Wednesday, 10 November 2010

My Absence

I know, I know. I’ve been absent not just from this blog, but from twitter and Facebook too, for quite a while now. There are number of reasons, not least of which is the imminent house move. Contracts were finally exchanged earlier this week and we’re all set to move on Friday and over the weekend. Of course, after that we have to put the new house in order, and who knows how long that will take?

But I have to confess that I’ve also been feeling a little… “Marc-Nobbs-ed-out” of late. It’s hard to really explain, but that’s pretty much it. I’ve been trying to re-connect with the ‘real’ me. You know, the married father with a day job.

I’d been toying with the idea of creating a ‘real’ Facebook profile for a few months after realising just how many of my old schoolmates and university friends are members. And a couple of weeks ago I did just that. Even fell right back into the old routine with a few of my old friends. So that’s been taking up some of my time. Time I could have been spending writing, but haven’t.

I’ll admit that I’ve toyed with the idea of placing Marc Nobbs on an extended hiatus. I even toyed with the idea of pulling my publications and website and disappearing altogether. But I decided against that.

The problem, for me, is that publishing ‘for profit’ (as in, getting paid royalties) isn’t as rewarding as when I was publishing for free. Obviously, it’s more rewarding financially, but I’ve always said I wasn’t in this for the money. Which is a good thing really given the money would never be enough to live on.

No, writing, for me, is about sharing my ideas and characters and getting feedback from readers. Back when I was publishing for free, feedback was the only payment, and the readers knew that, so they offered feedback. It was sometimes called the ‘Blowjob Principle” – which means ‘if you enjoyed it, giving praise is more likely to result in more of it.” Readers sent authors e-mails of thanks in the hope the author would write more.

But if you’ve paid a few dollars for a book, that need to praise the author to get him to write more is removed – because in effect, you’ve already rewarded him in the form of the money you’ve paid (of which he’ll get a cut).

In other words, ever since I started publishing for pay – first at Ruthie’s and then at Phaze – the feedback from readers has dried up. Oh, I still get to see what some readers think in the form of reviews, but I miss that personal interaction with readers.

So, I’m giving serious consideration to going back to my old model. Giving my stories away for ‘free’ – the only ‘payment’ requested being a note of thanks from the reader and word about what they thought of the story.

Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that I am taking some time off from being Marc Nobbs, so that I can be the other me – certainly until the New Year.

So, see you all in 2011.


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