the point.

And I have the answer.

There isn’t one.

There is no point beating yourself, or myself, up over this. If none of this marketing works, what’s a poor, struggling writer to do? Well, this is what I do. It doesn’t make me any money, but it keeps me writing, which is the main part as far as I’m concerned.  I received an email from Amazon, nudging me towards one or two books on ‘writing a Kindle a week’, that sort of BS.  So let us have a look at the writing process from the eyes of someone who writes. And it’s free!

Step one. You have an idea. It may not be much of an idea. It may be a sentence, maybe even a word. But, whatever it is, you see it in your head. It’s like a picture, or a scene from a movie. You write it down. Doesn’t matter where. The important thing is to write it because, if you don’t, you’ll forget. Trust me. I know.

Step two, without really thinking too much (deep thinking is very bad for fiction writers; it clogs the imagination, interrupts the flow), you develop this germ of an idea. You might write a paragraph, perhaps even an entire chapter. It doesn’t matter which. The key is, to write. As above. Write.

Step 3. You never stop thinking. You run through scenarios and dialogue in your head. You can see your characters walking, breathing, talking. It’s real. It truly is. And the more you think, the more you take notes, or even (like me) you write down whole chapters of stuff which just burst out of you like an over-flowing drain pipe during a rain storm. And you can’t stop it because there is no tap, but you don’t care because it feels great. Writing is great, especially when it totally consumes you.

Step 4.

That’s it. Step 4 is it. You’re writing your book and you can’t stop now. You are so engrossed in your story, it becomes an urgent need to get it down, to create. Nothing else matters. Dinner times come and go, episodes of your favourite TV series are missed and, before you know it …

Step 5. It is finished. You’ve re-drafted it, maybe 3 or 4 times. Your publisher has assigned you an editor. The clock ticks. The days become weeks, weeks become months. To get yourself through the empty days of waiting and hoping, I write another book. It’s the only way. But it is so frustrating. You’ve given everything but does it actually mean anything? Not a jot.  Publishing is long. So long it is painful. The emails dry up. When once your publisher was so thrilled, there is now silence.  Nobody loves you, nobody cares. You are a man alone (or woman, but maybe it’s not the same for you, I don’t know. I’m a man, you see. Write about what you know!) and sometimes it can become so horrible you want to run off the edge of a cliff. I’d do that if there were any cliffs around here. But there aren’t. Maybe that’s a good thing…maybe not.

Because I received news there is ONE remaining north African white rhino left in the wild. One. And suddenly, nothing else matters. So, I’m not going to worry about any of this any more. Publishers, they can do what they want. I’m not going to go on Facebook every day, I’m not going to tweet on Twitter every week. Maybe once in a blue-moon, when it’s something important. To me anyway. I’m not going to check my emails every few seconds, hoping a publisher has contacted me. I don’t care. That rhino (his name is Sudan by the way) has made me think how trivial our lives are. He matters, not me. And I’ve failed him. He’s going to die and the world will have no more north African white rhinos and nobody cares. At least, it seems that way. And if nobody cares about him, why should they care about me and my pathetic books?

But I’ll continue to write. Even if it is to an audience of one. ‘Whipped Up’ (at its budget price, as are Varangian and Varangian 2) is on tour, starting 19th May, so, you see, this is not about giving up. It’s about continuing to do the best you can, even when no one is listening. Success is a relative thing. The act of writing a book is success. When one person  you do not know buys your book, that’s  success. There will be lots of set-backs, lots of BS thrown at you from so-called experts who haven’t got a single clue about what it is like to write, lots of dishonesty and indifference (which is perhaps the hardest thing to swallow) but when the thrill buzzes through your guts at the thought of writing a new chapter, put all of that aside. Even if I did not sell another single copy, I would not stop writing.

But I can’t put Sudan aside. No matter how I try. His plight has changed me and plunged me into a very dark place.

You can catch up on my book tour here…even though it may be lost amongst the sadness.

May 19 – Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours – Kick Off

May 20 – Texas Book Nook

May 21 – A Life Through Books

May 22 – Coffee Book Mom

May 25 – My Reading Addiction

May 26 – The Indie Express

May 27 – Steamy Side

June 2 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up

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