Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

That Book.

After twenty days of compiling my latest fiction serial, it was suggested that I offer it for publication, as a novella. I went to bed last night thinking about that flattering idea.

Ever since I started blogging, in 2012, friends, family, and blog followers have often urged me to write a book. At first, they suggested I compile my Ambulance Stories into a collection, or perhaps expand the idea into a novel, based on over twenty years of attending emergency incidents. Later on, many people kindly offered their opinion that some of my short fictional stories would make an interesting book, and I should choose some of the most popular ones to put in it.

Way back at the start of this blog, I wrote a post about why I didn’t want to write a book. Here it is, for those of you who have never seen it.

It has been a long time since then, and I have met lots of people around the blogs. People who have published their own books, sold them on Amazon, or other sites, and have either done reasonably well, or sold none at all. I admire them all, for having the determination to get the books finished, and for going through the potentially arduous process of trying to get them published. I have gone so far as to introduce both a ‘Blogger’s Books’ and ‘Featured Blogger’ series, in the hope of helping them by promoting their work.
Good luck to them all.

I have also read a lot about how Amazon dominates the market, and traditional publishers are only interested in authors with a proven track record. The hard work of editing, proof-reading, getting Beta readers, and constantly trying to promote books on every social media platform available. There have never been so many books for sale. Even moderately successful authors have had to resort to giving away copies of new novels, in the hope of attracting readers to the sequels.

So we know that there is no money in it, for 99% of published writers. But I concede that isn’t the point. Getting the work out there, seeing our name on a book cover, and reading a blurb about YOU on the back. That must be a wonderful feeling, even if nobody ever buys a copy, or reads it for free. But I have been around long enough to imagine the sleepless nights associated with completing a novel. I have just written a serial of almost 27,000 words. That took me close to thirty hours, including some corrections. In a novel, that would translate to just sixty pages. 60. I have read chapters longer than that.

Even short novels these days, at least in Kindle editions, are usually around 275 pages. Let’s say I went for 300 pages. That would be five times the length of my serial, so would take me at least 100 days to write.
Hang on! That sounds easy enough.
Maybe I should do it?

But that’s the easy part. Writing it is just the start. Then comes the really hard work. And work is the operative word here.

I gave up work in 2012. I had worked pretty hard, mainly in stressful jobs, since my first job in 1969. When I turned my back on the day to day routine of employment, I promised myself I would never work again. I got a dog, started walking, and began taking photographs again. Not long after that, I started blogging. I enjoyed the process, and soon developed my blog into what it is now, an enjoyable hobby that takes up a large portion of my day.
No complaints there. I have met some wonderful people, and made real friends online too.

I also started writing again, for the first time since my teens. I enjoyed it, constantly trying to improve my fiction, taking on board various welcome criticisms, as well as being very happy with the praise that came for my work too. Later on, I managed to get articles published on film websites, and finally saw my name in print, when a short story was accepted for publication in a magazine.

For me, that was a considerable personal achievement.
But it still wasn’t ‘work’.

So I doubt I will be writing that book anytime soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

72 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

  1. As a writer with one published novel and low sales, plus a lot of hours committed, I understand your viewpoint. And I’m turning this around and considering that your approach makes more sense.My novel in progress will be blogged.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your own thoughts, Roland. Unless you intend to make a full-time living as a writer, I think that’s a very sensible decision. I used your name for one of the characters in my latest serial, by the way. (And one of my oldest friends is also called Roland. We have been friends for 50 years.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, what can I say. To be honest, after having tried the publishing game myself and failing miserably (yes, I have self-published, but selling the books is another matter), I have come to the conclusion that unless I suddenly have an idea for a totally extraordinary book (and none my books are, so far), I will not bother publishing the books I write from now on, although yes, I’m thinking about sharing them on my blog, and perhaps Wattpad. But, if what worries you is the length of your stories, people sometimes publish e-books as short as 25 pages long, even non-fiction (some also make them available in print, but I think considering the printing costs, it is not worth it). I have published novellas as well and there are no limits to what you can publish. You could also collect several of your stories in a volume. Another option would be to submit some of your stories for publication by others. I’m not necessarily talking about a big publisher, but sometimes authors join together, or create collections, and that would only mean sending the story on, without much to do otherwise. But yes, pursuing the life of a writer nowadays means long hours and, in general, very little return. And there’s more to life, for sure. Congratulations.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Olga. Your own experience (and that of so many others) has made me even more reluctant to publish. But I appreciate your advice and suggestions, and will think about them. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.


  3. As gifted a writer as you are Pete, I completely understand why you donโ€™t want to publish. Iโ€™m just thankful that youโ€™ve created this blog where you can share your wonderful stories with us!๐Ÿค—

    This is completely off topic, but I thought youโ€™d be thrilled to hear that in a huge upset, Olivia Colman just won the Oscar for Best Actress!โ˜บ๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d like to be believe that we all have a book in us if we’d only take the time to write it. If only it were that easy! And at what cost? I think we’re lucky to live in an age where we can satisfy our creative urge to write as little or as much as we like, and still have people around the world read it. That’s pretty amazing if you think about it. ~ That said, I’m very impressed that you’re able to write so prolifically in such a short period of time producing an online novella! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Pete! You know I published several of my “poetry” collections (thanks!). I never did it to make any money though I did earn enough for a nice dinner with the kids. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had originally started blogging almost as a therapy. I was retired and a widower, which I hadn’t expected to be. My early posts were all about my life, triumphs and losses. After the poetry “books” I came to realize that thsee posts told the story of my ordinary life.

    Those early posts were almost the story of me – not in chronological order – but almost a memoir. I took the posts, reordered them and put them in a book.

    “Toritto’s Blog” – A Memoir of a Life in Posts, published in 2012.

    It came out to 188 pages which I self published on the Amazon platform. And it had my name on it. Made the covers myself on the platform for nothing.

    My children loved it as did friends, both new and old, as well as a few of my readers.

    Made a few bucks but never was worried about the money – just something to leave behind.

    Best regards.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great points, Pete – it all comes down to the question of “why do you write?” If the creative satisfaction and feedback are enough, then a blog does the trick…if you aspire to a wider audience, then you will face all of those obstacles you mention…if it’s to become a best-selling Author with movie spinoffs and mansions around the world, then you have become Martin Harwood!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I spent a few hours yesterday writing half a page of fiction. At my current pace, if I write an estimated 360-page book, the time commitment will come in at around 1,500 hoursโ€”and that’s not counting the drafting of various illustrations, the creation of character and place names, text formatting, and the final read-through for light edits! Fortunately, I spread all those hours out over several years, so the commitment is far from being overwhelming.

    Yes, seeing one’s book in print is “a wonderful feeling, even if nobody ever buys a copy, or reads it for free.” But failing to find an audience, or demeaning the value of one’s creative work by having to give it away, is also quite frustrating, even for someone like me who mainly writes for the enjoyment of the process.

    I will publish my two detective books simultaneously in a couple of years, using Amazon’s publishing platform, which is free. However, I’ll end up shelling out hundreds of hard-earned dollars for graphics (front and back cover art for two books, plus at least half a dozen professional quality illustrations based on my drafts). That’s money I’ll never recoup.

    So, in the end, I’ll look at my bookshelf and say, “I bought those books with lots of money, time, and effort. And what do I get in return? Self-satisfaction, and the occasional good read.” Maybe I shouldn’t put those books on a bookshelf. Maybe I should find a conspicuous spot for them on the bathroom vanity…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You have done very well to publish so far, David. And I enjoyed Pope On The Dole, which was an unusual idea, and accomplished in execution. But your own experiences just tend to magnify my own reservations. So I will enjoy reading your new novels, and happily forego the pleasure of seeing my own on a bookshelf.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Book or no book, it is good to know that you could write one and maybe there will be a day when you look through the old ambulance stories and decide to create a novel from them. For your own enjoyment (and ours). Never say never! Meanwhile your followers will continue to enjoy your short stories and you will continue to enjoy your freedom ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I understand this entirely-but I declare you at least know you COULD write a book-and that is something. You have a fan base and that is something too. Walk and take your pictures, which are also beautiful and enjoy your life. Book or no book, your writing is loved!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Michele. That knowledge of being able to write is one thing, and having loyal readers is something to cherish. But once writing a book becomes work, then I suspect I would no longer enjoy it. Thanks as always for your kind words too.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I suggest you start small. I publish three different ways. I self publish with a book designer who does all the work, but that costs, and I never sell enough books to break even; I put one or two of my books on kindle in case people who don’t buy books might be interested and ( the easiest) I give a whole lot of poems to a local printer and ask him to turn it into a booklet. These are sold for charity and do make a tiny profit. The novels were my hobby but I think I have stopped writing them now. I enjoy seeing how many people have taken them out of the local library and I did get one request for another one last night from someone who had read all seven!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I confess that I’ve only skimmed this post because of time pressures. Please accept apologies for poor attendance in recent weeks – been too preoccupied to catch up with Old Remington yet. I understand the “not work” argument. Joy in artistic creation, freedom of expression, recognition without selling out etc. Have to say that the Ambulance Stories alone would make a good book……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Pippa. No problem about not catching up. Life comes first.
      There have been quite a few ‘Ambulance experience’ books in the past. They didn’t do very well at all. I think readers find real life too unbelievable to be true. (Or perhaps they were not written as well as my own stories, who knows? ๐Ÿ™‚ )
      Best wishes, Pete. x


  12. Although I believe your short stories would make a great anthology, I totally agree with doing something for the love of it, and not stressing yourself out about it. Enjoy your retirement, and just write your stories for us! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  13. You are wise and saved yourself a ton of aggravation. Not to mention money. I admire you, Pete. You know yourself well and are a straight arrow!
    Your readers love reading your work on your blog.
    One thing you could do is put your larger work in its own tab on your site. Or a widget. Easier for readers to find your story whole than searching around for a link to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. There is nothing wrong for blogging and writing short stories for fun, Pete. It takes a lot of the anxiety out of it. I also regard writing as a hobby. I do publish my books but why not? I learn a lot from the editing process and I enjoy having books with my name on out there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you, Robbie. If you can manage the publishing process, then more power to you.
      And I even have one of your books in my Kindle library! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
      This was only about me, and not wanting to publish. No criticism of those that have done, I assure you.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Even compiling the short stories into a book seems like a task I have no enthusiasm for, chuq. Then there’s the promotion, marketing, and all that stuff. I don’t consider writing to be work, but what happens after feels too much like a job to me. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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