Monday, 17 September 2012


Is that strictly true? Not strictly true, no. Oh, brunette? Yes. Stunning? Certainly. Then the story falls apart on that pesky kiss detail. Let us examine the build-up to that non-blown non-kiss. This is something of a non-prelude. There are people I come into contact with relatively rarely.
   (After reading that last sentence, I could only laugh.)
   I came into contact with one of those people today. A nod in the crowd, and conversation was had. So we chatted, on a rainy street within a stone’s lob of a supermarket. What happened to so-and-so? Have you seen you-know-who? You’ll never guess, no, you’ll probably guess what happened to insert-obvious-candidate-here. We veer into a sub-plot about alien probes. Genteel readers, look away now.
   My wildly flailing fingers couldn’t control that last sentence. Genteel readers, leak away now. Well, if you have to empty your bladder at the first sign of an alien probe, perhaps that’s for the best. Gradually, the conversation turns to me. I can’t think why. What have I been up to? Am I still writing?
   (Are bears still Catholic? What’s the Pope doing, in the woods?)
   A powdered white periwig is dropped atop my head. The sundered cherry tree is planted in the background. I am no Presidential candidate, and the George Washington story is nine-tenths hogwash to one part baloney. Still, I am left staring at the bloodstained axe now in my hand. I cannot tell a lie. (Untruth is a separate issue.)
   So I admit to this wanderer in the desert that I am published. This leads into the fantastical land that is self-publishing. How different authors deal with the prospect of writing books then publishing books. I drop technical details in there, indicating the (frankly, scary) lengths I’ll go to when editing a book.
   (The week before, to someone who knew I was published, I let slip that I’d written the book in eighteen days. Cries of astonishment told me that I shouldn’t get into technical discussions with civilians. Readers grow flustered when faced with facts. They prefer to think elves crawled downstairs in the night and left the manuscript on your kitchen table. The book sparkles, wrapped in a scarlet bow made from unicorn satin, sprinkled with Rainbow’s End™ icing sugar.)
   Real rain threatens the landscape. Precipitation is ready to turn our entire world grey. Out comes the other guy’s Kindle. He shows me the electronic shop. Types RLL into the machine. My books pop up. I’ve already explained the concept of KDP sale days, when the book will be available free. So I could make the book free, just for him. Before we get into that, a purchase is made.
   He doesn’t even check the price. Just clicks the book, and a transaction occurs right before my very knees. A double-check on the book shows that it has travelled through the atmosphere intact. I look at the clouds.
   In the past, it’s early in the morning. I rise and walk to town to take the train to the big city. There I wander the streets until I reach the temple to books. I am on an expedition. Floor after floor. Packed with books. I go in search of fiction and non-fiction.
   There’s always an operating budget on the day. I don’t exceed it. Sometimes I have a list. Once, I even arrange to order a book, knowing it will take a second expedition to pick the thing up. Expeditions in rain are commonplace. In the past.
   Wandering a massive bookstore, I see my people. Readers. They stepped in out of the rain to browse books. What do they do? They buy coffee. Sit down and enjoy the atmosphere. Expeditions…are no more. Fun while they lasted, they’ve been replaced by other things.
   I’m standing in front of a supermarket, watching as one of my books is sold. It’s a bit freaky, but not that freaky. The future is now, and has been for some time. People used to go on expeditions for books. Some of them still go.
   The book is bought. Rain falls. I am staring at the typical customer. The user of a reading device. Isn’t the ink concept amazing on a Kindle? Yes, it is. Two parts of the equation meet on a rainy street. Someone, somewhere, writes this stuff. Remember that. Someone, somewhere, buys it.
   Rain ends the meeting. The purchaser is reminded that, knowing me, it is poor form to review my book on Amazon. I walk in out of the rain, marvelling at the notion that the book fell out of my brain over the course of just under three weeks. And that it was purchased in seconds, spilling across the Kindle interface for me to see.
   Reader and author meet on a street, and I’m one book up in the statistics. The Kindle is a magnifying glass hunting for books. It is a librarian, of sorts. And the bookstore. In a sense, it can be the helpful assistant, recommending a book on the basis of what you bought before. It is also the library. And the book itself.
   This chain, with author inches from reader, or thousands of miles from the reader, is electronic. No paper is involved. I think about the paper. When I sought a paper publishing deal, I printed excerpts. But when I created a Kindle book, very little paperwork was done.
   I filed a few sheets here and there for tax. That was about it. I pressed loads of buttons in creating the book. Did that more than a million times. (Not an exaggeration – I checked the file.) My customer hit a few buttons and the book was sold.
   On close examination of the device, I see it is called kindle and not Kindle. Perhaps to make it easier on the eye. Yes, I’m contemplating ease-of-use. I contemplate that as I sweep through the supermarket. In vegetables, I fly past a stunning brunette. Always on the lookout for characters, I wonder how I’d describe her. (My customer, well, he’d probably be typecast as a pirate. I’d be a Dark Lord of the Sith™.)
   Description. Brunette. Stunning. White top. Let’s not get too fixated over every piece of clothing. Sometimes it’s important for your story. Often, it’s not important at all. I don’t even really need to say much more about her, except…stunning brunette. And you have an image, depending on what you think of as stunning.
   Yes, spider legs emerging from the lower torso would be classed as stunning. I’d like to think I’d include important details like that in my narrative. Unless I’m in a mood to surprise readers. I’m not quite sure what happens next.
   Let’s be generous, and suppose that she ambushes me. I could waffle nonsense about her ability to teleport ahead from vegetables to the meat counter. Okay. Let’s try that on for size. She teleports ahead of me to the meat counter. There’s no other possible explanation.
   Well, that’s not true. She might be twins. Or triplets. I may simply not be all that observant, lost as I am in thoughts of Kindle and where in the world publishing is going, having come from the Dark Ages. I look at shelves. There’s a woman in front of me now.
   I must whirl around her. She comes the other way, deciding to whirl around me. From a distance, it appears that we are engaged in a dance routine. I whirl around her as she whirls around me. At this point in proceedings, she pouts and moves her head in contemplation of foodstuffs.
   As I move around, it looks as though she is blowing me a kiss. Momentarily, I wonder if she’s at it. No, it’s just the optical delusion provided by our movement. This reminds me that I find characters when shopping. Could she be one? The incident might fill a few paragraphs in a blog. ;)
   I emerge from the supermarket and make my way through Blade Runner rain. Through Frank Miller’s Sin City rain. I cling to the belief that Frank Miller was a character in an E.C. comic book. My wildly flailing fingers italicised Frank’s name instead of his work’s title. What was I thinking? Maybe Sin City wrote Frank Miller.
   How hard is it to sell your book? Well, I talked someone into it on a rainy street. Converting a semi-suspecting public, one punter at a time. I am not tempted to ambush people as they nervously clutch Kindles to their chests.
   Curious note? The guy I sold the book to served as inspiration for one of the characters in the book. Beyond that, he was present when I took the photo that served as the book’s cover. Those weren’t selling-points. Just coincidences.
   This blog’s title is the wrong way round. I SELL A BOOK ON A RAINY STREET, AND A STUNNING BRUNETTE BLOWS ME A KISS. For some arcane reason, I seem to have placed primacy on the brunette’s activities. Must be a reason for that.


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