A friend recently posted a comment on my blog – could you have more hobbies / projects / challenges? I doubt it. I’m about to try and prove him wrong. It’s all to do, in an oblique way, with the old saying, if you’ve got an itch, scratch it. At least I think that’s an old saying, if not consider it one now. The project I’m going to tell you about relates to an itch I’ve had for so long it’s a miracle I haven’t scratched it before. Truth is I’ve tried and further to that truth, I’ve tried to write about it before.
So to get to it, the ‘new’ project is about my ambition to get my blogs published in book form whether that be paperback or hardback I can’t yet say but it doesn’t really matter because both are real books and that’s what counts. You see the problem is I come from a generation to whom books were real and ebooks aren’t. Any fool can publish an ebook, for example, I’ve ‘published’ two in this way. I’ve no idea if they’ve sold any, I’m guessing not, certainly I haven’t had any cheques from Amazon boosting my bank balance or, if I have, they’re so small as not to be of interest, And that sums up my attitude to ebooks.
I have had books published before, in fact I’ve had publishers queuing up to (ah you think I exaggerate, but no) publish my non-fiction books but, despite many efforts to diversify over the years, no publisher has been interested in supporting these ambitions. Yes, I know JK Rowling, James Lee Burke (an outstanding author, one manuscript rejected 111 times over 9 years and then it won the Pulitzer prize) etc., etc. have stories of their novels being rejected 300 times before striking it lucky, but I don’t have that much patience, commitment, stupidity, call it what you will. Maybe I’ve just had better things to do with my life – until now…
Now I’ve reached a point in my retirement life when stupidity has become an option and even reached a new high. Eminently desirable in fact if that itch is to be scratched. Let me explain. You’ve heard of ‘vanity publishing’? You haven’t well then you’re a better human being than me, not difficult you may think. ‘Vanity publishing’ is scorned by proper authors and that includes me, up to this point. It has very little to recommend it as far as I can see. You pay ‘them’ money, rather than make money, you have no means of distributing / marketing your book, you order 500 of them (unless you want to go down the equally sad ‘publish on demand’ route) and they remain in boxes in your garage / loft / spare bedroom if you have one, with your partner (if you have one) making subtle comments about what a good investment this had been on account of how you probably told your partner that this scheme would definitely make its money back and more. What’s not to like?
It’s not that I haven’t tried to do it the right way but the tedium of putting together a suitable manuscript package, buying yet another Writer’s Handbook (see above, they’re all on my shelves as a constant reminder of my failure – throw them out you fool, I can’t), finding what appears to be an appropriate publisher, sending the whole lot off – into the void – because you never hear a bloody thing from them. There have been times when even an unsigned rejection slip felt like a victory, but not now. I have this blog as my writing outlet.
If only I could leave it at that but the itch persists. So I’m going down the ‘self-publishing’ route – I think. A much nicer term than ‘vanity publishing’ but probably less accurate. It’s all about ego isn’t it? Truth is I don’t even know what this entails. I mean do they take any old tat along with taking your money and telling you you’ve just written the world’s next best seller? Or is it possible to be rejected even by this ‘type’ of company? Which would be good in some ways, i.e. more honest, but even more devastating rejection-wise. I shall probably know in the next couple of weeks /months.
The project is based on these blogs. Probably no surprise but also hopefully not too big a disappointment. I would really like to see some of these blogs in book form. Only some because, at around 550 blogs to date (not all written by me, but most of them), that would come in at about 550,000 words, a little over-weight for a best seller me thinks. So I’m thinking about 50 or so under some of my blog sub-headings – well-being; psychology and retirement; retirement challenges; health, that sort of thing.
So far I have identified, at random, a self-publishing company from a Google search called Austin Macauley Publishers for no other reason that they were first up on my search and seemed to say as many of the right things as it is possible to say about such a, close to, nefarious (lovely word, bit strong but nice word nonetheless) venture. I have no idea at this point about costs so if I think they’re even more extortionate that expected, this may be the end of a short relationship and perhaps even the whole project. I may be stupid but I’m not totally brain-dead. If anybody out there knows of any reason why we two should not be joined together (put in the marriage ceremony, I was told recently, to avoid the very strong possibility in some communities of marrying your sister / brother or cousin at least) then please let me know. Of if you have any other companies you would recommend, again please speak now.
So this week I have been trying to collect 10 or 12 blogs under a couple of headings to send them off to Austin Macauley. It’s painful work mainly because my files on WORD are so badly organised. Mea Culpa, I write them, transfer them to WordPress and then don’t look at them again in that form until I have some very good reason for doing so, like trying to get them published.
There’s no doubt that retirement has brought out the very best in me project-wise. So much time to engage in foolish ventures, so many ways of spending my pension. After all if we don’t spend it the kids will only inherit it. I don’t think they read this blog so I’m fairly safe in saying this. I will as always, keep you informed about the progress or otherwise of my latest retirement scheme, my friend please note.