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Spinning plates

I've become too impatient when it comes to my fledgling fiction efforts. Each time I've had an idea for a plot I've started to write it. The end result of this is I now have three books started.

Focus Alistair focus...

Finally I got a grip and have determined that I shall finish book one before looking again at the other two. The first two chapters of book one are now complete. They are now away with my informal focus group for assessment.

This is the worst time....

I now feel strangely powerless. I have entered that stage where control of my book is temporarily out of my hands. Copies are now with the people charged with reading it through, making suggestions, pointing out silly typos and, most importantly, writing the foreword.

You would think I would be used to this period having been through it twice before. However this part is never easy. I won't be happy until I get comments back and am able to act on them.

I sincerely hope that my quality control team (for lack of a better description) will get back to me over the next two weeks.

On other matters, I have noticed that my ruthless Internet advertising has borne fruit. Sales of my first two books have picked up over the last few days. Amazon are once again reporting low stock. I wonder if I should produce a special boxed set.

Head above the parapet

I've jumped the gun by a couple of weeks and sent my current draft off to the chap who is writing the foreword. I now wait nervously for his opinion.

Drum roll please.....

Book snobbery

Time for a little non-Sherlockian rant. Through my Twitter 'feed' I follow (and am followed by) quite a few people involved in publishing and I am getting more than a little sick of the "publishing versus self-publishing" argument that continues to rage. What I object to is the not too subtle suggestion that the former is some guarantee of quality while the latter is not.

The plain fact is that neither viewpoint is correct. Yes there is plenty of self-published rubbish but there are equal amounts of tripe put out by mainstream publishing houses. To damn someone purely because they funded their own publication is pure literary snobbery.

There are many perfectly good reasons why people self-publish. One common reason is not that they are lacking in talent but that their potential audience is so small (their subject being rather niche) that mainstream publishing houses do not see the books as worthwhile to take on.

Let us not forget that mainstream publishing houses are businesses. They are, of course, concerned with quality but they are more concerned with what will sell. It is for this reason that so many celebs, who cannot write to save their lives, have no trouble getting publishers to put out their books (which are often partly or wholly written by someone else). I name no names but you'll all be able to think of a few examples I'm sure.

I feel a bit better now.

Politics and the UNLSS

Anyone who is interested in Arthur Conan Doyle's involvement in literary societies should find my next book (The Norwood Author) rather interesting as it details the events that ultimately paved the way for him to take the Upper Norwood Literary and Scientific Society over.

The merits of Twitter

Does Twitter help me sell my books? My publisher certainly seems to think so but alas there is no easy way to gauge its impact. Anyone have any thoughts?

Off it goes....

My first complete draft of "The Norwood Author" has gone to my informal editor. I await his comments on my structure and content.

Still on course to meet the deadline.

Fictional plans

I have the first two stories for my new Victorian detective underway. The intention is that they will be quite short stories (only a hundred pages or so) and that there will be two to a book. However as this is my first proper leap into fiction don't expect them for a little while yet.