Very sorry it has taken longer than anticipated to post again. So much has been happening, and so quickly, that I haven’t got anywhere near catching up. If I owe you a reply, to an email or the like, I promise I will get there this week.
So, DEFENDING ELTON is now released, as both an ebook and a paperback. Exciting times, and with my invitation to the London Book Fair there is much to look forward to. I will be joining others on a couple of panels to discuss ‘the writer’s journey’ and ‘the future for authors’. I’m not sure at the time of writing this whether my blog in the Huffington Post has gone up, but that will give more of a clue as to where some of the discussion might be going.
I’m thrilled to be taking part, not least because writing can be a solitary business and though the likes of social media can keep you in touch with fellow scribes, and like-minded others, it’s good to have the chance to meet folks face to face. I know the Author Lounge is a big part of this year’s Book Fair and I’m looking forward to saying hi to a number of authors, plus many others connected to the literary world.
I know from mails and tweets I’ve received that my own writing journey resonates with some, and has inspired others to keep on track. Writing comes from within. It’s a drive that has its own energy, and I know how difficult it is when obstacle after obstacle is put in your way. Whether it’s a rejection letter form a literary agent or a ‘not quite what we’re looking for’ from a publisher, or even your own inner voice doubting you, it can be a troublesome path. Of course it always will be to an extent, but I really do think things are moving again, and in the right direction.
Yes it’s been tough, very tough for new writers, because fewer were being offered book deals, but the likes of Amazon have been forcing the industry as whole to take a good look at itself. A literary agent told me recently that she felt utter dejection when she was unable to secure a traditional deal for a talented writer. She had been working with this writer for six months, helping to polish drafts etc. The agent in question was, at first, unashamedly ignorant about direct publishing, but when she learned a little more she was soon delighted to be helping her writer to launch her excellent debut novel as a paperback, via Amazon’s Create Space. I don’t know what their agreement was, but at least it was an agreement, and at least there would be some reward for both writer and agent.
More and more new novels are seeing the light of day, and thank goodness writers now have such platforms. What’s interesting is that it seems to be the writer who’s adapted first, with some agents also beginning to follow on the yellow brick road…
Some will tell you that they are fed up with being bombarded by ghost written celebrity life stories or copy cat versions of well know novels across the genres. I tend to think that we’ve been through a ‘safety-first’ period, perhaps indicative of precarious economic times. It’s been a culture of ‘better the devil you know’ with writers nervous, agents apprehensive and publishers jittery.
Despite all this some fresh blood is now finding an audience. Direct publishing has helped, so too the digital revolution, and as the stigma dissolves an increasing number of people are both taking part and taking note. I read an article via twitter recently headed something like ‘Amazon – friend or foe?’ I don’t think there’s any need for anyone connected to direct publishing to be ‘the enemy’… far from it. Indeed, instead of casting the modern against the traditional many are now beginning to see that they might just be mutually beneficial.
Who knows how things will look in the publishing world in five or ten years time? Nobody could have guessed how things have changed these few years. Words and phrases such as ‘Kindle’, ‘ebook’, ‘direct publishing’ ‘Create Space’ ‘Kobo’ ‘hybrid author’ and many others were off the radar only a few years back. What is probably beyond doubt though is that when things are changing so quickly it tends to be those who stand still who lose out. Adapting to change isn’t really an option, it’s more of a necessity. In fact writers, agents and publishers will all have to adapt to some extent, just to survive, but they can, and I expect in time they will.
Anyway, it will good to listen to what a wide range of people think at the book fair seminars. Back to matters more personal. DEFENDING ELTON has only gone live this last week or so and I’ve already had some amazing feedback. Thanks for that, and I hope the book can reach as wide an audience as possible in the coming months. The process is always a bit of a slow burner, and perhaps even more so this time. As some of you know my priorities have been elsewhere recently since my partner’s cancer diagnosis, but I’m pleased to say that the future is now looking considerably rosier. Kate has a mega sore throat due to her radiotherapy but with just the one week left she’s getting there.
That reminds me, the chemotherapy unit at North Devon Hospital are currently trying to raise funds for a new unit… any donations most welcome! They have been brilliant. And maybe when that’s done we could raise funds for a radiotherapy unit at NDH too, so North Devon folk don’t have to do a 120 mile round trip for up to 30 consecutive days! I certainly know the various routes to Exeter now!
Well hope it’s not too long till the next post. If I get a chance I’ll do one from the Book Fair.