The words ‘My first novel has just been published’ may have impressed guests at a twentieth century dinner party but today’s diners are more likely to stifle a yawn, change the subject or shove your face into the gazpacho. Probably. I’m guessing a bit as it’s been many years since I was invited to a formal food-based social gathering in someone else’s house – not since the notorious choux buns incident at Sophie and Simon’s in fact, which we don’t talk about.
The point is, everyone can be a novelist now that the only barriers to entry are a PC, an internet connection and an Amazon account. They always could, if they didn’t mind writing a decent sized cheque to a vanity publishing house, but now all the tools they need are available free of charge. Today’s Word document can be next week’s paperback which you carry around 24/7 in the hope that someone, anyone, will ask you what you’re reading. “Oh you mean this? It’s just my latest novel…”
While this might seem the best news since Harvard Medical School revealed that frequent masturbation appeared to protect against prostate cancer, it’s not all gravy. Aspiring writers used to whine about how difficult it was to get their work in front of aloof agents and unresponsive publishers, but the democratisation of publishing has resulted in 3,500,000 ebooks being released on Amazon’s Kindle since the format emerged in 2007. And that figure is increasing by around 100,000 a month, suggesting that getting noticed is going to be challenging for any novice novelist. More challenging, in fact, than writing the novel.
And that’s the primary purpose of this blog: to record my post-novel progress over the months, and maybe years, ahead with my first novel, The Honey Peach Affair. Will I end up gushing “It’s been quite a journey,” to the adoring presenters of Radio 4’s Open Book and A Good Read when I’m their special guest? Or will this blog quietly just twinkle out of existence after I let the domain name expire?