Close, but no cigar.

Best seller charts 3

Writer’s diary: 29.11.2013

Good job we’ve got a ‘special’ day off work today. I’ve got so much to do: extended blog-post to write (no groaning at the back), third draft of the fourth Romney and Marsh File to work on and a CV to dust off and make impressive, attention-grabbing things up for.

Let’s start with the bad news – I’m looking for a new place of work. I hate looking for jobs. I hate CVs. I hate applying. I hate interviews. I hate rejection. I hate starting somewhere new. But it’s got to be done. Every self-respecting professional has a line in the sand over which they will not cross when it comes to work. Well, I do anyway. I’m self-respecting. I’ve been shuffling towards my line for four years and this week I looked down to find it under the steel toe caps of my crowd control boots. (Did I mention I’m a primary school teacher?)

What’s this got to do with my writing diary? I hear myself ask. I would think that certain implications are obvious. However, there is one very big one that isn’t. I find it a little exciting to contemplate. I’ll save it for another blog-post when I’m surer of things and I’ve run out of stuff to write about.

(Interlude. One of my definitions for being a writer of fiction is that one can take the smallest crumb of an idea and be swept up with it in a matter of seconds until it has snowballed into a plot outline for a story. Example: Just as I typed the full-stop of the previous paragraph my imagination swooped on the suggestion of something, like a hawk falls on a small mammal. I couldn’t stop my imagination gambolling about with it for a bit (I know hawks don’t gambol – that’s lambs) and before I knew where I was I had a plot-line for a story that I would like the time to write – if I can’t find another job, I might have to. Here it is in a nutshell: man loses job, man has some savings, man lies to wife that he has new job, man goes out to ‘work’ every day, every week man gives ‘wages’ to wife for housekeeping and bills. [Wife would not like it if he were not working. Sometimes it’s just easier to lie to wives. That’s my experience of marriage anyway. Might have something to do with the reason I’m on my third.] Man isn’t going to work. Man wants to write – man doesn’t want to lie on his deathbed regretting that he never had a proper concentrated go when he has faith in his ability and some small success from self-publishing his stories. Man goes to cafe everyday to write. [So far this is just a summing up next year’s plan if you hadn’t guessed. And don’t worry on my account, she doesn’t read this.] Man overhears something in cafe. A crime to be committed. A heist. Big money involved. Cash. He sees an opportunity to rob the robbers. He follows them. He watches them. He waits for them to pull off their dirty deed and then…can I just remind readers about the law surrounding intellectual copyright and yes, I’ve seen LS&TSB. And don’t think I’m going to be giving away my twist.)

My good news this week is that I have a comprehensive draft of the fourth Romney and Marsh File finished. I’ve gone through it a couple of times and I’m happy that it’s all there. Now I just need to get ‘jiggy’ with it!

I feel a weight of expectation for this book that I haven’t felt with writing any of the others. The first three R&Ms were all written before I took the decision to self-publish and be damned. I had no idea if they would be read or how they would be received. I just put them out there. Now I know, and I believe that readers who have stuck with the series will want to try the next. There will be expectation and I feel it. I have to hope that I can live up to it.

This book has had two working titles, neither of which I was very happy about. The first, Money Talks lost its relevance as the story I initially had in mind turned out to be not the story my imagination wanted to run with. The second Hair of the Dog was too long and I couldn’t see how I could get the cover image trademark feature of this series (one of the letters of the title substituted by something relevant to the story) into the typography. Last night was one of those sleepless ones. Probably something to do with my impending work situation or it could have been the disturbance that my two year old son causes my sleep patterns because he insists on sleeping in the bed with us and lying across my head to get comfortable. (It’s either that or he screams the apartment building down.) I hope he grows out of this before he becomes a teenager. During my small hours wakefulness I decided to kick around a few ideas for a new title and finally something occurred to me that is a) relevant to the story b) something that I can fit in that trademark feature I was on about and c) longer than anything else I’ve come up with (oh well, as Meatloaf crooned) New title: Matters of Life & Death. I’ll give it a couple of weeks before I commission the cover art. Make sure I still like it.

Finally this week. It was with some surprise that I noticed on Amazon that Dirty Business and Loose Ends were both in the top five of an Amazon chart. I’m not lying. See screen shot above. One of my great ambitions as an author was almost achieved – I almost made best-seller status. They are still hanging around up there but I can’t see them displacing the big guys. Perhaps I shouldn’t get too carried away by the achievement of almost being a chart-topper. After all, the chart: Kindle store > Books > Crime, Thriller, Mystery > Thrillers > Assassinations, is the fiction equivalent of the non-fiction chart: Kindle Store > Books > Cookery > Meals on a Budget  > Vegetarian > Ethnic Minority Cuisine > Gluten Free. Still, it was a bit of a buzz for a while. It would have been something, if not for my CV as a teacher, then for my headstone in the graveyard: RIP Oliver Tidy – Best-selling novelist. Somewhere for the legions of heart-broken fans of the R&M Files and the Acer Sansom novels to flock to and pay homage. Maybe lean a red rose against or sob their way through a short reading beside.

Right, talking of CVs…