Dumb, dumb, smart, smart, dumb…….

This is the dance of life, the message given in this brave new world of author-entrepreneurship. Now you have to be an authorpreneur – that hideous buzzword that implies that because the Internet (capital ‘I’) has destroyed the creative world, authors, creatives have to – and I mean HAVE TO promote themselves and be at it TWENTY-FOUR SEVEN.

In my view nothing destroys creativity more than systems and rules and ‘have-to-be’ scenarios. NOTHING is more important to me as a writer than having serious alone-time, thinking-time, where ideas and plots emerge out of the fog of this shout-and-stare world, WITH NO DISTRACTION.

The pressure to be on all the time is making me physically sick. Writers are not supposed to be ‘on’ all the time, and by ‘on’ I mean be ‘social’ and out there promoting themselves.

I am an obsessed reader. I read from the minute I open my eyes in the morning and then throughout the day. I never want to know the author personally or look at their life online or connect with them in any way.

The fact that they have written a book is enough for me. It’s enough of their world. I respect it and them. I read their book and I move on.

I wrote yesterday that I don’t get/understand social media, but the more I dig down into the subject (reluctantly) the more I know that I actually do understand social media; I have just never been able to make it work for me because I am completely overwhelmed by it. And that makes me cry. And the sad thing is I don’t see this pressure to promote yourself going away any time soon.

I am doing an experiment at the moment. I am running an advertising campaign on Amazon – paid for by me – just to see if this quiet method of getting noticed works. I will report back on my findings when my ad campaign is finished.

I have a mailing list but only a few subscribers; I have a Facebook page and hundreds of likes there – but no sales. I try giving away my novels but I can’t give them away, no one downloads them. I have an Instafreebie account and a Bookfunnel account and no downloads. I have asked people to review my books but no one is willing.

I don’t like to Tweet and sell – that’s not my style.

I don’t like the begging bowl that is Patreon, I feel too weird about that platform.

So what is the answer? I have no clue. This is not a whinge, it’s a fact, it’s the truth. Last month I made £4 in royalties from all of my books. Yes, that’s four UK pounds.

I know my books are fine pieces of work because I have been writing for money – journalism – for many, many years. I won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in the Thriller/Mystery category in 2013, out of 10,000 and got an advance and made a lot of money because Amazon know how to market and sell to their mailing list of squillions.

I am on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Mailchimp, Instafreebie, Bookfunnel, Smashwords, Kobo, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Lulu but no – nothing.

Someone tell me. What am I doing wrong?

x

 

 

 

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Tripping into the sub-conscious

I’m working on a play at the moment, writing scenes in a free-style that will – hopefully – be incorporated into my play and used as building blocks in the final draft. My play is also a novel. Its themes are the evil of human nature and the final ‘fall down’ of the human species.

Which leads me to focus on one important fact; that writing stories – in my view – is primarily about thought, about thinking, and about going down deep into the ‘other world’ that is the subconcious mind.

OK, so opening the document on which I am going to write various words starts this process of thinking. The document has a name – i.e the play’s working title – and the title inspires thought – deep thought.

This seemingly easy task of creating a new document on which to write a play, a novel, a poem, a drama, seems easy but it’s not; the end result – a play, a novel, a poem, a drama – looms large in the mind and then it starts raining questions which pulls the mind in all sorts of directions; what is this piece about? Who are the characters? Why am I writing this? Why do I care about this piece so much? Care about it enough to write it all down? Care about it enough to think about it on such a deep level?

These questions produce a kind of agony and that agony comes from having to face a certain ‘truth door’, and step through it.

The ‘truth door’ can and does reveal all sorts of nasties, and the nasties come at you the moment you enter this deep place, usually known as the subconscious which happens while you are in the deep thought process.

But the nasties – deep thoughts that deal with personal insecurities, failings, hatreds, phobias, actions motivated by fears etc – are controllable in the thought place that is the author’s personal writing world, and if we face them we start having an enormous amount of fun.

For example, one of my characters is deeply flawed so the question arises- does this represent me? Is it too autobiographical? If the answer is yes – this represents one of the nasties – and it can be hard to face these truths.

But if another of my characters reminds me of a loved one, departed from this world, this soothes the nastiness of facing myself through the truth door, and lets me have fun in the world of deep thought free-writing.

This might be why real life is so difficult for many writers, because in order to write we need to literally live our stories, live inside our characters, live everything they go through.

Real life becomes sub-par; the life of our stories is so much better – for one we can control it, whereas we have no control over ‘real’ life.

Which leads back to the necessity of deep thinking in order to write.

Deep thinking – sub-conscious thinking – in today’s world is very hard, given that we’re bombarded with demands on our attention every waking minute.

But deep thinking is necessary for writers – uninterrupted time, quiet spaces, aloneness, and in huge quantities.

Writers – including me – need to redesign their lives to make that possible. Is it possible? Tell me what you think.

All Fall Down, and down, and down

How do you ever cut out all the distractions of this world, and find the serenity and peace to be able to write?

I had this conversation with a friend recently; I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I must simply be stronger and block out the distractions, not let people, things, situations get in my way. OK, problem solved then. 

Back on Planet Earth, I am a feather, being blown this way and that by the hurricane that is living now. Positive becomes negative, negative becomes positive. Pollyanna, the storybook character, laughs at me and hugs me, I am knocked down by arch-Narcissist X, have nuclear-strength obstacles put in my way because I want to do Y and Z and it’s not allowed.  I am sick, then well, then fragile, then strong, then emotional, then not, then angry, then not. I am clear-thinking, then pissed off with people and politics. I rage internally against the politics of the UK, then I stuff down those feelings and turn away to nature and dismiss it all as something I cannot control. 

I’ve gone back into my writing world, my only safe place, to a story that I love and have been working on for a few years. It’s often taken a back seat because the big fat life gets in the way; being a mother, dealing with squabbling siblings, finding solutions, listening to bruised egos, vulnerable young people, hurting adults, tired and hard-done-by friends, and then there’s the food shopping and the bill paying and the ‘to do’ lists ad-finitem. 

All Fall Down is my novel After Rafaela reinvented. It’s a nastier story, hasn’t got the soft lilting undulations of the After Rafaela story. It’s has not been finished yet but here is a working cover which will be tinkered with. 

All Fall Down is a murder mystery where London solicitor Ellis Yannick is brought in to solve the mystery of Rafaela Green’s death. There are plenty of shady characters on the scene and each one has their own agenda that’s hidden beneath the surface. All that sounds unoriginal doesn’t it, but there is so much more to this story than that unoriginal storyline. Read it and see. Ellis’s lack of experience in detective work is not matched by his determination to solve the crime that destroyed his friend Luisa Green, Rafaela’s mother’s life. Ellis Yannick is hugely vulnerable himself. He’s no cop or detective but he’s got one skill up his sleeve, he’s a skilled at delving down into human nature and exposing the evil wherever he sees it, with not much training in the process to his name, other than his work as a solicitor.

Ellis is a favourite fictional character of mine. Maybe he can help me clear my mind so I don’t fall down.