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Reach Up For The Stars

by on September 1, 2013

Oh No, I’ve done it now. That blasted song will be in my head all day now and I’m going to have to take extreme measures to silence it. Excuse me whilst I go and get some nice soothing Cream. Crossroads should do it. Why have I gone and inflicted such misery on myself, and probably be extension you the reader – as you will be singing the damn thing all day too now, especially if you have any young children about. I will apologise especially to poor afe smith if she reads this, as she suffered some equally appalling effects yesterday with ‘Love in an Elevator’. I hope the medicine I prescribed ( forty minutes of Led Zep) helped cure her affliction, although I would add in her case it was probably self inflicted for listening to a surfeit of Genesis.

Anyway, back, more or less, to the point of today’s ramble. My friend MTM has just posted a rant about her struggle to find time to parent, write, and promote her excellent books. If you haven’t read any of them, go and have a look – it will be worth your while. And I fully sympathise. I have devoted an enormous amount of my time I the last three years to sprinkling the world (urinary based insults in the comments section will be redacted, you at the back. Don’t think I didn’t hear that.) with some gem-like witticisms, which have so far failed to attract the size of readership which will allow me to live the lifestyle to which I am supremely fitted. Ah me.

What is to be done? What is the solution? Is there a solution? All good questions, and I wish I had any answers. I achieved some small notoriety last year by spending every waking second thinking about how I was to market my wares, and as a result found I was behind on my deadlines. This year I have caught up with those, and have concentrated on the rumoured Plan B. No, not the muppet who chants unintelligibly into a microphone in return for stupendous amounts of money. Memo to self: find a moment to redefine being a muppet at some point, and learn to chant unintelligibly instead of writing unintelligibly…clearly it pays more.

Plan B is of course to concentrate on writing a better book than the last. No, it should not in my case be as hard as I seem to make it. Oh well. Plan B says that writing more, and better, books somehow creates an avalanche of sales – presumably by osmosis, or quantum, or something else that I might understand if I had listened in my physics lessons 40 years ago instead of drawing dragons in the text book. Well, I worked out the other day that for an author to earn a basic annual salary, (s)he has to sell around 60 thousand paperbacks a year. My Plan C: quitting the day job to write and market simultaneously looks either impossible or a quick root to poverty. At least that way I could pander to readers’ preconceptions and starve in a basement or an attic, I suppose.

Maybe if I ‘borrowed’ Hermione’s Time Turner, and tried fitting two days worth of elapsed time into every 24 hours? Actually, on second thoughts, I’d end up looking even older than I do now. Probably that’s why Emma Watson always seemed older than her scripted age in the HP films. Perhaps I should go and find out what Quantum really means, if anyone knows. Or search for a happy medium? Always, I suspect a logical impossibility. How can they be happy when they know what’s coming next? Sorry.

Next week: To Dream The Impossible Dream… writing, selling, and having a life as well. Without being a celebrity.

Finally, I have just realised that finding a solution on paper should not be outside my skillset. After all, I do write fantasy.

And here’s a quick edit. I forgot to add this link.


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  1. Mwah ha hahargh. I’m glad I’m not the only one then. But you were doing quite well at one point, I thought, when you were allowed to go into brick and mortar bookshops. And someone recognised you in a garage and asked for your autograph!

    Last week, I put five of my books in cafes round town as well as one into the hands of the lady who looks after the teen books section at our local Waterstones – she is absolutely lovely, gave me the right advice about getting into the Library – and who knows she may even actually read it. I have also something approaching an A.I. sheet but I have a feeling that a complete trilogy, from their point of view, will be much easier to sell.

    To be honest, Real Life has ramped up a gear. This term I will have to drive to Sussex to check up on the old dears one day a week – not easy when it involves using the M25 and I have to be back to collect McMini from after school club at 6. And now I discover that my book has disappeared from Kobo. Ho hum..




  2. rebeccadouglass permalink

    Thanks for a smile. I’m pretty depressed aobut having released my second book to a vast and resounding silence. I know I suck at marketing, I just don’t really know how to fix that. My only approach has also been to keep writing (hopefully better) books. But my day job fizzled so I think I need to find a way to make some kind of writing pay. At least a little bit.

  3. Damn you, Jones*! You’ve just counteracted all the good work you did with your Led Zep suggestion.

    On the other hand, you’ve also inspired me to come up with a solution to your/my/MTM’s time problem:

    (1) Find a vampire or other member of the undead.
    (2) Annoy said creature of the night with bad music.
    (3) Get bitten.
    (4) Lose all need for sleep.

    We will then be able to spend the hours of darkness writing lots and lots of books. (And drinking blood, of course … I realise this may be a problem for us vegetarians, but sacrifices must be made in the name of Art.)

    [* Or should that technically be ‘Damn you, Macmillan Jones’? Doesn’t have quite the same angry ring to it, somehow …]

  4. I can just hear you singing to baby Smith now….Reach up for…

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