Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Voice In My Head

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The Voice In My Head

It only happens to crazy people, right? So I wasn’t that surprised; I’d been heading for a breakdown anyway.
‘Look at you,’ said the voice in my head. ‘Your life is in terminal decline and you don’t even know it.’
‘It is?’ I asked unsteadily. ‘I'm hearing you because I'm sick?’
‘Not yet, but you soon will be.’
‘So in that case…er…who are you?’
‘I’m your inner voice. You need to listen to me, yeah? Everyone tells you that.’
‘Go on, then, inner voice,’ I sighed. ‘Say your piece. I'm listening.’
‘It’s your writing,’ said my inner voice. ‘You're giving it all you've got, but it’s killing you. It happens in the best of relationships.’
‘Nonsense, it isn’t killing me!’ I anxiously examined myself in a nearby window. The dull, sunken eyes, the sallow complexion, the hollow cheeks. And I shivered. ‘I...I'm fine, really.’
‘Unfortunately you’re not,’ said the voice in the hushed  tones of a funeral parlor receptionist. I felt a nerve twitch underneath my right eye. ‘At the best of times your writing life consumes you,’ the voice went on in sepulchral tones. ‘Family life takes a hit. Social life? Forget it. And all the while you have to hold down a dreary full-time job that wrings you out like a wet rag.’
This was too much. I couldn’t let it pass.
‘Okay, some of that is true. But long ago I made a choice; to live my dream. Struggle through the lows. Aim for success by doing what I enjoyed most, and……’
‘Yeah, yeah yeah....and how’s your eyesight been lately?’ came the rude interruption.
‘Okay, I guess.’ Where was this going?
‘It won’t be for very long. And all down your spine those little disks are grinding themselves to dust. You see, pal, it’s the long hours you spend sitting at your brightly-lit computer. And speaking about writing, hey, have you actually been getting any done lately?’
Now this was something that had really been worrying me.
‘Oh, it’s probably writer’s block. It’ll pass,’ I sang nervously.
‘It’s not writer’s block,’ said the voice. ‘Whatever writing time you had, you're now spending trying to take your books to market. You spend countless hours trying to locate this market, and when you do find it you have to spend even more time in attracting its attention. All of this you have to do because you’re a self-publisher!
The voice made the last two words sound like it was something dirty that I did to myself. I licked my dry lips guiltily. Yes, I was an ebook self-publisher. My secret was out. There was little point in further subterfuge.
‘Oh….don’t I just know that!’ I whispered hoarsely.
Premature blindness. A powdering spine. Family life gone down the plughole. No friends. A tired brain, drained of all creative energy. ‘Is it curtains for me, then?’ I wanted to know. ‘Failed. Disappointed. Moving horizontally on a conveyor belt through a pair of fireproof curtains in some downtown crematorium?’
‘No. Now get this---all is not lost. You listening?’ my inner voice demanded.
I perked up at its sudden snappy tone.
‘You betcha, I’m listening.’
‘You have friends,’ it said. ‘All self-publishers do. Big and mighty friends. They can change lives. Mend broken dreams.’
Huge waves of emotion washed over me like it was high-tide on Bondai Beach.
'I know,' I whispered. 'It's these "big few" online publishing houses which allow self-publishers to showcase their work to the world. Our liberators,' I choked. 'Our salvation...our future.'
'You got it in one,' the voice confirmed with amazing gentleness. 'The "big few" are the future.'
'But....but how can I make them listen?'
‘The answer is staring at you in the face, buddy,’ said my inner voice with a hint of impatience. 'Let's say you get 70% royalties. And on those ebooks priced below $2.99 you get 35%. So you already have a competitive advantage---you can price your books lower than a traditional publishing house while still making higher royalties than it would ever have given you.’
‘Yes, I know that…..’
‘In fact the terms of these "big few" online publishing houses are so good that you could afford to invest some of your royalties in saving your health while also increasing your sales without losing your competitive-price edge.’
‘I think you’re losing me, pal….I mean, inner voice.’
‘Bear with me. First, it is vital that you produce good stuff. And I mean good! Not sloppily edited. Not badly formatted. Not badly written.’
‘I think I can manage that,’ I whispered.
‘I know you can. You already do so most admirably. I was referring  to all those other self-publishers out there who fancy themselves as writers nowadays.'
‘Oh, gee! Thanks, I guess. But what has all this to do with royalties?'
‘If all you self-publishers were to give up 5% to 10% of those generous royalties, why, this would give the "big few" the finance needed to hire super-duper marketing teams. And they would do all the hard grind needed to put you convincingly in front of your target market. Meanwhile you could be getting on with your writing….admiring your wife’s new hairdo… kicking a ball with the kids…saving your eyes and backbone….’
‘’Yes, but 5% to 10%…isn’t that a lot?’
‘It’s peanuts, especially when you add on all those extra sales you’d be making thanks to a bunch of professionals marketing you. And they could do more, of course. For example, so many self-publishers can’t write. Team  "big few" could look at their work and gently point them towards writing school. The others would only need professional copy editors and book cover designers as necessary. And lo! Suddenly self publishers would start achieving a whole new credibility. You getting all this?’
‘It sounds so simple,’ I breathed in awe. ‘Increased sales. Good health. Happy families. Overflowing cornucopias of creativity pouring forth from well-rested brains. Sound advice. Good product. Changed perceptions. For once real talent would be rewarded fairly and squarely. This nurturing of talented self-publishers would give them the break for which they have long hungered.....' I was getting rather excited by now. Maybe too excited. ‘Hey, for that kind of Technicolor horizon I’d be happy to go more than 5% to 10%. Why, I’d be…..’
‘Calm down,’ chided my inner voice. ‘Watch what you say. You’re getting carried away!’
‘I don’t care,’ I hollered gaily. ‘I want the "big few" to hear. I want them to hear so much!’
‘Come to think of it, you might be slightly nuts after all. Anyway, I’m done.’
And with that my inner voice fell silent, leaving me trembling with an exhilaration I hadn’t felt since my first kiss.

Hi. I'm John.
That's it for the issues that have been bugging me. From now on I'm going to take you on a journey about the wacky things that have happened in my life. Please come back in a week's time and I shall do my best to entertain you while giving you pause for thought! (My next blog, entitled Tragedy At The Duck-pond, goes up here on 20 July. Hope it doesn't make you cry!) Oh yeah, almost forgot (as if!). If you have the time, please do me the kindness of taking a look at my ebooks and paperbacks on good old Amazon, as below. Thanks.

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 1 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 2 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 3 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                         WSWTEndings Vol 4 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                        SSWTEndings Vol 1 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)

                                        SSWTEndings Vol 2 Kindle and paperback editions  (click)
                                    Longer Wacky Stories With Twist Endings (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)
                                  Look Out...Mum's Gone Crackers (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                   

                                       Hunting The Beast (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)

                                       May Never The Dead Return (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                     

                                       Running With Zombies (Kindle and paperback editions)  (click)                                                                               

                                 Wacky Stories For Grown Up Kids (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)


                                       An Unlawful Act In Libya (Kindle and paperback editions) (click)

                                            A Layman's Guide To The Meaning Of Life And Death (click) 

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