I’m not one of those people who can blog every day, about their day, regardless of whether it’s interesting or not. I’m certainly not one of those people who is organised enough to blog about something interesting every day! I also can’t just dash off a quick blog over the first cup of tea in the morning – anything I write has to be mulled over, rewritten endlessly, then more mulling, with quite a bit of staring out of windows and a good few cups of tea, and probably a coffee as well. And biscuits.
But, I have a new book out, and I know I said I just wanted it out there, but I guess I should try to promote it a little, despite having a job, a family, dogs, parents and no time.
Anyway… Perceived wisdom used to say that once you wrote a book, you got an agent, who would then get you to rewrite much of the book, before said agent got you a publisher, who would also get you to rewrite much of it. You weren’t bullish about it, because writers aren’t bullish, at least not ones who aren’t on the best-seller list, you just meekly sat back and pretended to be blasé about your work, because no-one likes a writer trying to empower themselves, until they get the power of course, and then everyone wants them at their cocktail party. But that all changed with self-publishing.
However, there is now a new perceived wisdom, that you put your book out there, and hope that people are nice enough to review it, on Amazon, or better, in a blog. You can’t ask people to review it, because that would be bullish, and you certainly can’t ask bloggers to review your book, because they have advertising to sell, and they’re not going to sell much of it reviewing a book from someone who only has a hundred or so Twitter followers.
But you know what? I don’t have time for any of that. I’m fifty-seven, and I want my book to be noticed. I’m not interested in it selling in its millions (he lies), I just want people outside my Facebook and Twitter family to know about it, and there’s only one way for that to happen, and that’s for people to whom other people listen to say nice things about it.
Yes, I am going to empower myself, and the hell with the niceties. So what do you say, bloggers? Do you want to join me in this brave new world? Do you want to be able to say, when the book gets big, I was a part of that? I made that happen, so pay attention to me, and give me your advertising? Go on, give it a shot. Think of it this way – if it was your book, what would you want your fellow bloggers to do? I can’t promise to reblog you, or retweet you, given the aforementioned lack of time, but I will try, I promise. If you’re up for it, send me your email address and I’ll Amazon you the book. If it wasn’t a verb, it is now. Just to get you started, here’s a little section of it. It’s funny like this all the way through, I promise, and sweet, and exciting, and even occasionally a bit bawdy in places. If you actually want to buy it (it’s only $3.01, or £2.34 in old money), here’s the link.
A young American woman comes to Malmesbury in Wiltshire to discover the truth about her real parents, only to find that one has vanished without trace, while the other was an ancient water spirit who has now come back to find his bride. But this is only the start of the weirdness she finds in Malmesbury, including but by no means limited to a pub full of alcoholic psychics, an apprentice witch who prefers vacuum cleaners to broomsticks, and a ghostly black dog that houses the spirit of an eleventh century monk called Eilmer, who history states once built himself wings and flew from the roof of the Abbey, and who has been trying to recreate the feat ever since because nobody believes he did it the first time. But she also finds love, so that’s nice.
It’s this way, said Eilmer as The Flying Monk’s very own ghost dog climbed the old pub’s stairs like, well, like a ghost.
Eilmer was getting pretty pissed off about being banished from his own room: something had to be done, and he was just the dog to do it. And he’d brought a friend. Eilmer crept along the narrow corridor towards the Monk’s Retreat, as his room was known, and took a quick peer through the wall. They were in luck – Rennies was out. Eilmer took a deep breath and slunk through the door.
“So what do we do now?” said the ghostly figure beside Eilmer.
I don’t know, said Eilmer, I thought you might have some idea, you know, being an old friend of his and all that.
“Well, I suppose we could put a cross on his bed or something,” said the ghostly helper. “Or maybe some garlic?”
That’s vampires, said Eilmer, restraining his natural sarcasm.
“Well well, what do we have here?”
Eilmer snapped round, to see Rennies sitting in the chair by the window.
Where did you come from you git? he muttered.
“But my dear chap,” said Rennies, smiling. “I was here all along. Is it my fault if you have all the supernatural abilities of a dead slug? But here, you seem to have brought a friend. Welcome to the twenty-first century, your Majesty.”
King Athelstan smiled weakly at Rennies.
“It wasn’t my idea,” he said, nervously dematerialising for a second. The first King of All England hadn’t been out and about for many centuries, and he was still getting the hang of dimensional stability.
“I’m sure,” said Rennies, still smiling.
For God’s sake mate, said Eilmer, don’t just hover there, do something!
“What would you suggest?” said the King, wondering whether returning to the vegetable patch where his mortal remains were buried might not be such a bad idea.
Well I don’t know, said Eilmer tetchily, you’re the King – cut his head off or something.
“Well, I suppose I could try,” said the King, taking his spectral sword from its scabbard.
“Here,” said Rennies. “Perhaps I could save you the trouble?” And at that moment the supposed water salesman’s head floated off his shoulders and went for a spin round the room.
“Ah,” said the old Saxon King.
Oh for God’s sake, said Eilmer. You’re not scared of a little trick like that, are you?
“Well it was quite good you know,” said the King.
“Oh that’s nothing,” said Rennies, and with a flick of his hand sent Eilmer spinning out of the room.
“Gosh,” said Athelstan. “How do you do that stuff?”
“It’s all in the wrist action, your Majesty,” said Rennies.
“What have you done with him?”
Rennies pointed out of the window at the garden.
“See that gnome there?” he said.
The King nodded, then realisation dawned.
“Oh I say, jolly well done.”
“Just a little thing I picked up along the way you know,” said Rennies.
“Quite,” said the King, looking nervously at The Flying Monk’s newest garden ornament. “Ah well, must be going, don’t you know.”
“Yes, I’m afraid you must, your Majesty,” said Rennies, raising his hand.
“Be gentle with me,” said Athelstan, before his old friend and confidante dissolved him into a million pieces and sent him back to the vegetable patch whence he came.
Down in The Flying Monk’s garden, a little brightly-painted plaster ornament was shaking with rage, partly because he realised he couldn’t get out of his new prison, but largely because, in an upstairs window, he could see Rennies, who was pointing and laughing a lot.
Right, said the former four-legged phantasm, when I get out of this you’re fucking dead, pal!