First things first… I’ve put links to the three writing blog entries to the left under the unoriginal title “MFW On Writing”. I know it’s a bit hackneyed but hey…
Second things second
After a recent trip to Bakewell up the road, I was struck by the number of independent bookshops still in operation, and in all four shops I purchased a book (one of which I am very proud of – a never-been read signed first edition hardback of China Mieville’s Iron Council for £4).
Had the rampant book-buying malaise hit these booksellers like many in Sheffield it is likely that none of these shops would exist. But in Bakewell, there is an oasis of hope.
I love independent bookshops. They sell a greater variety of books, usually based on the bookseller’s tastes, and you can pick up bargains or be surprised by digging up out of print editions (I picked up a Clive Barker biography in Bakewell a month ago – something I’ve been looking for over the past 2 years but no avail). But above all, the people who sell books in these shops really like books, and really enjoy selling them. They get a kick out of it, not because it makes money (we are told by the press they do not) but because they themselves enjoy reading books and enjoy recommending them to others. If they can make a little money out of that business, then good for them.
I suppose in traditional “chicken and the egg” fashion I could discuss how the decline in book buying could – and I stress “could” – be linked to the decline in the independent bookseller and vice versa, but I won’t. That’s for other blogs to discuss, or perhaps people to comment at the end. But this is one writer who will lament on the endangered species of the independent bookshop.
So in the spirit of supporting the “little guy” I’ve promised to buy the last Harry Potter... book (yes, we’re one of those households!) from an independent and not Tescos, or Waterstones, or WHSmiths or anywhere else who offers huge discounts to the point of being obscene. For them Harry Potter is a loss leader – for the independent bookshop “grandstand” books are their bread and butter. If they are to struggle on, they need the support of the book-buying public who will feel their loss keenly if the independent bookshop becomes a thing of the past.
Hopefully I won’t be the only one thinking this.
Third things… erm, third?
Sarah asked me recently what project I might embark on in the Autumn after I’ve put The Secret of Mhorrer to bed. Anyone who has looked at my website (link left) will note that I have other future projects such as Smith or A World of Night listed. A World of Night is currently being tweaked for submission later in the year, and Smith is a project that needs more developing before I’m happy with it.
As it happens there are two other projects not listed there which are proving tempting. The first is The House of All Seasons which will be a gothic thriller – quite unlike anything I have written before. The second project is one I’ve mentioned before in a recent blog, Stranded Rooms, a dark fantasy science-fiction story which would be the perfect platform to explore my imagination unrestrained. The Secret War and The Secret of Mhorrer have fantastical and horror elements, but they are also bound by conventions to some degree as they feature vampires and daemons – creations based on myth and religion. Stranded Rooms would have no restraints and I could be quite perverse and crazy with my imagination (hell, any story which has a guy being sucked out into the vacuum of space from his bathroom door has got to have a slightly unhinged edge, right?)
Anyway, at the moment both projects should be novella size (though I suspect the latter could bloat itself into another 400-500 page epic). If they do retain their diminutive word count then I will probably lean towards the independent press. We’re not talking POD here but rather small press publishers with a track record of publishing limited runs of novellas, selling them through Amazon and their own sites (and of course this one).
Ever since I picked up a copy of Back Brain Recluse many years ago, I’ve found the small press quite appealing (the care and attention, the cover art, the enthusiasm…), and would love to be published by one of them.
Watch this space….as always!