An unexpected leap back to my past…

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ivanferrer executivo

Today I was passed a short piece of work (fiction) that had been written by an eleven year-old boy…the son of a friend of my wife.

I’d been asked for my opinion of the writing and I was happy to help. The lad who wrote it is currently enjoying ‘A Construct of Angels’ and is thrilled that his mother works with the wife of an author.

That’s me…in case you didn’t follow. 😀

I was happy to read it, but as I picked it up, I found myself wishing that I’d known an author when I was eleven. True, I’d had a lot of encouragement from my English teacher when I was at senior school, but an author? They were unreachable, weren’t they? My only experience of authors at the time were the books of Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. No, I had to set my sights just a little bit lower. I still remember being thrilled back in 1978 when a BBC Open University lecturer replied to my letter containing an astronomical query.

So I sat back, put on some distraction-cancelling music and read through the two pages that had been printed for me. I recognised the style instantly. Quick, hurried prose that showed an excitability; a joy at having the freedom and passion to write. It was an end-of-the-world scene, something that I had cut my junior teeth on back in the 1970’s. Almost everything I wrote in those days was end-of-the-world where the crowded and less-than-friendly society had been washed away, leaving only a few familiar comforts for my fledgling characters. Looking back, I think it was my mind’s way of reshaping the misery around me into something I could control better. I wasn’t having a happy time of it. An overbearing and abusive father coupled with bullying peers made for a pretty miserable life. However, I still hold the legacy of those embittered days in the form of ‘Homeworld’, my sci-fi saga (as yet unfinished, but that will change) where alien beings battle to survive war and the harsh conditions of their slow-turning world.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the submitted piece; The scene didn’t take long to read. It was only two pages long, but I had to admit that it was better than the lines that I had been turning out at the same age. We’re living in a different era now, it’s true. Eleven year-olds are wiser now than they were when I was a pre-teen. But regardless of that, it was a very good start to a potential life of writing fiction.

If I was able to pass on any advice to the young writer, I would simply say this; Never stop writing. If you love it, keep practising it. Read much – and not just your favourite genre. Follow others who have trodden this path before you, for there are many…and learn from their experiences, because their errors can only serve to smooth your path.

Oh, and make sure you know how your story will end – so you have something to aim your story towards. Don’t repeat my decades-long mistake of creating never-ending stories.

The best of luck in your endeavours.

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I’ve only been and gone and done it again!

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This weekend, I did a quick mental calculation and realised that ‘A Constuct of Angels’ had been live on Amazon for almost three months.

How time flies!

Rightly or wrongly, I’d signed up to KDP Select’s 90-day exclusivity deal in order to test the Amazonian waters (well, it WAS my first time) and was interested by Amazon’s ‘Lending Library’ scheme that promised authors a share of umpteen millions per month depending on how many books were borrowed by other KDP members.  Part of the downside of this is that the author has to sign an exclusivity deal with Amazon for a minimum of 90 days.  Well, those 90 days have now expired and I had a peek at how many of my books had been borrowed by other KDP Select members.

So…(opens envelope), Ladies and Gentlemen, the number of borrowed books after 90 days totalled exactly (drum roll, please);

Zero, nada, nill.

Zero multiplied by umpteen millions = ?  Well, you can do the math, as they say.

Sheesh.

Amazon automatically renew KDP Select for the author, UNLESS that author remembers to untick the renewal box.  With only two days to go, I unticked and have now dipped my toe into the next part of the adventure.

‘A Construct of Angels’ continues to be live at Amazon, but as of today, it’s also available from Smashwords in multiple formats.

Now, I’ve been warned that Smashwords is not simply a ‘post and forget’ site; that marketing work needs to continue.

Smashwords has many detractors on various blog sites, with some authors complaining about low sales.  Others are constantly chiding these same authors for not marketing effectively.

So it will be an interesting experiment.  A steep learning curve lies ahead, but I intend to do everything that my spare time allows to spread the word.

Also, now that I’m no longer tied into Amazon, I’m free to explore beyond the boundaries.  To infinity – and beyond?

I will let you know how I get on.

.

Write on in 2013!

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