Sunday, 29 May 2011

To read or not to read...

I've had a heavy weekend. Friday night with Book Editor Numero Uno and last night with Tres. Copious amounts of red wine were consumed and I'm now suffering from the latest hangover side affect to rear its ugly head - the post drink depression.

This never used to happen to me. I'd sometimes have a bit of a headache and maybe a bit sick but depression...


It's always in these dark moments I decide it'll be a great idea to read my book.

That'll cheer me up, I thought today as I stopped at a service station on the way home for a sneaky Starbucks. Turns out, it didn't.

Not only did it not work in enhancing my mood but it also left me questioning why I've spent so bloody long writing this pile of shit. Honestly, today it just seemed...bad.

After sending a sorrowful text to Uno and an apologetic one to Tres (she only received the book last night), I drained the rest of my coffee and indulged myself in some sad music for the rest of the drive home and let my thoughts spin out of control.

Who do you think you're kidding? 
You'll never get published
What a waste of time
Why did you have to share it with your friends? Now you've made them feel awkward
They hate it

I walked into the flat I share with Dos, my tail firmly clamped between my legs.

"My book's shit and I feel fat," I mumbled as I hung up my coat.

"Oh, get over yourself," Dos rolled his eyes and carried on playing his guitar.

I stuck out my bottom lip and glanced at my phone to see a text from Uno:

Shut up. You're a crack head.

I laughed. I can always rely on my Editors to bring me back down to earth.

Dread to think what Tres will have to say...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

What a way to make a living...

I've written a book! Pass me a pen to sign on the dotted line of my multi-million pound book deal...

Oh, was I daydreaming again? Figures.

I'm a writer with a day job and boy, its challenging at times. Despite the usual perception of marketing being fluffy, my job is quite serious and I have the somewhat grandiose title of Brand Manager. Don't ask me to explain what it is exactly that I do (see previous posts), suffice to say I'm required to be 'on' all of the time.

Not easy when you have a book and all of it's hair-brain characters running around your head.

Sometimes when more 'challenging' members of my team speak to me as though I've just taken a dump on their children on Christmas Day, I can't help but think, What would Katie do?

Lovely Katie, the heroine of my book. Insular, dependable, eager to please...

Hang on, isn't Katie

As another email pinged into my inbox from my manager (who sits no more than a foot away from me), I sighed and felt the familiar feeling of drifting away into the wonderful world of Book, while I tried desperately to ignore my delightful colleagues.

"Emma, you know that thing I was too lazy to do? Can you do it?"

Emma/Katie: "Of course."

"Emma, you know that situation beyond your control that you had nothing to do with? Well, the shit's hit the fan and I don't want to look stupid so YOU'RE going to take the blame, yeah?"

Emma/Katie: "That's fine. It probably IS my fault anyway."

"Emma, you don't know enough about the industry. Just...know more, okay?"

Emma/Katie: "Sure. Sorry about that."

"Emma, do you remember back in 2006 when-"

Emma/Katie: "I didn't work here then."

"Oh, that's irrelevant, it's your problem because I really don't want it to be mine anymore. So, can you please refer to the two-hundred and seventy-six emails I've just forwarded to you and sort the mess out once and for all?"

Emma/Katie: "No worries."

"Emma, I can't find a stapler. Can you find me one? Emma?.....Emma?"

There comes a time in your working life when you snap. My version of the 'snap' was exchanging Katie with another character from my book.

"Stapler?" I raised my eyebrow. "Do I look like a secretary to you?"


"I mean, is my name Stapler Girl?"

"No, I just-"

"No, it isn't," I said slowly and calmly. "Now, go and find you're own fucking stapler."

Ah, I thought, biting my lip and returning my eyes to my screen.

Thanks Lou. 

One small (childish) victory at a time.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Book: Driving Exile

Here's the synopsis for my book. I struggled to write it without hearing the bloody 'movie voice' in my head!

Enjoy (hopefully) x

Driving Exile

At 28, Katie Burton is good on paper. Great job, charming fiancĂ©, nice home – but since the death of her beloved Dad two years ago she’s feels there’s something missing.

When her life takes a dramatic turn, Katie impulsively quits her job to go on tour with a pub rock band as their driver and roadie.

As she becomes more immersed in their world, Katie is intrigued by the inner workings of the band and, despite warnings from brooding guitarist Lou, she persists in trying to help them hit the big time.

With the help of charismatic lead singer, Julian and serial flirt Brian, the race is on for Katie to land the opportunity of a lifetime before the tour comes to an end, and face up to what it is she’s been missing all of this time. 

Synopsis? I write that? Really?!

I have faith in The Book, I really do. I love it far too much and feel fiercely protective of the characters and the story. I feel like I know them as well as my closest friends.

Why then, do I have such a hard time telling people what it's about? There's a real disconnect between the words I've written on the page to those that come out of my mouth. This is no real shocker especially when I think back to social gatherings and someone asks me about my day job:

"So Emma, what do you do?"

"Um, I'm a brand manager."

"What does that involve?"

"Oh, nothing interesting! Just marketing and stuff..."

I don't know what it is about being put on the spot that make me clam up but I'm going to need to sort it. Now that I've finished The Book, and especially now I'm writing a bloody blog about it, I need to actually talk about it. Describe it.

I always assumed a publisher would write the synopsis and breathed a sigh of relief that I wouldn't have to try and sell The Book in less than 200 words but after some brief internet research it turns out the responsibility lies with yours truly.

Of course it does.

I was silly to think someone would just pick up my manuscript and read it blind. For all they know, The Book could take a Dusk Till Dawn-like twist halfway through and they need to know what they're letting themselves in for.

So, I've tasked myself with writing the synopsis. I'm going to have a crack at it now.

For the love of god, wish me luck.

Em x

The real work starts...

I've written a book.

It's been four years in the making and it's done. Finite. Over.

I'm now faced with a choice - I either leave it on my laptop forever and occasionally open it to read when I'm feeling depressed, or I can try and get it published.

I know what you're thinking. Get it published, Emma! The hard work is done, now you can send it off and get it on the shelves of Waterstones! The truth is, I want to just crawl under a rock with my printed copy and my trusty red pen and spend the rest of my life reading it over and over again, editing it to perfection.

Although I've sweated and toiled over what I consider to be my life's greatest achievement, I need to face up to the reality that the hard work hasn't even started yet. I've got a long and tiring slog to get this thing on the shelves and bag that dream book deal and if I'm honest, I haven't got a clue where to start. I've done this on purpose. I knew when I was in my lovely fantasy land and buried deep in writers heaven that if I even started to look into the realities of the publishing world, it'd put me off and I'd never have finished The Book.

I'm a sensitive little soul when it comes to my work, you see. I've never been any good at anything and I don't consider myself to be a really great writer but I do have a fabulous imagination. Overactive I'd say. In fact, I probably teeter on the edge of insane. Hey ho, I thought to myself one day when I was imagining several different ways of murdering an ex-boss. I should harness the madness and channel it into something productive. 

And so, The Book was born.

I finished it about a month ago and got four copies printed and bound - one for me and the others for three fabulous people in my life who kindly agreed to read through and edit it. This is my Panel. My unofficial Story Editors.

Having read through my copy twice already, I'm now twiddling my thumbs waiting for the others to come back to me. Whilst twiddling said thumbs I realised I was stalling. There's absolutely nothing but my own fear stopping me getting my book out there under the noses of literary agents. So, I slurped the rest of my coffee and wandered to WH Smith to see what magazines they had for aspiring writers giving advice on getting published.

I wish I hadn't bothered.

"I probably get about 20,000 pieces of work per year."
"I take on about 4 writers a year at most."
"I only take on writers that have been recommended by other writers or publishers."
"They definitely need to be recommended."
"It's who you know in this industry."

Oh. Holy. Shit.

I put the magazine down and raced home immediately. What the hell am I going to do? I don't know any writers. Nor do I know anyone who works in the publishing industry.

I've just finished a cheese sandwich and now I'm setting up a blog. I've never blogged in my bloody life and I have a feeling I'm probably about ten years behind but I had to rant to someone. Even if that someone is just cyber-space.

So far, I have an unpublished book and a pen name of Emma Silver (my real surname is Polish and not Google/Amazon friendly and I've dropped the 'G' from my first name - no real reason, just prefer Emma). I'm going to use this blog to document my journey to get The Book published so that I can hopefully drop the 'Un' from the title.

Wish me luck.

Em x