The curse of the drop-down menu.

Augh – my woes continue!

Occasionall poor attention to detail notwithstanding, my innate inability to create a swashbuckling backstory about myself continues to be my main frustration.

Conversations with folk, face to face meetings, are easier encounters in which to let the blarney flow, the sterile blinking cursor considerably less so.

I understand and accept the need for a pithy author profile – I’m just stuck trying to create one.

The 20 second scan, the ability to instantly stand out, not for your works, but for who you are (a commodity I am definitely NOT selling) is a struggle that I have yet to master (I know first world problems!).

With a little trial error and patience, I’ll crack the ‘who are you’ conundrum; it is the next one that I am struggling with!

Sometimes your favourite book is easy to categorise, some books slot easily into generic groupings – it is their blessing and it is my curse.

Maybe I’m overthinking about it – wait while I procrastinate for a few days.

Mental gymnastics aside, I do worry about putting my best foot forward, about my sales pitch.

I have a passion for my work, a genuine love for the characters’ themes and scenarios that I’ve created, but oh, the ‘drop down menu’ – yeah that currently perplexes and vexes me in equal measure!

genregenreGenres exist, categories exist, they all exist for good reason, we use them continually to help us make informed decisions – what to read, who to listen to, or indeed where to eat.

I get, and I accept the need and benefit.

But, as a loud echo of my struggle to create a one-page synopsis that caused me inordinate thought and debate, so too is my failure to select an appropriate category from the drop-down choice weighing heavily on my mind.

I know I think too much – worry too much etc.

I’ve tried the deleting the obvious incorrect associations; and then looking at what is left – a simple process of elimination.

I’ve looked at Felsch-Kincaid; I’ve tried to make that score relevant against the remaining list and repeated the exercise again and again until the one single ‘commodity group’ remains.

I will re-check my algorithm, as I’m not too sure that under five picture books is correct, but then again everyone loves a story about a trip to the park and a lost balloon!

Punches own face and misses… 

Job applications are always tense affairs, speculative ones that little bit more so. 

It doesn’t help if you make an error in your application, and especially if that error is someone’s name! 

A blunder that couldn’t be more obvious, and possibly more costly – after all calling Steve “Susan” is very unlikely to endear you from the get go.

We then have the notoriously difficult ‘tell us about yourself’ section; a question I assume designed to flush out those media known butterflies or folk who’ve climbed mountains naked.

Me I’m neither a ‘personality’ or indeed a nude rambler.

While we are going through some self-deprecation I’m no salesman either.

However, all is not lost.

All is not forlorn.

We do tell good tales, we do write good stories.

We may not be able to self-promote or indeed formulate successful and proven sales strategies but we can provide a good product for those with such skills to flourish.

Our story about Amy Grace should appeal to so many people; it is historic, it is dark, it is female led and centric and most of all, the number one selling point, it is an engaging tale – a good page turner.

So, what have we learnt?

Nothing that we didn’t already know – attention to detail is important.

We MUST learn to self-promote we MUST master our elevator pitch.

So, if you meet a middle aged bloke in a lift mumbling about rape murder and revenge, please don’t call the police, call a good literary agent – that is the help that he needs! 


And she was…

And indeed, she was, or indeed she is, yet she is fictional, so is she either? 

Who knows? 

And it is the ‘who knows’ that is the pertinent question of our day. 

We are not discussing the metaphysical space time dimension thing; we’re not that cleaver.   

We are looking at the ‘who knows’ statement.

For the woes and triumphs of young Amy Grace who indeed knows about them?

And the tragic answer is few, a very precious few.

A number so low, that as tight fisted as I am (and I am) I’d be able to stand a round and buy them all a drink.  

And the fault, the blame, the reason, the cause and effect – all one simple answer, one singular root cause.


Confidence is (from time to time) dented, but belief in this tale is unbowed. 

Despite the life affirming slogans on t-shirts and posters belief in itself isn’t enough; it isn’t.

Belief won’t get this tale printed, belief alone won’t get a paperback book in Waterstones.

Belief isn’t enough.

Hard work isn’t enough.

We (I) need to work hard to promote my belief in Amy, I need to take the polite and silent rejections and move on.

I need to strive, to fall short; to be that man in the arena. 

So, we remember this quote:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

We take this to heart, we plan for rejection, without accepting rejection we cannot ever archive telling out tall tale.

Without failure I cannot stand misty eyed in Waterstones. 

Failure is to be embraced, is to be chased and worn with pride.

We have a tale to tell, an adventure to share, a bar tab to create that will really make me cry!

Who knows…?