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Monday, 25 February 2013

THOUGHTS ON PUBLISHING.

This blog is about whatever the hell I want it to be about. I don’t run a technical or business-based blog detailing the latest industry developments. The woman who inspired my blog, Karen Woodward, does that – and does so well. She often delves into the technical side of things. When not relating horror stories connected to the publishing industry, she relates success stories.
   Plug over.
   So what is this blog about? Time for some tired humour. You were warned. It’s about 1,500 words. Ouch. What is the blog not about? Sex. Politics. Religion. Money. Avoid those four in casual conversation – topics alone or, gulp, together – and your blog will steer clear of the rocks.
   Here’s a word to consider when publishing.
   Wrong.
   Do your best to avoid using the word in talking about how someone else writes. You may know how your story ends before you start writing it. On the other hand, you may only know how your story ends once you reach what you think of as the final scene.
   Different approaches are different approaches. It’s hard to describe much behind writing as wrong. I cling to one exception. Try to avoid blogging in white text on a black background. It’s wrong. For any great length, that is. It’s okay for titles or very short stints.
   Is anything else wrong? Balancing on a seal as you type is likely to lead to the arrest of one of the participants. (Okay. It’s WRONG.)
   I can confirm that no seals were balanced on, or fallen off, during the typing of this entry.
   That word. Wrong. It’s wrong to cheat your readers. How readers might be cheated via storytelling is another topic. It’s wrong to misrepresent the product. Tell potential customers what the word-count is.
   My recent thoughts on publishing took in a few names. Missy Biozarre was a doomed colleague. (Eaten by zombies, I hear.) My jazzy visit to Marjorie Eliot’s was always going to feature in an article. Why not on my blog? And Alistair Cooke served as a major inspiration for blogging itself.
   Does my meandering thought-non-process aid casual readers of this blog? I don’t have time to ponder that as I’m too busy pondering other things. Save your files. Back them up. Preserve your thoughts in type and preserve the files containing those typed thoughts.
   Two melted computers reminded me of that. I was fine. Fuming, but fine.
   We survived the Maya non-apocalypse for this? Hell.
   Quirk of the computing world – I’ve not lost data. And the quirky quirk? Once, hacking and slashing through a file, cutting it to shreds, I regained data. There was a loss of power before I saved my changes – and the autosave routine hadn’t had time to kick in.
   With electricity flowing again, I returned to the file and started over. The jungle had grown back. I regained the data I’d cut. That’s as close as I came to losing a file. Let us hope that’s as close as readers ever come, too.

*

BLOGGERATION.
   Or, if you prefer, BLOGGER RATION. Even though I ration these blogs by unsneakily writing several at once, I think I’ll have to ration posts a bit more. For the blog it is a-changin’. Review.
   What were my options? Kill the blog. Die, you bastard!
   No.
   Put the blog to sleep. That sounds like a euphemism for killing the dog, not the blog.
   No.
   Killing the blog means removing it completely. Deleting all pages. Scrubbing the internet-related bloodstains away. Ghostly fragments linger in cached areas. Sunlight gradually works its magic and the fragments fade.
   Resting the blog means putting up a sign saying that, through semi-seen circumstances, the blog is having a lie down. Feel free to look around anyway. You won’t wake the blog if you tiptoe through.
   Other options.
   Switch to blogging monthly.
   No.
   Not really an option. Blogging quarterly or annually wouldn’t cut it, either. Monthly doesn’t feel right. Forget quarterly. I’d have to put something spectacular out to blog annually.
   So what am I doing? I’m switching the publication rate of the collected editions. It’s been really hard to put those out, as I had far more technical issues than I realised. Every single collection was delayed, conveyor-belt style.
   The idea? To blog eighteen times and bundle the collection with fiction, so the book-version runs to at least 100,000 words. I’ve revised plans. The format will gradually work up to more blogs in the collected editions.
   This is blog fifteen in the current cycle. The end of the next cycle for the fourth volume of REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE coincides with Kacey Vanderkarr’s debut. In that next cycle, I want to say a few words about Kacey’s first book. That calls for a celebratory post. After that cycle is done, I’ll blog until the end of the year.
   If my miscalculations are correct, that’ll provide 23 blog posts for collection. Thereafter, a new year starts and I’ll collect blog posts twice a year. If I’m still blogging.
   Right now, the various collected reports are log-jammed and I want to free that jam as conveniently as I can without rushing or botching delivery. So that’s the story. Everything changes, but stays the same. Instead of being on an eighteen-week cycle, I’ll shift to 24.
   When I do that, I may just run short pieces of fiction for a wee while. Too early to tell. I have regular and irregular books to be getting on with.

*

Let’s talk about losing track of a story. If my mind is still in the right place, the tale that follows in the bundled edition…
   Is a tale recovered from memory. Try as I might, I could not find the original story in my dusty archives. By the time this blog post sees the light of day, I’ll have scoured yellowed paper files once again. I’m looking for two separate pieces of material.
   There’s a reason behind not finding this stuff. Perhaps a piece of cardboard is folded over something that doesn’t resemble the story I’m looking for. There’s a gap a pile of paper slid into. When all the new carpets went in, there was no misplaced material lying pressed flat to the floorboards.
   Where can that story be?
   I found MIRA E. easily enough – and expected my lost story to be in with material from that Jurassic slice of the fossil database. But no. This indicates, to a tired mind, that there’s a solid reason for the misplacing of the file. There’s a gap a pile of paper slid into.
   Not shredding. In all this time, I’ve never once shredded the wrong document. The problem with this missing story is that it was never even typed up. That’s right. It was penned. Scribbled. So I’d know the spiderish manuscript as soon as I saw it. If the tale had been typed up, using the mechanical torturer known as a typewriter, chances are it would later have been typed in.
   But there’s nothing in the electronic record. What to do? The old standby. Recover from memory. The advantage of doing this is that you apply current writing and editing skills to a dusty story clearly created by an individual devoid of said skills back in the day.
   Yes, I get to relive an old story with shiny new words. And I invite the readers to fly along with me. I must invoke Cosmic Law. With the story updated from memory, I am bound to find the original once the reanimated version sees publication. That is inevitable.

*

This blog post was thrown together by periods of disruption. All fiction is.
   The blog faces change with every blog post. This time, the changes to the bundling schedule don’t seem so great. The regular construction of the blog hasn’t altered. I blog a minimum of 1,500 words. Usually, I hit 2,000. Rarely, I’ll open the post with an image. Occasionally, I’ll feature a guest.
   I talk about whatever the hell I want to talk about. That’s a model I use for my fiction. What’s in the literary pipeline? Oh, some more short pieces. Then it’s back to those longer works, with plots and characters and other writerly things spilling out over the edges of the short story into the novel.
   My decision, in self-publishing, was not to clear out all the old material immediately. You get lost in that fiction and find that you aren’t writing anything shiny and new. So I still have a few ancient tales lurking in the vaults.
   New ideas pile up on each other and sometimes merge into newer ideas. Nothing wrong in that. I have many technical issues to overcome – but that’s standard in this line of work. While there’s fun to be had writing, there’s fun to be had writing.
   Though there is drudgery. My computer meltdown led to checking. File after file. You can’t help but create duplicates. Sometimes, those prove very useful. In a near-paperless office, there’s a surprising amount of weeding to be done.
   If that isn’t my cue to leave and see to the weeding of computer files, I don’t know what is. Fire! Martian invasion! Juniper! Any one of those three will usually suffice.

NEXT BLOG: REVISITING AN AUTHOR’S LIBRARY.

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