Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Haven’t blogged since my enlightening trip to the London Book Fair eight months ago. I haven’t written anything for my writer’s course, haven’t downloaded my ebook on Amazon, haven’t started my new novel based on the songs of Lloyd Cole, haven’t marketed my novella on social media in the slightest, haven’t sold any further copies of it at my local record shop and haven’t bothered with putting a Paypal button on this very website to encourage a purchase of As It Is When It Was.
My head has truly been in the sand.
But while it was there, it was distracted by a shiny new pursuit. I have started up a business with a friend. We became a limited company in April. We have spent all this time in product research and development, attending trade fairs and networking. I am not going to reveal what the business is, but as Creative Director, I came up with the name, which true to my author quirk, is named after a song by Japan. And also a film by Dirk Bogarde. My influences are still strong with this one. As we evolve, and when we launch next year, I will provide links to our not-yet-born website, Instagram and Facebook and you will find out more.
My writer’s block wasn’t total. I have begun to stash away a steady stream of blogs for our little business, creating a character that will capture people’s imagination and create a bond to our brand.
Things will start to get busier. I will have even less time to write or market my novel. Perhaps As It Is When It Was is the book that Is but Wasn’t. But the people who have actually read it have been positive. A complete stranger on Instagram said it was ‘enjoyable’. One review states: “a great read: will resonate loudly with anyone who has ever shared a house with random strangers (who later become friends). Lots of escapades in a compact and interesting story! Hope others discover and enjoy it too.” It even made it to a Book Club where “Everyone loved it. Made for a lot of conversation about being that age from people who had been to Uni and those that hadn’t. As a few of us have kids in Uni, it gave another perspective – hope they do/don’t do what we did. All said ‘when’s the next book out?’ ”
I really, really, honestly hope to get another book out. Truly I do. I will go so far as to state emphatically that yes I will write another book. The muse is still in me. But if you’d like to read the ones I’ve already written then contact me. Or check out my author Facebook and Instagram to keep in touch (I’m on Twitter too but I honestly do not understand what the point of it is if you aren’t a celeb?!). I always said I was a Blue Moon Blogger – this instalment is the last one of four since 2015 and may be the last for this website too. (Quality not Quantity?!)
Let’s see where 2018 takes me.
This March, I went to the London Book Fair to immerse myself in the world of publishing, hang out at the Author Hub and casually chat about my books thinking someone would say “I love that! Here’s a book deal!” Being the organisational freak that I am, I went through the list of exhibitors beforehand and noted down literacy agents that dealt with contemporary literary fiction, along with their stand location. I printed off cover letters, biog, synopsis, first chapters just in case an agent was interested. I planned to work through my list over three days, attend any talks to do with self publishing and collar a representative from Kindle Direct Publishing to kindly inform me how the hell I was supposed to upload my Ebook.
Day 1: Found a map. All the literary agents stand numbers I had were not on it. Asking a ‘Can I Help?’ person, I was informed that they were all on the upper floor and by appointment only and applications for such were now closed. They were unsure how far in advance I should have done this and the website gave no indication. Hmm. Suddenly my bag full of agent packs seemed very heavy. Listened to the talk entitled “Working with and finding an agent.” Concluded that going with my original plan was absolutely the worst thing to have done. Agents like personal touches, and their opinion is TOTALLY subjective. Rejections merely mean that one particular person isn’t able to be passionate about your book. Claribel Ortega spoke about her experience as an indie published author and how she got an agent. She made me feel more motivated to have faith in myself and my writing and that I wasn’t actually a complete fraud. I tweeted her and thanked her, grateful to finally have something worth saying on Twitter. KDP Ebook publishing was fully explained with the comforting fact that they do not take any money except from your royalties. Felt a little better about handing my book over to them, but wondered how much it was worth it.
Day 2: Had questions to ask Neilsen – the keeper of my ISBNs. Their website confused me and their Title Editor programme was a mystery to me. Some lovely person managed to answer my questions in a record 10 minute time in between appointments and lunch. She promised to email me some information and assured me that the website was in the process of an update which is why it was a little confusing. I felt less stupid than before, but have yet to receive any email. Listened to more self publishing talks and discovered that to make money you have to cut your writing time in half, become an expert in online marketing and that I should perhaps become a member of ALLi (the Alliance of Independent Authors). Realised that the two books I’ve published are mere projects and that really my next book should be the one to pitch either to an agent or to the world via Amazon. Hmm again. Wandered around, with my list of printers and companies of interest to me, aware that the majority of stands were for publishers and big business, not a teeny tiny author of two self published, niche books. I returned to the comfort of the Author Hub and had an expensive drink at Harry’s Bar, wishing it was a Bellini.
Day 3: Wanted to ask KDP about doing print versions of my Ebook. They weren’t the same as Create Space and didn’t give you a sample of the print book before selling it. That’s a no then. I now had all the information I could glean. Headed off to find Prestat Chocolate Shop. Bought three boxes for my mum for Mother’s Day. On the journey home, contemplated the fact that the large display of the yellow brick road at the Book Fair was a true metaphor for my journey as an author. You find yourself in a strange land, wander its path hoping to find a wizard that will answer all your questions and help you find your way. I thought that wizard would be an agent. I found out that it could also be the internet. But, like Dorothy, I realised the answer was there all along. With three clicks of my ruby slippers, I had to find the power within myself. The Emerald City of the London Book Fair was a distant dream. I had to get home and work out a plan. And write another novel.