Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Book I had to Write

I could describe how I feel if I tried really hard but it is such a potent cocktail of emotions that I am afraid I would be rolling drunk before I could finish. Nevertheless, here it is.

My second novel, Loathe Your Neighbor, was released today. I started writing it over two years ago. I ask myself why I spent so much time and effort to write something which may or may not, at that stage, have ever made it into "print". As recently as last August, I had no interest from publishers and nothing but hope that I would eventually find one. Even in this digital age where independent self publishers outnumber traditionals (whatever that means) I had no compelling reason for writing another book.

By the year 2010, I had been writing for 12 years. I'd had a handful of short stories published and even got paid for one of them. Twice. I had written a novel, Devolution, and published it as an e-book through a fee for service online publisher but it was as successful as ice cream in Antartica. I was proud of my achievement but I wanted more. I wanted readers and lots of them. I self published a paperback version of Devolution which out sold the e-book by five times but I did not want to do that again. I wanted an editor to read my manuscript and tell me they loved it and sign me up for a publishing deal. This is what all writers want. Yes, we write because we love the art but we want readers.

Why then with nothing but a story to tell and a dream of many people reading it, did I write Loathe Your Neighbour? I wrote it because I had to. More than two years later, Jeanne Haskin at Artema Press has delivered half my dream: a publishing contract. The other half? I still don't know what the trick is to attracting readers. Maybe there is no trick. Popularity is not a reflection of quality. There's a video on YouTube of a girl in a tight black dress brushing her teeth which has received tens of thousand of views.

I'm proud of Loathe Your Neighbor and I hope lots of people read and enjoy it. I wouldn't mind making a little money out of it as well. Neither would Artema Press. But even if it doesn't fly, if it doesn't sell up a storm, I'll write another novel. I can't help it. I'm a dreamer and I love writing stories.