How Not To Start a Career

So, I am unemployed. I quit my job after years of complaining and now have realised how screwed I am. I have no finances to fall back on, no people to support me financially and no new job to go straight to. In hindsight whilst I am glad to be out of my former job I wish I could have planned this better. My friends seem to have faith. I don’t. Either way, for the first time in my working life I am in a position where I need work and I can’t seem to get any via the usual route. As such I have finally decided to ‘Make A Go’ of one of the things I want to do for a living. There are many things I want to do for a living but the one I wanted to do first was: Write.

I have wanted to be a writer since the age of 6. There’s a very boring story behind it but considering prior to that my only ambition had been to become either Batman or Indiana Jones it was a significant step. I eventually, grudgingly accepted I could no longer be Batman or Indiana Jones (last year sometime) and started writing more in earnest. I wrote and finished my first novel whilst still in secondary school. It’s rubbish naturally but I then wrote and finished another called the Oracle, which isn’t as bad but does need a bit of a re-write. I wrote that one at 17 in sixth form college. The novel I wish to talk to you about today started life as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated) which my friend convinced me to enter into. I started writing for it but by then we were half way through the month and I’d never make it in time. What I did like was the fact I had picked up a VERY old premise I had for a novel and had started writing it. It showed promise but when NaNoWriMo had finished I’d only managed the first two chapters. Weeks later I told my then girlfriend about it and she became and has remained its strongest supporter despite no longer remaining mine (code for ‘I’m Single’). It was in fact the time directly after we broke up I was sat in my Mum’s spare room at a loss with what to do with my life (again) so I wrote the whole thing in about a month. All I did was write. That was two years ago. Now I am at a similar juncture and I have finally decided to self publish it and you can now buy it here: Welcome The Pigz

Self-Publishing or Indie publishing comes under a lot of fire these days. In many ways it is understandable, it produces some real crap but it also produces some gems that would not otherwise be seen. Like any independent venture really. And this is why I have (finally) chosen to publish my book this way.

The next part of this post is going to come across as arrogant and/or boastful. This is not my intent. I am neither of these things as anyone who knows me will tell you. I am the worst self-publicist alive today. What I am going to be is honest. Or as honest as my bias allows anyway:

One of the biggest problems a self-publishing writer has is what the pros call discipline. I hate this. Speak to any one in the Industry the first thing they tell you is to go away and read this book, then do this course, then maybe get an internship, spend thousands of pounds on a weekend writing course, then maybe, if you’re very good, you can write a novel. It will still be shit but then you can have it read and doctored for a small fortune and then, maybe just maybe, you can send it off to the literary agents to get rejected again and again and again. Bullshit. I can write. I have been studying writing since the age of six. That’s 22 years of experience I’ve got. I have written solidly since that age and read just as much. I’ve read the books you’re meant read but never do, the classics modern and old, I’ve read the how-to books (at a young age), I have studied and re-read my favourites but most importantly I’ve written stuff. I have written a LOT. 3 novels, 2 feature-length screenplays, umpteen poems and two pamphlet collections, a work newsletter, articles, blog posts, stage plays, comedy sketches, short stories and close to a hundred songs. Please stop telling me I don’t know how to write. I understand structure, pacing, character development, foreshadowing, diction, syntax, grammar, narrative, styles, tropes, idiom, genre and all that other gumph covered in chapters of the how-to books. So if you are approaching this book thinking I don’t know anything about how to write a book and just wrote any old thing, you will be pleasantly surprised.

No, the biggest problem I had is after deciding to send this off to publishers after re-writes and edits about a year ago is the response I got. I have had this novel read by two professional ‘readers’ and received their appraisal and sent it to some of the biggest and most respected literary agents in the world. I have had unfailingly positive responses that have all refused to publish. Why? “We can’t sell it.” The exact words of one literary agent were “It’s too clever for its own good”. This makes me spit blood. I have had near universal praise for my writing which I am flattered by but don’t really understand as I flat-out admit I am ripping other authors off, so if people like the book how can you not sell it? The reason is simple, in the current climate publishing companies need to make money. My novel is high risk with no immediate market to sell it to i.e. It is not genre specific. What churns my blood is that risks are what make the most money. Let me list a few high-risk ventures of recent years that were seen as no return on investment: Star Wars, J.K. Rowling, Blade Runner, The Beatles, A Fish Called Wanda, Hugh Laurie, Christopher Nolan, etc etc. The bigger the risk, the bigger the payoff. The trouble with risk is if it fails that is a BIG loss, so instead of taking a punt the industries do focus groups, market tests, surveys and give people ‘More of what they want’. Fun fact: Most people don’t know what they want but will buy stuff they are familiar with for comfort. Give them something new they will like, they buy ten.

Welcome the Pigz is a good novel. For once in my life I can say this about something I have created. I know its good because I have had leading professionals, Literature Scholars and other wirters tell me so. Unfortunately they tell me in the same breath its weird and doesn’t fit into a category. I realise now no one will publish it without some form of proof it will sell. Therefore I am publishing it myself because I think it is a good story, worth telling and people will enjoy reading it. It is admittedly not for everyone but I think there is a wider audience out there than people realise it’s just a case of getting it in front of people. This is where I need your help.

You will notice I haven’t told you what the book is about or what happens. I think the book is better if you don’t know. There is a brief description on Amazon but you should really read it to find out. It is only £2.99 and as I have said, is worth at least that. I am rarely proud enough of my achievements to shout about them but this one I am. I would like people to read this, so if you can spread the word by reposting this blog, downloading the book, telling your friends, posting a review on either a blog or on Amazon itself and doing what you can I would appreciate it as, to be honest, I need all the help I can get and I need the money right now. It is available on Kindle and Kindle for iPhone and iPad. It is cheaper than most second-hand books and has something for everyone. Seriously. Want Comedy? You’ve got it. Adventure? Definitely. Romance? Yup. Magic? Certainly. Mystery? It’s who and a why-dunnit. Theology and Philosophy? In spades. Literary and narrative deconstruction? Oh yes. As well as having pigs and lots of swearing too. In short, it is less than three pounds and is only 80,000 words so not a massive investment on your part but you will enjoy it and you will be doing me a massive favour in the process.

Read, Enjoy, Share.

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3 thoughts on “How Not To Start a Career

  1. I was recommended Welcome the Pigz via a friend on facebook a couple of days ago, I purchased it on my kindle (bargain!) and have just finished it, allowing myself only minimal time to be a housewife, mother of two, and making myself late for a deadline at work (oops). I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it, one of it’s strongest attributed is that it doesn’t ‘fit in’, as an avid reader I often take recommendations onto account, finding the top ten usually…well…too similar, every quote has made me look up the poem, the book as a whole has made me laugh, think, speculate, slightly scared, and above all have a good cry…which when whitnessed by my four year old, I was told ‘don’t cry Mummy, it’s just words. However as you know it’s more than words, it’s an excellent piece of writing and a fantastic story. Rejection is always heart breaking, but self publishing was a brave and brilliant idea. I hope my recommendations can encourage others, and I hope you keep writing 😀

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