I never expected that writing a couple of books would change my life, but we all make mistakes.
I mean, don't get me wrong: I'm not yet battering away seething ranks of cheque-waving publishing executives. Nor, thus far at least, has any financial planning consultant come to me with the earnest advice that I should give up the day job and devote the rest of my life to penning comic novels from a beach bar in the Caribbean. Those kinds of fondly imagined developments will have to wait a little longer.
What has changed is my view of other writers and what, for the purposes of finding a suitably interesting title for this post, I shall call the kindness of strangers.
Unleashing my first comic fantasy through Amazon KDP and through sites such as Authonomy and Goodreads has not brought untold wealth but it has exposed me to a richly diverse community of aspiring authors. Spread across the globe like little lights on one of those NASA-published satellite photos of the 'Earth at Night', there are countless self-published writers who are only too ready to offer advice, reviews and constructive criticism to their fellows.
All sorts of fascinating and talented writers have offered valuable comments and suggestions about how Unreliable Histories might yet take the literary world by storm. They have acted as sounding boards and proof-readers - even counsellors on occasion - and I'm happy to state that I have used their feedback to make important changes to the book. I hope and feel it is all the better for it.
There are also many bloggers out there who support indie authors every day by reviewing and promoting their works. For no more fabulous a reward than a hastily emailed mobi file and a short synopsis, many of them will provide a thoughtful and often lengthy critique and pass on any recommendations to their followers.
To use this post to thank all those who have helped me in some way would be to risk sounding like an over-long acceptance speech at the Oscars. (It might also suggest an unwarranted sense of achievement so it is best avoided for many reasons.) That said, I would like to mention a few individuals, if only to make a start on redressing the balance.
Thank you to:
- Loretta Lynn (author and blogger) for a very kind review.
- Robert Wingfield (author, ambler and occasional sailing enthusiast) for his generous reviews and continuing encouragement.
- Ell Tucker (author) for her reviews on The Hellvis Compendium and BIT'N Book Promoters.
- Sharon Stevenson (author), who has bravely read and reviewed both my books.
- The CLOG review group on Authonomy for their ideas, comradeship and periodic bouts of madness.
- Annie Harmon (author and blogger) for some really helpful feedback.
- Norman Morrow (author) for his entertaining 'pre-reviews' and his exceptionally creative use of the verb 'to feck'.
- Kerry J Donovan (author) for taking a leap of faith into the Amazon.
- Lauren Algeo (author and indefatigable Facebook poster) for her work on the Sunday Reading List and for posting all kinds of interesting stuff.
- And Andy Paine (Authonomy author and goldfish-descendent) for enjoying literary silliness every bit as much as me.
I am pleased to have made the acquaintance of all these people - and delighted that we are strangers no longer.