21 January 2012

Writers never stop learning

At least they shouldn’t. The industry is moving so fast that it’s difficult to keep abreast of all we need to, but that doesn’t mean we should disappear into our comfort zones and plug our ears. More than any other time in the last century we have to be all things to all people – writer, editor, distributor, promoter – it’s almost as if we’ve returned to a more technologically advanced 19th century when the likes of Dickens and Twain had to take their own works by the scruff of the neck and propel them into the hands of an audience.

Over the last ten days I’ve taken two online seminars. They didn’t deliver information I hadn’t already heard, but they’ve not been a waste of my time. I wasn’t looking for something innovative; I was looking for an angle I could transfer to my own situation.

I’m currently revising a Western for upload as an ebook. One look at the array of covers round this post should make most readers blink. Er… another genre?

According to most received wisdom this is spreading myself dangerously thin. Writers should focus, on one genre, on one aspect of that genre… and I agree – to a point. It’s what I tried to do when I first started. But where did that leave me when editors changed, when lists contracted? Even having an agent didn’t help. I have writer friends who have needed to change their author names twice or three times just to keep a foot in the print industry, and those are the ones I know of. It’s not something writers tend to boast about, often seeing it as a failing on their part. I’ve come to see it as anything but.

The Western will come out under a pseudonym, but only because that way it’ll link to the print versions. The cover, though, will be on this blog, despite it standing chalk to cheese beside my other fiction.

At the top of this blog I state that I’m not a pigeon. Maybe I was never meant to be. Perhaps few of us are. Perhaps it’s merely a mantra we’ve been led to believe is the truth.

9 January 2012

Talking the Writing

Seaside Radio, local to Holderness where I live, were good enough to offer a joint interview with myself and Crime writer Penny Grubb. Much to our surprise the interview was video, not audio. Our interviewer, Paula Coomber, was after a loose chat with plenty of frivolity. I'm not sure this was quite what she bargained for, but all three of us enjoyed our afternoon, and it sure beats being shut in a room quietly tapping at a keyboard.

Parts 1 and 2 are already up on YouTube. Pour yourself a cuppa, grab a biscuit - both are just below shot - and come join us.

Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2

I can see the potential here for video book chats, and for audio podcasting, especially with Reading A Writer's Mind... Time for some research, I think.

6 January 2012

Being interviewed for Radio - by Video!

I know it's already 6th, but it seems hardly two minutes since I was watching London's fireworks on the television and saluting in the New Year. My work life has been busy right across the festive period. People seemed to clear their desks in my direction before they broke up for Christmas.

As a result there are various things in the pipeline, to be revealed as they mature. The first was a joint invitation for me and Crime Writer Penny Grubb to be interviewed by Paula Coomber from Seaside Radio, which is based in the Holderness area where we live.

So yesterday we pulled up at Penny's place to indulge in a big pot of tea and lots of biscuits for what I took for granted was to be an audio interview, to be augmented by a couple of snaps for Seaside Radio's website. Imagine my horror when out of a medium-sized camera bag came a very small video camera. It's a good job it held an enormous memory card because once we started...

As readers of this blog will realise I prefer to hide behind my bookcovers, but I'm offering a straight pic of what we look like as a warning in advance of the YouTube video, which I'm told is going to be in two (long) parts. If you think this is bad enough, wait until you see me animated!