A Roundup…

birthday-cake-380178_1920This month I turned 50 years old. In truth it doesn’t feel any different to being 49, and it doesn’t feel any different to being 36 either. Remember in The Matrix how Neo discovered his Residual Self Image (the way you think of yourself, and probably the way you’ll look and behave if you ever come back to haunt the living)? Well mine is a slightly scruffy 36 year-old arsehole. So despite climbing inside another decade, I still look at the holes in my jeans and smile.matrix

When I was a nipper, I contracted arthritis (I was bored one weekend and thought, why not?), but luckily it burned itself out, leaving a bit of a twisted body, and a very humble mind. But only last week I learned it’s on its way back, so I’m in for a bit of a ride but I know I’m in good hands thanks to wonderful staff of the NHS – they are all superstars!

The Third Rule got another great review, taking the tally to a mind-blowing 43. TTR1spine3.6.16I know, steady yourselves! I suppose that sounds like sarcasm masking disappointment, but actually I am thrilled. 41 of those ratings are solid 4 and 5 star reviews. Gotta be happy about that.

And while on the subject of stats – something I don’t spend a lot of time analysing (okay, I don’t spend any time analysing them), I’m one rating away from 400 on Goodreads! That’s overwhelming you stop and think about, and something I feel quite proud of. And my average is still 4.29, which is quite good – squeak!

This month also saw the 4000th visitor to my humble website. I’m not a technical expert, and this thing is slightly creaky around the edges and I guess it’ll never win Website of the Year, but I enjoy tinkering with it every now and then, and I really enjoy the comments that my mumblings occasionally get. If you’re reading this, I sincerely thank you for indulging me.

Last month, I finished creating the new covers for my back-catalogue, and enjoyed the experience overall. I say overall because I did pull BBRspineout rather a lot of hair during the process. But never mind, they’re done, and I think they look far more startling than the old covers, and have already attracted many more sales than in previous months, so that’s good!

TheLiftFrontCover27.5.16 (Medium)And lastly, before you nod off, I’m putting the finishing touches to a brand new Eddie Collins short story. The working title is The Note and it’s another first person adventure, seeing as that format in The Lift went down rather well. I think I’ll keep this format too for any future short stories – I kind of like the foray from third person, feels more immediate, and lets us crawl through Eddie’s mind and find out what makes him tick. notes-514998_1920In The Note we find out that he’s not as brave as you might think. I’m not saying he’s a wimp, but he’s definitely no superhero!

To Hell With It…

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I’ve seen it often, where writers become disillusioned with ‘writing’. But they’re not disillusioned with writing they’re disillusioned because of the marketing that attaches itself to their favourite typing finger like a… well, I’ll leave it to your imagination.

We all read about people who’ve made it big as a writer, and we read about marketing courses that’ll help us get there, at great expense. It’s tempting, isn’t it? I mean, how to pay your way out of the doldrums and into the limelight. Got to be tempted, right?

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Well, no, not really.

I’m not a great writer, probably never will be. But guess what, I enjoy it. And I’m fairly sure that most of my readers enjoy what I write. And that’s a meal that’s as good as a feast, right? No, not really. I want to be applauded, I want to be admired, emulated, and I want people to rave about my books and have ‘Friends of Andrew Barrett’ groups on Facebook. It’ll never happen, and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me. But I have to face reality.

And this is my reality: I will never give up writing just because some publishing house doesn’t want me. I will write for my own enjoyment (remember doing that, huh? How great it was – no pressure, just pleasure), and hopefully for the enjoyment of others. I’ve spent so long following the masses down the dead end to success that I forgot why I slave away on the keyboard for hours as I grew older and no wiser.

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I think the key to success is quite simple really. Write the best story you possibly can and launch it. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is. And keep the money you would have spent on expensive marketing courses to have that well-earned night out with the spouse.

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Just this last week, I’ve seen two authors – good authors – almost ‘resign’ as writers because of the despair inflicted upon them by poor sales and by the pressure of money-making men promising things they can’t deliver. Time to be honest with yourself: write for the love of it, to hell with everything else.

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