Browsing the internet this morning, I came across the work of the Spanish self-taught street photographer Joan Colom.
In a portfolio of shots he took at a market, I saw a photograph that made me gasp in recognition, as it depicts how I’m feeling about my writing career at the moment.
It’s always amused me that the word career also means to stagger about…which certainly describes my erratic work history!
Although it’s joyful for me to be immersed in creating a new story, other aspects of writing can be repetitive and mundane. Self-publishing entails self-promotion, and how do I balance that with querying literary agents? I’m currently learning how to narrate and record and edit my voice, so I can add audiobooks versions of my crime novel series to Amazon KDP. But, I should really be adding posts to this writing blog Paul Pens and articles to my Cornish Detective website.
Prioritising work is fiendishly difficult. How to decide what’s important and needs to be tackled first?
There’s no way of telling what will work in publishing until is does. My original intention as 2020 started was to promote myself as a writer and my Cornish Detective series as crime stories worth reading. I already had a blog about writing, a website devoted to my protagonist and various social media profiles. Adding posts to them might support my publishing career. Last Christmas, I uploaded the first four titles to KDP Select, a commitment I’d previously avoided. Book 5 would appear to coincide with holidaymakers appearing in Cornwall at Easter. I was 50,000 words into completing the sixth story. I had a plan!
Then, everything went bonkers. While updating my Linux Mint operating system, it somehow gobbled up every document on the desktop. My fault, I think, as I inadvertently had another update running at the same time. Somehow, I’d saved everything to the Cloud except my work in progress! I wasted two months attempting to recover it, without result. As I struggled, the coronavirus took hold of the world. Slowly, I realised that the manuscript would have been unusable, as the story was set in 2020.
Slightly deterred, but not crestfallen, I refocused my energies to add another string to my bow by learning how to narrate and record my novels as audiobooks. The lockdown had further stimulated this sector of publishing which was already growing exponentially.
I chose Audacity as a digital audio workstation (DAW), which is free to use. I spent several hundred quid acquiring equipment. The Olympus LS-P4 Hi-Res Audio Recorder I bought wasn’t needed for home recording, but I intend to use it with a digital SLR camera I got to film videos about the stories out in the field.
I’ve been learning how to record audio files that satisfy Amazon’s ACX vetting procedure. The advice I received from Colony members who preceded me on this mind-blowing obstacle course was invaluable. My audio-files have finally passed ACX. All I have to master now is how to pronounce words perfectly!
Each novel will take at least a month to narrate and master, so that’s most of the rest of the year gone. I record in the evening, as the place where I live is quietest then.
Other activities I could be getting on with, include blogging, writing articles for the Cornish Detective website, making myself known on Twitter, my Facebook business page, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and LinkedIn. I’m also writing the third novella in a series about an American Civil War veteran. I should be querying literary agents, my least favourite part of being a writer.