I’m a little embarrassed about how neglected my blog has been. Months and I haven’t found time to write a single word on here. I feel vaguely justified given how much harder my work life has been than normal, but still, I thought I was better than this. Turns out, I’m not. Turns out I am exactly this.
Even though I haven’t been writing on the blog at all I have been doing plenty of reading and more writing than usual. So, about four-ish years ago I got very excited about the idea of independent publishing (I wrote a bit about it on here) and published four books on Amazon. Two novels, two collections of five short stories each. I put a ton of effort into it, not just trying to get the books as good as I possibly could, but also on presentation, cover design and all of that other stuff that goes with it. There was a bit of a learning curve. The first cover for my first book was terrible, the second version was a lot better. The way I put the ebooks together was initially very clumsy and became more refined as I went on. I made paperback versions through createspace, which I think turned out very nice. But overall, the whole experiment was a bit of a failure. Sales were very low, free giveaway were respectable (mostly) but didn’t manifest into many reviews. So a few months ago I pulled the plug and unpublished all four books.
The idea was not to give up, but to try a different approach. I loved the idea of indie publishing. I was inspired by indie video games and the way that people who made them used the platforms available to them to create new, esoteric forms of games that wouldn’t have been possible without independence. But indie publishing wasn’t working for me the way it was working for some writers, and I had to be realistic about it. What I realised, a little slowly perhaps, is that there was a place for the kind of books I was trying to write, and it was traditional publishing. All the books I love come from there. I don’t know why I didn’t notice it sooner.
(It’s not that indie publishing is bad by the way, I definitely don’t think that. My books just didn’t fit in there. That’s all.)
So once I had pulled my books down I thought I’d better get on with doing some new writing and actually start sending stuff out again. It had been ages and I had to remind myself how it was done. I even bought the latest copy of writers and artists yearbook. Then I wrote a new short story, the first I had done in a while, and entered it into the Bridport prize. I never expected to have any success with it so I kinda just forgot about it, but I ended up being shortlisted. This is by far the best writing success I have had and it has energised me. I am just getting ready for this years Nanowrimo by actually planning and getting myself all set up for it. I have never succeeded at nanowrimo, though I have only tried twice, but I am feeling excited to get started. I even bought a Bluetooth keyboard for my ipad so that I can write in coffee shops and libraries. I’m writing this blogpost on it now. If you have noticed typos, that may be because this keyboard is going to take a little getting used to.
I kinda miss having my books for sale on Amazon, even if no one ever actually bought them. It felt like I had done something. But taking them down has turned out OK so far. This is the most inspired I have felt for a very long time.