Paddling up the Amazon and enjoying Words with Jam
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? And I have an excellent excuse. In the manner of a drunk stumbling home from the local, I lost my keys and couldn’t get into my own website. I’m not sure why I’m admitting that, as it’s a pretty epic fail, and also testament to what’s been happening to me increasingly since I relocated from my Proper Office (which fairly thrums with efficiency) to the kitchen, where I work pretty chaotically at the table, fielding keyboard assaults from the cats.
But no matter. I’m here now, as well as all over, on account of what’s happening increasingly also – the urgent need to promote. It’s not MY need, exactly; I feel I have to stress that. In my writing utopia such matters as ‘engagement’ would be the business of someone else, like it was back in the old days. (No, scrub that, in fact, in the old days it was no different. You just used a different set of tools, such as the book-jacket postcard, printed up and left in strategic locations, and the bookshop shuffle, in which when in the vicinity of any book retailer, you relocated all your Author A-Z stock to the tables at the front.)
But I don’t know. Maybe there is more pressure on an author these days. And that’s perhaps because today you really can make a difference. Those two extra sales in WHS Croydon were risible; a drop in the ocean for a big publisher. Today, the potential to make serious, sweeping changes to a book’s chances – particularly if an ebook – is real.
So here I am, popping up like an internet rash (which I guess is appropriate, since we’re all about going viral, after all) and, as I’ve just returned home from my once a week bout of creative writing teaching, I wonder if I’m teaching what amateur writers really need to know any more. Yes, of courseI am – there are no book sales without books written in the first place – but when I talk about researching a literary agent, can they not justifiably ask why? Might their time not be better spent tracking down a crack internet marketer? In learning how to shift ‘product’? On boning up on how to best play the bright shiny new system, the rules of which are as capricious and ever-changing as the light?
I’m not sure. But what I do know is that though I still spend the majority of my time on the creative part – the actual writing – when not writing, I have the sort of gnawing restlessness that used to dog me back when I worked in a day job and couldn’t write. It’s just the same; this nagging sense that I’m not being creative enough – not at creation itself (that IS the day job) but at the craft of exploiting the opportunities that have mushroomed out of the shift – which is seismic – from the traditional publishing family tree to the branch of the sciences that’s given us the digital book. And am I? Probably not.
Which as anyone can see, consists of way too many words to tweet. Which means I have probably answered my own question. And so to the point of this ‘supposed-to-be-brief’ linking-post-thing, which is to say (see para 2) that should you feel inclined to read it, I’ve done a ‘ten tips’ thing for that wonderful ezine Words With Jam, in this case on how to write better short stories, based on my face-to-face short story writing course, Telling Tales. And as I’m here, and might as well go the whole promo hog, I’ll also mention that if novel writing’s more of your thing, you can – quite coincidentally ( no, really) – pick up a copy of NOVEL, the ebook based on mynovel writing course, for just 99p for a limited time, here.
So that’s me done for the moment. And back to the writing. With extra jam.