Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Brave New World

As I wake up to a life in the brave new world of self-publishing, I have contradictory emotions.  The ‘snobby’ writer part of me that has me rolling my eyes at the very idea of self-publishing (combined with the holier than thou comments that leave my lips) and the revelation that although it is different, maybe it isn’t about admitting defeat, as I first believed.
It is by no means easy.  I kid you not; I have worked my arse off.  It isn’t just a matter of uploading a book, throwing yourself on the sofa and pouring a glass of champagne because you’re there.  Hell, not even close.
I have spent a couple of months sitting on the beach and watching the tides; searching out the rips.  The life guard standing at the flags is the Squeeze who has sent me a million websites on self-published authors and how they got there.
There was no way was I going to stick my toe in the water until I knew where the sharks were lurking…  And there is a whole world of preparation you must do prior to approaching the water’s edge.  Finding the wetsuit that fits; or in this case, the ePublisher.  Trying on the floaties – how you market it.  Slapping on the sunscreen – attending to the documentation that means you get taxed 5% as opposed to 30%.  It was a never ending surf patrol really.
And now I’m done.  I’m up there.  I’m out there, in the world.  What did I learn..?
Well I learned the negatives.   Self-publishing means you don’t have the luxury of working with an editor so your work goes live after edits and reedits, but by no one other than you; and let’s face it, we often don’t see our own mistakes (in many things).
I also learnt that you can upload it, but if no one knows who you are or where you are, then it will sit for a month without anyone buying it.  Well your family will buy it, but that doesn’t count; they have to!  They even have to go in and leave you good reviews, even if most of them haven't bothered to read it.
But there were positives on this curve of learning also.  I did my own artwork for the cover; and liked it.  It represented the story exactly; and who else could design a cover to represent the story, other than the writer?  Had I been picked up by a publisher, there wasn’t a hope in hell I’d have had any say in the cover or a million other things.
The marketing side of it I covered this weekend – and don’t think that won’t be an evolution process.  I’ve been twittering my head off; weird really since I don’t quite get Twitter and don’t actually see the point in it but we do what we must!  And if I move forward on Twitter, then I can selfishly keep my Facebook account separate.  Unlike the rest of the world, I don’t count “friends” on Facebook.  I cull.  I cull a lot.  I’ve got it locked down tight and restricted to real friends and family; only.
But then I saw a comment go by on twitter about putting your book up for free for a weekend and that the publicity, the free downloads – sometimes helps with the sales.  I’m testing that this weekend.  So far, it is sitting on 460 downloads for the weekend.  This is about 450 more than I have had in the whole time it has been up…
When I had a quick look yesterday and saw 330 people had downloaded it, I restarted explorer; there must be a mistake.  Then I restarted the router and the laptop – and by then, it was 337 – and it kept creeping up.
Yeah, yeah, it’s free.  Who cares, it was never about the money anyhow.  It's never been about the money.
And it has moved the Squeeze that one step closer to getting something up; even he has begun to lose that ‘holier than thou’ mindset…
The world has changed.  Changed for us all.   Changed for the publisher that didn’t bother to get back to me for over a year and the agent who sent me a “dear author” letter – like I wasn’t worth the time it took to actually look up my name.
The wheel has turned and it will be interesting to see where it goes.
And as for the Squeeze; isn’t this what partnership is all about?  He watches my back.  I watch his.  He sends me anything he thinks I should enter; I do the same.  If either of us made it, the other would be beside themselves with happiness (and probably spending the first royalty check).
Yes.  That is how it should be.  Perhaps the stars were not aligned with husband number three, but if nothing else, he had support down pat.  I never lived the 'arctic' Squeeze life.
He has often said if he had to dedicate a book to the Harridan, the dedication would read “not one day…”   Which I assume means that not one day, did she support him.  Pity she didn’t as he really is extremely talented and a far better writer than I am.  He once told me about his collecting a prize for a competition (in fact I think if was runner up for the Vogel or something equally as cool).  He hovered behind a curtain, nervously awaiting his name to be called. 
What he should have felt at that moment was a jittery, surreal excitement.  Instead, what he felt was a wave of Harridan's projected thoughts; standing somewhere behind him.  Not an altruistic bone in her body.  Not wiping at the tears with pride as it should be; no, she stood, just this hulking figure, emitting a single self-absorbed chant:  “what about me… what about me…. When is it MY TIME!”
His words had scared me at the time; such a picture it had evoked.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

10 Novels - Guaranteed to Scare

Given that I am a horror writer, I find it astounding that that ever shrinking section marked as horror in the bookstores I frequent, has escaped evolution.  You have your Stephen King and Dean Koontz novels; a few vampires, the odd werewolf, but nothing new that you can sink your teeth into.  Now it’s not that I don’t love Koontz and King…  but where are the emerging writers..? 
I found this list of 10 horror books in the Huffington Post that were guaranteed not to include sparkly vampires, phonetic Maine accents, sexy 20-something paranormal detectives in love triangles/quadrangles with bad boy vampires/werewolves and whatever else happens in a Dean Koontz novel these days.
“The House on the Borderland" by William Hope Hodgson

“Ghost Stories of an Antiquary" by M. R. James

"The Nightwalker" by Thomas Tessier

"Song of Kali" by Dan Simmons

“The King in Yellow" by Robert W. Chambers

“The Witch of Prague & Other Stories" by F. Marion Crawford

“Songs of a Dead Dreamer" by Thomas Ligotti

"The Face That Must Die" by Ramsey Campbell

"The Three Impostors" by Arthur Machen

"Cold Hand in Mine" by Robert Aickman

I intend to seek out every single one of them and give them a read…

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dawn Breaking

I was unaware of dawn breaking when it happened at my place; I didn’t wake up until about 9am given that my daughter and I went to a 12.01am showing of Breaking Dawn, part one of the last of the Twilight movies.  They leave it so long between movies that I keep thinking I’ll be disappointed.  I wasn’t; it was actually pretty good. 
I have read those books multiple times.  Why?  I mean they are not particularly well written.  In some places I have cringed at how she has worded things or spoken in what she considers, teenage lingo – but it was a fantastic story.

I’m a horror fan and the original Dracula was a love story; so I didn’t consider the love interest part to be so far-fetched; but she then went on to alter everything we knew about vampire!  No burning in the sun; garlic – myth!  No crosses…  Sparkly!!!   So anyone that can write a story about a vampire, change every rule previously written; have an average writing style – but still sell over 100 million copies globally and pack out the movie theatres at 12.01 am on opening night; can tell a story.
Of course it is so damned romantic that you can’t help but leaving the movie wondering what you did wrong as you get into bed next to a lump that doesn’t even wake up!  I’m not even hoping for the sparkly super human bit!

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