Monday, 25 January 2016

The review search reviewed.

Now ten weeks into the life of 'A Dog and His Boy' as a published novel I'm posting a progress report on its search for notice.

To say the self-publishing experience has been devoted largely to learning would be as accurate a statement possible at this point.  From the evils of repeating typographical errors through the joy of first paperback sales it's been a very public classroom I've inhabited since deciding to do it this way.  Despite the often painful ongoing lessons meted out upon the stubborn scribe I can now with a measure of assurance say the difficult job was worth doing.  I also expect my performance will improve in subsequent attempts.

Learning on the job though often painful reliably improves a vocational skill set.

A quick review of recent proceedings will better provide the background necessary to appreciate the somewhat questionable appeal of the entire practice.  I'll stay with the highlights and will identify few individuals aside from myself by name.  A few words devoted to the blog experience will conclude the post.

Respect for both personal privacy and digital copyright is maintained here.

I'll get the few negatives out of the way first.  Here's an example of the worst.  Despite limited legal sales in the digital universe of Amazon Kindle where the novel was exclusively published it has already been posted for illegal download on the internet.  I won't identify the locations but an internet search will deliver you there if injuring my financial prospects is your motivation.

My concern for the rights of others is apparently not reciprocated.

How this has taken place when digital copies of the novel are available only from Amazon is no mystery.  A more withering statement about the security of the literary universe inhabited by writers everywhere today would be difficult to postulate.  In spite of this I remain a fan of disabling the DRM software available to digital publishers.  No amount of threats will prevent those prone to thievery and wasting cycles in the false hope it can be prevented by technology appears pointless to the writer.  With any luck, those who share will enjoy the read and spread the word.  What goes around comes around is a saying I've heard and a man can only hope it turns out apt here.

I'm also content to let karmic justice prevail upon those dedicated to injuring their fellows.

I'll continue with a few facts related to the publicity and marketing efforts so far taken on behalf of 'A Dog and His Boy'.  As an independently published novel I felt it was appropriate to first seek review of it by fellow members of the independent literary community.  The effort of putting together a letter of inquiry was undertaken and a short while before publication a campaign begun.  My efforts were consistently applied and to date over one hundred review requests are now submitted to independent purveyors of no-cost literary review services.

With the last of them sent four weeks ago the requests have so far received ten responses.

Of these a half dozen were sufficiently intrigued to accept the novel for review while two thirds as many were kind enough to reply with exceptional politeness in the negative.  To each of them goes the sincerest of my thanks.  The earliest reviews for 'A Dog and His Boy' have as a result now appeared.  The limited numbers have allowed me to read most of them published so far.  To say the experience has been edifying would be a most significant understatement.  In spite of the myriad of warnings against it my great appreciation for the experience itself begs comment.

            I am as mysteriously enthralled as I am foolishly thrilled to read the opinion of others regarding this work.

            The limited response to the review inquiries is the aspect of the situation first commented on here.  Prior to beginning the practice I had no means of estimating the current level of overwhelming interest in securing the service.  I have since discovered many web-based and independent reviewers so backed up they've been forced to stop accepting requests.  Many are so overrun by demand for their attention as to be unable to even reply to those requesting it.  The situation betrays a market of previously unconsidered scale.  The unseen volume hinted at like literary dark matter leads to the inescapable conclusion a response of any kind should be what surprises.  Though untold numbers seek positions in the professional world of literature like most vocational activities today many more work independently.  The rise of Amazon and others serving the market speaks to this.  That an overabundance of self-published authors of all genres seek review of their work in the age of the internet is thus entirely predictable.

            With reluctance I have suspended requests to independent review outlets for the time being.

Without doubt the reviews so far received have been greatly satisfying.  To invest years of effort without benefit of reader feedback was a necessary if difficult choice made long ago and without regret.  The experience of having my prose now read is many things but above all nothing exceeds a simple joy.  That fiction I wrestled years to render on the page should be seen by eyes other than my own is for the writer a great pleasure.  The ability to share readers' evaluations of it has provided a rare and greatly appreciated insight.  My sincerest thanks go to each writer who graciously publishes a review and to each reader who generously provides a rating of 'A Dog and His Boy'.

In all instances your integrity is greatly respected and your commentary is highly valued.

An example of a review featuring what this writer considers the most insightful commentary yet offered is available at the link below provided.  I consider it inappropriate to comment on reviews of my work and have made a habit of not doing so.  The evaluation of the novel provided courtesy of Andrea Lundgren at 'Into The Writer Lea' however is exceedingly well written and a worthwhile read in its own right.

The appreciative response to 'A Dog and His Boy' has encouraged the promotion of it to the professional world of literary fiction.  As a result I plan future submissions of the novel to the limited number of such outlets accepting self-published works.  Those few publications offering no-cost review of independent literature will be contacted as they are discovered.  All requests to review the novel will continue to be honored.  As the release date recedes further into the past I also expect the difficulty encountered seeking wider notice for my first novel to increase.  I am most content that future readers can discover it in their choice of paperback or eBook as long as Amazon remains in the business of publishing.

I should also report I am, positively, thrilled by the reception so far granted to it.

The experience here on Blogger meanwhile has been unique in appeal and positive in results to date.  While the practice itself has declined from earlier heights the once and future blogosphere remains a worthy stage for individual expression.  It also provides a low-cost alternative marketing tool for a variety of cottage industry style individual artistic pursuits of which music and literature are personal examples.  A man not in search of either fortune or fame appreciates nothing more than pursuing the livelihood of his choice.  The platform abundantly supports that aim.

This one delivers a fair enough service for its price.

While differences between software environments extend beyond the cosmetic the functional reality of those used personally is little different.  No longer a coder I appreciate the simplicity and ease of use of both WordPress and Blogger.  The multi-media tools are a highlight of the former while the traffic information provided by the latter is a great strength.  A media player on the music site is thus extremely valuable while knowledge that a few people stop here for a weekly read encourages a fellow to write with reasonable care.  I'm grateful and enriched in both cases.

As usual I intend to continue with best effort on all fronts.
Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the blog.

-          TFP
January 25, 2016

Monday, 18 January 2016

Of codes and compartments.

I live a life both strictly compartmentalized and tightly codified.

From my perspective it appears little different from my fellows if perhaps varying somewhat in presentation.  As each of us lives according to a collection of personal choices either devised or discovered my own seem scarcely unusual.  The metaphorical cover of the book in this case is thus often intentionally misleading in support of one or the other.

Speaking metaphorically the separation of personal church from state and support of the internal constitution is ongoing.

In my case what underlies the practice is an understanding of the golden rule.  Taught to me in a version varying little by both father and mother it featured the twins of duty and obligation firmly rooted and specifically identified.  A bedrock upon which to found the character of a young man soon lost to the sea of humanity with neither guide nor map upon which to rely.

I thank them daily for their foresight and commitment to this most recalcitrant and stubborn of students.

There are doubtless as many varieties of the ancient rule taught as there are places to teach it.  After decades of travel between there and here I've now heard it bastardized to read anything from 'do unto others then split' to 'he who has the gold makes the rules'.  None of these bore as much as a passing resemblance to the version of it taught by my parents.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto yourself.

Those words my father and mother taught to their children despite the war waged upon their sanity by substance abuse.  I've traveled some and not yet found as simple and direct a statement of an elegant and rational personal philosophy for living.  Its value resonates in my life to this day.

Though a simple rule it holds deceptive power.

This man is regularly challenged to live up to it.  Like most of my fellows my intentions are usually honorable though my actions sometimes mystify.  I thus appreciate the best a man can do is occasionally less than he will.  I also understand that a single finger pointed at his fellows leaves three pointed at himself for both genius and fool.

A man who breaks most of them trusts the unique challenge presented by this one rule identifies it as worth keeping.

            The rules of grammar are similarly valuable to the writer.  Learned early at the behest of educators various they are broken only when demanded by circumstance such as the vernacular of dialogue used in fiction.  While long-term reliance on the word processor has dulled my awareness of many grammatical rules a printed list of prepositions continues to occupy space on my desktop.  Thus though judicious application of a comma may allow a sentence to begin with a prepositional phrase I come from a place where they do not end that way.

            I think of it as another simple rule that wields an impressive power.

            This writer is routinely challenged by it.  A respect for the rules of grammar while creating readable fiction has always been demanded by the simple prohibition.  The growing call for its repeal has recently been sounded.  It emanates from a variety of corners and reflects the evolving world we live in that has always called for the judicious incorporation of change to rules governing the way we use language.  Perhaps because of its importance the pace of change as regard the rules of grammar has been approached with a degree of circumspection if not outright caution.  A respect for that notion has governed the pace of change in both the language and the work I've managed to so far complete using it.

            A man guilty of lacking a quality will often unconsciously recognize the value of it.

            I will also admit to being more than a little surprised by the elements of tradition apparent in my work.  No matter the type an appreciation for the traditions of the form worked within has been reflected.  My hope is without either rhetoric didactic or attitude grandiose.  I have loved the work I do and my respect for the traditions of it reflects my grateful appreciation for its history.  There has thus been neither interest in nor devotion to either creating innovative methods or developing new styles here.  Accordingly I also write exclusively of what I have learned by often hard-won personal experience.  This accounts for my work being devoted to the relative mundanity of the actual rather than exploring the fantastic.  Much of what I have produced is also littered with and in some cases relies upon reference and homage to earlier works respected or admired to be fully appreciated.

            It turns out the outlaw must devote himself to preservation of the law if he hopes to maintain a semblance of relevance.

            The popular fashion these days is to reference any work created by writers and artists of all stripes as something disingenuously labelled as content.  This idea represents nothing more than an attempt by non-artistic and primarily corporate members of society to usurp both ownership and authenticity of such work from its creators.  The claim loosely translates as many works of art are derivative and emphasizes that works created and described as new are even more so.  The implication is that given enough time these works would manifest without the effort of the individual creator due to the inevitable workings of the collective consciousness or hive mind.  Today that collective is represented on the public stage as a legal aspect of the technology companies who exploit the internet for commercial gain.  That this nonsensical position was formulated after the fact, remains practically impossible to prove beyond the archetype, and is used to cannibalize the economic value of the life's work of individual artists of all stripes is overlooked by promulgators of the unethical fantasy.  To raise a voice of contention against the practices of the corporate heavyweights earning the profits or those enjoying supposed 'free access' to the copyright protected work via this immoral thievery meanwhile is to be relegated a conspiracy theorizing Luddite.

            A more obvious flaunting of an assortment of widely accepted legal statutes by both corporate entities and private individuals as universally accepted is difficult to locate.

            That such a historic and outrageous flaunter of moral convention as the writer should be forced onto a soapbox in defense of tradition is beyond ironic.  The idea is outrageous to the point of absurdity.  That such a quaint and outdated notion should find itself promoted by a reputed purveyor of harsh reality and brutal honesty in fiction and song can only indicate yet another failed attempt at humor.  The best response might equal that given a poorly contrived satire.  While the worst will embody the enduring reply bid to most other proverbial mysteries locked inside their respective conundrums.  For therein lay unfathomable bits of stuff and nonsense accepted only by those with either illusory explanation purchased or real profit pursued.

            Rest assured that my position is both sincere and entrenched despite the humor of its easy misconception.

            There is no welcome for the corporate idea of content here.  I consider the notion that the work of individual artists should be viewed as collective and shared information now being identified as content to be against the creative impulse of art itself.  The individual creativity of artists of all styles is both encouraged and supported by the writer as is the development of new original works.  To seek all reasonable and legal protections for the copyright ownership of creators everywhere is also an unapologetic tenet of the writers' personal credo and artistic philosophy.  Those who would relegate art by the nebulous technical terminology of content to murky legal status are advised they have here discovered a nemesis.  For no amount of convincing can disprove what a man can understand using only what was once known as the common sense.  If you create an original work of art it belongs to you and surely the same rule must apply to work me or anyone else might create.  Those who would claim these as collectively owned are invited to leave this work unread, unseen, and unheard, unless they willingly accept ownership and copyright resides, in whole and exclusive, with its individual creator.  If not I suggest they request the hive create works they might read, view, or listen to in our stead.  While we're being ridiculous let's also mention that in this way hive developed content might be evaluated in comparison to art created by artists.  The rules of grammar though enabling a variety of semantic games confer no ability to alter the facts of either common sense or common law.  Despite the rabid and ongoing attempts of feckless promoters and modern business this they are unable to effect.

            It should come as no surprise a metaphorical box to put things into is a necessity for a man in such a position.

            Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the blog.

-          TFP
January 18, 2016

Monday, 11 January 2016

Doing my thing.

I've been doing my thing for a while.

I long ago accepted the many elements of addiction underlying the monkish devotion necessary to the individual vocational practices I have undertaken.  That in itself is no surprise and I'm well aware its likely old news I now share.  As editor of the platform however, the pardon granted for the discourse is easily arranged despite its questionable value.  This may be another long-term effect of ranging unfettered by the restraint of either common sense or business requirement.

That for now will remain a theory impossible to accurately surmise.

At least not without further study and the mystery's solution raises little interest on behalf of most.  The idea of examining the independent life of any kind is an activity frowned upon by the herd mentality that preserves both individual and societal security.  Those foolish enough to pursue the questionable reward of a sovereign career in the arts are thus largely ignored while doing so.  That most will also prove worthy of disregard is a less known fact practitioners are left to discover on their own behalf.

The realization is apparently made more difficult by the fact of working independently.

In many cases the bitter notion is accepted long after a time when doing so retains the ability to positively alter the circumstances of the concerned party.  A much dreaded and rarely spoken of experience, akin to staying too long at the dance, awaits the aging practitioner.  The reflection of the ancient fable about the ant and the grasshopper is undeniable when lean times confront he who plays while his fellows gather.  This is another nugget revealed at a date beyond its usefulness as other than a distasteful reminder of roads not taken.

Life lessons though many can often be difficult for those inclined to independence.

            To demonstrate anything aside from persistence in the face of such a situation might also be considered wise.  The practitioner will instead curse the notion as the very lack of commitment assigned to history's failures.  The absence of meaningful symptoms of practical success notwithstanding the desire to continue the lifestyle charade is usually overarching.  In some ways the experience recalls those of substance abuse withdrawal while lacking either drama or payoff.

 Damn me for a fool but I love a hanging conclusion to anything other than a song.

The occasional call of both road and stage though still impossible to resist is thus far less urgent with the writer today.  Spend enough time wandering and interest in knowing what waits around the next bend will eventually dull one discovers.  Though a surprise this realization is not without benefit as there are also joys found only while tarrying.  Yet to answer in the affirmative when beckoned to appear remains the standard response here.

My father was correct to assay there was no fool like an old one.

I have earlier mentioned here the calendar dovetail existing between touring responsibilities and writing obligations.  Once again the vocational schedules align to allow continued exploration of another unwisely chosen rabbit hole.  The old fool perseveres despite the best before date long rendered past due and dimming prospects brightly lit by the passage of time itself.

More is the pity.

Of course, more than a few would say to continue on any of the paths selected for travel by this writer is folly.  To be succinct, the unmistakable echo of the call for a halt is acknowledged.  The long sought answers to many significant questions have undeniably been either discovered or revealed.  That most have proven unpalatable and disappointing is irrelevant when evaluating plans for the days to come.

For it appears I am once again a man with a great future behind me.

The hilarious parallels between the worlds of literature and music I inhabit continue aside from schedule assimilation.  Far more difficult than completing work in either sphere is securing the world's notice of its existence.  To pursue success beyond the closest of associations necessitates seeking publicity both appropriate and affordable.  In each case the challenge is significant beyond the ability to appreciate properly, if at all, even after it has been undertaken.

This grace would save were it not potentially disastrous.

            Meanwhile a schedule is developing on behalf of what will be my second novel to publish.  The details are limited yet though the manuscript is complete now.  A desire to leave the field clear of encumbrances to the first one contributes to the relaxed pace along with interest in further edification regarding the business itself.  There is much to learn while success or failure can be defined only by the individual though the world encourages all to think otherwise.

            A man endeavors to persevere while clinging to fading hopes for improvement.

Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the blog.

-          TFP
January 11, 2016

Monday, 4 January 2016

A small notice.

The dawn of a new year passes with little notice around these parts.

With more of them than I care to admit rung in from the stage on behalf of untold revelers I beg no pardon when choosing to sleep an old one out when given the chance.  The peculiar luxury derived from knowingly avoiding work demanded by others I learned as a schoolboy skipping classes.

I derive no shame from continuing to enjoy the experience.

A man of acceptable discipline also reasonably satisfied with his performance I make no resolutions.  The summing up common to these occasions is also avoided as a fellow in my circumstance can be intimidated by consideration of such matters.

I acknowledge no fear in response to the growing body of work for which I must answer.

That my artistic productivity continues unabated remains my primary objective.  In whatever form I should pursue it to the best of my ability.  Throughout and despite obstacles encountered personal or environmental of any kind or significance for as long as it remains possible for me to do so.

I long ago accepted this as my personal and freely chosen duty.

The decades spent pursuing these quests have passed with frustrating speed.  Those skills gained along the way though honed to a professional point were acquired with great difficulty in most instances.  That a man works best in solitary obscurity has both helped and hindered though it remains difficult to judge the relative importance of either in this case.

I enjoy the work and rarely consider much else.

Another reality difficult to deny is the psychological burden work completed in a man's own past imparts when attempting to move forward.  As the weight of experience tears the veil of youth from the mind of the adult so too efforts earlier created rend the shroud of mystery concealing works to come from the imagination of the artist.  The shared component of vocational creative life of any kind is displacement of the amateur's joyous freedom of expression with the professional's restrained practice of technique.

I receive no misery working at activities once pursued for enjoyment in spite of this.

While the body of work behind a fellow is best left there I accept a man is at least somewhat reflected, imperfectly if undeniably, by it.  Though a rare choice to acknowledge my own accomplishments they are as significant a point of pride for me as for any of my ilk.  That it has lacked significant popular appeal to date is balanced, more than less, as much by quantity as quality.

I willingly embraced a life of anonymous poverty to create it.

The introduction of 'A Dog and His Boy' to the reading public is thus ongoing.  While the learning curve of the publishing space is doubtless steep and regularly punishing it can also deliver occasional rewards.  Efforts to promote the novel continue and early reviews while uneven have now, albeit sporadically, appeared at various places around the literary world.  With focussed application and positive word of mouth by readers the hope is this will accelerate in coming months.  The popularity of the paperback edition has been a pleasant surprise while the cost of shipping books by post is a bitter pill to swallow.  A phrase now despised in these parts is exchange rate but that's a story for another time.

I am certainly thrilled my work is being read.

Meanwhile the edited final draft of the second novel I will publish is now being proofread.  Plans for a release date are in development and the weekly blog posting schedule continues meantime.  After eight consecutive six day work weeks at the keyboard however a break well-earned is next on the writer's agenda.  Though unlikely to manage a repeat of the remarkable productivity of the decade just passed a man appreciates having posted a target.  The next weeks also feature a return to the performing stage and thus my time is, as usual, at least semi-regularly infringed.  Despite this a decision on the next literary project and a working schedule for its completion will no doubt shortly be devised.

The dawn of a new year, and with any luck more of the same, is upon us all.

Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the blog.

-          TFP
January 4, 2016