Posting here has taken a little bit of a back seat this week due to the riotous task of typing up chapter upon chapter from the notebooks. I swear there must be at least 60,000 words of material which is great... and it would be one hell of a lot of easier if I could read my own handwriting sometimes. Determination has set in now to wrap up The Family Of Noise and it shall be done. With a plan to abandon all the usual ports of call to sell a novel these days, which includes iBooks and Amazon, and sell directly from here in all digital formats, a limited edition hardback run alongside a (reasonably) never ending supply of print on demand softbacks (I much prefer that to the term paperback - I don't know why) I should really be thinking about a promotional plan to go along with it. If you want to use a gardening analogy, right now I have a packet of seeds, some good compost and a big garden to dig in. Next stage - readying the earth I think, followed by planting the seeds and letting the roots do their thing.
That's what I should be doing writing, typing or planning - instead (apart from the day job of course) I have been installing baby gates to keep Hector where he should be and out of places he shouldn't be, stripping old silicone sealant from the bath and putting new stuff in... things like that. I read an interview with P.D. James a couple of days ago and she was talking about how she works these days and about "the time the person comes in during the morning to type all of my dictated notes" - and I wondered if I would ever be like that. I can't see it myself. I hear all of the things people say about 'you're a writer - you should just be writing', but there's another part of me that says 'If you're gonna open a restaurant, you better be good at washing up'. That way, you're feet will stay firmly on the ground and nobody can make a mistake that you can't claim as your own.
Sounds nice though... just writing and leaving everybody else to do the dirty work. That would leave me with lots of time for installing baby gates, re-sealing the bath and other household jobs that need attending to.
In the cracks of all of that, I've been trying to catch up with the recent Anglo/French serial The Tunnel, which while I'm quite enjoying it and it's well made, well acted etc... appears to be a plot point for plot point rip-off of The Bridge - the excellent Swedish/Danish thriller that ran a few years back. Maybe they thought that if the viewers only had to read only one set of sub-titles, that would raise the viewing figures?
And they would have been wrong...
I've been making some serious inroads with my "non-buying of stuff" commitment. Sort of. I haven't bought a physical copy of a magazine for the whole of this year choosing instead to do all my mag buying on the iPad. An interesting thing has come of this. Around July, I stopped buying any magazines even digitally apart from Vanity Fair (which as I've said before is excellent on the iPad and one of the very few that bothers to still deliver proper wiring and photography) and found myself buying comics again via Comixology instead.
Funny... the magazine habit was originally fuelled because I love them - or rather I used to love them before they all became inane copies of each other with increasingly low production values in search of getting more return on their pound/dollar/euro/whatever. Conversely, I stopped buying comics simply because they don't really sell them in the places I tend to be and, whenever I go into the local comic store, there's never what I really want despite what I'm absolutely sure are his best efforts. Comixology on the other hand... well I can hit that at three in the morning if I so desire and they deliver a killer product. Yeah, yeah, I kinda miss the old shit too, but I'm buying comics again which I wasn't before and I adore the reading experience of Comixology. Not saying you should do it... not saying you shouldn't. I'm saying that you should try it out and decide for yourself - and you should start with Trillium by Jeff Lemire.
Anyway - pre-kindle/iPad/smartphone boom - somewhere in the years gone by on here, I made a statement (which I didn't tag and can therefore not actually find) that went something along the lines of this: One day, all mass fiction will be delivered digitally because there is no need for it to be delivered otherwise. It's just a story waiting to be read. I still believe that to be true. I then followed it up by stating that the only books that would be published as hard product would be those that delivered something extra... art books, big photography books... those kinds of things. I still believe that too - there has to be some value put back into the things that we love other than this dumb-ass distribution/price war that goes on between bookstores and supermarkets.
And it has happened - not from a place or author that I expected it to though. The book is called "S" and it comes from the minds of JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst (yeah - that JJ Abrams). First of all, watch this:
and then this:
and then go out - to a real bookshop (you're thankfully unlikely to find it elsewhere) - put your money where my mouth is, find this, buy it and love it.
You won't be disappointed. It's beautiful - when you get it home, don't be opening it and dumping the contents all over the table to check them out either. As if that wasn't just peachy all by itself, I just found out that it also comes as an e-book produced for the iBook store and has all of the contents available in that version too.
You can read a full story about it here.