Blog 28: Whatever you do, don’t be a writer …

Hey ho. Still waiting for publishers to stir themselves and send me the inevitable rejection letters for The Gangster’s Wife and The Taming of the Hawk. The Hawk possible publisher promised me a quick response to my resubmission over two months ago now, you may recall, so evidently their understanding of ‘quick’ isn’t mine. There’s a surprise, eh. I’m way too scared to send another reminder though, as they’ll just say they don’t want it and I don’t think I can take another writing fail moment just now.

Talking of which, it has seriously annoyed me this morning when I was reading my “How to be Confident” book that it suggested you should make a list of your dreams and then plan to do them as this would make you happier and more confident. All well and good, but the very first example they used was the mythical case of ‘Jim’ who’d always wanted to be a novelist but had never had the courage to go for it. If only Jim could take steps to fulfil his dream and start writing now, they say, then he’d be a more confident and rounded human being, they say. Huh! As if, eh! I snorted and threw the pesky book across the room. In all honesty, I was a lot happier, more confident and fully rounded (in a good way) human being before I took the steps to try to be a writer. Over the last twenty years, it’s actually made me a whole lot more fragile, easily depressed (in a medical sense), less confident and hugely frustrated as books come and go, get torn apart by some, read by the blessed few (for which thank you) and largely ignored by anyone and everyone else.

So my advice to Jim is: if you want to be confident and happy, put the pesky pen down, keep your dream as a dream, turn your back on the spiky and difficult world of writing and go and do something else more joyful instead. Anything else … If you don’t, you’re in for a huge amount of disappointment, jealousy, rage and despair, and I’m not sure, if you’re being used as an example in a book about How to be Confident, that you can actually cope with that. I certainly can’t.

Sigh. Anyway, in other news, I’ve now written 10,000 words of The Old Bags’ Sex Club – so that’s 10,000 words of a book no publisher will so much as glance at and probably only about 3 or 4 people will ever read. Run, Jim, run for the hills …

Writerly Confidence Rating: 1.5

Blog 22: Smug Writers Week and Twitter’s Most Unpopular Author

Goodness me, but this week has been a major event for Smug Writer Syndrome, I have to say. I swear to you that every time I turn on my pesky computer, there’s some pesky writer or other boasting about their amazing success and making me snarl and spit viciously at the screen. If it’s not telling us all about your major publishing and film deal (or worse, getting your friends to do your Smug Writer Boasting film deal puffing for you, which is really at least a million times worse than if you had the guts to do it yourself … ah, so good to have servants now one is going to be famous, don’t you know …), then it’s telling everyone about how many thousands of followers one has on Twitter due to one’s sensational writing and general literary genius, and how far one has come since one was a mere scribbler shivering in an attic with only one Twitter follower (your mum) and a dog.

Oh, just get over yourselves, Smug Writers … The rest of us have failed or unsuccessful novels to write, and have no energy for your pointless preening. Besides, as Twitter’s Most Unpopular Author, I have followers to lose (by the dozens each day, so soon I will be in minus figures, ha!) so have no time for your witterings. Move over and let us No-Book-Deal writers through – we’re the only ones with a sense of reality any more …

Moreover, I have Pseudo-Smug Writer Boasting of my own to do. Children’s novel, The Origami Nun – purely by dint of being in an Amazon chart so obscure that no other book was competing with it – briefly made No 1 (no 1!) in the Amazon UK Non-Religious Children’s Holiday Story charts (see what I mean about the obscurity?…), my goodness me, and no 45 in the same chart at Amazon US. Which basically means 3 people have preordered it and as one of them is me then I’m not popping any champagne corks any day soon (but bless you to both my surprisingly keen readers). Still, I managed to do a screenshot – go, me! – so here it is:

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 21.40.16

You can probably just about see it if you squint and try not to Magic-Eye it, but by heck I’m proud.

Meanwhile, fantasy novel The Gifting has been free at Amazon this weekend and I’ve managed to shift 27 copies. Always so thrilled to get into double figures, as you know. And free Christian novella The Prayer Seeker has shifted 592 copies during August, so that’s not bad for the dullest (in writing/publishing terms) month of the year.

And, thankfully, tomorrow is September so some publisher somewhere might stir themselves enough to reject my current submission of crime novel The Gangster’s Wife and my resubmission of gay fantasy The Taming of the Hawk. You never know your luck, hey ho.

Writerly Confidence Rating: 6


Blog Three: social media hell

Despite feeling rather low about the writing life (then again, these days, when do I ever actually feel happy about it?…), I managed another 1000 words to The Old Bags’ Sex Club this morning. The four friends are still in the bar, and the discussion about the sex club hasn’t yet begun but, I promise you, I’m leading up to it. Call it literary foreplay if you like, hey ho.

Gay-themed fantasy The Executioner’s Cane (Gathandria *3) is free at Amazon this weekend, and so far six kind people have downloaded it. Sometimes on a give-away at Amazon, I do get into double figures, so fingers crossed.

On the other hand, The Prayer Seeker is always free (and much hated by US evangelical Christians for daring to have a bisexual Christian hero who doesn’t believe being gay is anti-Christian …) and so far this month, it’s been downloaded 37 times. Which in my calculations means another 3 poor reviews and maybe 1 good one. Do you think it’s just a book they love to hate?…

Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter continue to be hugely depressing in terms of the amount of good news from writers on there – I’m sure a minute doesn’t go by without someone getting a super-hot publishing deal or being the next international bestseller. It’s all very wearisome. Honestly, social media should come with a warning: this website could seriously damage your emotional health. Sometimes one just has to switch off to try to maintain any self-esteem whatsoever.