Tuesday, 12 August 2008


How's this for an attitude:  If people don't like the book, this is a good thing.  If they hate it, if it annoys them, if it makes them angry, if it makes them scream 'farce', if it makes them pity me and my failed ambition, if it makes them screw up the book and throw it in the bin.  

All good things.

If you want to achieve something new and original and fresh that goes against the grain of popular perception and the literary rule book, all of the above is necessary.  If everybody liked it and thought it was a wonderful read and they'll pass it on to their gran and daughter and three year old nephew, then this would be a concern for both myself and my home made, new wave, changing how books are read and written, credentials.  So the more people hate it, the better.  The more it annoys, the more revolutionary it becomes.  If the whole world hates it, it has to be a future masterpiece, right?

The bad things.

I don't really believe any of that.  Well, not to that extent.  I work in a bookshop and will sell the book in the shop.  A good few colleagues and friends will buy the book.  Family will buy the book.  Now I know out of this small group only a few will really take to the book.  It's not a very takeable book.  It isn't to everyone's taste.  It just isn't.  So I adopt the attitude.  I secretly smile when people say they've started the book but won't comment on if they like it and quickly change the subject.  This is a good thing, remember.  We want resentment.  We want sickening hatred.  I laugh at the thought of people saying how awful and weird it is.  It means I am on course.  I have written something people just aren't ready for yet.  This is my attitude.

Then I heard somebody had started reading it and really liked it.  It was a nice feeling.  I remembered how it was never written as an anti this that or anything.  It was written for pleasure, it was written from the heart.  I remember how it isn't even that strange a book, a little off kilter perhaps but still essentially traditional in most ways, it's a light book, a storybook, it is meant to entertain.   So I'd like to deny all former claims of desiring antipathy, it was an attitude I adopted, it was my attempt to cope.  It was my only way of coping.  But I'm over it now.  It's gone.  I think.  I don't know.  Should the next person tell me they hated the book, with a really vicious hatred, if they're seething with anger, well... I may be smiling once more.  Let the revolution begin.  We all need to cope.


Thursday, 7 August 2008

This is the Beginning

So it has begun. After a few years of planning and fannying my book has been published. By me.

It is self-published, vanity published, print on demand and firm sale. I have no agent, no deal, no publisher, no reviews, no press interest and no firm marketing plans. So far it has cost me £910. My ambition is to one day break even.  

It feels embarrassing and anachronistic to speak of DIY and ethics and punk. It feels uncomfortable to talk about operating outside the industry and silly, to not desire its consent.  

Most people who self-publish do so out of failure to find a publisher. It is often the last resort. There are successful adverts for self-publishing, a list of names. But they are all last-resorters, settlers, convinced one day they'd find the big time, the agent the publisher, the deal they'd been so wrongly denied.  Self-publishing is a way to mentally manoeuvre around rejection.   You can easily convince yourself that as it turned out you didn't need them to be a published author, screw them, all authors get rejected, you're no different to JK Rowling and look at her, they'll be sorry when word gets round and they're fighting over you and you're signing a six-figure deal and they want you back and then finally you will be that proper author sitting at your table for the Booker Prize, standing to collect your cheque, knowing the immediate impact on sales. Another print run will be called for. Just imagine.

So there'll be none of that for me. I will try and arouse some interest in Friday Morning with Sun Saluki, I hope to sell some copies but what pleases me most is that it's not like many other books in that it wasn't written with a reader in mind, there was not a single paragraph written that I 'hoped' people would like. I am sure agents and editors would have a field day with it.  They would tear it apart, tell me to start again. At least I hope all this is true. Because then I would feel like maybe I can start something. Something new and original and perhaps lacking quality or correct structure or perfect sentences and consistent tenses. I hope that my book is something different because I have no one to answer to.  Not yet.