Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Slow progress

Fellowship with Demons (nee Kith and Kin) is the last of the Murray books that I completed in the 1990s: there's another half one, the next one, which I slightly fear coming back to in mid-stream, as it were. I don't know why, but my mind keeps bubbling away with plot ideas for the one after the one after the half-written one, while the in-between one is still very hazy.

The technique so far has been to reread the old (dusty) typescript (somewhere there's a rigid floppy or whatever they were for each book, but there's not a machine left in the house to read them), with the firm intention of making notes for improvements, corrections, etc. Then I set to to retype. I'm glad I invested a little of my very tiny startin salary on a touch typing course long ago - at my school one didn't learn such things as one was expected to have a secretary in one's workplace! At my second post I was strongly advised not to let slip that I had a typing qualification in case it was thought that I should be in the typing pool, not in a 'professional' post. Oh, happy days! Anyway, I'm glad of it now, as I edit as I go. The trouble is, I try to read it as if reading it for the first time, and then I think - 'But why doesnt' Blair say X here?' and I rewrite a whole passage to make Blair convincingly say X only to find two pages later that he does say / will say / has said X, but much more effectively, or that there's a pressing reason why he shouldn't say it at all. I correct lots of mistakes, but of course as I'm retyping I'm introducing brand new shiny mistakes. I've changed the name of Murray's cook three times (who noticed she has two different names? That's going to have to be fixed!). All this time I'm trying to think of a cover illustration that is (a) practical and (b) cheap, preferably free. Then I print the whole thing off and proofread, correct, and face the great moment of uploading on to Amazon. Actualy, it would make more sense to upload to Smashwords first, as they do an automated format check which is somewhere between useful and annoying (they're very picky about just how the copyright page has to look, for example). Each version needs an ISBN from my precious store - just bought a new batch.

I'm trying to set up Books 2 - 4 on CreateSpace before the summer, which is another faff. To be fair, Amazon does try to make it easy and I'm pretty pleased with Death in a Scarlet Gown in print (thanks as always to my patient and computer literate graphic designer), but it is a fiddle getting everything into templates and stop it looking like a text book.

None of this is, of course, marketing 'the product', something I'm really going to have to work on. This is not my field. This is so far from being my field that I feel like a slug in the Sahara - moreover, an Aberdonian slug in the Sahara (probably in the oil industry). For anyone who doesn't know, the common perception in England that the Scots are, shall we say, emotionally attached to a firmly closed wallet, is in Scotland itself directed at Aberdonians. I don't like to spend money. It's one of those irregular verbs: I am careful, you are stingy, he, she or it is as mean as a miser's mother. But apparently it pays to advertise ...

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