Irvine Welsh and Snow Patrol F@cked It Up

I’m just so excited about the stage we have reached in terms of the music and literature industry in Britain right now. We’re about to hit a bubble where a massive explosion of new, exciting, meaningful and mind-blowingly energetic music and novels are about to emerge; clearing out the bland pish we are currently drowning in. Even the odd meaningful movie with a heart is sneaking through. Chronicle for example.

Don’t believe me? I’m a man in the know.

All my life, I’ve had a peculiar “affliction”. The technical name for it is synesthesia. Essentially it means that sounds in general, and music in particular, appear in my mind’s eye as colours. These are very specific and distinct to what each song or voice is conveying emotionally for me. As well as this, I love books and movies also. Imagine the soundtrack to a movie enhanced by flowing, swaying and splashing colours to accompany the music and words. Imagine the colour that flows from the words on a page when spoken aloud.

Now, how does this give me insight into the shifting landscape of our music and book industry? Well, for about 5 years now the British music industry in particular has been a very beige place to be in. The seemingly endless conveyer belt of X-Factor puppets and reformation of man-bands and Buble’s of the world have left the music scene dry, boring and colour-less. Where’s the excitement? Where are the songs and albums that you can identify with, laugh with, be outraged with, or that make you want to go f@cking nuts? Which particular artists are going to define the teen of today? The Script? The Wanted? JLS? Take-That? Nothing wrong with any of these acts, certainly there’s a lot worse around, but to my ears (and eyes) it’s music to chat to; music to have “ isn’t this civilised?” dinner parties to; but mostly, music to ignore.

Just look at Snow Patrol. This group actually produced some decent and innovative songs in their early days. Now? They’re slaves to their record company’s demands for formulaic coffee table soft rock ballads. They’ve gone from being a battered old VW van, full of charisma, tales to tell and character to becoming a 5 star safety rated Renault Megane. Don’t get me started on those bastards, Nickleback!

This Snow Patrol record is shite

The literary world is just as bad and just as beige. Irvine Welsh came along and redefined everything for me about how a book could be formatted and written, or a tale told. Trainspotting was a revelation; Glue was arguably his finest moment. Everything else? A copy of a copy. Each piece written to emulate what made his early work so vibrant, but never quite recapturing the hunger and passion of those works. Irv, please, don’t keep writing what you think the audience wants; rather give us your best, straight from your black heart. I miss Juice Terry, Begbie and the boys, but don’t trot them out like well-worn slippers for a tired re-enactment or two, put some good old-fashioned Welsh spunk in their stories or don’t bother yer arse.

I could list all day the formulaic strategy that writers have adopted and name and shame those c@nts, but why bother? You know how you are; Grisham, Cornwell, Patterson, Harris, Ludlum and your pals. The comparison between these “industries” is obvious to anyone who loves music, books and movies. The “big 6” have told us who and what we “want” to read for long enough.

Just as music is emerging (hopefully soon) from an age where the bean-counters and committees decide and dictate what we listen to, read or watch, so too is the literary world. Self-publishing without a doubt will bring its problems: poorly written, poorly edited or written to a formula John Locke-type “novels” etc. However with that comes the freedom of being able to publish the stories we want to tell when we want to tell them. To be able to write and distribute the very best words straight from our hearts to (hopefully) our audience. Fine times are ahead indeed.

Here’s the Brucie-Bonus though. Every so often when music or film or literature gets to its lowest point a monster of a group or completely new sound, or a new voice, director, writer or visionary comes along and inspires change of immense proportions. Guys like John Niven are starting to emerge and that suits me just fine Times of austerity and poverty also historically produce musicians, writers and artists who are hungry for change and have a message to force into the public consciousness.. Times are very tough at present.

Revolution is on its way, praise the Lord.

Good times are a comin’.

My debut novel, “Bobby’s Boy” is available now on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335467068&sr=1-1

 

 

“You must have plenty money now you’ve written a book”

Someone said this exact thing, with no trace of humour on their face, today: allow me to retort m’lady.

I spent 100s of hours writing my full length novel.

Ive spent dozens more formatting and editing and promoting and marketing said book.

So far, I’ve shifted just short of 1000 downloads of my book..

Most of them we’re on free promo.

Ive had 15 reviews, all positive, all made me incredibly happy and glad I’d took on this huge and imposing task.

In total I’ve made precisely £32.50 for all the effort put in. I’m chuffed with that. Will get a very nice, posh bottle of red with it.

Believe me, my motivation in writing these books and the next is far from financial. But, if I had to explain it, you’d never understand.

 

 

How I Self-Published: Part 2: Piracy

How I Self-Published: Part 2

Is Piracy really of relevance to Indie-Authors?

I’ll get to the process of producing your own book in the next two parts, first I want to discuss “Piracy”.

I self-published my first full length novel, “Bobby’s Boy”, on 7th April 2012, so I’m a “noob” in the world of self-publishing. I’m learning fast though. One of the first “issues” I came across while researching the processes involved with self-publishing, e-publishing, using Print-on-demand services, such as Createspace and Lulu, and promoting, was that of protecting one’s work. Apply DRM or not?

It seemed like a non-issue to me when I first started down the road of becoming a self-published author, and it still does now, one fictional novel and one non-fiction collection of short stories “Paddy’s Daddy”, later. The reason for my lack of concern over someone stealing or “Pirating” my hard work? Piracy has always existed, always should and always will.

From scrolls to wax-tablets to bound papyrus, the first codices; from modern books to audio-cassettes and Mp3s; people have transcribed, copied, photocopied, hacked and recreated their hearts away merrily throughout history. Many of us would never have had the opportunity to see, hear or read a huge variety of creative projects without the process of copying and or passing on works which moved or interested us, but that we didn’t necessarily pay for or earn the privilege to access. The internet has changed and amplified this practice forever.

Which of us (certainly over thirty) hasn’t recorded the top-forty during our formative years, cursing the DJ the whole time for talking over that favourite song? Which of us didn’t record Star Wars, or James Bond (Roger Moore of course), or The Incredible Hulk (forever DAVID Banner to my mind)? Who hasn’t shared a comic, or a video, DVD, CD or a book?

We’re all technically “Pirates”, we all do it, and will continue to do so. Is it stealing on this small scale? Absolutely not, not to my mind. Do I condone it on a mass scale, where factories churn out thousands of copies of albums, games and books, bypassing completely the hard-working (mostly) creative folks behind them? Absolutely not. But the facts are this; those who pay and wish to pay for books, or any other media, will continue to do so. Those who do not, will not. These people will find new ways to circumvent whatever security we try to lock our books with. And do you know what? Its right to do so.

People should always strive for way to stick it to the system, to gain access to the inaccessible. To those materials that those in power have decreed they cannot have for reasons of wealth, education or social status. The world of today, is one of communication and information transfer. Transfer not purchase. The music industry has had to accept that it must evolve in order to make money. Good musicians and bands realise this and are getting creative in how and what they market and promote to their fans. Ask anyone under 20 if they pay for music and they’ll look at you like you asked them if they pay to breathe. Why should they?

As truly free authors we need to shrug off the delusions of the previous regime of the publishing industry. We have it in our power to present our work the way that we want, and be rewarded for it how we choose. I don’t think that books will fall so easily to the depths of almost non-profit that music is surely headed to unless the industry catches on and changes. Books, good books, will always have a value, as will good music, the key will be in determining how we convey that value to our readers and how we define and collect our reward as authors.

When all’s said and done, I’m an Indie-Author. I write stories that I believe are good, really good. Stories that are human, and have a piece of my life in them. Stories that matter to me. Stories about people and I want people to read them. I have that luxury because I’m not owned by a Publisher. I have no delusions of grandeur or dreams of fame and fortune. I deliberately avoided the soul-destroying, shackling methods and machinery of traditional publishing, so that I could write what I want, when I want, for whom I want.

The more people who read my book, by whatever means, the better. Hey, go buy it, that’d be great, I’d be happy with that, but if the couple of bucks I’m charging is too steep, if you want to borrow it from a friend, go right ahead. If you like my book and share that you liked it by reviewing it or emailing me to tell me so, I’ll be a happy wee Indie-Author.

We’re the new Rock Stars, us Indie-Authors don’t’cha’ know? Lets not get trapped in the negative, insular world of publishing that we have such a great opportunity to free ourselves from. Get those creative minds being creative about how we define our new publishing world.

Bobby’s Boy is available on Amazon now:

UK:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334565703&sr=1-1

US:
http://www.amazon.com/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334574417&sr=8-1

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