Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The grass is always greener ... - Karen Bush

Look upon my works and tremble ...

I'm not one of those people who can write purely for my own private satisfaction; for me personally, apart from shopping lists, it's pointless writing anything that's never going to see the light of day in a book or magazine, or which I'm not going to get paid for. The first thing I ever wrote that wasn't a compulsory school essay was a competition entry, and my first earner was a short story I wrote during a History A level exam: I'd run out of things to say but wasn't allowed to leave the exam room until the allotted time was up. So I asked for more paper and eventually handed in two sheets of foolscap and left with four, which I typed up at home, sent off and duly had accepted for publication.
After that I was off and running, and when I left school and started work, writing became a way of topping up a pitifully inadequate salary which didn't even come close to covering the expenses of dog, pony, horse and car. The need to write to earn meant though, that fiction quickly became abandoned: it was much easier to sell non-fiction.

Nevertheless, I missed writing fiction, and at some point I wanted to get back to doing it. E-books have offered the perfect way of doing this - my book would definitely get out there, I might even make a few quid, and I wouldn't have to go through any of the agonising process of finding the right publisher. Or, having eventually found one, the irritations of being edited by someone who appears to be illiterate, of being forced to make changes or cuts you don't like, or a cover being foisted on you which you hate, or a ridiculous price being asked for it ... all those things we love to grumble about.
So, after rediscovering the pleasure of writing fiction again (I really had forgotten just what fun it is) and the euphoria of seeing the jacket designed by my lovely artist friend Claire Colvin, which I blogged about on my last post, where's the book?
Ummmm ... well, it's still on the USB stick in the picture. Because that is actually one of the positive benefits of having a publisher which it's easy to overlook: normally when I hand over my finished manuscript, I can breathe a big sigh of relief and forget about it, letting them get on and do all the stuff necessary to turn it into a book. Now it's all down to me instead, and at the moment I just don't have the time to do the techy stuff that will turn my stories into an e-book; ironically enough, because I'm currently racing to meet a deadline on a commissioned paper book ...


Dan Holloway said...

Blimey, foolscap, I remember foolscap at school too - everything from ringbinders to doument wallets used to come in 2 sizes - A4 or foolscap.

VEry best with the time finding quest - the most elusive search since Parsifal set off

Deb said...

I think this is a common problem for a lot of writers, Karen. If I have a commission and a deadline to meet (not to mention a nice cheque as an incentive) I will do it there and then and deliver it well within the deadline. If I'm working on my own projects, such as a novel, I'm having a good day if I write three paragraphs without procrastinating!

dirtywhitecandy said...

Karen, it is a lot more faff than people expect. Having worked in book and magazine publishers I can do it on autopilot, but my husband is preparing a book for Kindle and keeps popping into my study to ask how often to use italics and that sort of thing. The good thing, though, is that when you spot something wrong you can make the chages yourself, without having to wait for proofs to come back - possibly with marks having been missed.
I'll echo Dan's wish and hope yo9u soon find the time!
Having horses doesn't help - they always seem to know when you have your mind in a book instead of on them!

Susan Price said...

Wonderful exam story! You'll get there, Karen, but I send sympathy. I'm trying to get as much done as I can before I start going into the University again in September - and I don't think I've ever been so busy, worked so hard, in my life!