VIRO has just received another FIVE STAR review and I thought I would share it with you. The review is from fourteen year-old JP and really captures what I was trying to achieve with the book. I am delighted that the book is reaching people and making them respond so positively.
‘Absolutely thrilling. I loved every page more than the previous, to the point that I couldn’t stop reading.
Jake, a unique and curious character with good intentions. Ellis, the cunning and loyal girl who sees that Jake is different. Abe, brave but not so bold. Amber, intent on getting the Job done the quickest way possible. These four kids make their way through a zombie infected place they used to call home, struggling to cling on to the things they love and desperately seeking safety.
I was left on the edge of my seat when I finished the book with a thirst for more adventure!
JP (Aged 14)’
Today I want to mention some advice I was given about improving my presence online on sites like Goodreads. I discuss this more in my video above and on my YouTube channel but ultimately the first top tip I was given was that if you want to be taken more seriously as a writer then you need to present yourself more seriously as a reader.
Goodreads is a great resource for authors to get involved with but only if you are prepared to use the platform for what it was intended for. It is not enough to just post all YOUR book-related stuff on your profile – you know; your books, their editions, the covers, and any trailers or other related wares – and then expect people to engage with you.
Other members can tell if you are only using Goodreads to try and sell your books. They can tell by the way that all the groups you have joined are about book promotion, or getting reviews. They can also tell by the way that you have no books listed in your reading or to-read sections. This is especially telling if you don’t leave any reviews of the books you have read either.
So I have begun to add books that I have read and am reading. I have started to leave small reviews of the books I have read. I have also started adding some of my favourite books to the list. Authors like Jack Kerouac, Iris Murdoch and Norman Mailer were very important to me when I was younger. They still are now, just in different ways.
When I first left home I moved into a flat near a second-hand bookshop and one of the great pleasures in life I learned from my Dad was to spend hours browsing the shelves of this shop. I can still picture the tight space between the shelves in my head, the heady aroma of old paperbacks, and the profound pleasure of simply reading the spines.
I was young and eager and impressionable and hungry for something; knowledge, culture, experience, something to inform my fledgling ambitions as a writer. I discovered books as wonderful as Under the Net, On the Road and The Deer Park. These are books I still have and though my life has changed beyond recognition from those early days in a drafty flat with a two-bar gas fire and a 50p meter in the hallway, I still fondly recall the first thrill of folding over the corner of these already corner-turned novels after reading a chapter.
So, this revelation of myself as a reader was the first top tip I was given this week. The second top tip is a more playful one but comes directly as a result of the first tip.
Following on from the advice I received regarding how to use Goodreads more responsibly, I reached out and asked an author how hard it was to write their latest fantasy novel. I have always imagined that writing a fantasy novel is really complicated. You need a convincing world, suitably esoteric names and, most importantly, an absolute, rock solid guarantee that no one can ever accuse you of ripping off Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.Or worse still, 1969’s Bored of the Rings.
Just as an experiment I found a fantasy novel random title generator and here are some of its suggestions for novel titles: The Sword of the Fortress, The Hidden Deathgate, The Well of the Alchemist, The Hero of the Wind, The Horse of the Adept, The Alliance of the Dream and my favourite, The Hanged Whale.
If all of this seems a little bit too Foucault’s Pendulum for you then please don’t worry, I am not about to write a book using devices like this – though it would be a fascinating experiment. In fact, and absolutely no disrespect to fantasy authors all around this happy world, I’m not going to ever try to write a fantasy novel ever, my geography is just not that good. To tell you the truth, I never got further than oxbow lakes at school.
In any case,the author I reached out got back to me and gave a very considered and comprehensive overview of how they went about creating the world of a fantasy novel and the characters that are required to inhabit it. I fact, so comprehensive was this overview that it confirmed all of my feelings regarding such a venture and became, for me, the second top tip I (inadvertently) received this week; namely, on no account should I ever try to write a fantasy novel.
That is not to say that I’m not interested in other people’s thoughts and feelings on this subject. Maybe you are writing a fantasy novel even as you read this. Perhaps you might share your thoughts and feelings about such a venture in the comments below?
Clearly because I have nothing better to do with my time, I have decided to launch a brand-new series on my YouTube channel called ‘How Do You Write?’ In each episode I will be sharing some thoughts on how I write. I will also be joined from time to time by special guests who will be talking about how they write. I currently have two episodes uploaded to YouTube and if you are interested here they are.
If you sit through them both you’ll see that Episode 2 is a bit slicker than Episode 1. That’s fine, I like to think it says something about the writing journey. In any case, you can’t upload newer, revised versions of videos on YouTube, only delete them, so I took the decision to leave Episode 1 as it is. I might review that decision in the future, depending on how the series goes.
My daughter watches a lot of YouTubers and the one thing I have learned from watching them with her is that it is really necessary to ask people to like your videos and subscribe to your channel so please could you like my videos and subscribe to my channel.
Here’s the first in a new series of short posts shared on my YouTube channel and elsewhere. VIRO has got to number 89 in the Amazon charts and I wanted to say thank you very much to everyone who has helped to get the book up the charts. Of course, this is the point at which there is an obligatory series of words pointing you towards a series of links where, should you care to, you could purchase untold copies of VIRO. If that is how you feeling towards the whole project then please feel free to click the image below.
‘The implied presence of the rest of the world, and its explicit rejection, are as essential in the experience of a photograph as what it explicitly presents. A camera is an opening in a box: that is the best emblem of the fact that a camera holding on an object is holding the rest of the world away.’
Stanley Cavell, The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film, Enlarged Edition (Harvard University Press, 1971, 1974, 1979), p. 24
‘dose it sound like the hornets are saying asshole to any one?’
Sydney Rosales quoted on Kage848, 7 Days to Die Alpha 11 Husband & Wife Multiplayer/ Let’s Play (S-9) – Ep. 13 – ‘Unlucky Thirteen, YouTube, accessed 28-4-2015