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Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Currently reading

Your Beauty Mark. All You Need to Get the Hair, Makeup, Glow, and Glam.
Dita von Teese
Progress: 208/256 pages

The Society Of Authors - Winter Journal 2015

So, let's be clear on this. It's a society for authors. The most efficient way I can sum this up, is as a place where authors go to moan and bitch about what's wrong in the author world... and also share what's right.


Membership is slightly north of a hundred of our not-so-Great British Pounds. Not an amount to be sneezed at, especially amongst us impoverished penistas. (yeah, I made that word up, but what the hell.) It does offer services such as contract checking, which is a very important point as Francesca Simon reflected upon in an article. I'll spare you the detail, but suffice to say, she got done, guv. (my interpretation of her situation) As well as authors, we also have to be lawyers as well.


There's other stuff that some of us don't think about, like public liability insurance, which can be needed if speaking in certain spaces; it's a requirement of some venues. Hey, that's what our society has become. Litigious to the last, dying breath of, "Gimme 'da money."


Simon also offers other words of advice, "If a publisher wants you to re-write the beginning, middle and end of a book, they want a different book." and backs it up with a tale of one particular encounter.


David Horner reviews how things have changed, "The Pareto Principle - that 80% of business comes from 20% of output - is becoming something the book industry looks back on with misty-eyed nostalgia. These days it's more like 90/10 at best." but he's got a point. Consumers are eating the low hanging fruit and the other works are left to fall to the ground and rot. Who loses? Everyone, pretty much, in my humble opinion. Authors, readers and society in general as the mainstream rut just gets wider and deeper. The daily grind is now so hard and deep that people want works to escape into (or learn facts that help them in their lives) and don't have the energy left to be challenged by something different. At least, that's how I interpret what's going on.


Jonathan Fryer recounts, "Finding the right voice," when he writes about his experiences penning a childhood memoir. David Brown goes on about Amazon and I have to personally disagree with him. (if we're really moving to artesania thinking, then why are the big guys still raking in all the profit?) But that's life. Adam Feinstein explores how autism has been characterised in literature. "Autism is not incompatible with imagination. But the imagination is of a different kind." Wise words.


Liz Berry reveals why she draws on Black Country vernacular, and then we have Bonnie Green embracing Twitter... yeah, at a time when it's circling the drain. Kristen Harrison offers twitter tips for authors; arguably the same advice which I counter by being different, rather than being one of the same that sinks in to the mire of sameness on an overcrowded service.


Ann Morgan has an interesting article on reading your own audiobooks and that's roughly about half of the forty slightly cut-down A4-ish pages. The rest seems to vanish in to the literati, a world of people and works that I don't know, because I work in IT. I mean, I wouldn't expect to walk up to Proust and engage him in discussion on Peter Norton's classic reference work on the PC video subsystem architecture, for example. Not least because Proust has been knocking on a hundred years in his coffin, but you get the point.


There's a lot of advice around on the internet these days, however it does feel like the Society of Authors could be a safe place for authors to vent whatever particular internal organ feels in need of a touch of relief.


Will I join them? I'm seriously considering it. The problem for me at the moment, is that my writing isn't contributing to my lifestyle (ie. paying any bills) so I have to target my resources carefully. If things started to pick up a little, then I have no doubt that it would be a worthwhile investment in terms of literal thought and education.


At this point, I really do think that society could benefit from a higher class book/author review publication. I wouldn't be above paying a tenner for someone to review one of my books and write a review in a trusted journal. The fee being a barrier to entry, on the understanding that the work I submitted could get hacked to shreds, of course. Actually, that would be more incentive for me to up my quality and ensure I was submitting something of worth. But the current advertiser funded blog sphere leads to all sorts, like reviewers providing positive reviews and links to sites where they get kick backs to fund their blog... and the reader isn't going to know when this is happening.


So we're just going to have to see what happens. I'm going to set Genie loose on an unsuspecting public, who won't even acknowledge its existence, and then see where things go from there. If someone coughs in my general direction, then I might take that as impetus to continue bashing out content, join the society and march forth. If not... well, I already have a chunk of Norton's classic works to keep me satisfied for a while, along with a very well written Sony manual on digital audio, a history of Amdahl....