Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Mini Rant 1 - Poor Marketing Campaign - Ocado

In the UK we have an online shopping delivery service called Ocado (I'm not sure if this exists elsewhere). Now Ocado do a perfectly fine job. I have no complaints about them whatsoever. But I do have a bit of a gripe when it comes to whoever has done their recent marketing. Here's a picture...

Now, this looks pretty innocuous on first glance but go read the text.... "It's one small click for you. It's one giant leap for your life."

Now we all know what this is paraphrasing. These are almost the words of Neil Armstrong, the first words from the Moon's surface. The original phrase signified the single greatest achievement of the human race (up to that date). It's something we as a species should be incredibly proud of (if you a Moon hoax believer, please leave my blog now and never revisit).

So to see it used to promote a way of doing your shopping without having to go to the effort of actually doing the shopping feels wrong. And it makes me less inclined to use Ocado.

So whoever it was who thought up this campaign, you haven't hit the bullseye from my POV. And whoever approved it at Ocado, do you want to rethink it? Ocado is a fine service (I think I may have mentioned that) and I get it needs advertising but come on - you can do better than this.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Fighting the doldrums



My head's not right. I don't mean in that it's too big for most hats, which it is annoyingly, or that it looks a bit weird, which it probably does. I'm not the best judge. But questions as to its ability to fit well under headgear or whether you might want to spend an hour or two just looking at it aside, my head isn't right. On the inside.

I've managed to do a little writing tonight, adding two scenes to my latest work in progress totalling a little over fifteen hundred words and taking the novel beyond he forty thousand mark, but it's been forced. Last night I didn't even manage that. I stared at the keyboard for a while, write an opening paragraph for a new chapter three times, deleting each one, and then gave up. I found a couple more submission opportunities for my YA supernatural novel "the Stairs Lead Down" and got them fired off. And then I printed off the first draft of my previous novel - "How to Run a Company". Well I needed to do it. I can't revise well from screen.

It'll probably just sit on my bedside bookcase until I've finished the draft of the current weird novel which goes by the title "a Thousand Rick Wakemans Dancing Round My Brain" I don't like to have one on the stocks unfinished when I revise another as I worry it might mean I mix up the storylines or characters. It probably wouldn't happen but you never know. So why take the risk?

I know part of the reason for my funk. The rejections dried up. Now it might seem a strange reason to get in the writing dumps so I should probably explain why. You see I don't enjoy submitting; because of the inevitability of the rejections or the even more annoying hearing nothing. A number of the agents and publishers put in their guidelines that if you haven't heard anything in [insert arbitrary time period here] then assume your submission is not successful.

It's explained as time being limited and they don't have time to give detailed individual feedback on every title and I do understand it. I have some knowledge of literary agents and the kinds of sizes of these organisations. They don't have an overabundance of staff and they do get a lot of submissions but logical reasoning doesn't make it easy to accept that the novel I might have spent long hours, days, weeks and months to get as right as I think I'm able to get it, will just disappear into the void.


All in all the act of researching, preparing and sending submissions is one I dread. I just don't want to do it. EVER. Which of course I know is rather self defeating given I have this ambition of selling a novel. So I steel myself to do it from time to time although I only ever seem to manage a handful before running away.

I could go deeper (and so I will). I self analyse too much. I seem to ruminate on all the little stuff finding all kinds of hidden meanings. So you can imagine what I feel like to have noticed my rejection count is now at 171, across all novels and novellas I've sent in.

That's the kind of number that gets you wondering whether you should just accept you're shit at this and should give up your hopes of ever being published - apart from gong the self-published route which I don't want to. I lack the inclination to try to sell my work so directly.

Now I know that I have heard tales of some novels being rejected more than a hundred times before one acceptance comes along and the book ends up winning all kinds of literary awards, being hailed as the great novel since... Well I can't see any of mine achieving those kinds of insane heights. I'm not that self-deluding about my own talents. My aims are lower. I just want to hold a book with my chosen pen name on the cover, knowing that the only reason this exists is because I made it exist.

Hence spending all this time at the end of long busy workdays tapping a different keyboard and trying to create that novel that someone will say, "Yes. This must be published."

I've been doing this now for two years. I've spent many hours doing it and, I have to admit, I do have some pretty decent results to show for those hours - at least if you go by word count. I have completed six novels and five novellas in that time. The test readers I've passed them to still talk to me so I guess they can't stink totally but they might just be being kind. I drive a van rather than a car (a side effect of being very tall means I don't fit well into most cars) and there is always the chance they might want to call in a favour one day and have me transport something that won't fit into their much smaller vehicles.

Well, there is some good news. (Depending on your point of view.) I am going to keep writing. For one thing my wife has said she wants to know what is going to happen at the end of my current novel and I wouldn't want to disappoint her on the off chance she means it and isn't just trying to keep me going with the writing stuff so she can have the TV to herself and watch those programmes I don't want to - which to be hones tis most of them. (I'm not much of a TV watcher. I prefer listening to music or reading.)

And there is hope. The few non-stock email responses I've received have all mentioned my chosen genres are not ones that are popular at the moment (especially for breaking new authors). Well if that is the case for horror (Mr. Stinky), epic science fiction (Against the Fall of Empire), supernatural (the Stairs Lead Down) and epic fantasy (the Patternmaker's Daughter) then maybe non-genre might cut it.

Or to put it another way I should get around to revising "How to Run a Company" and get it out there. And finish "a Thousand Rick Wakemans Dancing Round My Brain". Neither of those are sffh - well not in any major way.

Then again I could just be deluding myself again and finding hope where there just isn't any. Who knows? But if I don't at least try then I will never find out and I will never have even the faint hope I think I have currently. So I will soldier on. For now anyway.

One last thought. If anyone has made it this far can I please say how sorry I am for having wasted this much of your life on my negativity. I said at the top that this blog post isn't really for reading. It isn't It's just for me to get it out there. And if you ask why I posted it if that was all it was for then I have an answer for you. If I don't post it then it will just stay between my ears and I will have achieved nothing from it.

Now got look at kitten videos. If you've got this far you're going to need them.