Decisions, decisions

As the title says, I’ve come to one: Quite a momentous one actually.

For the last however many years I have been slaving to see some of my writing in print. There have been one or two infinitesimal successes but nothing to write home about (sorry!). The most common complaint I receive is that it is too difficult to ‘place’ my stories/manuscripts. Somewhat bewildered I tried a few times to discover why my work was so difficult to pigeon-hole thinking that perhaps I could drastically alter or re-write something to gain acceptance. It was, I was told vaguely, down to financial gain. If a product can be branded and marketed as being like such and such or in the vein of so and so, it will have previous market placement.

Call me dim but one of my major complaints, as a reader, is that I have difficulty finding books by authors I admire and enjoy. Apart from a few exceptions I usually have to resort to the Internet or lucky finds in charity shops. I am a great supporter and admirer of local libraries: I think they are a fantastic utility and should be supported as much as possible BUT when their shelves are weighted down with aisle after aisle of romance, chick-lit, family sagas and pot-boiler mystery cum thriller cum whodunit volumes, it can be easy to stop going there because the likelihood of finding a gem simply isn’t there. But being the ever hopeful little soul that I am, I persevere. Now I must hastily add that I do often read and enjoy books from all the above mentioned genres and I honestly believe that getting folk to read anything is better than having them read nothing but, surely multiple copies of pot-boilers aren’t necessary? If someone wants to read something badly enough surely they will go onto a waiting list? If they can’t sustain interest more than a few weeks then, frankly, I’m not sure reading a book would benefit them that much.

But I’ve strayed. The purpose of this post was originally sparked off by one of those minor epiphanies occasionally enjoyed when you do something wonderful but simple like walking in the rain. My part of the world has been overly blessed with rain lately and it’s been a source of quite sustained complaint (me included) but today, for some reason, it suddenly occurred to me, how nice it would be to simply put up an umbrella, pull on waterproof boots and go out for a walk knowing that I would be unlikely to encounter anyone else. I’m not a sociable soul by nature and although I don’t mind a quick hello or brief chat, I like to think while I walk. I also talk to myself which can be embarrassing if someone overhears. The explanation that you are trying out character dialogue frequently only makes matters worse!

So, having walked and talked in the gloriously wet, green, sumptuous countryside that is my back garden I headed home thinking, ‘How silly, I could have been enjoying this for weeks; all it needed was a change of attitude,’ which was when my epiphany fell on me.

I’m about to start, with trepidation, yet another manuscript. It is in a similar vein to those I’ve written before because, well, I tend to write what I would like to read; mostly because there isn’t enough out there for me to buy because, well, the stories I like don’t get into print often enough. Hmm, it’s not rocket science is it?

So, my decision is this: I will endeavour to write this latest tale and when it is done I will submit it (along with two others which I will tweak) to, oh I don’t know, twenty agents or so? If anything gets picked up, well, great; obviously the market has changed in my favour. But if they don’t I’m going to go to the dark side. I will e-publish in one form or another once I have researched it a little more thoroughly and I will put them out there for people like me to find and read. Sure it won’t have the clout of an actual book but it will get the stuff seen (and read!).

I know my stuff is good because I get good feedback apart from the marketing angle so if the market won’t come to me, it’s up to me to go to the market. There’s a lot of grim stuff out there in the virtual world but one thing it has given is choice. People with taste similar to me may be in the minority but we know what we like.

Nearer the time I may publish extracts on this blog to help me target where I should be aiming my possible e-books and I’m sure I will be doing more than my share of whining: It’s what writers do after all! If and when the muse co-operates I’ll also post the odd short story.

Watch this space…

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