Crystal Balls

Recently, I finally got to see the band I’ve been writing for play live.  If their debut gig was anything to go by I am very optimistic about the future.  It also gave me a chance to meet the rest of the band and learn of their plans. Regarding the album I have been working on, the bad news is that it won’t be recorded until summer.  The good news is that it looks as if I will have three more songs to write.  They plan to launch the album in autumn, so we have quite a wait ahead of us.

In the meantime I am beavering away on my next novel.  I am probably 40% done.  Editing is a lonely, thankless task which I am particularly slow and not particularly meticulous at.  I can’t wait to finish this part.  Next I shall pass it on to a very good friend of mine who worked on ‘Existence Is Futile’ and ‘The Story of Albert Ross’ with me.  Then and only then, after his hyphen-addicted eagle eyes have given the text the once over will I decide what I will do with it.

Thankfully distractions are never hard to come by, and I have had plenty lately.  I recently received an awesome review from K.S Marsden, author of ‘The Shadow Rises’.  I did something I seldom feel compelled to do and wrote a review of a book entitled ‘The Birdman Cycle’ by Thomas Rose-Masters.  Additionally, I have seen the first illustrations for my book of ‘new-age’ fairy tales, and am very impressed.  And finally I have been helping a certain Senor Elbuho move into his brand new internest.  He still has a few things to unpack, but as soon as he is ready I am sure he will post something on Facebook.

The Other Side Of The Fence

Each and every one of us is an armchair critic.  We can’t help it.  It’s part of human nature.  We are all insanely competitive whether we like it or not.  It’s the reason we feel a compulsion to grade strangers farts, to use names rather than descriptions and to lie constantly to people who demand that we tell the truth.  The truth is that we need our own opinions to comfort us, yet from time to time we are willing to sacrifice them for some other perceived greater good.  Which is why publishing something is a form of psychopathic masochism.

Perhaps I will start with a picture.  Imagine a county long jump competition.  A young boy takes his run up, speeds down the runaway and leaps with all his might.  And lands considerably shorter than the rest of the competition.  He is conscious of the fact and looks around towards his mother for confirmation.  She smiles and says ‘well done’.  And yet he knows it’s not.  He knows that despite the fact he gave his best, it wasn’t anywhere close to good enough.  Yet his mother’s lies are enough to cast doubt in his mind.  This snapshot, this moment, could be the moment that ruins the rest of his life.  It could be the exact second when he discovers that finishing last is acceptable.  Or perhaps that his efforts are futile so it doesn’t matter if he tries.  Or maybe he realises exactly then that he is shit.  That he can’t win.

The reason I mentioned the previous image is to highlight that life is a constant stream of momentary perceptions.  When I first published my book, I was amazed that I sold one copy.  The idea that someone, somewhere was reading my book was a thing of beauty, a source of amazement.  After sometime reviews began to appear in different places.  To start I was terrified each time I found a new one.  It was as if deep down I felt as if I was a fraud, and that eventually someone would notice that and I would receive a 1 star which would outline exactly why I am a shit writer.  A year and a half later and that 1 star hasn’t appeared.  I still struggle not to overanalyze every single review.  I still find criticism where there is none, and I probably always will.  And yet the reviews still roll in, in batches of 4 stars and 5 stars.  From time to time, when I am feeling low, I read the reviews again.  And I pinch myself, and can’t help but wonder whose book they are really talking about.

In the beginning I was sure it was just friends being friends.  Only saying nice things because they were duty bound.  Now I have read reviews from a considerable number of strangers and have been blown away by their kindness.  I suspect it’s something like what a doting parent feels.  This thing, that grew from within me, has now left me and made a number of people happy.  I’ve come to realise that how I feel no longer matters.  The most important thing is  how people feel about Professor Henry Tomlinson.  I no longer feel anxious or scared when I read people’s reviews.  I only miss Henry Tomlinson.

Reviewers Wanted

One of the hardest things about publishing a book is the waiting.  The waiting begins with the first submission and continues even after you have published it.  It’s an incredibly frustrating process, which is often drawn out by factors which aren’t immediately obvious to any observer.  Therefore at times it requires taking a blind leap of faith every now and then.  Which is what I am trying to do right now.

I know I have sold copies.  I know people are creatures of habit.  It is very hard to persuade someone who has never written a review for any product to do it for my book.  I know in many cases people haven’t even got around to reading my book.  It just sits on the bookshelf naked and vulnerable like a third testicle being examined by a doctor.

The problem, in my case at least, is that I do not have a million dollar marketing budget.  I rely absolutely on word of mouth.  The 21st century upgrade to word of mouth is rating and reviewing on the internet.  If people don’t do it, then ‘Existence Is Futile’ will go by largely ignored.  Therefore I ask each of you that have finished reading my book to take 5 minutes to review it on Amazon or Goodreads or wherever you find the possibility, as it truly is YOUR REVIEWS which can persuade a stranger to read my book.

As Queen Victoria used to say ‘If you don’t ask you don’t get, and if you sit on your hands you may well end up feeling an arse.’  That’s why I have decided to increase my chances of success by giving away 10 ebooks to willing reviewers.  If you want to become one, please send me a message on Goodreads stating your preferred e-book format and method of delivery e.g. Smashwords coupon or email and I will happily oblige.  My only requirement is that you write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads when you finish.  If you cannot decide whether ‘Existence Is Futile’ is worth your time, why not check what others have said already:

Amazon

Goodreads

And now get on with it!

Busy As A Beaver

Apologies for my lack of posting, but I’m afraid normal life has started to get in the way once more.  I am as busy as a beaver.  Well I’m not really as I haven’t been building any dams lately.  Nor have I ever come to think of it.  Nor am I likely to.  As to tell the truth, I’ll never give a dam.

What I have actually been busy with is a new job.  On top of that I have also started learning to drive.  Between those two pursuits alone, I have very little free time.  And mostly I am spending the little free time I have, grunting and scratching my bottom as opposed to doing anything productive.  Except the blog post I wrote on Redroom.com.

Sadly, at least for the short-term, this is most likely going to be the pattern of my (futile) existence.  And on the subject of existence I would like to thank those of you that have reviewed ‘Existence Is Futile’ on both Amazon and Goodreads.  It’s been a pleasant surprise to receive such positive feedback, and it really means a lot that you guys took the time to share your opinions.  So keep them coming.