Sleaze Notes

Last Friday afternoon I was speaking to my brother on the phone. “The thing is,” I told/bored him, “I’d write this book anywhere. If I had to sleep in a field and scrawl it on stone walls I’d still write it. Not that it’s a book, really, more a novella. God, I hate saying novella. Small book. If I had to write this small book in a field, I would do. If I had to.”

Regular readers will know that I’ve taken the next four or five weeks off to write a small book. Regular, unfunny readers will be thinking ‘Taken the next four or five weeks off FROM WHAT?’ right about here. Good one, regular unfunny readers. Regular readers will also know that I’m not writing this book in a field – not yet, at least – rather a nice big house in the country that someone has asked me to look after until the end of the week.

Tomorrow sees me start the actual writing of the small book. In my mind it feels as if I’m embarking on some mission to space or preparing to go up a river to assassinate Colonel Kurtz but I’m not doing either of  those things, all I’m doing is writing a fucking (small) book. Still, it’s daunting. Anyone can write a small book in four or five weeks. Not anyone can write a good small book in four or five weeks, fewer still an excellent one. I’d like to write an excellent one. If you had chanced upon the ‘Book Notes’ that I’ve been writing over the last couple of days, you would think that I haven’t got it in me to write an excellent one. Let’s hope you’re wrong.

But it isn’t just the writing of the small book that’s bothering me, it’s all the stuff that surrounds it. Once completed, I need to have it typewritten, copyedited, I need a cover design, I need to get an ISBN, I need to get it available on Amazon, I need loads more other things too – all in the space of a week. I don’t know what any of these things mean, really, or how they work. I’m not sure why I think I can sort out all these things that I know very little about in such a short space of time. There are also some very complicated copyright issues that I need to deal with too, but I’m hoping that by not dealing with them that they will somehow drift away.

The small book also needs to be reviewed. It must do, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing things like ‘REVIEWS???’ all over my notes with a list of potential reviewers who I barely – or less than barely: radiatory – know. I have a list. John Crace, of The Guardian, is on there. I’ve emailed him once. Oliver Burkeman, of The Guardian, is on there. I’ve emailed him once. Karl Webster is on there.

Regardless, I’m going to see this whole thing through. For three reasons. One, because I’ve never really seen anything through before in my life – it could be good for me. Two, because I’ve told everyone about it. Initially I was hoping to get a column in The Guardian’s Books Blog Section – or whatever the hell it’s called – that I was snappily calling Can I Research, Write, Publish, Market and Sell a Thousand Copies of a Book Before Christmas 2011? but I’ve since decided that no, The Guardian isn’t going to be on the receiving end of my colourful weekly columns and that, yes, The Guardian can go and fuck itself and that, yes, this is a defence mechanism: if I snub The Guardian over my weekly brilliance before they snub me then it’s some sort of victory. Besides, you’re my audience. I’ve come to the conclusion – quite late on – that I’d rather write about my experiences of the writing and marketing of a small book for Pitching the World readers than I would for Guardian readers.

The third reason for having to write this small book can be found in the 20-point list that I made yesterday. Item 19 reads: Is it worth keeping a longer diary – 500 words a day or so – so at the very least [underlined three times] I can write a short book about writing a short book? Or I could perhaps include some of my diary – like sleeve notes? 

I should be fucking sectioned for this. Nobody in their right mind wants to be reading a book about writing a book unless it’s Out of Sheer Rage. And sleeve notes? SLEEVE NOTES? Two days without talking to another human being is all it takes before thinking that my grand, 30,000 word small book is going to be so mind blowing and deep that it needs sleeve notes.

This small book’s getting written, and it starts tomorrow, and there’s not going to be any fucking sleeve notes.

Sleeve notes, earlier. 


11 responses to “Sleaze Notes

  1. Nice usage of ‘radiatory’. The online dictionary surrendered to you.


  2. I’m not sure that I love you Martin, but I like you very much.

  3. I will offer my services to you as a proof-reader for a very reasonable price, due to my personal curiosity about this novella. How does that sound, Pitchy? Desperate, probably. But the offer stands.

  4. Should ‘proofreader’ be hyphenated Scarlett? I’m not sure. Anyway, I’d love you to cast your eyes over it once it’s completed. I need lots of eyes on it. Does ‘a very reasonable price’ mean ‘no price’? Regardless, thanks for the offer.

  5. I can’t wait to read your novella/book about writing a book/sleeve note pitchy. It’s going to be ace. Just don’t quit.

  6. Why are you having to get the ISBN – that should be the publisher unless you are publishing it yourself.

    You can sort out the ISBN here and do it online – but the fewest you can buy is 10 and it is about £120 – so I hope you have at least 10 small books in you! So you can use this as a distraction activity if needed.

  7. Thank you very much Chris. I won’t quit. At least I hope I won’t. No: I won’t. That’s a lot of won’ts.
    Bridie: This (small) book I am publishing myself. The book about Pitching the World is with my agent, Matthew Hamilton of Aitken Alexander Associates, who is going to get me a publisher. But I need to get this small book out quickly and also want to write articles about the whole business of self publishing. The first one is going to be called “Self Publishing: Cool or Gay?”
    Thanks very much for the (slightly intimidating) link. Will read later.

  8. The only thing missing is the picture of you looking pensive with the caption ‘someone not yet writing a small book,earlier.’ Otherwise great. Love it good luck!

  9. Ps if you writing about self-publishing for real then I can prob help. I self published Talli’s Secret to terrific critical acclaim and a Whitbread long list. Then a rather horrible turn of events changed my focus for some years, so poor book got abandoned, but the actual self publishing experience was positive, and raised awareness of dyslexia and dyspraxia. Which was good for my eldest son and good for some charities too. I have published an article in Writing Magazine and was included in a Mslexia article about self publishing so let me know if you need a hand.

  10. Thanks very much Julie. I may well take you up on your offer and bombard you at some point with questions about self-publishing. Getting on the Whitbread longlist is quite something. Did you know that Julian Barnes called the Whitbread ‘posh bingo’ or something like that? This was before he won it. I read it in The Telegraph this morning. Not that I’m a posh person, I only really read The Telegraph for the cricket reports. I’ve no idea where this comment is headed. Right, I’m off.

  11. The horror.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s