January is traditionally a time for making Resolutions. I prefer to think in terms of Intentions. Resolutions are often specific things that have a pass/fail feel about them. Intentions, on the other hand, are looser things – one can try to get there but if (for all good reasons) things are not fully attained then that is not the end of the world, more a chance to rethink and retry.
So what do I intend, as a writer, for 2013? Does the old logic of last year still hold or is there scope for some change of emphasis? I think that 2013 will still, for me as a writer, be characterised as:
Still ebooks. Still Amazon:
Why would I not want to stay with this route? The same logic still holds for me for as long as I see editing, checking, publishing and promotion as things that I want to do as part of the overall writing activity. There may come a time when the world is swamped with ebooks and the publishing/ promoting/selling part of the enterprise ceases to enjoyable or worthwhile. There may also come a time when there are so many other providers of ebooks that the kindle site of Amazon ceases to be worth thinking of as my sole outlet. At the moment though, 2013 will still be ebooks and still be Amazon – alongside my couple of blogs and any other writing I choose to do.
2012 saw four books up on the Kindle site. These were all very different: one light mystery, one collection of Tales, one exploratory story based on a young man in a box, one collection of poems. I have no intention of doing lots of sequels or follow-ups. The freedom to write in the way that I do gives me variety and that is something that I value. 2013 has work in progress on: a story about men in a 1950s Manchester hospital – in which I am testing out heavy use of the present tense; a story (which may have a ‘diary’ feel to it) set in 2097 – so future, but based on extrapolations from today – where the central character is a 12 year old girl; a piece based on research via Twitter, which results in a longer article on Place/Cities; two blogs (this one and a wordpress one titled ‘Man from the Box’ which is a follow-on from the ‘Another Glorious Day’ story of the man in the box ie is a blog written by that character); as well as maintaining my on-going website www.thewordsthething.org.uk which is designed to hold a somewhat wide-ranging/eclectic set of writings. There are other things that occasionally need to be revisited to check that I still want to do them; and some mulling over of how to do promotion that isn’t simply insistent shouting about myself. All of which will keep me busy throughout the first 2-3 months of 2013.
Still planned. Still developmental. Still being persistent and determined, whilst keeping it all at the enjoyable level (even having a sense of fun). Still scheduled:
So I have my daily list of things that I intend to get done through January and February 2013. I am disciplined enough to try to keep up momentum on these but sensible enough not to beat myself up if things start to knowingly drift off-schedule. I am, after all, my own line-manager and want to be an exemplary boss to myself.
The variety of potential writings in the programme for this year will mean that my interests continue to have scope for developing. There will need to be some extra creativity if I am going to write up the fictionalised tour of the Stans (see earlier postings or, better, the relevant bits on my web site); there will be space for a wide exploration of thinkings around contemporary art; there are further ideas about cities that might get worked on; there is the linking of parts of the already-published Tales with approaches in sociology under a working title of Sides and Edges (which may, or may not, see the light of day during 2013) ….. Enough there to keep my mind flowing for now….
Revisiting the costing:
I had set an internal price-line in my head based on a sense of ‘value’. This was that the reasonable length books (and my style of writing would mean that these usually turned out at around 45,000-60,000 words) would be costed at somewhere close to £3. Shorter booklets, or things put together from other sources, might come in at a lower cost. Kindle publishers also have free-loan options. During 2012 I tried out a variety of costings on the Kindle site and produced a graph of ‘sales’ versus ‘cost’. Thinking about that reinforced the notion that £2-£4 would be an optimum normal price range to go with for the first six months of 2013.
Revisiting the use of social media
I have this blog; I have a section of Facebook that is reserved for Friends and Family as well as a section that is me as Writer; I have an active use of Twitter, based on wanting to learn from others fractionally more than I want to push out my own thoughts; and I have a fairly passive presence on LinkedIn. The way others use each of these will, to an extent, guide how I use them. They are all part of my thinking about letting people know that I write stuff which may be of interest to them, but none of them are seen purely as channels of self-promotion. There is a balance to be struck between seeing each of the different media as a form of writing in its own right, as a way of maintaining interesting contact with others, and as a way of guiding people to what I am doing with my life these days. This is a theme I am sure to revisit a number of times during 2013.