A Life Of Fiction LXXXIII

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

 

Never Give Up: In my last post I looked back at the words I had put up on this site. I noticed that I had written a fair bit, including the odd bit of invective. But I don’t think that I have ever exhorted other authors to keep going, and not abandon their dreams of becoming a published author.

I tried to get published for some ten years, before deciding to have a pause. I have enough rejection letters to paper my front room – and those are just those who bothered to respond. Not every publisher (or agent) bothered to respond to my work).

Maybe I will actually turn those letters into a book. I have considered scanning them, and turning them all into pictures. Maybe I could do a book on how not to get published, with a page or two given over to each rejection letter. Knowing my luck, it would probably get published.

All those rejections have inspired me to start a novel, though, unimaginatively entitled Rejection. The novel is about a serial killer. I have done around the first thirty thousand words, but I’m not sure when (or if) I will get around to finishing it. There is an extract from it at the end of this post.

 

I gave up trying to get published in the normal manner not because I do not consider my work to be inferior, but because, on benefits, I simply could no longer afford sending off parcel after parcel of my work. The cost of postage, with the privatisation of the Royal Mail, simply became horrendous.

Instead I decided to self-publish via the Amazon Kindle store. That does have a few advantages, in that you can actually get your work out there, to be directly downloaded by readers. It is not really that hard to set up a Kindle account – I am a technological dunce, but I managed to do it. If I can do it, so can anybody.

The big drawback to being on the Kindle store, though, is the lack of promotion. That, I think, is what you need traditional publishers for. Amazon doesn’t do anything other than let you put your stuff on their site. Publicity for your work is entirely up to you.

This WordPress site is my attempt to garner a little publicity for my books on Amazon. Unfortunately, thanks to extremely poor algorithms on Google, next to nobody ever comes across this site. Gee, thanks, Google, you incompetent bunch of morons.

 

But I digress. This post was supposed to be an exhortation to other prospective authors to keep going, no matter the obstacles which they feel might be in their way.

Look at it this way: think of how much sheer bloody-mindedness it took you to get your novel to completion in the first place. Now, you don’t want all those efforts to go to waste, do you? All of those hours hunched over a typewriter or a computer keyboard, tapping away, knowing that you weren’t even halfway through completing your magnum opus. Well, you got there in the end, didn’t you? If you managed to do that, then you should be able to get your novel into print.

Don’t give up. Never give up, but keep on trying to get your words into print. Nobody will do it for you. Keep working away: keep sending stuff off to publishers, or emailing them, or trying to grab people’s attention through putting stuff out there on the internet.

Don’t give up. There are many, many published authors – some of them almost household names – who have taken time to get a book deal for their oeuvre. J K Rowling was not exactly an overnight success. Neither was Dan Brown. Yet those two are among the two must successful authors who we have in the publishing world these days.

I may go back to trying to get a proper publishing deal, having tried Kindle for a couple of years and not really having got anywhere with it. But perhaps Kindle is for you. You might kind that you put in the sort of keywords which people actually search for. Please understand that I’m not knocking Kindle – at least some people have been able to enjoy my work, and it is feasible that you might make a success of it, one day.

I don’t think that I will send off any more jiffy bags with the first three chapters of my novel, though. There are publishing companies who you can approach over the internet. I have not tried that route before, as I am not on the internet at home.

I will try applying to some of the publishers on Perfect Pitch, a website which lists all of those publishers which are taking on new authors, and which are not vanity publishers. (You can find the site in my links.) But the important thing is to keep trying; and keep trying new ways of reaching readers. If you give in to failure then you might as well never have written a word in the first place.

 

Here is the promised extract from Rejection. It is taken from the end of Chapter Two, and is the first draft:

 

He had always loved to watch fires, for as long as he had been able to remember. When he had been a little kid he had used to go around his grandparents, who had an open fire. His grandparents had used to watch some dull, adult programme on their portable TV. But all that he had done was watch the flames in the fire. He could have watched them forever.

   “Mmmm.” A muffled sound of protest from behind the black plastic tape covering the mouth. The Fireman ignored it. It was not the sounds which interested him. Only the  flames.

   The man struggled, as though imagining that he might somehow manage to break free. But there was no way that he was going to break through the handcuffs which held the man’s hands behind his back; no way in which he was going to get his legs out of the steel cables around his ankles.

   The Fireman took the can of paraffin and poured it all over the body of the man on the concrete floor, making sure that the man was soaked from his head down to his feet. The man screamed behind his gag as the paraffin got into his eyes, stinging.

   The Fireman did not care. And the warehouse was far enough away from any houses so that nobody would hear the cries of the victim-to-be.

   The Fireman walked over to the pulley. He pushed the button. Immediately the ankles of the man on the concrete were lifted up off from the ground. His legs followed, so that the man was lying on his back. Then the back lifted free.

   The Fireman pressed the button controlling the pulley when the man’s head was free of the concrete. The man was still struggling, little drops of paraffin dripping down to the ground. Let the paraffin run down. Let it get everywhere.

   The chained man stopped moving. The Fireman moved back, until he could almost reach out and touch his victim. He was close enough. Any closer and he might be in danger himself.

   The Fireman got out a box of matches. Always matches, never a lighter. There was something about striking a match which he really liked.

   The victim squealed when he saw the matches. He blinked. His eyes must sting from paraffin flowing into them. The fireman bet that it was really painful. But not as painful as it soon would be.

   The man in the chains wriggled once more. The Fireman did not know why the victim bothered wasting his strength. Surely he had realised by now that he could not break free?

   The Fireman got a match out. The victim stopped wriggling and, despite the paraffin stinging his eyes, stared wide-eyed at the unlit match.

   The Fireman lit the match, striking it on the side of the box. He held it up high, like a tiny beacon, like he was in some rock gig.

   Then he blew the match out. The chained victim breathed a big sight of relief. The fireman sniffed the match. He loved that smell of sulphur.

   The fireman threw the match away. He immediately took a second match out of the box, lit it, and threw it onto the paraffin-soaked victim hanging suspended before him. As the victim screamed through the gag the Fireman smiled and watched him burn…

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