Sunday, 4 August 2013

Good Karma

It's hard being a writer, even harder trying to get your work published. Don't get me started on how difficult it is to actually publish your work yourself. I've published five books, three of them are still out there and I did it all pretty much alone.

No need to get out the violin strings - authors are genetically a solitary bunch. We live in our own world most of the time, venturing out only in search of food and the latest episode of Justified. When we invite people in we expect them to be nice and respectful and when they're not we want to charge at them with a legion of our own creation.

We have no control outside of our heads, and some of us don't even have that. So it's hard for any writer to take the bold step and publish their work, cementing their talent for the world to scrutinise. It's a lonely place and although there's no real competition, there's also no community we can turn to.

Writers don't help other writers. Why? Well because we're too damn busy. We have to help ourselves - no one else will... No one else will.

It's a lonely place and yet our numbers are growing and instead of familiar faces, even friends, the faces are just becoming more vast, more widespread, more out of reach. When I first started here I knew names, veterans I could trust, but they're gone now, to a quieter place where the screeching sounds of "buy my book!" can't be heard.

I wished - I still wish - there was a hand to guide me. Someone there to lead me away from the danger zones, to push me forward when I started to waver. But there wasn't and I began to wonder why. Writers don't help other writers... It's true we don't, even though we want to.

But then I fell into my own hypocrisy. I ignored those who wanted help because I didn't have the time. I was part of the writers circle - churning alongside my peers and ignoring them as best I could. Then one day my words dried up. My luck ran out and the three books I had left became stagnant. It gave me time to think.

Why should we expect help if we're not prepared to give it? Why should we be looking for mentors when we are not prepared to steer others? I am not the greatest author in the world, but I read and I love books, I have passion, I have knowledge and now - more than ever - I have time.

So without my writing I turned to others. I started answering cries for help. I posted suggestions about blurbs, covers and a ball started rolling. Then I started beta reading, started proofreading, started writing again.

This is my first blog in so, so long. And I am inspired by those I've helped - those that have helped me. So this is what I do now - give me your work and I will help in any way I can. There's no catch - no charges - no like for like - I will do what I can and hopefully you will be inspired to do what you can too.

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