The first of many?

Welcome to my inaugural blog post. In fact, aside from my brief contributions via social media, this is the first time I have spoken to the world, as it were. So thanks for sharing the moment with me.

Of course, I’d love to be able to promise an entertaining, witty monologue; one which you’ll recommend to friends and colleagues. However, I have no reason to believe you’ll even read beyond this sentence. After all, what do I have to say that will distinguish me from the countless other authors blogging every day? Probably nothing, but if you bear with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my debut offering.

Why have I decided to create my own site and write this rambling piece? Because, in all honesty, it’s the done thing. I have no idea whether it will actually help me win friends, influence people, or ‘grow my brand’ – whatever that means. Yet the perceived logic is that having a website is beneficial for any aspiring author, as it is for any business owner. Because, let’s face it: that’s what most of us are here for. Sure, writing feels great; it’s cathartic, exhilarating and empowering. But would we put ourselves through the agonies of rewriting and proofreading if we didn’t have that tiniest modicum of hope that it might lead to something bigger?

When I first finished my first book, SUBNORMAL, I was presumptuous enough to think I was on the verge of such greatness. The naΓ―ve, idealistic me believed I stood a chance of obtaining a literary agent. “My book is really good,” I told myself, with more than a little conceit. “It’s different; it says something about the world we live in, and it’s an enjoyable read.” My family and friends had told me the same and, uncharacteristically for a natural pessimist like me, I had high hopes.

These were quickly dashed by a raft of maddeningly vague query-rejections, and I chose to self-publish. Against my better judgment, I assumed the world would lap up my humble scribblings, and was disheartened by the deafening silence of apathy. As Edmund Blackadder (see below) might say, my sales were slower than an asthmatic ant carrying heavy shopping.

Me after my 5th draft

Once I’d come to terms with the fact I wouldn’t be driving an Audi RS6 or living in an acre of land in the countryside, I scoured the web for advice to help my efforts. “Use Facebook and Twitter,” I was told. “Reach out to fellow authors.” “Speak publicly about your work and your cause.” With a heavy heart, I complied.

I say this because, by nature, I am an introvert. I keep myself to myself. Not quite anti-social per se, but I’ll often risk involvement in a road traffic accident to cross the road to avoid an awkward meeting with a person I’ve not spoken to for a while. Seriously.

This flightless bird is less socially awkward than me

Five years ago, not long after my son was diagnosed as autistic, I underwent testing for Asperger’s Syndrome. I’d always exhibited tendencies, and the knowledge that Autistic Spectrum Disorders are often inherited meant I wanted to know if I was the root cause of my child’s condition. Partly due to reasons with which I won’t bore you, I was (wrongly, in my opinion) judged not to be on the autistic spectrum.

Why am I telling you this? Is it an attempt at an endearing, X Factor/Pop Idol-style sob story?

Do people still fall for this shit?

Absolutely not. There are people who suffer greatly with autism, Asperger’s and other forms of ASD – like my son – and they are the ones who deserve sympathy. Any minor symptoms I exhibit haven’t stopped me from living an independent life with a wonderful wife and two beautiful children.

The reason I’m divulging this insight is so that my readers can understand why I write what I write. Also, my self-published contemporaries might appreciate why I’m a little more taciturn than the average independent writer, and why I’ve decided to donate some of my meagre earnings to charity.

Whether I have an official label or not, engaging with strangers – or even acquaintances – doesn’t sit well with me. Or, at least, it didn’t. Nevertheless, against my natural inclinations, I plunged into the online netherworld of indie authors, and I haven’t looked back since. There are some wonderful people out there who have been very accommodating to a “noob” like me, and if any of them are reading, I’d like to say “thanks.”

One of the pieces of advice I was happier to take was “keep writing,” and I finished my second novel, SUPERNORMAL, eight months after the first was published. Though I went years after graduating from university without putting pen to paper, the thought of stopping now fills me with dismay. I finished editing SUPERNORMAL just a few weeks ago, and have been spending the last month promoting both books. But I can already feel the gnawing itch inside, urging me to start again.

“So,” you might say, “what is the point? Why have I just wasted a few precious minutes reading this random blokes ruminations?”

In short, I was a reluctant indie. Now I’m not. The joys of seeing good reviews, of being contacted by readers gushing about my work, of helping other authors have compensated somewhat for my rejection by traditional publishing. It won’t take me from 0-60 in four seconds like an RS6, or stop the next door neighbours nagging about my son’s more objectionable behaviours, but it means people on the other side of the world will see my work, a luxury I wouldn’t have enjoyed ten or twenty years ago.

Thanks for reading, and leave a comment if you have time!

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21 thoughts on “The first of many?

  1. Congrats on your foray into the blogosphere! My sales are crap too, but I sure like the good reviews, just like you do. I like connecting with other writers too! We have to keep trying and keep writing. πŸ™‚
    ~ LX Cain

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome to blogging! I’ve been plugging away at it for six years now in one form or another. Still driving the same, beat-up Volvo station wagon.

    But you’re right that hope keeps us going. And there’s also the part about online interactions being a bit easier for us introverts to swallow.

    Wishing you tremendous success!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Six years, eh? How many/which books have you written? And yes, online interaction is far easier. I did a couple of talks on my book/charity at libraries earlier in the year and I was very awkward.

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      • I haven’t written any books yet, LOL! I started with stars in my eyes about how I’d get rich through affiliate marketing. I’ve written enough posts by now (on various projects) that, had I done a little planning, I probably could have had half a dozen books under my belt. No regrets, though. This is how we learn! looking forward to seeing how your own adventure unfolds.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, sorry! You’re right; we only learn through DOING. I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the last year – and I’m probably still making them! Thanks for your wishes, and the best of luck to you. I’ll hopefully see you on here again soon!

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  3. Hi, fellow introvert (and indie writer) here. Nice beginning, keep it up. Having said that, I have a blog that’s languishing because I usually can’t bring myself to stop writing long enough to, er, write.

    Good luck with yours.

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  4. Pingback: The first of many? | aurorawatcherak

    • Hi, E.M., thanks for stopping by! I’m glad there are a few of us introverts in the world of self-publishing. Most indies seem so confident and comfortable in the heady world of Twitter, Facebook etc. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one!

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  5. Pingback: Rivers of Blood | stuart kenyon

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  7. First of all, I wanted to thank you for following my blog, Stuart – so thank you! I’m going to follow your blog in return because some of what you’ve expressed here really struck a chord with me. I consider myself to be shy/something of an introvert, in that I find it quite nerve-racking when I meet new people and the idea of speaking in public can make me anxious for days; but online I can be the extrovert I’d really love to be. So, I’m not sure if I am a ‘real’ introvert or not – perhaps I’m a closet extrovert?!?

    Did you always enjoy writing, and want to become a writer? I ask because, like you, I went years without writing, or doing anything creative at all – in my case it was due partly to a lack of confidence and partly because I (mistakenly, I now know) thought that the desire I’d had during my teens & early twenties to write sci-fi, be involved in fandom, run clubs/write & edit newsletters – all of which I did, and was reasonably good at- were all ‘childish’ dreams that I should put away… and so I did. And apart from meeting my husband and raising our awesome son, I was pretty miserable! What was it that prompted you to start writing your books? For me, it was the reboot of ‘Doctor Who’… I realised that many of the people working on the show had actually been fans themselves… they hadn’t given up on their dreams to write/act/produce/be otherwise creative. So I started writing again, and I haven’t stopped since.

    A big factor in all this is, of course, the internet… I was in my mid-twenties when I put away my dream of being a writer – I didn’t have a clue how to go about it, and the ‘vanity press’ (as indie publishing was called then) route was way beyond my pocket. Twenty-five years on, and the virtual world is my (our) oyster. And it’s great, isn’t it, because indie publishing means the world now has access to a much wider range of work than traditional publishing (no disrespect) has ever made available. And I get that, because publishing houses aren’t charities – they’re a business, so they are risk-aware, and tend to go for the sure thing (with some exceptions). Indie writers and publishers like you and me do it for all sorts of reasons, some of which are the desire to make money/be famous/whatever, but often because we have a passion, a need to make sense of the world by writing about it.. well, that’s my take on it, at least.

    I have just realised that my ‘comment’ is in danger of being almost as long as your blog… really, I just wanted to say thanks for following my blog, and I will look forward to reading more of yours. πŸ™‚

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    • Hi, EJ!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      It was always a vague intention of mine to write a book, but life got in the way. I have a disabled son who demands a lot of our time, and the dream was all but forgotten. Moreover, for whatever reason, up until 2013 I was devoid of inspiration. And then I read WINTER OF THE WORLD by Ken Follett.
      WINTER OF THE WORLD is set during World War 2, and one of its many subplots concerns the Nazis’ euthanasia program, Aktion T4, which sentenced disabled people to death. If my son had been born seventy years earlier, and a few hundred miles to the east, he would have been one of the tens of thousands of T4 victims. This, along with the worsening treatment afforded to Britons with disabilities, motivated me to create the SUBNORMAL series. And once I started writing, I didn’t want to stop. The ideas come thick and fast, now, and I have the premises for half a dozen stories in my head, waiting to be put onto paper.
      Re publishing – I gave up on the traditional route long ago. First and foremost, I want my books to be read, and that may never happen if I persist with sending manuscripts to agents. Also, I’ve grown tired of rejection.
      Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me, and you’re more than welcome for the follow.

      Like

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