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Monday, 5 November 2012

YEAR’S END.

Though we haven’t quite settled exactly on the first anniversary of the blog’s opening as this entry is published, I have ended a year of blogging. I made a business contact who told me to blog and to embrace Twitter. Karen Woodward thought this would be good for me. Within weeks of commencing blogging, I published, published, and published again.
   Phase one of my mad science experiment was done. I went into phase two. Revising publishing plans. Loosening up, and moving away from the regular six-week publishing cycle. Continuing to learn. Well, I embraced blogging. Twitter, I kicked in the ankle.
   Through Twitter, I was turned into a business contact by others. You are helped by authors, and help in your turn. In that time, I’ve sworn at computers, walked in pouring rain, sworn at the people who set up computers, walked in pouring rain, experienced three earthquakes, walked in pouring rain…
   I helped a bunch of authors by popping up and mentioning a thing. Then I was gone, Zorro-like, into the night. I made mistakes over Amazon product descriptions that I could only correct once I’d seen them go live. Could I tell you how many officials I contacted? No. Some had a sense of humour. Others worked in bunkers.
   At times, I sat laughing my head off. Some things made me sad. Occasionally, I’d blow my top. Ah well, back to it. And back to it I would go. You have to keep a lid on detail. Don’t let detail run amok. If you think it’s hard self-publishing, you think right.
   But if you think self-publishing is harder than living in a war-zone or in a country lacking freedom of speech, think again. Exception – you may be in a war-zone or in a country lacking freedom of speech AS you self-publish.
   How did I get here from wherever the hell I started? I walked an unlit road filled with my ideas and little else. It’s the road all writers walk. If you are reading this and you are scared to self-publish your work, or unwilling to complete a short story, ditch the fear.
   I’m not here to tell you that I ditched the fear. No. I made someone else ditch the fear. Good. I can’t perform blog-to-blog resuscitation, helping hesitant authors, on a case-by-Kacey basis. Much as I might like to. There have been times when I wanted to go in there and grab some writer by the scruff and say…
   Ah. No. I can’t do that, not blog by blog. On my blog, yes. If you’ve stumbled on this site and want a snapshot of a year’s journey in self-publishing, go to the start and devour every word. For the full effect, rig up a garden hose outside your window, to simulate the torrential onslaught of Hallowe’en 2011. The rain was queuing up to fall down that night.
   Nothing worked. I wrestled gremlins to the floor. Gradually, the words came together. I published a short story. The rain booked a one-way ticket to the swollen gutter. I went home with a sense of achievement.
   Each step on the blog was a shaky one. I learned about every gremlin out there. A few of the hardier specimens cross-bred into new threats. I fought them all. My, that was a rainy October night. Shiny streets. Sodium flaring in the night. Orange glare of electric organisation.
   Much, or little, can happen in a year. From the time I first encountered Kacey Vanderkarr, I gave her a year, and the fairy tale day, in which to become published. If she failed, I’d chop her head off. Whether she published in that time, or signed a deal, didn’t matter. I’d take either as proof of her intention to ditch the fear.
   Mrs Vanderkarr signed the deal and received a publication date for November 2012. This blog post would have announced the impending release of her first book. The event was put back to 2013. No, I won’t be chopping her head off. She signed on the line.
   Kacey was that baby seal on the ice-floe, struggling with the whiteness of the blank page, looking up at me as I went about the grisly business of bludgeoning her. I wrote a blog post with BABY SEAL in the title. There was a blog post with PORN getting a mention. EROTICA.
   As a writer, I’ve place the word BOOK in a blog post and thought nothing of it. Upshot? In looking at blog traffic, to see what sort of phrases led people to me, I found someone was directed to my site after searching for an erotic book on baby seals.
   Hi if you’re reading.
   No, I haven’t run a search for an erotic book on baby seals just to see what’s on offer. Some things, it’s best not to know. Gerbil porn? LYGHTNYNG STRYKES. To say more may be to give away plot details.
   Where next? What now? I struggled to keep this blog alive. During that time, Missy Biozarre shut her blog down to concentrate on fiction. I ended up using my blog to fuel fiction. These posts are gathered in collected editions with paid-for stories.
   I must be careful. Fatigue is taking a stab at me. Hazard of typing late. In July, I updated a blog post by replacing the text with an older file. For 24 hours, the upgraded blog post was accidentally downgraded. Fatigue takes the blame for that. Well…fatigue, and this author.
   My mighty struggle to keep the blog rolling along…continues. I decided, more than once, that a year of blogging would be enough for me. There’s no one to betray. I have no vast readership. People stumble in here and stumble out again.
   I am surprised that people follow this blog officially. You’ll see from the lack of evidence around you that I don’t officially follow any blogs. Sporadic time-starved internet access results in that policy. Instead, I hop around from blog to blog without official announcement.
   This entry has a strange end-of-term feel. FINISHED WITH ENGINES. It’s hard to convey a sense of nostalgia over a blog that’s been running from one Hallowe’en to the next. I’m not exactly Alistair Cooke. He blogged longer than even he would have thought possible. Though he chatted weekly on radio, his talking amounted to a prototype form of blogging.
   I am saying goodbye, but not with a sense of finality. This is merely the closing phase of another eighteen-blog cycle, after all. The blog must continue. I do my best to ensure that, back in the real world. Recent glitches?
   The daftest move. Trying to avoid slipping on a riverbank, to escape plunging into the icy depths fully-laden with shopping, I made my position even more precarious. If I’d stopped being cautious, I’d have fared better.
   Beyond my control, as a passenger in a car belting down a rainy motorway, I watched in slow-motion as a lorry pulled out to sideswipe another lorry. The gap shrank to six feet, five, four. I took in the data. Speed in rain. Distance. Braking distance. Two different commodities. Ways out. None. Pile-up. Almost certain.
   The swerve looked dangerous. It was. The lorries were almost identical, and may have been travelling in a convoy. Movement was misinterpreted. The best option, had the worst come to the worst, would’ve been to mount the central reservation and take our chances with seatbelts, airbags, and crumple-zones.
   Vehicles went through treacle. I saw individual raindrops. The offender sliced back out to the left in slow-motion and that crisis faded. It resurfaced here, on my blog. Another way of saying…if my blog ceases suddenly, that means the automated posts have run out. That I probably died several weeks before.
   Not entirely true. There might be technical reasons for blog-disruption.
   So. A promise. And I don’t make those unless I can fulfil them. Your legs snap if you break a promise. Didn’t you know that? Unless you promised to snap your own legs. Breaking that promise would fulfil that promise.
   I promise if I end my blog, that I will announce the end of my blog in a post. And I’ll state the likelihood of the blog’s return as plainly as I can, should things come to that. If I needed time away from regular blogging, I’d say.
   At that point, weekly blogging doth stop. Readers would be left with sporadic blogs to announce important events. Am I going to halt my blog next week? No, I don’t believe I will. There’s still time in which to have a severe struggle with the concept and hit the eject button. But I think I will hang in there.
   I should thank people for their support, overt and covert, across 2011 into 2012 and beyond. They know who they are. That saved listing names and deeds. You may think it strange that I’d thank a woman who interrupted my blogging by telephone, for example. Well, I gained more writing out of that interruption.
   Always take advantage of mistakes, calamities, and failures. This isn’t the sort of blog that capitalises on every single success. Being Scottish, I am permitted three days of optimism a year. I make money on the side by selling my quota on. ;)

NEXT BLOG: REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

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