Okay, so you write because of the demons inside. They weave their magic and squeeze out a narrative from your soul that can enrapture a global audience. But, when it’s all over and you’ve edited your manuscript into oblivion and it’s finally published and available in the digital marketplace, how do you ensure you’re aiming your words at the right targets?
I got talking to a guy in a bar recently who claimed to be an avid reader of a variety of literature. I sat with him, and we discussed books across a wide range of genres and categories. I then confessed to him of my status as a published author, thinking I might get a sale of Sliding on the Snow Stone out of him. We’d already discussed books about World War Two, about Stalin and Hitler, and I really felt like this was an opportunity.
Then he dropped a bombshell, ‘I only read books by dead authors.’
That felt so final. How much did I want this sale? Maybe I could wait until I’m on my death bed and co-ordinate future sales, from beyond the grave, and put him on a mailing list. He explained that he likes to purchase the complete works of an author, and if they’re still alive, they can always slip a sly novel or novella out unnoticed, and that clearly plays havoc with his OCD.
I tried to visualise his home, with rack upon rack of unread books, purchased purely to satisfy a collector’s obsession with a literary jigsaw. And I wasn’t sure whether I really wanted to be one of the pieces.