Although I didn’t think of it at the time, my obsession with front covers displaying dirty pub bathrooms can probably be counted as a contributing factor!
I think that there is one reason I’m never going to really ‘make it’ as a self-published writer; – if we ignore the facts that I still don’t really think of myself as a writer and that the writing I do is undeniably bleak and often comes across as pretentious, narcissistic and unpleasant – I’m terrible at self-promotion.
I don’t just mean that as I don’t have the personal confidence to walk up to a stranger and offer them a free copy of a book, though I have done a few things similar to that in the past, but that I look at my own writing and cannot understand why I find it appealing and, by extension, why anyone else should. My biggest problem, I’ve found, is that I can’t write descriptions of the things I write; a problem which has never been more obvious than my attempts to begin the thousand little things I still need to do for The Caitiff.
How can I write an accurate synopsis of the narrative when the narrative is, deliberately, thrown into the back seat to make room for bleak tone and striking imagery? And how can I list the topics I have attempted to filter through the narrator’s perspective without coming across as a monumental prat?
The fact that I am pretentious is an easy one to point out and, to be perfectly honest, I wish I wasn’t, that I might be able to interact with perhaps more exciting subject matter, but when I try I find myself despising the words which appear on this blank page all the sooner. But, still, this pretentious snobbery from which I cannot seem to escape is stopping me from writing the kind of fiction that, I can already tell you, people will want to read.
I think that I, also, lack the interesting life and the personal charisma to effectively build relationships with people, as many self-published authors rely on to sell copies of their work. I’m overly-tall, skeletally thin with a natural frown over which I have little control, personal politics which revolt against absolutism and apathy and authority and, yet, know that these things are necessary if we want society to continue – I’m not as well read as I, perhaps, appear to be (for example, I’ve never read Finnegan’s Wake – although it is in my reading pile), I’m incompetent and, up to now, unemployable.
I am more likely to be found sat in this overly-large, bitterly cold room, huddled besides the radiator with two dressing gowns on, or sat in the dark corner of a pub, than at the poetry readings and independent book fairs I feel like I should go to.
I have a personal morality which makes me ill-suited for the modern world, as an opposition to the logic that I come close to worshipping – for example, I refuse to have my tooth fixed at the cost of the NHS because… reasons. I couldn’t explain why – I think that’s transferable to self-publishing really.
I think, on some level, I am opposed to myself and my writing, and I feel arrogant attributing any worthiness to it – what right do I have to charge people to read the words I have strung together? Why would people pay to read about a God of Money and his Disciples? Why would anyone want to know that the society and the system I am using to promote my own work is the same one I rail against?What is the point of self-publishing literary fiction of a convoluted nature when, it has been proved, that genre fiction and easy-to-read prose are the new kings?
I think I’m a hypocrite – and why would a hypocrite deserve to ‘make it’ as anything, least of all an author?