19 July 2013

Fame - A Double-Edged Blade

Which writer doesn’t occasionally dream of acclaim - or at least fantastic sales? Of sitting at a book signing running out of ink for your pen, or taking eager questions for an hour after a half hour talk?

Fame, however, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

It’s been quite a week. In a scene that could have come from one of her own Crime novels, writer Val McDermid saw her ink-attacker convicted of assault. The person had harboured a grudge for years due to a line in one of her novels.

She’s not the only well-known writer to fall foul of a reader. Peter James, another Crime writer, seems to collect them, as does JK Rowling.

JK Rowling recently had published her first Crime novel (ahem… I notice a dangerous pattern developing) under the name of Robert Galbraith. Despite puffs from some of the illustrious names in British Crime, it sold somewhat meagrely, ie in figures normal for most debut writers – until the author was unmasked, when sales soared.

Amid howls of ‘conspiracy’ and ‘publisher marketing ploys’ it would now seem that the lawyer did it, m’lud. Her lawyer in fact, or at least one from the firm she uses. Or perhaps, did use.

So why the subterfuge, the anger at being unmasked?

Writers write, period. Yes, they prefer to eat as well, hence the need for good sales, but the bottom line is that writers want their work to receive acclaim, not themselves personally. JK Rowling seems to have few true writer friends, or one of them would have told her in words of one syllable that it ain’t gonna happen, love.

And not just to her; it doesn’t happen to any of us. Take a look on Amazon at any novel carrying a lot of reviews. Along with the 4 and 5 star there will be smattering of 2 and 1 star, and if the writer is particularly unlucky a vitriolic attack on the writer about wasting the reader’s time.

Moral 1: you cannot please all of the people all of the time, so it’s better to please yourself.

Moral 2: never trust a lawyer.

7 July 2013

Goodreads Giveaway Complete!

I was both amazed and humbled that 1058 people put in for the Goodreads draw for a paperback copy of Reading A Writer's Mind: Exploring Short Fiction - First Thought to Finished Story. Thanks to everyone who took the trouble to enter.
All copies are now winging their way to the twelve lucky winners, and I am very pleased that I decided to throw caution, and funds, to the wind to open up recipients to most of the world. Two winners were from Britain, four from the USA - as expected due to the percentage of membership - Denmark, Norway, Spain, New Zealand, India and Canada. Winners have been notified.

If you lucked out on the draw, or ran out of time to enter, the book is available both in paperback and ebook. Or why not do something out of left field... walk into your local library and request the paperback be ordered, then it'll be available for others too. 

Oddly enough I've done just that with a title, and donated a couple of mine. I reckon that's a win-win from every angle.