I spent a wonderful 24 hours over the course of last Friday and yesterday, engrossed in the many fabulous sessions in the first of three Indie Author Fringe conferences this year for self-published authors, organised by ALLi. I was very impressed with the wealth of information offered: advice for first-time authors, to designing book covers, to promoting and extending books sales, and everything in between.
I was, quite naturally, interested in the sessions which discussed writing itself. One
session in particular fascinated me, right from the moment I had access to the agenda. Presented by Nina Amir, it was entitled ‘Leverage your content: how to blog a book or book a blog’. Successes in blogging books are there to see across the genres, and in erotica are evident most notably, I think, in two big names—Belle du Jour and E.L. James. I want, however, to leave aside the success that these two have had, as I don’t want for a moment to give the impression that their achievements in the world of erotica is the norm for erotica writers, neither am I concerned right now with discussing the commercial success of blogged books, erotica, or books in general. What I am interested in here is the process of writing that enables such a piece of work to come to fruition. In listening to the session, therefore, I became fascinated with how this concept might work for me, and it both intrigued and terrified me in equal measure—and still does as I write this.
The notion of blogging a book, giving thoughts, ideas and words some Internet air space, allowing readers to see a book created right in front of them, and to involve them in discussing and feeding back their comments prior to redrafting and entering into all the pre-publication work that goes on with a book, really intrigues me. Yet the possibilities of doing such a thing fill me with trepidation. My efforts at blogging on this website have only just begun, and I am known in other areas of my writing life for blogging inconsistently, so posting regularly on my blog presents somewhat of a challenge to me. There are reasons for this, and I intend to discuss them in a different post about writers and writing.
Blogging a book also, of course, necessarily means writing linearly. This is not, nor has it ever been, my preferred method of working. Anyone who knows me or anything about my writing will no doubt agree that I just do not begin a piece of work at the beginning and write through until it is complete. I live in a world of mind maps, scenes that I want to include, write-ups of something I envisage as integral to the work, and almost always have written the ending before the beginning. But blogging a story of any length means starting at the beginning and finishing with ‘THE END’. None of this is an issue if the book is already written, of course. Indeed, common sense would suggest this would be the easiest way to go about the task: write, then post pieces of the appropriate length. But why would I want to do anything as easy as that?! As a rule, if there’s an easy way of doing something, I will gravitate towards the more difficult option.
So, in light of all this, I have decided to try an experiment which challenges everything about my writing process and my innate feelings on blogging. I am intending to blog the first draft of a novel, the first in a trilogy that I have tentatively planned. I want to see if:
- I can sustain a novel, writing linearly. No-one is going to want to read Chapter 14 before having a clue what is going on in Chapter 2, so I have no choice. My hands are tied; I am bound by the convention of reading books in a linear fashion.
- I can force myself to blog the book twice a week, giving those who read it new content each time and an option to give me their opinions and feedback, so that the final book can be as good as it can be.
My plan, then, is to post my most recent writing on Sundays and Wednesdays (hopefully!). you never know – I might make my final post on Christmas Day!
What do you think? Am I mad for even attempting such an experiment? Should I? Is it something authors should even consider doing? Would you read an erotic novel, serialised a-la Charles Dickens—not that I profess to being Dickensian (I’m not quite that old) or that Dickens serialised erotica! I would very much appreciate your thoughts on the experiment, and also on blogging a book in general. If you have blogged a book successfully, or tried and found it difficult, I would love to hear from you.
(And if, as an author, you are now curious enough to want to hear the entire session by Nina Amir, please do click on the link below:)
Watch out for the first instalment very soon…!