Thursday, May 31, 2007

Life is s***

Okay, this may turn into a bit of a rant, so be prepared. I am not having a good day...

The new book went to print some three weeks ago. Two days later I ordered my own copies. They duly arrived last Tuesday, in double quick time. Coran and I took some photographs of me holding them in our garden, and also at the viewpoint, one of which you can see here. The images were added to my own website, and all seemed to be going swimmingly well. Reviews were due out, I had the invite to go on US radio, and it looked as if a group from Authors OnLine were going to pull together to try and help promote each others books.
The first meeting for this initiative was last Friday, May 25th, in Edenbridge, Kent. On the surface, it went well. Many things were discussed, among them joint book fairs etc, and getting our books into libraries. One of the other things was the possibility of a joint website showcasing ours, and other UK based self published authors works. It sounded to me as if what they had in mind was very similar to the Nothing Binding project that I am already involved in, the difference being that Jerry Simmons who runs this project has years of experience in publishing and we do not. We are amateurs in comparison, and I don't mind admitting that. It is true that six authors working together could and should have some clout, but this is publishing I am talking about, which is a closed shop as far as self publishing is concerned - the phrase vanity press (which is pretty meaningless anyway) springs to mind. This can and does mean anything that you want it to mean, but to those who are anti self publishing, usually means anything that is not published by a large London or New York based publishing house - in other words, 99 percent of books published worldwide!
Many publications, including our largest UK newspapers, such as The Telegraph, refuse to review self published works, stating that they cannot be sure of the quality. Ha, ha, that's a laugh, when I think of some of the rubbish being published - celebrity memoirs supposedly written (ghost written more like) by Big Brother "celebrities", topless models and footballers who cannot string two words together when speaking, never mind write a book. Many of these are also full of proof reading errors.
The reason I am fed up today is because I have tried so damned hard these past almost 12 months to get my book out there - doing talks, book fairs, signings, emailing book stores, sending review copies, etc, and spending pounds and pounds of money that I don't have in the process, and seem to get so little back. I know I am doing better perhaps than most POD authors, but I need to wallow in this self pity for a while, so just bear with me and allow me to indulge.
Today I was booked to do a craft fair at a nearby vineyard. It was the first sunny day we have had all week (and half term), so people should have been out in their droves. The vineyard was busy, and lots of people looked at the book, yet just one person bought one. I sat there from 9am to 3.30pm and sold just one lousy copy. What do I do this for! It is not the first time that this has happened, but is the latest in a long list of similar occurences. The couple of Psychic Fairs that I have done have been the same, as was last years Questing Conference - 500 people were there and all I sold was 5 copies. I just do not understand why.
People say they want good books to read - well I have written one! It is well researched, written and presented, and I have reviews to prove it. It is not unreasonably priced (I don't know many people who would work for £3 a year, taking into account that the cover price is £15 and it took me 5 years to write) - so what is wrong with people - what do I have to do to be taken seriously and to be seen ! ?
On top of this. when I got home, having left early because I was so peeed off, I found a summons from the local magistrates court to say that I am being prosecuted for ignoring traffic signals - back in January! I sent the initial form back as soon as I received it, admitting that I was guilty (I was distracted by a cyclist who was wobbling all over the place, and was too busy looking at him to see the red light - thankfully there was nobody coming the other way), and it is stamped to say received the following day - January 16th, with my new address on (this summons was not re-directed). I had 28 days in which to fill in this initial form pleading guilty or not, so why did they take 4 months to respond ! ? The list of commonly asked questions says that in most cases you will be offered a fixed penalty without the need to go to court, the only exception to this being more serious offences, or when you have proven difficult to trace. Neither of these apply, so why prosecute? It seems pointless.
I rang one of the Police Officers that I met at the recent Neighbourhood Council meeting to ask him what he thought about it, and even he did not understand why they have done this! He advised me to ring Surrey Police first thing tomorrow to find out a) why the hell they are prosecuting and b) it took so long for them to decide. This might be an interesting phone call.
I feel much better now I have got that off my chest! Now where's that rubber baseball bat, so I can go and bash the settee!