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.
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