Monday, 7 August 2017

Let's Just Write First Drafts Forever...

Writing a book is easy! Except when it's not. OK, there's loads of hard bits, but the first draft - the time when you can type any old nonsense because you know it will all get taken out at a later, unimaginable future time - that's the easiest bit of all.

Exactly what I look
like at the moment
I'm currently in the middle of the first draft of book two, and what a jolly old time of it I'm having. I sit in my usual Costa place (back wall, soft leather bench seat, individual table) and crack on with churning out the words. They come reasonably easily - not least because at this stage I simply don't care how terrible it all is. With no quality control, getting words on a page is the sole aim. 
Contemplating the ease
of a first draft in Costa.

If this were the sum total of all that was needed I would be laughing. I could write first drafts of all kind of things. I could branch out into non-fiction! Textbooks on subjects about which I haven't the foggiest could be my bag. First drafts are great. 

What follows a first draft is a whole other ball game. Second, third and eventually fiftieth drafts can be wearing. Forcing your eyes to begin the umpteenth read through, or knowing there's something wrong around Chapter 15 but you can't figure out what, are definitely the non-fun parts of the process. Then allowing people to read it for the first time is perhaps the scariest feeling ever. And when you hear something positive from the carefully selected people you've asked, the relief lasts only seconds. The immediate thought is then, 'But they would say that because they know me and are being nice.' This results in never fully knowing if what you're putting out into the world is any good. Self-doubt hinders everything.

Waiting for feedback is intense!
But even all that isn't the worst part. The worst part is most definitely the marketing. This is where I am up to with book one. Carry the Beautiful has been out for four months. So far everyone who knows me that is likely to buy it, has done. My weekly Facebook and Twitter links to the Amazon page have reached everyone they are going to reach. So I need a game plan. The trouble is, I haven't really got one.

I've gone down a self-publishing route - Ingram Spark - that means in theory, I can walk into any bookshop, convince them my book should be stocked, and they have the means to order it through their bookselling channels. If I'd gone with other Print on Demand companies, that wouldn't necessarily be the case. Except the thing is, I have to convince people in bookshops to stock it. I have to pitch. I have to sell. This is something I absolutely don't want to do. It's not that I don't think it's good enough. I think the complete opposite to be honest. It's a cracker! A curl-up-on-the-sofa-can't-put-it-down-stay-up-all-night-page-turner. Obviously I'm biased but even so. It's gripping and funny and well-written (hell yeah!) and moving. But I'd so much rather the world worked that out for itself instead of me having to shout about it. It's just the way I prefer things.

Look how well my
baby suits sitting on
a bookshelf.
I am working on this though. If you follow me on Twitter, or like the Carry the Beautiful Facebook page you'll have noticed I post screen shots of good reviews. I know, the brass neck of me! It's not who I am at all. But retweeting praise is the first step to becoming the cocky self-promoting, bookselling machine that I need to be. Perhaps at some point I will go on an all-dayer round town, and when I'm tipsy enough not to care, go and have a natter with the poor sod on the till in Waterstones. That could be one way of progressing. Maybe? Hmmm, maybe I'll give that one a swerve. In the meantime however, I'll keep going with the weekly tweets and Facebook posts, and screen shot the reviews. Let's take this slowly, everyone.

Have a lovely week, folks.

No comments:

Post a Comment