Friday, 25 October 2013

In Defense of Dreamers.

I'm concerned for the future of the human race.

Well, obviously we all are to some degree since we're managing to make such a complete horlicks (mess, for those of you not familiar with the term) of the planet that we live on. My concern isn't about the fact that fossil fuels are going to run out, global warming is going to turn us all into crispy critters (or drown us all when the polar ice caps melt) or whatever else the worry of the day is. No, my concern is that eventually all us dreamers will cease dreaming and the world as we know it will grind to a halt.

Am I being overly dramatic?  Um...well, maybe.

The fact remains that for every dreamer on the face of the planet right now there are probably several thousand realists ready to stomp all over your dreams in their hob nailed boots and then tell all their friends what an important service to mankind they are providing by 'keeping their feet on the ground'.

You've had this happen to you, right?

You: I'd really love to be a writer.

The Realist: Do you know how many people try and fail every day? Millions! And now that the market has opened up and every Tom, Dick or Harry with internet access can upload their 'masterpiece' onto Amazon, we're all inundated with so much rubbish that pretty soon no-one will want to read anymore.

You. But...

The Realist: Besides, you never did well at school, your grades were always mediocre. You need to be smart to be a writer.

You: I just really feel that I want to...

The Realist: You're a nobody from nowhere, how would you even get someone to read what you write? Your attempts at writing would just get lost in the ocean of books already out there so there's not much point really.

So what's the big deal? So what if a few people quit daydreaming and start being realistic? Well, what if it spreads like a disease? What if it spreads to the visionaries, the designers, the builders, the creators, the star gazers, the romantics, the artists? In short, what if we lose those people who have always provided our momentum, pushing society forwards? Who make life colourful and interesting?

This may be a tongue-in-cheek blog post but hey, I'm a writer; I can't resist asking 'what if?' 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Time to Press the Panic Button. Again!

You'd think it would be simple, wouldn't you? I mean it sounds simple; just press the 'send' button and the new book will be on its way to the designer, ready to be given a brand new suit for its publication day so that it can be unleashed into the universe.

Okay. That sounds just get on with it!

*finger hovers over 'send' button*

But wait...what if I've forgotten something.


Fine, let's go over the checklist. AGAIN.

1) Book is finished?  Yep. All done. 

2) Book has been to beta readers? Yes. Several times...

3) Book has been revised as per beta readers' observations? Done. Several more times...

4) Book has been edited? Yes. Oh, yes.

5) Book is a good as you can possibly make it? Yes. Probably. Hopefully.

6) You've written a short blurb/synopsis for the back page? ....yes...

So it's all done? What exactly are you waiting for? Someone to do it for you? Just press the damn button.

FINE! *presses 'send' button*


Oh. My. God. It's on its way!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Guilty (Book) Pleasures

Not so long ago, adults who read books aimed at a teen audience were either in a minority or hiding their reading material behind a fake cover just in case they were laughed at or considered...weird - this piece by Joel Stein in the NY Times shows what a number of people once thought (or a minority still believe?)

Along came JK Rowling and her young wizard. Reading about the adventures of Harry Potter and his pals was SO inclusive that the publisher produced editions with updated covers especially for the adult market. And it wasn't just the Potter books that received this treatment - Philip Pullman, Mark Haddon, Lian Hearn (to name a few) have also been successful in the 'crossover' market. Twilight, The Hunger Games , The Mortal Instruments Series and a huge number of others have all earned a popularity beyond their intended audience.

The same is true for readers of erotic fiction and the kind of speculative fiction which challenges society's ever-expanding list of taboos. The HUGE popularity of the 'Fifty Shades' trilogy (and its vast number of looky-likey clones) pushed readers from behind their newspapers and out of the dark recesses of their guilt-caves and into the spotlight - suddenly you were weird if you HADN'T read it (I haven't, in case you were wondering, but then I've always been a little weird).

So, I'm wondering - what's next to be crossed off the list of 'Reading Taboos'? Women reading Haynes car manuals? No, wait...that's already been done. Men reading 'Instructions'? Pah, what am I saying? That'll never happen!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

What the...?!

I'm not one of those people who 'Googles' themselves but occasionally I look up my website to make sure it's performing the way it should. 

I have never authorised any advertising on my website, not because I'm against advertising or anything like that but simply because I haven't been asked by any companies that I actually use myself! So imagine my surprise when I checked on my site this morning and discovered, not only one of those bloody annoying 'Oyodomo' pop-up, questionnaire things but also a rash of links throughout my content sending people off to other publishing sites, online dating companies and even the likes of Tesco!! 

Half an hour of mumbling to myself, making a coffee, glaring at the screen and scratching my head, I figure that either a) the company who manage my site (1&1) have authorised the advertising or b) some cheeky chappies have hijacked my pages and added their own links. 

Neither of these possibilities gives me any kind of warm and fuzzy feelings; in fact both of them are downright rude!

So, do I go into my account and delete all the links one by one (is that even possible?) or do I contact each company and tell them to clear off? Hmmm.

So far I have sent an email to 1&1 asking if they know what's going on and phoned my you would!

Anyone else had this problem? What did you do about it?