16. Where to start…

FACEBOOK has branded me a lazy git.

It’s yelling at me: “Post something! Followers of your facebook page I’m Going To Publish A Novel/Nick Rippington haven’t heard from you for 28 days.”

When exactly Facebook became the boss of me I can’t recall, and the same goes for all other social media outlets who tell me I haven’t answered so-and-so’s invite to “link” with them or I have new followers that I should really follow back.

Well, I’m sorry Facebook but just because I haven’t spent every moment posting to you it doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. In fact, I have been beavering away frantically while also trying to monitor the progress of my 90-year-old dad, who is in hospital having broken his arm.

As far as my novel Crossing The Whitewash is concerned I was ready to press the button, pre-publish and then set a launch date.

Then, having had further discussions with professional editor Ben Seales and my No 1 beta reader, my wife Liz, I realised there might be an entirely different way to write the story.

I had been going in from one particular point, the here and now, focusing on my main character then throwing in the odd flashback to explain why certain things were happening to him. As far as I was concerned it enabled me to keep springing plot twists on the reader and I thought it worked.

Then Liz suggested perhaps I should look at it a different way and tell the story sequentially, so that the two main characters were at the fore from the beginning and their relationship could be truly developed. There were still shocks and twists that could come in later, but they would just develop in a different, more natural way.

So, after more than two years trying to perfect my original idea, changing it from being written in the first person to third person format, establishing the genre in suspense/thriller and removing some of the mixed-message comedy elements, even going as far as developing a new main character and his nemesis, I had reached another crossroads.

Part of me was saying: “No, don’t change it now or you’ll never publish, you’ll disappear up your own backside and won’t know where you are. Publish and be damned”, but another small voice was chirping in: “Hang on, you want this to be as good as it can possibly be, don’t you? What harm will it do to make a copy of the manuscript, keep the original, then work on an entirely different approach to the novel.”

The second voice won out, and now I’m glad it did.

Three weeks of feverish rewriting and I still have the same story, but the new approach has helped me flesh out the relationship of the main characters and develop them so much better before getting down to the here and now and the nitty-gritty of the story.

It also means more action appears early in the book to hopefully draw the readers in.

I’m happy with it and I reckon I could still press the button and publish on July 1 in time for the Rugby World Cup. After all, if I’m going to market it as the Rugby World Cup thriller then that is pretty important and is why I have been working to a strict deadline.

Talking of marketing, I am about to attend the London Book Fair at Olympia tomorrow and have a 10-minute one-to-one with Ben Cameron of Cameron Publicity and Marketing. As an Independent Author I have been made perfectly aware of how important this aspect is to selling yourself and your novel so am really looking forward to meeting Ben and putting my ideas across to him.

Another person I am scheduled to meet who will provide me with useful information in a different way is Leila Dewji from I_am self-publishing who can hopefully give me valuable tips on ebook formatting, something about which I know very little.

In preparation for the big event I’ve bought 100 business cards from an operation called Moo and am proudly showing them off. I feel a bit like Patrick Bateman, the anti-hero of Bret Easton Ellis’ book American Psycho.

Before you call the cops, though, this doesn’t mean I’ve a strange desire to go out and mutilate people. It’s just that by day Patrick is a corporate suit, who believes his standing in his job is reflected by the style of his business cards.

I think you’ll agree mine are pretty damn super and should make me look every inch the professional author.


Right, that should be enough to get Facebook off my back. I’ll let you know about my LBF experience in my next post.

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