It's a biliously grey November day, rain falling softly all morning (tolerable) and then working itself up to an undramatically dreary all-afternoon downpour - yellowish-grey sky with no hope on the horizon. It was during weather like this that I began work, many years ago, on TO SUMMON A SPIRIT - wading past soggy leaves drained of their Autumn colours, and watching the kids from the nearby secondary school waiting, in a damp and morose huddle, outside the newsagent's shop to buy their after-school treats (only one customer at a time please...)
As in Pauline Fisk's recent fascinating blog on AuthorsElectric about her Young Adult novel 'TELLING THE SEA', weather and the landscape are great incubators of stories. Pauline's comments on re-publishing her previously published and well-reviewed novel were interesting, too, because we writers never really let go of our work - we're always polishing and improving, even after we're 'out there', which is why many of our 'out-of-print and re-published as ebooks' editions are often much better than their originals.
GEMMA AND THE BEETLE PEOPLE, which is 99p as an ebook (when it was first published, the paperback cost £3.99, and the hardback, £4.99).
And on the subject of Amazon Kindle and its exciting expansion into India and Japan, it seems to me that whole populations must, in recent months, have vanished, since, even with eleven books on Kindle, and an impressive track record, I have not had a single sale in any of them since early September. We - husband/partner David and myself - are now looking more closely at Kobo, Smashwords et al. A brief mention regarding David. He was recently in hospital for serious vascular surgery - scary stuff. Both the surgery and nursing were superb, but internal and external communications were dire, almost to the point of mental cruelty. Why can't the NHS get these little - and inexpensive - things right? Because they do matter so much.
So back to electronic publishing, and a rumour has it that books for younger children don't sell very well, but that Young Adult and cross-over books do. I was planning to re-publish KACHUNKA as my next ebook (Mrs Kachunka - the cosmic dinner lady with a name like a sneeze), but I'm now considering doing THE GAME (Y/A) instead.
THE GAME has a curious history. The plot grew out of an incident in which I was looking for shoes for my daughter, and the shop was playing background radio like Musak - news stories, mostly nasty, personal tragedies etc played as a background to shopping - and I found myself wondering what effect this might have on people's basic sensitivity. The novel was one of Wendy Boase's favourites, but it didn't do well commercially, and finally vanished, except from the shelves of those secondhand book dealers who sell at very strange prices.
Finally to what is now beginning to be called 'traditional publishing'... yes, I am still being 'traditionally' published, with my first two picture books coming out next year. While David was in hospital, I was sent the roughs for one of them, which cheered me immensely. The illustrator is Brazilian, and he's really gone to town on this very funny little story. I'd love to share the images with you, but I shouldn't, so I won't.