Changing slides

Here on SMoD&L, we like fresh blood.

As summer (did I miss it?) fades and gives way to Autumn, the theme will change with it; so from the happy, bright and sparkly, we will slowly tone the hue down until it is dark – very dark.

I didn’t want to leap too abruptly, so I searched for a guest post from someone who didn’t have a particular agenda and also, didn’t label themselves as a specific genre writer; something to ease us all into the sombre months and posts ahead.

I stumbled across Karl Jones.

Karl is pretty new to this crazy game and after much cajoling, he agreed to pop in and have a quick chat about why he writes, what he writes and how he sees the publishing landscape at the moment.

Over to him.

This is my first blog article, and to be honest I don’t have the slightest clue what I am doing, but Saffina has kindly asked me to try and put something together so here goes.

When first asked to write for her blog my immediate response was, um, ah, and numerous other monosyllabic ways to express a lack of thoughts, though of course I didn’t pass that on to Saffina. Instead I asked her what sort of things she would like me to write. Once I got over the shock of being asked that is; after I all, I may be a writer but I haven’t published yet, I am still editing my first novel.

The answer to my question was that I should write about why I write, what I write about, and my thoughts on the new age of publishing. That prompted another bout of um, ah, not to mention holy crap, I have to think, this is not good. Experience has taught me I am at my worst when I have to think. Acting and reacting seems to work well for me but stopping and thinking, I don’t do so well at that.

I think fortune is on my side on this particular day however, I was down the pub watching Liverpool beat Arsenal, great result, and I haven’t yet sobered up completely so here I am at the laptop just letting my fingers run away with themselves.

I suppose I should be logical and start with the first question; why do I write?

I write because, well if I didn’t write I am fairly certain I would go crazy, crazier than I already am at any rate. Ever since I was at school I have found my head to be filled with a never ending series of characters, scenarios, and plots. Some of them are good, some I think are great – I reserve the right to believe they are great no matter what anyone else thinks because they’re mine so :-p – and others, well others are best excised from my mind with a scalpel and cremated before they can grow too big.

Not only does writing stop me going crazy by clearing a few characters and plots from my overloaded brain, it provides me with an opportunity to relieve some stress. When I encounter people who annoy me, for whatever reason, I find it incredibly therapeutic to introduce them into one of my books as a victim, even if their character in the book couldn’t be recognised as them by anyone but me, and then to do something brutal to them. It’s perhaps not very nice of me to kill people in my books, regardless of whether they know they are in them, but if it makes me feel better and they don’t know I think it is better than doing anything to them in real life.

Saffina’s second question was what do I write.

This is a much harder question to answer. What I write, and by that I mean actually finish from start to ‘The End’ is generally crime fiction which I suppose falls into the thriller category, although I’m never sure about that. I also write the occasion horror short story. I enjoy horror, and have a number of storylines in my head in the horror genre, not to mention sci-fi and fantasy; almost anything with the exception of romance I suppose. The trouble is I am just not as good at writing in those other genres as I am at crime, though I hope someday to get around to completing some of my other ideas, if only to get them out of my head and clear some space.

The last question put to me was about my thoughts on the new age of publishing.

This question is so easy it doesn’t require any thought; the new age of publishing is fantastic, a wonderful opportunity for anyone like me who has either always wanted to write, or who has been writing for years but either been rejected or too fearful of rejection to even send their work off. Too often in the past books have been rejected, not because they aren’t good, but because agents and publishers aren’t confident of making money quickly enough, or because they have a misguided notion of what people really want to read.

Amazon, with their Kindle platform and their decision to initiate KDP – Kindle Desktop Publishing -, not to mention other sites like Smashwords have changed the game, tilting it heavily in favour of independent writers like myself.

No longer is it necessary for us to go through the anguish of spending years writing and rewriting only to have our work rejected because it doesn’t fit a narrow demographic that will earn millions in just a few months. Now we can release our work ourselves, not only that but we can potentially make more money by doing so.

This is not to suggest that everything is rosy for the independent authors of the world, far from it. It is still important that we take the time to edit our books as carefully as possible, and to create a good cover in order to catch a potential reader’s eye. An indie author’s book that is not as perfect as it can be runs the risk of scaring readers away from future books. Then again I have seen numerous examples of top name publishing houses releasing books by well-known authors that are riddled with spelling mistakes and punctuation errors, I find that far more disgraceful than an indie author who, like me, doesn’t have the money to spare for a professional editor and has to rely on friends and family to hunt for the inevitable mistakes that even the most stringent of searching can miss.

Those are my thoughts on writing, such as they are, thanks Saffina for giving me the opportunity to express them.

P.S. hurry up with the next Rose Red book, I want to know what happens. Lol.

Thanks Karl and we can’t wait to see your debut novel out there! You see, it wasn’t that scary! 😉

Speaking of scary – my favourite time of the year is creeping up on us like an extra in a zombie movie and I can’t wait.

It’s gonna be messy!


Writer, dreamer, pantser.

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2 comments on “Changing slides
  1. Good luck with the first book, Karl.

    Good point about the number of professionally produced books going out in a terrible state despite all the benefits of a publishing house.

    Which is one reason I’m launching a new feature – Six Stars – over on MWi next month. There are so many good books emerging from indie writers that are simply outstanding and warrant five stars, but the very fact that they have been produced to such a high standard with none of the resources of the Big Six means they qualify for six stars.

  2. […] Changing slides ( […]

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