It’s been nearly a week, and I’ve sold about sixty copies, at six dollars a pop. That’s no mean feat, considering it’s just a bit of Facebook and word of mouth… There are some lovely reviews on the link over there <—–(underneath where you buy the book. BUY THE BOOK!) Do I have lots of friends? No. Is the book good? Yes. Is that enough to make it a success? Don’t be silly.
The biggest hurdles for me have not been writing-related, although I’ve learned a hell of a lot about writing in the last six months. No, the hard parts have been the formatting, the small print, and the overcoming humility thing.
Amazon is pretty straightforward, as long as you can figure out how to do a TOC file their way, and add an NCX to the .prc! Yeah, I did neither of those fucking things, because meh. It doesn’t make their software reject your book though, and as long as you stick the Contents/Chapter Page bang at the front of the book, the Kindle will figure it out by itself. It’s clever like that.
Smashwords on the other hand is The Mother Of All Fuckers when it comes to formatting. They have a software called (and shit you I do not) MEATGRINDER, which takes your book and spits it out in EPUB, .mobi, PDF and all sorts of other files. Well, that’s the theory. In reality, it rejects your file and asks you to reformat the entire fucking thing, and send it to them in Word 97-2003 .doc format, just to add to the confusion. For someone like me, whose level of computer expertise is slightly above ‘Woman’ and about thirty points below ‘Dungeon Master’, this causes bouts of extreme nausea.
The main Things You Done Wrong when it comes to formatting are:
You made the mistake of thinking your paragraphing was okay, cos it was the paragraphing that came with Word. WRONG! Your paragraphs are GAAAAAAY.
You made the mistake of thinking you could copy the copyright page from any old book and just change the names and whatnot. WRONG! WRONG!
You thought your hidden Word bookmarks would be a cool way of helping readers navigate round the eBook, and it made you feel like you were an actual computer haxxor. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Turn back now! Writing is not for you! You will die in seven days!
The small print? No idea, I haven’t fucking read any of it. I’m probably in a whole bunch of trouble, but who cares? This isn’t even my real name. They will LITERALLY never catch me.
And the humility thing… Regular readers of this blog will find it quite surprising to hear me imply that I possess such a virtue, but I must do. The reception this book has had so far has pretty much blown me away. I did not know it was this good, and I am fucking delighted that this is the case. I would hate to have been the Me that thought this was in the bag before anyone as much as read a word of it. I am not confident, in the traditional sense. If I was, I’d have been successful at any of the jobs I’ve had, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’ve given myself a hard time over the years for not being able to fit in to other people’s version of Normal, and it’s only now that I am starting to believe that there is a place for all of us in this world and that I might finally have found mine.
And the reason I’ve never felt comfortable with saying any of that is not because I think I’m shit. Sure, I have moments of utter self-doubt. But that’s not why I shy away from self-trumpetery most of the time. It’s because of Other Writers.
Writing is kind of like photography (which was another path I was on for years)- It’s populated mainly by people who cannot do it, but like to think of themselves as people who can. Any cunt with a camera can call himself a photographer. None of them will ever make any money from it. For most of them, it’s a bottomless pit in which they throw all of their disposable income. The reward? They get to see some ASDA checkout girl peel off down to her smalls every other Wednesday. And that makes them feel like legends in their own lunchtimes.
If photography is bad, writing is a hundred times worse. You don’t even need a camera to be a writer; any cunt with FINGERS can call himself a writer. And God, they don’t stop at just calling themselves it. They lord around the internet, spraying jets of prosaic self-promotion at anyone who wants to listen and everyone who doesn’t. There’s nothing more off-putting to me than reading some Cunt On The Internet talking about ‘MY LATEST WORK’ or ‘WELL, PART SIX OF MY DRAKKENVAMP SERIES IS AVAILABLE NOW’.
You just know that these unregulated, unedited scrotewads are penning 700 pages a day of treacle-speed, dragon-porn shitcuntitude, and no one will ever tell them how shit they are. The lack of bills/overheads/risk/people telling you what to do, are the things which attracted me to self publishing. Unfortunately, that lack of regulation is what allowed these spastics through the door as well. Imagine if anyone could design clothes for Primark and just walk in and hang them on the rails? Imagine if anyone could make cappuccinos and just start handing them out in Starbucks? Imagine if the customers at the hairdressers were allowed to go at your head with a fucking scissors instead of letting you wait for the stylist?
Fuck off, you fucking bell-ends.
Not you guys, btw. I like you guys.
Now buy the book!