devi: (railway)
Just now, finally, in a sudden burst fuelled by some brilliant driving music, three months after I originally thought I'd be done, I have written the last bit of text for Strange Characters. When I started, I thought I'd just have to write a few connecting paragraphs. Turns out that what I wrote between January and now is as long as all the stuff I wrote on the trip. The whole thing is just over 60,000 words, though I'll probably have to cut some waffle out. I am totally boogieing at my desk right now.
devi: (bookish)
So I need a 'publishing name' for my ISBN application. This will go on the title page of my book, and any other books I use my ISBNs on. I didn't just want to put "(my name) publishing". That's boring. Plus it screams 'vanity project'.

I looked through my notebooks, where I write lists of words I like with a view to using them later, and I thought Headlong Publishing.

(It seems all the more appropriate considering I'm devoting one single afternoon to thinking of a name, before running down to the post office with the application. But anyway)

I googled for it, just to be sure. And yes, there was a Headlong Publishing. But the operative word here is 'was'. It seems to have been run by one John Newson, who lives (lived?) on the island of Lamma, which as far as I can tell is somewhere near Hong Kong. The domain connected with it has expired and the last mention of it is in 2004 - and that's just Mr Newson's bio attached to a review he wrote about some book set on his island, nothing about the company itself. I've found no books he's published or any other reference to his business. I followed a link to a big listing of business people (, but though Google remembers him and his company being listed there, he isn't on the list any more.

I can't mail him because the only address I can find is at the expired domain. Do you think it's safe to use the name?
devi: (Default)
What a grim, ugly day, with hardly any light. I'm fighting it with fairy lights, candles, and work.

Right now I'm filling in the ISBN application form - which is pretty scary, requiring all sorts of precise details I don't know yet - and mailing [ profile] hatmandu to ask him lots of dull questions about booksellers' pricing practices. [ profile] puritybrown has half the manuscript and is editing it. This is closer and closer to being a real thing. The rest of the time my head is in China. It's brighter there.

I haven't much faith in the book today. But I press on regardless. I was saying to [ profile] metame on Sunday that this is one way travel writing is easier than novel writing. When I'm writing novels and start to panic, I lose faith in the whole plot. Maybe the main character should change gender? Maybe two characters should merge, like the opposite of amoebas? Maybe the ending sucks? If this book was fiction, by now I'd be thinking it was lame and cliched to send the characters to Japan and it would all be so much better if they went to, say, Kamchatka instead.

But no. I know what the next bit is, because I was there when it happened, and I write it, and then I write the bit after that.
devi: (dancing)
Many coolnesses! The first one, as seen on Neil Gaiman's journal, is If I had one it would have to lead to a Madwoman's Chamber, like the one in the Wizards, Warriors and You books. Though some of you might think that in a house with me living in it this would not be difficult.

Yesterday I got an unexpected parcel from [ profile] addedentry and [ profile] j4. Surprise parcels are the best. It had two books on writing for children, including one by Joan Aiken! And a card with the cover of one of the Malory Towers books! You guys rock.

(The Joan Aiken book had a list inside the front cover of books she's written, some for children and some for adults. The adult books all have dull, wet names like "The Young Lady from Paris" and "The Smile of the Stranger". The children's books have thrilling titles like "The Stolen Lake" and "Midnight is a Place". Wonder what that tells us about her? Or maybe about me?)

I really appreciate all the comments on the cover I put up. And I have found a printer in the UK thanks to [ profile] spurious_fellow's introduction skills. This is great news, meaning no stupid international shipping charges for me or anyone else who wants to buy the book over here, but none for people in America either because they have a branch there too!

Is it wrong of me to think that "Antony Rowe" will look way better than "Lulu" on the back of a book? It sounds so much more... publishery. I hope this is not just because of some unconscious prejudice on my part because Lulu is a girl's name. Albeit a particularly fluffy, silly-sounding name.

Doing it in the UK means I have to do various bureaucratic bits myself, though. I have to get a company in Oxford to make me a barcode. On a little piece of plastic, apparently. And it looks like I might have to buy ten ISBNs. You can't get them singly. I have a few other hare-brained book schemes in the back of my head, but not a whole ten of them. Is anyone else out there considering self-publishing something? If so, you can buy an ISBN from me for £9.40 and then I will officially be your publisher! This amuses me greatly.

Exclamation marks! They are the new understatement!
devi: (railway)
Hasty life-update: On Friday accidentally went clubbing, that is, went to gig at the Zodiac which turned out to be a club that just happened to have an hour or so of live band. Rather good club too. Though at first, when I thought people were just doing the 'stand around and wait for the band' thing, was surprised by the random strangers attempting to hug me. Band were Goth As F*ck despite playing breaks and other dancey stuff, I mean, they were called Devil's Gun and their first track was called Raising The Beast and they had a waily girl singer for that 'touched by the hand of Ofra Haza' effect. They should totally play Whitby. Danced myself sober, wheeled my bike up Cowley Road with others who were walking home, ringing in the ears and pleasantly tired in the legs.

On Saturday there was a pub lunch at Iffley Lock where I fed ducks and geese and then there was a murder mystery on a boat in Africa (aka Jo's flat) with no actual murder in it but plenty of intrigue and treachery ([ profile] undyingking, my compliments, wasn't it one of yours?). I was a journalist who was Not All She Seemed and my accent flopped comically from bad posh-English to bad mishmash-American all night. It still fascinates me how in games like these people can put on completely different selves. It's kind of liberating.

Other than that, I've mostly been sitting in the red room working a lot on the travel book. I don't even mean sitting for hours hitting Refresh on my friends page and trying to psych myself up to work, I mean really working, without having to force myself, up to ten hours a day, because I want to. Ten thousand more words in this last week, either written from scratch, from brief notes, or patched together from longhand journals. Editing, formatting, making breakout boxes with information in them, investigating that Amazon Affiliates thing, fiddling with the cover. Also putting together a website on which to pimp self, though this makes me a bit uncomfortable. (Here are my reviews! Here is everywhere I've been published, which isn't really very many places! Buy my book! Go on! Oh dear.) Spent today finding bits of PHP on code websites and bashing them till they do what my site needs them to do. Feeling burnt-out now and nursing glass of wine.

[ profile] carbonunit sent me twenty quid by Paypal before Christmas when I was panicking about money. [ profile] carbonunit is a lovely and generous person, and perhaps might like to know that his money has just covered most of the cost of my domain registration and webhosting for the coming year.

But I still haven't got a job. My CV is out there, I've had a couple of interviews recently with schools who say they'll phone me when they have work for me to do, I have lots of potential work in March and April, but no job-as-such yet. I worry that all this book stuff is just an especially interesting-looking bucket of sand for me to stick my ostrich head in. But I only worry for periods of about five minutes at a time and then I get an idea for something I can add to the text or the site and back goes my head in the bucket again. Yeah.

Whoops! I forgot the main point of this post!: I've been looking at author websites and general web-stuff for inspiration, but haven't found anything that's set my world on fire, and some of the really cool-looking blogs I used to read a few years ago have actually become much more boring. So. Plz recommend me a website that you saw recently and thought looked cool/interesting/unusual/"whoa-I've-never-seen-anything-like-that"/just nicely done? I won't poach their look wholesale. (I couldn't - my web design skills aren't up to it.) I'm just looking for ideas.

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