I love this season. It's just absolutely the best. I took a short walk after work yesterday out into the rice fields behind the school, and from there I could see the ring of mountains that completely surround Nagano. The air was a little chilly, but the sky was clear, the sun just about to dip below the hills. Even in the middle of the city I felt like the only person in the world. Just divine.
Not long after, I was back on the road, on to the evening job, before returning to the mayhem of family. I need those few minutes of calm and peace, phoneless, contactless, away from people and their constant needs and requests and demands ... it might only be for a few minutes here and there, but its so important. I think more people should try it, just leave everything behind and step away for a few minutes. Take a November walk and realise that in the great scheme of things, you're nothing, and none of your problems matter.
Back to the real world ... I've pushed all other writing stuff aside this week to tackle a complete read through of the four Benjamin Forrest books back to back, something which is brutally daunting for a reader of my tortoise speed ... especially when the blocks of time required to fully get into a book are few and far between. Sell-through has never been as high as I would like for these despite their merits, and I don't think any proofreader should ever be fully trusted. So, halfway through book 1 I find small things which might make a difference - Benjamin's Secondary changes from Burnton to Burton, the orange sun becomes red for a time ... the pacing is off in a couple of chapters and at one point Benjamin goes off on a complete tangent about something otherwise unrelated to the ongoing story.
All easily fixable, of course, and things that wouldn't even be there were it not for the relentless pressure to publish and publish fast. And for what? Six weeks before Christmas and my sales are nowhere, ads aren't responding, free-first-in-series aren't achieving follow up sales, and I'm really wondering where this leaves me. I decided to leave a Facebook ad for the Christmas book running, even though I'm making a loss, hoping that things pick up. A thousand free downloads of The Man by the Sea has so far resulted in no sales of The Clockmaker's Secret, something which I find incredibly surprising considering the reviews, but maybe people are being tight with their money in the run up to Christmas. Still, I will do what I always do, and plow on ahead, hoping that somewhere along the way I pick up a bit of luck and momentum.
I had one of those days the other day, where I mess around online and look up all the writers I remember from when I started out in 2012, the ones whose posts I read on Kboards, whose tweets I retreated, whose books I occasionally bought because they seemed to deserve a bit of support. A few have gone on to bigger and better success, but the vast majority have vanished, given up, moved on.
That, in the least, is enough to spur me on. I'm still here. And I'm not going anywhere. Might be time to take another walk, though.