I’m looking at a July release for the paperback version of Spark so not long at all now. I’ve promised a handful of people a copy and will be running some give aways on Goodreads and another give away which will be independent of Goodreads. All friends and followers can have a digital copy for free and you really should take advantage of this offer because you love to read books and my books love to be read so let’s create literary symbiosis. The Morning Star will be reviewing it in due course so that’s always exciting; especially when they care about authors who use words as weapons against the established order.
Once Spark is out there, I’m moving on to finishing Broke which is going to be my second novel. It’s about the absolute extremes of inequality and how us Skint Eastwoods can rip-off the rich for once. So far it’s proving to be some of the funniest, most caustic socio-political commentary I’ve written. I can’t wait to reach the finishing line because then I will have something new to give to you all. Hopefully it’ll be out before the end of the year.
In other news: for those of you who have read The Rebel’s Sketchbook, my friend and fellow indie author Mike Robbins made me aware of this article last month. I wrote a story called Eat Na$ty which is about the exploits of those inane Youtubers who are entertaining in the same way a paraplegic sloth on a swing is entertaining. In this story the narrator and a rival YouTuber take competitive eating to the next level and with no regard for the health risks. Let’s just say that the results aren’t a million miles from the fella in the above article.
I was also interviewed recently by the exceptionally gifted author Daniel Clausen (if you haven’t read The Ghosts of Nagasaki then you really should – it’ll single-handedly crush all prejudices you may harbour towards indie authors). I think this is the first interview of the year and you can read it here. Massive thanks to Daniel for doing his micro-interview series and supporting the cause.
This month I want to briefly write a little about being an indie author in a traditionally published world. Two years in for me and it’s clear that most readers have been propagandised to accept that a book is only a book if some mugs at a publishing house has put it out – regardless of any literary merit. So this crock of shit by Joey Essex is a book where as this work of art by Rebecca Gransden isn’t. This struck me more than ever when I was reading the comments section for this article in the Guardian. There are many positive comments which is always nice. However, there are some hostile ones which essentially puke up the predictable anti-selfpublising clichés; most of which have been addressed by my good friend Amy in this article here.
These days I actually harbour a hostility towards the traditional publishing industry but not for the same reasons. I don’t have any issues with the authors (who are just people being creative); but I do have issues with the industry itself. It’s something I’ve written about before, but storytelling appears to be the only area of the creative arts which most people believe should be owned and managed by an elite. Simply put: if you’re not traditionally published then you can only ever be shit. However, the truth is that in order to get published you have to write for the marketplace because sales means everything. The knock-on effect is that creativity gets squeezed in the wrong direction and storytellers think that they best imitate what’s going on around them in order to survive. Not all of the time, but quite a lot of the time this is the case. However, indie authors are creatively free and so long as they realise this and don’t imitate the traditionally published books, you should get something which is closer to representing free expression. I strongly believe that out of this the greatest works of literature will be born.
This is why all artists need to have as much creative freedom as possible. However, this is compromised if you’re competing in a marketplace rather than focusing on creating art. So in the Digital Age indie authors have the better hand: we are creatively free in ways that the vast majority of traditionally published authors can’t be. And it is for this reason that I honestly believe -and you can mark my words- that indie authoring is going to become the norm over the next fifty years.
So that’s my thoughts anyway. Let me know what you think! In the meantime stay safe and I’ll catch up with you all very soon.