You know what helps people test read a book? Giving them a book.
Now, that might sound weird, but one comment I kept getting from my test readers was that In The Black Blood would be a lot easier to read if it was in book form, rather than reams of loose A4 sheets. When you think about it, that makes perfect sense. Some of my test readers won’t have proof-read a book before, they aren’t professional editors, and a stack of paper looks a lot more like work than it does a fun romp through post-apocalyptic England. Plus, it’s going to end up in book form so why not give them something as close to the end product as you can get. Odds are the cover will end up looking different, but I thought I’d give it a go.
I set about trying to find out how to make a short print-run of books. I only wanted five for my next batch of readers, which left me with two potential providers: Blurb.com and Book Printing UK. I started with Blurb, but their pricing wasn’t quite as good and their book making app seemed to be more trouble than it was worth, so I went with Book Printing UK. It turned out to be an excellent choice!
Customer service was great and I’m super happy with the end result. Even my hastily thrown together cover design has come out looking excellent. Not only that, but its worked well with my test readers too. Previous readers had taken quite a while to go through the book, but three of my readers got it back to me within three weeks after I gave them a physical copy and liked it.
Not only that, but it’s bloody awesome to hold your novel in your hands in book-form; something that many of us aspiring novelists might never get to do.
Blog Post +2
Gig + 15
CIM Assignment Finished (!!!) +30 (seriously, it’s taken ages)
Previous Total: 20
Total Points: 77
For the last few years, my music has graced various stages. I’ve played in all sorts of places, from quiet pubs in dingy parts of sleepy towns, to bustling festivals in busy city centres, and it’s been great! Sure, I’ve had a few bad gigs here and there, but the fantastic ones more than make up for them. Recently, however, my confidence has taken a knock, and I’m not entirely sure why. Something’s got me second guessing chord changes, and overthinking the lines I’m about to sing to the point where I almost forget them. Perhaps it’s that I’ve been dedicating so much time to editing In The Black Blood that I’ve not been practicing enough. Maybe it’s that I’ve started a new job and learning the ropes it taking up the rest of my time. Or maybe it’s because I’ve had writers’ block for a while and the lack of new material is getting me down.
I don’t know for sure.
Despite not knowing the exact cause, I decided last week that enough was enough. I was going to break this spell of low confidence the only way I know how, by playing gigs. Without wasting any time, I took myself to an open mic night at the Thomas A Beckett pub, to play music alongside Rhys Gradwell, Kirsty Crawford, and Sam Stopps. That old adage of “fake it until you make it” really is a good one. I went on stage convinced that I was going to be confident, and as a result my set went incredibly well. The following night, I made the last minute decision to head to the new open mic at O’Neill’s in Northampton, where again, my set went well. On both nights I even managed to sell a few CDs.
Bolstered by my mid-week success, I headed to a small festival on Saturday, Read-ing Fest (hyphen intentional). It was a glorious day, the sun was shining, and I took to the stage in front of a smattering of festival-goers. It went well!
If doing three gigs in one week has gone this far towards restoring my confidence, think what the performances I’ve got lined up over the next month will do to help! What’s more, I’ve found that getting out and playing has got my creative juices flowing again. Lyrics have been popping into my head all week, and I can’t wait to see how the next month goes.
Have a productive day.
Read-ing Festival +15
Added ITBB compendium entries +5
Songwriting session with Tom +5
Work on the Super Secret Project +5
Blog post +2
Total Points +128