I was wondering lately if it was all worth it? The writing I mean. It takes up a lot of my time. When I am not writing I am thinking about writing. I meditate on plots, characters, themes, stories. What I do not seem to spend a lot of time on is the one thing that every other writer seems to: promotion.
It is rather disappointing that my sales figures have slumped and that my books have earned only a pitiful number of reviews. Okay, the majority of reviews are 4 to 5 stars and very positive. That does give me a lot of satisfaction. Also, the sales figure was never the reason why I decided to write a book in the first place. The story has always been my main motivation. I think that I write good stories. Almost everyone who has expressed an opinion has said as much. I know that there are grammatical and spelling errors in my manuscripts, and that really annoys me. During the years I have reviewed every written word, approximately half a million of them, in a vain attempt to produce the perfect manuscript. I say vain because I am a solo enterprise. There is just me. I do everything, including the proof reading and the editing. This is not best situation, I know, but it is a matter of cost. I do not make enough as a writer to employ other people to do these tasks and I do not have enough spare cash to invest in my writing as much as I would like.
Okay, this is beginning to sound like a moan, so let me change tack. I considered putting down my pen, word processor actually, I have not used a pen for creative writing in years but decided to continue instead. So, let us get to the positive part of this blog entry. The fact is that I love writing! I started when I was a child. I wrote stories for my own entertainment first and then for family and friends. I have always lived in my imagination. There have been many other subjects that have attracted my attention, art, literature, science, and travelling amongst them and I still make time to fit them in. Writing, in one form or another, has always been a part of my life since I learnt to read, however.
As I approach the completion of my latest novel, The Queen of the Mountain Kingdom, I find myself struggling to decide what to write next. It is not a question of finding something to write about, in fact that is the problem; I have too many ideas! There are three stories that I have already started work on. One is another Science Fiction book, then there is a detective story, and the last and most recent is a kind of urban thriller with a character who I am finding more and more interesting. I also maintain a jotter, a kind of scrapbook of ideas, in which there are several promising beginnings that just need a middle and an end. Oh, and I have started a review of my ‘Eugenica’ manuscript as I recently played it on a ‘text to speech’ app and discovered too many mistakes.
I do not know if other writers do this, but I also read my own books. Then I re-read them. I know, you would think that I had done enough of this when I was writing the things! Perhaps I am being a bit self-obsessed in my own writing? My only justification is that I still like the stories that I have written. Honestly! I enjoy those books over and over again, but then I can say the same for all my favourite novels that I regularly re-read in-between whatever I am reading at the moment. A genuinely good book never gets stale no matter how often you read it.
If I was driven by sales figures, self-promotion, success over everything, then my career so far has been an abject failure. My lack of interest in marketing is a critical flaw. As a modern-day author, I appear to be woefully lacking in the necessary skills to make it big. Only, I do not care. I do care about what I write. I also try to ensure that it is to the highest standard possible. I have my own method of writing, my own style, and my own ideas. I am not interested in following trends or identifying audiences or limiting myself in anyway, being genre specific for example. The process driven approach to being an author does not attract me, the art of being a writer does.