As a solo traveler from way back, I tend to absorb the shock of arrival without a lot of fuss these days. It always helps to arrive home in New Zealand during the summer months. The upside is being able to have time with my gorgeous grandchildren, while the down side takes its form in many guises. To go from buying my vegetables in a squatting position in the open air market for a few coins from my sisters the marvelous Subzi Warrior Women to the sterile silent and insanely over priced section of the supermarket is something I haven’t been able to do yet.
Luckily for me its summer in New Zealand and gardens are blooming gloriously, Visiting friends has meant a walk around their gardens, nibbling herbs and leaving with arm loads of plums and courgettes. I am cooking in a wild and wanton way, only preparing food that arrives fresh in this way; it keeps that creativity juicing.
I need that creativity to stay juicy and pumping at the moment while I settle chook like into my home roost and hatch my next little plan.
I am not one of those neo hippies who see signs in every random encounter along the road; when you LIVE on the road you come to understand the Buddhist saying that “Even travelers whose sleeve brush in passing have had a previous connection”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone you meet is there to celebrate your life or to help you or even gives a flying fatoosh about you. It could simply mean that the person who has arrived in your life at this point in time, seemingly randomly, seemingly co incidentally is here to enact some less flattering karma that has nothing to do with helping you along the journey of your life. I have to admit that I have become rather selective about the people I will approach or strike up a conversation with whilst On The Road.
But in that lovely little town on Nong Kai on the border between Thailand and Laos I met a man whose conversation turned my head towards adventures in epublishing.
I saw his name in the register as I checked into the Mut Mee, his occupation caught my eye.
“A book designer?” I questioned Harps, the kiwi guy who was checking me in.
“Yeah you should meet him,” Harps.
Strange that as a writer I had never considered the idea of designing a book, possibly because I hadn’t moved past the wrangling with various publishing about the value of my manuscripts and into the hard core area of publishing. The idea intrigued me and so I sought him out in the restaurant later that evening, plonked myself down at his table and shamelessly picked his brains about the future for the publishing industry and the idea that writers may soon become endangered species if we didn’t keep up with the changes.
He pointed out to me the tourists in the restaurant traveling with e readers, he pointed out that I was already driving people to my website and had people reading my rants on the blogs I wrote. Why then was I still thinking in terms of the print media? Why wasn’t I thinking of an E Venture into self publishing?
Why indeed? Did I imagine it or did I actually hear Bob Dylan in the background of that restaurant beside the Mekong River? The times they are a changing, especially for writers.
Print publications are struggling, payment issues drive a lot of freelancers to their knees but with every downside there has to be an upside. There are still opportunities out there for the adaptable writer, for the writer who isn’t trying to support a family or pay a mortgage or even eat three meals a day there are still a few cracks in the woodwork that we can worm our way into.
So I have been quietly working away at trying to understand this brave new writing world and all the time the sales of e readers have increased while the price of the things go down making them more and more accessible to people such as myself who would never have thought to own one before. It’s exciting to think that even at my advanced age, I can still learn stuff!
This entire year has been a huge learning curve in terms of having an online presence; of how to put that ball of me into the cyber air and how to keep it in the air so that my name comes up in Google searches and other queries, epublishing just seems to me to be the next logical step. I have carried these particular stories around for long enough now that I want to set them free into the world so that I can get on with the other stories tapping for attention inside me.
At the moment I am in the final stages of formatting and cover design and plotting the launch campaign. Watch this space as I work my way through this e venture, I will be running a competition on this blog called Mystery Monday where you will get the chance to read the eversion of my book Chasing Shiva and offering other downloads for free.
It’s going to be a brave new year!