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Saturday, 31 December 2011

A New Year and a Change of Direction.

I'm a writer. Not news, I know. But, writers write. They read as well, and, sometimes, they do a bit of living - on the side, so you won't really notice it.
So far, on this blog, I've served the needs of numerous authors by interviewing them and promoting their work. I've reviewed books I've read. Because, believe me, any writer who doesn't read is wasting his time. You can't write in isolation, unaware of what's happening in the world of books. I don't read as much as I used to, or as much as I should, or, indeed, as much as I'd like to. But last year, apart from the monthly writing magazines, frequent newsletters, and emailed updates I read, I managed to get through 30 books. This year I'd like to try to average 1 a week. We'll see.
But, more importantly, I'd like to get some new writing done, some of my past writing edited, and more of my work published. So, I'm publicly declaring a determination to enter work for competitions, to submit work to magazines and to complete the novels I currently hold in draft form.
Why make such a declaration public?
Well, if it's out there with readers, you're likely to ask me about my progress, which means I have an additional motive for actually keeping to the plan. I don't want to have to find excuses why I haven't done this or that. Not that that will stop me finding such excuses, when I feel the need, of course.
What this means in practice is that my Daily Word Spot will either disappear completely (please let me know how important this is to you as a reader by making a comment) or it might become a weekly digest with a few words in each instead. The problem with those posts is that they take up a lot of time, you see.
So, the plan is to do a longer article each week, usually on the writing process or something involved with books, reading and writing. This will replace my previous regular Thursday interview slot. At the weekend, I'll do a summary of my writing activity, illustrating what does and doesn't work and letting readers know what's involved in actually getting words down on paper (or, of course, on screen for the ebooks).
I'll keep up the writing contests page, since I'll be entering competitons and know how useful that particular page has been to a number of you.
And, this is breaking news here, I'm going to be giving something back to you for your time and contributions. Tomorrow, I'll post the full text of my free ebook, But, Baby, It's Cold Outside, so you can read it here, if you wish. It's an appropriate story for the day, since it's set on New Year's Eve. However, the real news is that I'll start to release the full text of my novel, Breaking Faith, in instalments, so that those who haven't bought or borrowed it, can read the whole story here. That will start on Friday, 6th January, with the Prologue, and continue each Friday until the end of the book is reached.
Writing is all about being read. Any modern writer who sets out to make money from writing as a primary aim is either daft or self-deluded. The JK Rowlings and Dan Browns represent an almost infinitesimal fraction of the community of writers out there. In UK, the average novel sells no more than 2,000 copies. For an experienced writer, that's around a year's work. At a royalty rate of 10% on a £7.99 paperback - well, you do the math, as they say. Let's just accept that by far the majority of writers, irrespective of talent and ability, will never make a living from their writing. For those wannabees who think they'll make a quick killing in the market place, please accept this as a friendly warning: if you want to make a quick buck, find something else; writing isn't going to do it for you.
So, I'll waste no more of your time now. But, please, do make comments. It's easily done, anonymously, if you can't do it any other way; you can always add your name at the end of the comment. Writers exist in a world that can be isolating, and feedback is not only important, it's essential.
My thanks for your time and attention. May I wish you all the very best in the coming year? I hope you all receive the good things you wish for yourselves.

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