Crisis Revelations. Mining the Dregs of Resolve.

Crisis Revelations. Mining the Dregs of Resolve.

Seeking Inspiration
Seeking Inspiration

I am on the cusp of change. Not yet sure in which direction but I thought I would capture the essence before I lapse again into plodding without looking where I’m going.

‘If you want to be successful, you have to pretend you already are’

Ever been told to put on your dancing shoes and caper towards the camera? Metaphorically speaking?

I have been made brave by Viv’s blog (Zen and the art of tightrope walking) in which she questions the virtues of stoicism (the full-English in approved ‘attitude’) to venture onto my own high-wire, and examine the world that has another set of unspoken virtues- the approved conduct of the ‘indie author’.

All Indie Authors should consider the stoicism implied by a dreaded word ‘Authorpreneur.’

 Before I get onto its entrenched edicts I shall have to define why, right now, I feel defeated and why this post sets out to invite contributions, commiserations and perhaps even solutions? (Hint I intend new coherent, focussed, valuable… something.)

So: Many things have contributed to my small crisis: (See, there is stoicism showing its petticoat- it feels pretty big actually)

Putting it Behind Me

After two years of close attention to the world of marketing, web design, IT mastery (well, moderate self sufficiency) blogging, guest posting, commenting, reading, reviewing… I have recently been told I have left no tracks in the web sand- in short I do not exist.

(The kind SEO searcher who discovered this offered a consolation. ‘At least you have not spoilt your first impression. You have not made one!) He disabused me of believing anything Google said, (because Google is a big stroker and would have me believe I have made veritable waves for fully three pages) and suggested I asked duckduckgo instead. Sure enough, his point was proved, I do not exist.

Branding

Like a wayward young steer I need ‘Branding’, or I will never be welcomed in the herd. It is not the books that matter but the branding of the author. ‘Think of things others would say if asked to describe you?’  Well aside from the obvious (and why should I offer insults gratis? Mine could be auctioned to Save the Children )

All suggestions here, or here, or here…

(Look ma, no genre?-The art of the unpopular?- Believing five impossible things before breakfast? Delusions of Hercules?)

Problem is, my daughters aside, how would they know without reading what I write? Or being able to find me when I don’t exist? Or even digging out (up?) the recluse who lives in darkest Somerset and could not embark upon a series if it bit her on the bum and chased her to the gate.

(Aside:I do have an idea for a fabulous TV series and I have cast Bill Nighy in the lead-he’d relish the role and yes do feel free to contact him.)

Wrestling with this for months I decided to turn aside and join NaNoWriMo for some creative distraction. Yes I finished the outline of a novella, (did not even limp to 50K, stopped and laid down its plot at 48K) and it offers a skeletal outline but one so world weary that it needs to live on spinach for a year. WHY? Because it now joins the list of the next books that will be unfound and unread.

Going Round in Circles

Looking at the Optimist- see it smiles and wears a hat in halcyon days
Looking at the Optimist- see it smiles and wears a hat in halcyon days

So no escape. Circumnavigation of the central problem. How to wave without seeming to, the mastery of the sleight of hand. Finding they who are already searching?

Caution: They would not imagine such a book so would not be searching. If they fell over it they would say …………………………(Feel free to improvise in the comments)

Hence back to the first subject-Stoicism.

It seems to me we Indie Authors are signed up to these ten commandments (plus one) Nobody showed me before I signed up. Bastards.

  •  Thou shalt anticipate author hood by building a solid platform (before you have any    hooks to climb it, spiked shoes, or a windcheater for the long winter’s blast.                Intentions are two a penny, solidity speaks.)
  • Thou shalt acquire a tribe of ten thousand followers on Twitter and Facebook ( But without a book available? Stick to cakes and recipes-you can crib those.)
  • Thou shalt exceed the traditionally published authors by being better written, better dressed, more adventurous.(Safe here, nobody will find out one way or the other)
  • Thou shalt write works with a keen eye to the market you have already seduced. (Do cakes and recipes foster an interest in evolution? Baking is a busy business.)
  • Thou shalt master the Amazon category minefield.(It may not anticipate the category you have been adventurous with. Write nicely to Amazon with suggestions.)
  • Thou shalt produce at least a book a year, and preferably in series.(Latest sure fire-winner- of- 1000 signatories- a- month advice: ‘To accumulate an email list give away your first, follow with a gift of the second a day later, in order to hook a readership for the many to follow. Sorry forgot to mention you must start in your twenties, or write three at a time. (‘Note to Self: Remember to bar anyone over 65.)
  • Thou shalt find the money for editing, and cover design and they shall be exemplary examples of what is already in abundance and look good in a thumbnail. It’s all anyone will be likely to skim past.
  • Thou will understand the sprinkling of keywords and have an ear to the ground of SEO so that though wilt play harmoniously without banging anything- strictly strings.( How about scored for base trombone, viola and a snare…)
  • Thou shalt persist in offering something of value to acquire a mailing list that will be susceptible to thy next offer and thou may post many portraits of yourself  behaving as though chased by papparazzi lest we forget your name. Tip: Be photogenic or at least ‘interesting’ Drag? Indecent? Rear view?
  • Thou shalt not deviate by questioning these precepts, nor challenge them but thou canst always give up and drop out.
  • (Thou wilt not be missed.)

    'Just a little further' he said. Left or Right? Sorry- didn't quite catch.
    ‘Just a little further’ he said. Left or Right?
    Sorry- didn’t quite catch.

Author: philipparees

A writer ( mostly narrative poetry) of fiction and non-fiction. Self publisher of fiction and Involution-An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God (Runner-up Book of the Year (2013), One time builder ( Arts centre) Mother of four daughters: Companion of old man and old dog: One time gardener, lecturer, wannabe cellist, mostly enquirer of 'what's it all about', blogger and things as yet undiscovered.

10 thoughts on “Crisis Revelations. Mining the Dregs of Resolve.”

  1. Oh my dear. I hear you so well. My own resolve is very low at this time for the same reasons. I abhor this concept of *branding*; it’s so much against what I truly believe in.
    if it is any consolation at all, I bought Involution as a birthday present for my husband and look forward to pinching it from him.
    I wish I could offer more than that.

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  2. A greater consolation could not be offered. Look forward to a rare reader’s honest opinion. I loved your piece on Stoicism and this really did evolve from that. I Really am beginning to think there is a need for an author ‘dating’ site whereby those with parallel readers are introduced to one another and embark not as ‘beta ‘readers but beta sellers of one another’s work! I have had a ball ‘selling’ Melissa Studdards book and truly believing I am doing all who listen a real service. It does not travel to oneself! Why not? Can’t answer.

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  3. OM …. grief? OMGoodness? O me o my? OMLordy … So complex. But it makes me remember when a friend phoned me from afar early one morning – she was holidaying in Plett – and she was in tears. I was very concerned … and I said ‘what on earth?’ or words to that effect. She had bought and taken my book away with her on holiday and I was extremely anxious about my good friend reading it as she is in NO way psychologically minded. She is a medical person. She was in tears as my book struck a heart felt chord in her and this is why she was tearful and had to phone me .. it was seriously early – 6.45 a.m. I was so gratified … and when I received other such compliments this I felt was enough for me …

    Am I suggesting the same for you Philippa? No, not really. We write because we have something to say. We have to. Do we write with the reader audience in mind? We write because we want to add to the written word out there. We can only hope that it will be picked up and enjoyed and perhaps towards an other way of looking at the world. Even in the writing, we see the world through different lens so we know the value of that.

    It would be ‘nice’ ‘wonderful’ ‘gratifying’ ‘pleasing’ if our writings got more recognition – we have after all put our best foot, heart, soul, finger etc forward .. I don’t know what we do from there .. adopt the Buddhist view of non-attachment to outcome? Defeatist? Overly Stoic?

    But before this turns out to be a long response, let me just say that your writings are especially wonderful Philippa. I am envious of your facility and mastery with words and ideas. You WILL be found, even though it may take time. ‘Involution’ is on my Kindle and I can’t wait … and I have several of your writings to be ‘read later fast’ – a separate file on my computer.

    *Thou shalt not give up.

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    1. Dear Susan. Thou shalt be elevated to prime place in my confidence for the duration of Christmas. Really lovely message and thank you for pouring it like balm.
      Actually I believe despair is usually a reminder that one has been travelling too long and too far in the wrong direction. You’re quite right, one writes because one cannot NOT write, but then to keep on one needs to believe it is for other people, and readers alone can echo some value in it.

      Trouble is, it is all too easy to believe the mantras that this, this and this are the invariable steps, whereas almost everyone with whom I have an affinity ( who might like what I write) are simply seekers, and as you say will find things when they fall over them. Despite the somewhat cynical tone of the post I am already recovering. I just wanted to mark the place where that began!

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  4. As I said in my review, your book is an incredible achievement … you speak for hundreds and thousands of individuals who know in their bones what you’re talking about. Your poetry has lines of breath-taking beauty and clarity.
    Re: branding. I had my moan in May 2011 https://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/battling-with-the-branding-goddess/

    How to reach more of the branding orphans is another matter. Alternative mags, maybe?

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    1. Dearest Ashen! I will visit your variety of gripe presently. An interesting exercise today answering focussed ‘branding’ questions has forced me to appraise myself much more objectively. Will keep you posted!

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  5. OMG – what a great post, honest too, and what a collection of lovely comments in same mode. Loathe branding! YAY! I do likewise, friends. I write what I write ‘cos I do, and believe in it, yes. On another FB site, I watch them all buying each other’s books, and celebrating the wonders thereof, but mine (do I dare to say, a very deeply thoughtful, layered book, without murder, horror, aliens, or dystopia, and horribly real, ) do they not buy. I truly believe in being an Indie Author that I might be truly Indie, and not another follower of market trends. We band of sisters, we are swimming against a strong current: what might we do to reach the land of Being Heard Of? Thanks, Philippa, for raising this.

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    1. Thank you Clare. It is interesting that it obviously struck a chord, because I rarely get such long comments. ‘Thoughtful, layered, without a dose of horror’ seems to describe all the books I read, and people I know read, but the ‘market’ has no ‘thoughtful provocative, challenging’ genre. Does it? It really helps to find fellow travellers whose books are not being bought. ( although I know how that feels! The reviews I offer try to make inroads into that but one only has so much time. Sometimes I envy Margaret Thatcher for surviving on three hours sleep!

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      1. Yes: Margaret Thatcher’s sleep – until one remembers she developed dementia … (I forget (!) whether there is a connection…) Yes, the Market: it is a lightweight thing, the Market, at present, people reading to escape I fear, or for thrills, rather than to understand humanity. Writers like Hosseini or Leila Aboulela or Marilynne Robinson are feted, but not popularly read. We live in a time of famine, literature-wise. Or rather, people have (or publishers have) developed a taste for food which does not nourish.

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