Saturday, March 1, 2014

Reality sucks........

If you have written, or are writing, your first book I truly hope that you have immersed yourself in the experience, because there's a fair to middling chance the 'experience' is all your actually going to get out of it. Which brings us back to the very basic of question; 'Why do you write?' and by that I mean what is your motivation?

I wrote Russian Redemption because I had an over whelming compulsion to do so - I still have no idea where that compulsion came from. Once I'd started writing my 'motivation' started to change. It was the 'compulsion' that is responsible for the story, Judi that is responsible for it's editing, so my job was only the written recording of events I watched unfold as I sat in that mini cinema in my mind. As the book took shape it was my decision to take this 'ride' as far as I could, without having any pre-conceived idea's of the journey's end. Every step was a step into uncharted territory for me

I've got half a dozen or so sets of engineering drawings from other 'ideas' that my brain has chucked out over the years, all of which are brilliant of course, but none have made it further than the drawings stage. So for me, it was important that once I'd started down this road, I saw it through to the very end, where ever that may be. Total 100% commitment and nothing else would be acceptable.

And you need that. You need that for your own sanities sake. The moment you stop believing in your book is when you need to give up, because if YOU don't believe in it how will others?

When we're talking about a global market (Amazon) with in access of 13 million e-books to choose from, you need to be pretty well connected, or very well off financially (or both!) to make an immediate impact. And again, that 'impact' is defined by your own standards. If you are not well connected or well off financially, prepare yourself for a long and hard battle to achieve your goals.And there will be plenty of character testing knocks on the way to.

After a really good launch Russian Redemption is falling down the Amazon ratings, I think it's now 850,000+ which, although is still in the top 7%, is depressing especially considering it reached 78,000th. But this is what happens. One thing that I have discovered in the world of books is that nothing moves at a quick pace - nothing! It is so infuriating at times. Enter a competition, it takes weeks and weeks to hear back (normally), and months to get feedback. Write to an agent or submit your work for review - it can take months! If you are a fan of Lord of The Rings you'll understand when I say the 'Ents' move faster! Even with the help of new technology, some things just don't move fast, and the world of books is one of them. It's not that it can't, it just doesn't. That is an unfortunate reality.

There are umpteen examples of Authors being rejected by dozens and dozens of publishers/agents, that have gone on to be global best sellers. And there are numerous examples of Authors being 'discovered' when they have all but given up their dreams of world recognition. The trends change, the popular topics change, the popular genre changes - there's nowt stranger than folk! Fifty Shades of Grey is now the third or fourth best selling series in the world, and yet most Authors and Publishers I speak to think it's the biggest load of crap that has ever been printed. Ignoring a percentage that base their opinions on jealousy or missed opportunity, there is an obvious disconnect between what the general market want to read, and what the majority of authors are publishing. Hmmmm. We shouldn't forget the enormous impact of marketing though, like I said, being 'well off' can be a game changer and large publishing houses have large budgets.

So, as Russian Redemption goes into freefall am I disheartened - yeah slightly - but in terms of the book world, it hasn't been out long enough for the ink to dry yet, all of five months. Remember that I am a completely unknown Author, just starting out, I still draw great comfort from the fact that I even have a published novel, out there in the big bad world of print, and it's there forever. And I've still got a hell of a lot to learn!

Here is a contentious statement that may upset a few well established Authors, or it may highlight the reason why they are well established and I'm not, it depends how you want to look at it.

I write for me, for my enjoyment, for my pleasure. That's my motivation. I don't write thinking of commercial viability or what the reader may think, I honestly don't. I write my way and in my words. And that is the freedom of an Indie Author, and that is the bit I have really come to love.

There is one huge benefit to being 'unknown', you're left alone to write - no one pestering for interviews, book launches, personal appearances etc, just 'you' time. Write as much as you can, because if/when you are 'discovered' your writing time becomes a real premium - I'm hoping to be able to give you a deeper understanding of this downside in a few years :-)

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