Sunday, 9 January 2011

Now what? the spangled web (1)

Well it was great holding that first book – they were signed, wrapped and delivered, now what?  I had decided already not even to try conventional bookshops.  Without a ‘proper’ publisher behind me, it would be down to my own efforts to try and persuade shops to take them – not something I could do.  While I had been struggling with book covers and ISBN problems I had been researching this very matter and had decided I would try the internet.  It didn’t look easy but certainly more comfortable than trying to sell myself to independent bookshops.

I have always liked the internet, from my very first connection back in the early 90s, hooked and totally addicted although, until Ellen’s Tale arrived, I had mainly used it for research for degrees and online shopping.  Indeed my whole experience with computers had been driven by degree research.  I had never used it for anything more frivolous than choosing some fiction from Amazon.  It did seem a logical place to sell Ellen.  Of course all my research on using the internet for selling said the groundwork must be done before publication!!! Not afterwards.

But what to do?  Where to start?  Social networking everyone said.  Yeah right!  I am not the most social of people and from what I had heard places like Facebook and Twitter were full of chatter about where to meet for drinks and the whereabouts of some celebrity.  Was this really the way to go?  One has to trust sometimes and one thing I have learnt throughout life is never to believe gossip and if you are going to dismiss something as rubbish at least give it the courtesy of examining it properly first.  I signed up for Facebook and for Twitter.  Silence on the net is just as resounding as silence in real life.  What does one do when you have the accounts, what to say? 

Find friends, did I know anyone with these accounts?  Well it seemed I did, I never knew they were there before.  So I now had friends from my real life to chat to.  About what?  It comes, it comes; actually it doesn’t take so long, it just feels like it some days.  Then one moves on slowly to friends of friends.  I was there to help my writing and so apart from ‘friends’ there were those with similar interests and not just the writing.  I had found a whole new world of interest which expands everyday I let it.  Like research, paths lead off and, if ventured down, direct one to even more.  I fell under the spell completely.  To chat to friends around the globe.  To lock debating horns with like-minded horns.  To find jewels of laughter and fun.  All these and more sucked me in.

Discipline is needed or whole days can be spent chatting; joining in; finding new sites; joining more groups; offering opinions on an ever-expanding subjects and where the writing?  Where the selling?

I started my journey of self-publishing at the end of 2009 and at the beginning of 2010 I started on the second of what, I then realised, was going to be a series.  At the time I was also involved in co-editing a collection of memoirs for the Living History group that I run for our local U3A.  It proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated.  Most of these personal accounts had been handwritten and had to be transfered to computer before anything could be done.  Illustrations had to be sorted.  When we had struggled through these, then we had to figure out Lulu!  We did after some weeks and the group seemed well pleased with our efforts.  Around the time we finished I decided I was going to declare myself a writer and stop feeling guilty about the time spent on the computer.  So many hours a day at ‘work’ was allowed.  This immediately took the pressure away and so increased my enjoyment levels.

One of the first things an author was supposed to have was a web site.  I had struggled across the Christmas period to put one together.  Having established a provider I had to then provide the site and I struggled to grasp the different concepts.  HTML, anchors, site structures, navigation and hyperlinks.  I cursed and swore my way again through endless nights as that wonderful thing ‘understanding’ escaped me.  It came.  It came, not in a blinding flash but slowly, painstakingly and with great timidity.  I learnt to write each step down because, as sure as anything, if I didn’t then the next time I tried it – gone, like that.    

I uplifted my attempt early in the year and sighed with relief.  Now that blog site.  What would I write about, who would I write it for.  Why had I done this to myself?

I also blog about anything and nothing in particular at

and about reading and books at

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