Thursday, March 15, 2012

99 problems but a book ain't one

Several days too late, here are my real thoughts on the Radio 4 "midlist author" thing and why it is hard to keep publishers interested in an author who has not "broken out". Maybe I should have said these at the time but they just didn't occur to me. I've had other stuff on my mind of late and wasn't able to donate much headspace to the business of publishing.
  1. High Street bookshops are mostly full of shite.
  2. Mainstream publishers are responsible for that shite.
  3. Mainstream publishers publish the shite because it sells.
  4. The shite sells because it is what the book-buying public is offered and encouraged to read.
  5. The above fills me with despair.
  6. Rather than be filled with despair I wrote a bunch of books that are the kind of thing I would like to read.
  7. I reckon there are others who like to read this stuff too. In fact, I know there are. They told me.
  8. But perhaps there aren't very many of them.
  9. There are also people out there who really, really do not dig my books.
  10. Maybe it's because they don't like the truth.
  11. Whatever, I don't care. As long as #7 is the case then I will fight to keep on getting my books published.
  12. I don't want to self-publish because I recognise the expertise and talents of publishers. I'm good at the writing, they're good at the publishing. Farmers grow wheat, bakers bake bread.
  13. As a writer I have no awareness of "mainstream". I write what I write and all that concerns me is whether it is good or not.
  14. Nor do I care about genre.
  15. Genre and mainstream are very important words in the book trade.
  16. This may explain why there are not very many of #7 above.
  17. For books like mine, word of mouth is vital.
  18. I have no mouth and I must scream.
  19. The above statement is untrue - I just couldn't resist saying it. It is the title of a short story by Harlan Ellison.
  20. Can you find Harlan Ellison in high street bookshops? Can you fuck.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stuff going down

Went to the Cardiff Read book club last night as a guest - they were doing my Royston Blake adventure ONE DEAD HEN. Can't say it was an entirely relaxing experience but definitely not something I would have missed. As usual with my stuff, opinions were divided. Some love, some don't love. Trouble is, I can rarely learn anything from the don't-lovers. You either get it or you don't. To alter this kind of material in a bid to get more readers would be to dilute - fuck that. But a big thanks to Cardiff for being so welcoming. And Steve Dimmick for getting me down there.

I was on Radio 4 on Sunday doing a little guest bit on Open Book. Up for discussion was the difficulties authors have these days in staying published, especially when they have "not broken out". Hey, "not broken out" is my middle name, so I was right in there. It is airing again tomorrow (Thursday 15th) at 15.30, so you can catch it then. Or just use the iplayer thing (which may not work if you are in foreign parts). Thanks go to Mariella Frostrup for the nicely voiced questions, Matt Thorne and Alexandra Pringle for the discussion and Andrea Kidd for setting it up.

Also did an interview for Tammy Gooding's show on BBC Hereford & Worcester. Not sure when it will be aired, but listen out for me if you listen to her. She asks some good questions and I give answers that are so lucid they will actually change your life.

Do you fancy learning how to write? If so, consider an Arvon course. The one at the Hurst in Shopshire starting 28th May, for instance. Hey, that's the one I'm guest authoring at! Blimey, what a coincidence. See you there if you are into it. Romesh Gunesekera and Kate Pullinger will be doing the actual honours, I will just be... I dunno, doing the dishonours? Making a fleeting appearance, let's just say.

Not that I want to give you the impression that I am busy and out and about all the time. Other than these things here, I spend all my time in a dark cave, sitting in the corner, listening to 80s pop on a Sony Walkman.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

King of the deals

Hey, KING OF THE ROAD (book #3 in the Mangel series) for Kindle is going for $1.99 in the US right now, so you should go and check that out. This is the one that the Dublin Evening Herald described as a "heady literary mix between Straw Dogs and Pulp Fiction".

Is that it? Hardly any bloggings for weeks on end and then this, a hastily typed plug for my own book? More soon, I promise. Sort of.