An update on what the heck is going on

You may have noticed that I’ve not been updating the site as much recently, and that things have generally gone a bit quiet since I announced my book deal for A is for Angelica.
It’s partly because I’ve been working hard on editing the novel, fussing over details and thinking about how I’m going to get it into as many readers’ hands as possible. But there are other things too. Exciting things.

One of those things you may have heard me talk about on the podcast. In the not too distant future (as in soon), Write for Your Life will become iainbroome.net (or me.com as I like to call it).

The site will look different, include more information about me and my writing, but the blog will very much remain the primary focus. This will still be a site for writers and readers, and I hope that it will be bigger and better.

I tell you this now because I’ve decided not to update the site again until the new version goes live. Instead, I’m going to concentrate on Angelica through this final stretch, and on those other things that I mentioned above, which are currently a bit of a secret, although I’ll no doubt share them at some point.

In fact, if you’re one of the 100 or so people who have kindly signed up to The Broome Cupboard, my special newsletter, you’re about to find out what I’m talking about in the next couple of days. Let’s just say the first half of 2012 has been, to say the least, rather life-changin.

Of course, if you haven’t yet signed up to The Broome Cupboard, now is totally a good time to do so.

So that’s it for now. The new site should be here pretty soon, it just depends on how much free time I get to make final tweaks. If you want an idea of the colour scheme, head to my updated Twitter profile. I’m also updating my Facebook page quite regularly. Recent highlights include a picture of an uncorrected proof copy of Angelica!

And of course, there’s the podcast. We’re still recording weekly and I’ll let you now here when a new episode is up.

Lots happening. Exciting times!

Many cuddles,

Iain

You do other things when you’re not on the internet

So I’ve been working on my novel over the last month or so, which has meant that I’ve had less time for blogging, tweeting and other internet-based affairs.
The first few days I felt an acute sense of hey, who cares? I can do what I want. Look at me. I’m free! Then a week went by and that freedom started to make me feel nauseous. I wanted to read articles and post links. I wanted to tweet more often and work on my lovely new Facebook page. But alas, I knew that I couldn’t.

And that’s when the guilt set in. It didn’t last long, maybe a couple of days, but I began to panic that I was letting people down by disappearing, all be it temporarily. It was silly, really. Unless you’re directly affecting yours or someone else’s ability to make a living, you should never feel guilty about not posting updates of any kind to the internet. But for a while, I admit that I did.

However, once I came to my senses, I realised that nothing had happened while I’d been away from the web. Actually, that’s not true. Lots had happened. But nothing bad in internet terms. I didn’t feel any less informed. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. Certainly nothing that I couldn’t hop back into as soon as I was ready.

Lots of good things happen when you use the internet every day. You meet and stay in touch with nice people, find interesting things to read, watch and listen to, and you often learn something new and exciting.

When you’re not on the internet, you do other things.

Book marketing for beginners: say something

I was at the opticians the other day (I’ve been trying to get contact lenses sorted, but my stupid eyes don’t seem to be compatible. It’s extremely annoying. Are they supposed to be a bit itchy? A bit uncomfortable? Answers in the comments are welcome.) when something struck me. As in a thought. A sensible notion.
With my novel being published later this year, naturally I’ve been thinking about how I might promote it. Most of my ideas have involved the internet. Nothing unusual about that. But as I sat there, opposite my optician, blinded by the light of his tiny torch just centimetres from my eyeball, I remembered perhaps the most obvious marketing action available to me. Say something. Just say something.

And so I did. I engineered a conversation.

‘I only work just up the road, so it’s no problem if I need to come back.’
‘Ah, right. What do you do?’
‘I’m a writer. I work for a design company.’
‘I see…’
‘But I also write fiction. I’ve written a novel.’
‘Really? Fantastic. And is it published?’
‘It’s funny you should ask that. It’s coming out 1 September this year.’
‘And are you using your real name?’
‘Yes. Iain Broome. That’s me.’
‘And what is it called?’
‘A is for Angelica.’

Now, I’ve had that conversation before with people. Sometimes the recipient of this knowledge will be polite, feign interest and, well, that’s about it. Other times, the person will lead the chit-chat on to a related topic, like their own novel, the one they’ve never written but definitely could and maybe, you know, one day, they might get a chance to. If it weren’t for all the stuff.

But my optician did neither of those things. He simply turned to his desk, wrote something down and carried on with matters optical. It was only when he left the room for a minute, to find me yet another type of contact lens, that I was able to sneak a quick look at what he’d written.

Iain Broome. A is for Angelica.

A note for later, presumably. A future Google search.

And all I did was say something.

Why writers need to be ready for and willing to change

As I’m busy working on edits to my novel, I thought I’d record a quick video about the idea of change when it comes to writing. We all like to plan for things and it’s certainly sensible to have a good idea of what you’re doing and where you’re heading. But things aren’t always that simple.
My message here is that, no matter how well prepared you are when you start writing, you never really know what lies ahead. At some point, you might have to make a change, whether that’s rearranging your schedule to heck, I don’t know, completely altering the ending of your novel.

Watch this video on YouTube

What are you trying to achieve with your novel?

Since my announcement last week, I’ve been going through old drafts of A is for Angelica and making final edits on the novel before publication. It’s made for fascinating reading.
For example, I wrote the following commentary as part of my final submission for my MA Writing. My novel would have been complete, but only in its very first draft.

Take a look:

I received a good mark at Diploma level. I was pleased with it, but one comment stood out in my feedback: ‘As seems often the case, the writer’s commentary says it all: he doesn’t know yet what it is he’s writing.’

Of course, being a writer, I sulked a little at first. But deep down, I knew that it was true. I had an idea of where my novel was going, but nothing more. I had notes that looked at what might happen, but not many, and few that were useful.

That feedback forced me to look at what I’d written and take stock. It changed my whole approach to writing this novel. Until then, I felt I’d been writing fluently, and this seemed to be reflected in my markers’ comments. But I knew that good writing alone would never be enough. I realised I had to write with a sense of direction. I had to look at my work as a whole and take control of it.

It seems such a simple thing to ask yourself, but when you’re caught up in your writing, it’s easy to forget: What am I trying to achieve?

This is what I’ve worked on between submissions. I’ve tried to maintain the quality of the writing, which I felt was good, but combine it with real purpose. I’ve been more focused and single-minded about what I’ve wanted to achieve – and what I wanted my novel to be.

I thought I’d share this with you here because a) I think my rational and pragmatic approach helped me go on to make the novel better, and b) you might be in the thick of it with your own novel and struggling to make your next move.

Many years later, here and now, I think my question still applies: what are you trying to achieve with your novel? Once you work that out, the rest of the process will be an absolute breeze.