4 Jul 2013
How Am I Doing?
My Half Year Report
On Monday night I attended the AGM of the York Literature Festival. Not out of curiosity, I hasten to add, although I am taking a much closer interest in such things now that I’m in promotional mode. It was actually as much out of duty as I am a member of the committee but it proved an enjoyable event in itself and provided a couple of new contacts.
It was while I was listening to the Festival Director’s report that I was reminded of the promise I made myself (and my readers) to give feedback on the commitments I made at the beginning of the year. You might recall that I set them out in my blog about business planning on 31 December. If not, here’s what I said I was going to try and do in 2013.
- I will convert my third novella to ebook and have it available on Kindle.
- I will publish BIRDS OF THE NILE.
- I have a second novel, AS DAD LAY DYING, in first draft. I will finish this and have it ready for publication in 2014.
- I will complete the first draft of my third novel, MALAREN.
You might also recall that I gave an end of term report toward the end of March when I confessed to a mild amount of cheating in that items 1&2 were already well advanced. Many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip, of course as the events of last December and Hurricane Sandy proved in relation to my second ebook, CAROL’S CHRISTMAS.
However, I’m pleased to say that there were no such hiccups this time and my third novella, A DAY AT THE RACES, is now duly available on Kindle. I wish I could say that sales of it were going well, but they are not and any support you might care to give in that respect would be warmly welcomed. (See the books page on the website). The main action takes place at Epsom, it’s a gritty tale of deceit, determination and revenge and just like the Derby itself, it bowls along at a cracking pace and provides an exciting finish.
Unlike BIRDS OF THE NILE which is an entirely different proposition. As befits a full length literary novel, this is much more of a slow burn but I’d like to think it’s equally as satisfying to read in its own way. The news here is that my author copies arrived on 14 June (on a pallet in the back of an articulated lorry!) and are now sitting in my front hallway. The formal publication date is 27 September (I’ll be holding a big party) and my thanks go to John Hunt Publishing for all their support. As of that date, I become a nationally published author - although not yet nationally recognised. I tell myself that it’s only a matter of time ... Meanwhile, I can tick that box.
As for item 3, AS DAD LAY DYING is still in the drawer and there’s no further progress. One of my first jobs when it emerges will be to rethink the title ...
And finally, MALAREN. Well, this is case of the curate’s egg – good in parts. Anyone who’s been reading the Writing Life page of my website will know that I’ve certainly been working on it. In terms of the word count, it’s been progressing better than I could have hoped for – today was my 62nd day at it and I’ve reached page 124 which is probably 41000 words. So far so good then and I have every chance of achieving my objective of 240 pages and 80000 words before I head off to the Writers’ Conference in York in the middle of September. But I’m not entirely happy with the content and that bothers me. It makes me think of a TV sitcom of some years ago set in a Jewish tailor’s and starring John Bluthal whose title sums things up quite nicely – ‘Never Mind The Quality, Feel The Width’. However, I console myself with the thought that ‘the first draft is always shit’ (to quote Hemingway) and that I can always improve on it later. If my memory serves me correctly, the first draft of BIRDS OF THE NILE wasn’t that good either but that turned out just fine.
So, there you have it – halfway through the year already and still lots to do. But then, if life wasn’t a challenge, it wouldn’t be worth living, would it?