Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Book ready to come out; comment on next book

Another hitch occurred with the book, but it was not my overlooking something. The formatting of the book - its spacing on the page - was wrong in two chapters, and worse than that, two pages at the end of one chapter were missing! So on Monday last I put in a report on the supposedly final proof, and I stayed in the printing company's premises until everything was fixed up, then checked through again. Once that was done with a few very minor adjustments, the book was ready to have all the 150 copies printed, which should be happening as I write this.

A few things I would like to have changed occurred to me recently, but there's no use worrying about it now. My 'child' with all its virtues and flaws is to be launched and is out of my hands. I'm sure most writers have the same experience when they can't change anything any more.

The media is largely what governs thinking behind policy in New Zealand. If the media does not like what the government is wanting to initiate, the government backs down. The media looks first and foremost to the need of the status quo to maintain itself, and to the desire of those who are doing well in terms of wealth, power and prestige, to be happy with what the media present to the public. Of course there are exceptions which cause the occasional ripple of disturbance, but considering the montrous and growing ills and portents of disaster that this and most other countries are facing, what comes over the media is deliberately kept shallow and non-controversial. People (in the main) who have a say on the media - at least when it reaches most media-consumers - are 'safe' people. If one has an alternative, more controverial and more 'in-depth' view, it is useless to fret and try to put forward that view in the tiny gaps occasionally provided by write-ins, or talk-backs. That's why I feel all I can do now is prepare to write a 'controversial' book about the present and future predicament of mankind, and to write it as a novel, making it as interesting and entertaining as possible. I have already written of draft of this 'futuristic' novel which is a complement of the present one being printed, but it will be somewhat different from that first draft when I really get to work on it. It seems to be the only way anybody with any sense of the shocking state and direction in which 'global forces' are pushing us all, to be able to do anything to try to break the ice of escapist fantasy taken for reality (most of religion), along with the fascination with celebrity 'Paris Hilton' type rubbish, sport-fanaticism, 'secular' apathy and confusion. As an example, one of the first to put a bomb of reality under the Moslem world was Salman Rushdie, in 'Satanic Verses', and being such a well-known writer, the reaction showed how determined most of that quarter of the world is to remain sleep-walking into the future. But there are just as many - if not so dramatic and unsubtle - examples of how the West also tries to avoid or discount truthful thinking. It seems we humans alive today have no will or capacity to change basis of present civilization; to face realistically what we are bringing down upon ourselves if we don't move quickly to radical change in a well-planned, conscious way, so as not to inflict global disaster on our great and great great grandchildren.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Getting on with self-publishing

When you self-publish, you are your own publisher, so you have to deal with the printing and the printers yourself. You have no recognized publisher doing it for you and coping with the printing problems that arise. Some of these problems are small. In the case of Okraalom, some illustrations referring to a development that happens only at the end of the book have been put at the beginning. It's not big deal, as there is no hard and fast 'rule' for the placing of the illustrations (simplified heraldic shields), so I don't know whether I should do anything about it at this late stage or not. A more serious problem, as I now read through the final proof copy and check the corrections I instructed the printer to make, is that he has somehow given me the wrong previous-proof copy, with none of my pencil-marked corrections in it, making checking the final copy difficult. As time is short, and I want to have the print-out done in time for my family to take a couple of copies overseas, I am going ahead anyway to have the checking done by the end of this weekend. More delay and more printers' work will cost more, so I just have to be content, knowing that however long one picks at the task, the book will never be perfect. No author gets to be completely satisfied with the result, but it would be easier perhaps for the 'favored' author who does not to have dealings with the printing - to be able to leave that problem with the publisher.

Until I actually have the pile of copies at my disposal, I trying not to think much about the prospects of 'Okraalom' and the following up of market opportunities that I've already been investigating. I'm not all that optimistic in the generalized sense. There's such a flood of books pouring out into the market, mostly written by women who seem to have almost taken over the literary scene (especially in New Zealand), for various reasons, having more money and liesure time and traveling more than women ever used to do twenty or thirty years ago; and also it seems that women read books a lot more than men do these days, so they would tend to go more for books written by women. Perhaps 'Okraalom' in its portayal of men and boys from a male perspective may have a chance of righting the balance a little.