Crashed America, gercha Crashed America here

Well, not quite but nearly. Picking up tips from the Big Book of Indie Publishing I’ll be sending out advance copies of Crashed America for review over the next few weeks. eBook only at this point and with the proviso that you’ll get it read and reviewed for a launch at the end of April – assuming that you have nothing but praise to offer of course. And this means reviews on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Goodreads and similar sites, where new authors especially need any edge they can get. If you’re an established reviewer or blogger you can expect a press release soon but feel free to get in touch if you’re eager. On the plus side for everyone else your copy will be free, your life will gain meaning and the Gods will smile down benevolently upon your contribution to the betterment of humanity.

Marketing when you’re Indie is a bit like flashing strangers in the park; nobody appreciates it, the only comments passed are likely to be complaining ones and you can’t help but feel guilty for doing it. But unlike flashing it is a necessary evil and for every Indie release you help out with a fairy gets its wings. Or a dog manages to look up, or a child in Africa dies or something along those lines. And above all you’ll gain my eternal gratitude, which is currently valued at around 13p on the open market.

To get your copy email me and let me know what format works for you (pdf, epub, mobi, doc, txt, copied out in crayon on the back of a street urchin, engraved in marble etc) and I’ll get it sent out. I’ll only be sending out a finite number of copies so get ’em while they’re hot.

Crashed America is the story of one man,  one Messiah, a fistful of demonic creatures, a priest, a nun, some Hillbillies and the looming fall of civilization. Featuring a star-studded cast it’s been hailed as the first book to, you know, really *get* me, the literary equivalent of a couple of pints and some chips on the way home and the sort of experience that leaves a person convinced that they can fly.

When Joe sets off for those United States of America he has many plans, delicate dreams and delusions to be lived out against the background of the Americana ideal. Killing Jesus isn’t on the list but, as ever, life does its own thing. A mix between dark comedy, absurdity, explosions and the obligatory sex and drugs ‘Crashed America’ is my debut (full length) novel. Due for release in early May 2014.

Critics say:

‘I haven’t read it but it’s got a nice cover’ Kim Jong Un

‘Terrible, a massive waste of time’ The Author

‘It’s about the right length for a novel’ Google

‘And why do they end up having sex? I don’t get it.’ John Wayne 

‘This book made me kill my son. In a good way though’ Inmate #82763

‘This will be bigger than The Beatles, but they were quite short’ John Lennon’s Ghost

‘Arguably the greatest book called Crashed America ever, although I admit I haven’t read them all’ Vladimir Putin

‘I liked that one part with the guy doing the thing’ Barrack Obama

‘Blasphemous nonsense’ Archbishop Desmond Tutu

‘I loved it, and I bet Jesus would have too’ Fred Phelps

‘I bet we can sue over this’ Pope Francis

iCame, iSaw, iTunes

I once used a Ouiji board to get in touch with Steve Jobs and tell him that I thought his products were vastly overrated, his distribution system overly controlling and his company greedy and lawsuit happy. As an act of revenge he made me drop my Android phone and crack the screen, so basically fuck that guy. But as someone once said, times change, tough men don’t and having checked that I’m not a tough man I may have to adjust my thinking. Especially as Laikanist Times is now available via Apple’s ebook service. Download it now before the vengeful spirit of Steve Jobs decides to remove it! And then review it, in the hope of appeasing him.

Take a bite from the Apple

Why Indie?

Well, I figure a good first post on my new site would be one which answers a question which I’ve barely even asked myself so far, why Indie publishing?

Now over the months to come there’s going to be more and more said about my novel (well, by me at least) which is currently being edited by someone who takes a less chaotic approach to punctuation, spelling and common sense than I do. As well as having some fine cover art crafted by Dave the Excellent Artist, who, if you ever get the chance to see his David Bowie, will make you think the real thing is a bit shit really. Until all that’s done though I thought I’d use this space to cover some of the questions which a lot of writers are asking themselves these days to see if my own random dribblings might offer up some clarity for others.

When I started coming to the end of the first vaguely presentable draft of Crashed America my mind, as is natural, started to turn towards idle day dreams of fame, fortune and the sort of decadent lifestyle that would make Scarface reach for a calming cup of tea. Then I realised that writers very rarely, if ever, make any money from what they do. Undetered though my mind shifted to ways to make at least some meagre living from what I love doing, even if making stuff up and writing it down can never really count as a real job to anyone who’s actually done a real job.

Tradition dictates that publishers and agents are the route to literary fame and immortality. Like a holy commandment a path has long been laid out for new writers of endless mail outs, endless rejections and little hope all on the off chance that something, one day, will make it out of the slush pile. And for all the media hype and chatter about the self (or, more fittingly, Indie) publishing scene the traditional path still remains the first port of call for most writers trying to find a way to share their work.

The weight of history and established wisdom snowballs when combined with the routine self-doubt of anyone who’s spent a few hundred hours honing their craft in isolation with a distant eye on the validation of success. Publishers are the arbiters of quality, their seal of approval means you’ve made it and, until you fuck up the second novel at least, their acceptance places you where I’d imagine every writer ever has wanted to be – comfortable in the certainty that somebody out there likes your work. It’s a respect build on practicality. The media, insofar as they care about books these days, have always dealt exclusively with their publishing establishment counter parts. Ditto for bookshops and readers in fact – although the ties of tradition to all three are rapidly being eroded at the moment. And that seemingly all consuming certainty which surrounds the writer really can seem like a self evident truth, at least until you step back a little.

As I mentioned the traditional literary niche which locked publishers, writers, distributors and the media into a sealed circle is being increasingly challenged. Indie writers are NY Times best sellers, an increasing number are making a (minimal) living from work they themselves are managing and access to the tools of distribution has become ever more democratic. More importantly though the traditional sense of establishment approval is becoming less and less prominent. The slush pile and the handful of readers working within the industry, which once held all the allure and glamour of a Hollywood casting couch, now seem slightly meaningless, to me at least. Major publishers have gone a long way to invalidate their own position, both by picking up self-published writers and by placing ever more attention on absolute crap. It is, after all, hard to have faith in the esteemed wisdom of a company whose output includes work by Katie Price (as nice a person as I’m sure she is), Dan Brown and whichever celebrity feels like having a ghost writer hammer the self indulgent excess of their lives into a Christmas best seller.

I hope there’s not too much arrogance in that sentiment. With the hangover of having actually (nearly) finished something sitting on my back like the proverbial monkey I would always hesitate to tout myself as one of the greats. But I do want to be good, that’s my drive and aspiration and when I look for a measure of what I can do it’s no longer the slightly paternal pat on the head of the old industry that I look for. For me it’s the audience that I want to give my work to and the audience whose approval I want because as terrible as their/our taste may sometimes be they’re still very definitely the ones who actually matter.

Financially too the game has become a very different one. First time writers have always made pretty much no money, whether they sign up with the biggest publishers around or desperately try to flog eBooks on Amazon. The industry used to balance out that initial poverty with promises of promotion and support, as well as the hope that a second effort would offer a proper pay day – not that I write for anything but the love of course. Now though they take fewer and fewer risks and offer less and less to the first timer as profit margins shrink ever more and the allure of a safe, if unimaginative, bet becomes more and more dominant in their collective mind. Sure the path of Indie promotion remains the far harder one as writers are obliged to master the dark arts of marketing for themselves but it’s been proven that with commitment and luck there’s more of a reward to be had, both financially and emotionally, from doing it yourself.

If it works then the lion’s share goes to the author, including the audience that they’ve directly built around themselves. They retain absolute control over their work and to a large degree get the chance to circumvent the slush pile by being able to tell prospective agents and publishers that the audience they already have is all the credentials they need.

Of course it’s not easy to get it right, as any number of poorly written, poorly edited and unpromoted efforts will attest but that’s a risk worth facing and one which the writer themselves can control. More importantly it’s one which I myself believe I can overcome and that challenge and it’s rewards are infinitely more appealing than the purgatory of those endless mail outs and the ever unpredictable whims of unknown readers buried in a pile of slush.

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Giraffula : Sounds By

[bandcamp album=1199402859 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=grande3]

 

Not my usual cup of tea but a nice enough dose of Electro Indie nonetheless.

The Wagner Logic : Easiest to Grab

The Wagner Logic – Easiest to Grab cover

The Wagner Logic – Easiest to Grab (Jamendo)

The normal habit for people posting their work on Jamendo is to say ‘we can’t define ourselves by a genre’, which is annoying and usually completely untrue but such is life I suppose. A rather more bizarre habit though is to list genres which you clearly have nothing to do with, which I can only assume The Wagner Logic did by accident when they typed ‘Punk’ in the little box given that, in the words of Bill Bailey, they’re about ‘as Punk as Enya’. Now I hope it was a typo on their behalf but it could just be that in the wilds of Alaska anyone who manages to stir themselves from their hibernation long enough to cobble together an album of rather dull Indie is rated as a radical free spirit, raging against the system and fighting the machine, or polar bears, or whatever it is Alaskans do. Continue reading “The Wagner Logic : Easiest to Grab”