So anyway, I’ve been doing a lot of the stuff that a writer’s supposed to do just recently, and I have to admit I feel good about it. Mostly I’ve been working on my current project, Hunter’s Moon, laying down foundations and framework, and building up the primary structure of the story. It’s been fun, and I’m looking forward to getting some feedback on it when I finally post it to Scribophile. I decided to get the whole first draft finished before I post anything more, so if you’re on Scrib and waiting for the next installment please accept my apologies for the delay. Hopefully the end result will be worth it.
And then there’s Faded Skies. Last month I gave the first draft of A Pocketful of Secrets to an editor for some feedback, and let’s just say that the feedback I got back wasn’t all that encouraging. To be fair I kinda knew it still wasn’t ready, but to have somebody else tell me just how full of holes it actually is was a little disheartening. Now, this is not something I can’t fix, and the guidance she’s given me will help me turn what is essentially a mediocre manuscript into a good (or even great) manuscript, but I’m not sure if I want to do that just yet. So I’ve decided that for now I’m going to mothball Faded Skies, just until I can give it the attention I think it needs to help it rise above the crowd. In the meantime I’ll be focusing on Hunter’s Moon and related material, and will have more to say about that in a future post.
In other news, this week the Guardian announced that it was starting a new monthly literary prize specifically for self-published authors, and already the
arguments discussions have started regarding what this means for self-publishing.
Some are dismissing it as the established press trying to once again set themselves up as self-appointed gatekeepers of ‘Good Literature’, which I can kind of see but don’t necessarily agree with. If that argument is true then it immediately devalues all literary awards, and while personally I find some of the self-serving back-slapping that goes on in certain awards to be a touch redolent of some sort of Old Boy’s Network I do think there’s still a place in the writing community for legitimate, merit-based awards that help those at the top of their game to be recognised for their talent and achievement. In this instance I don’t think the Guardian is necessarily trying to act as a gatekeeper – after all, they’ve been reviewing self-published and indie works for some time now – I just think they’re paying attention to popular opinion and going with the flow.
On top of this there are more than a few self-pubbed/indie authors out there who are complaining that there shouldn’t need to be a separate award for self-pubbed/indie works, and again I have to disagree. Firstly, despite how long self-publishing has been around it is still seen as the bastard child of vanity publishing by many writers, readers and publishers alike. Any movement in the press that raises awareness of just how good self-pubbed works can be is most definitely a *Good Thing* in my eyes and can only help alleviate the stigma that many still see attached to the indie movement. Secondly, while it would be nice for self-pubbed and legacy-pubbed works to be measured on a level playing field, there’s still a long way to go. This is just the first step in what will undoubtedly be quite a long journey to mainstream acceptance and equality for the indie crowd. One day, with luck, all works will be measured equally, but until that day comes just be glad of the chances you’re now getting that you didn’t have before.
I’ll be watching the Guardian closely over the coming months, and will be interested to see which indie novels get shortlisted. It will also be interesting to see if any other news channels or reviewers follow suit, especially such luminaries as the New York Times and Times Literary Supplement. As Dylan once told us, The Times They Are a-Changin, and I for one can’t wait to see where this change will take us.
Anyway, that’s all from me for now. I have more words to write and a desperate need for caffeine.