One year (and a bit) on…

Posted: September 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

Okay, so it’s more than a year since I posted a blog post on this website, and if I’m honest with you, this one here is likely to be the last. I’ve tried to muster up the enthusiasm to write material for the site, but although I’ve been very touched by the comments from those of you who’ve read my ramblings over the last few years, the amount of attention I can capture with tedious stories of my life is fairly small, the effort to write this stuff is fairly large, and my enthusiasm for long-form internet communication has dwindled all the while.

Back when I became a novelist, every publisher wanted you, as a writer, to have a blog. It was regarded as a magical marketing tool, a way for writers to reach out to their audiences and, if I’m cynical about it, for publishers to outsource the responsibilities of marketing to the authors themselves.

Well, maybe it worked in the early days of blogs. They don’t work now. Rubbish writer’s blogs are part of a larger problem with modern publishing which I have neither the minutes nor the inclination to spend on discussing today.

There are writers with successful blogs, but they fall into one of two camps: They’re either already famous, or they are bloggers as well as writers, meaning they blog for blogging’s sake rather than to gain notice for their books. Indeed, one of the writers who fits into both these categories (he’s famous now. He didn’t use to be. His books and his blogging have separately won him his acclaim) is Chuck Wendig, and he has said himself several times that shouting out into crowded cyberscape is no way to garner publicity. The best way to sell books is to write good books. So it has always been. The internet is not an enchanted wand that circumvents this certainty, so I’d rather put the effort into making my fiction better, and let that speak for me.

It doesn’t help that I’m reluctant to discuss anything even remotely contentious online.  You would not believe it from what I have written on this site, but I think. A lot. I enjoy a good debate and exploring other people’s point of view. I’m firmly of the belief that a glowing screen, whose naked worlds are bereft of all the human subtly face to face communication allows, is not the place to have one.

Frankly, I think the internet to be poisonous. It has polarised opinion enormously, almost to early modern levels, a time when religious outrage – and then war, and atrocity – was fuelled by the advent of widespread printing. The amount of shrieking, self-satisfied nonsense belting back and forth across the ether depresses me, whether it is ludicrous misinformation, the astoundingly illiberal attitudes of liberals or the hideous prejudices of the far right. We seem to have lost the capacity to look objectively at anything.

Perhaps we never had it, and the internet has simply laid bare the innate inability of humans to look beyond their own little piece of the world. Either way, call me a coward, but I had one experience of writing a (deliberately) provocative piece, and have no desire to repeat it, no matter that it garnered me a whole ton of hits.

So, the internet itself, perhaps human nature, is the key factor in my decision not to blog any more. A very close second is life catching up with me. My parents are getting older, my son is still young, and I really do have to write five or more books a year. Time I have little of, and blogging requires a lot of time.

What does that mean? Well, I was struck by this comment made by Morvael back in April (anonymity is another thing I don’t like about the net. I like to know who I’m talking to. It baffles me when I meet people in person and they’re surprised I don’t recognise them from their internet comments! Sorry Morvael, whoever you are. You’re a nice person, this aside isn’t aimed at you at all, but at the custom of unaccountable facelessness).

I understand the problem, I have a similar one 🙂 I just worry it may bite you at some time in the future, with such site being a dead weight taking you down in the eyes of the web denizens. Sometimes it’s better to remove an outdated site altogether and replace it with a simple placeholder (for example linking to your books on Black Library, Amazon, Good Reads), than keeping a stale one showing old (outdated and thus untrue) information.

I’m going to take Morvael’s advice. Soon I’ll replace the posts on this page with a simplw bio and information about how to contact me. Of course, all my old reviews and so forth will remain accessible, and I will always answer comments put up here. Furthermore, you can speak with me via Twitter, my Facebook page, wherever else I may be lurking – I always answer if I can. But a dead site is a bad site. It needs repurposing.

This is not an end to blogging altogether. I published a fair bit of hobby material here on Haley’s Comment, I still write it, but it now goes onto the Warhammer Community Website. Seek out my models there, if you’re interested.

If you want to talk to me about serious stuff you can find me in the pub, where we may compare radically opposed ideas in an atmosphere of human amity, rather than as raging robots, tired and frustrated by the petty evils of day to day life, and desiring to wash away our own anxieties in a welter of late-night digital blood-letting. We can make only enemies this way. Be warned, you are never as right as you think you are. Ersatz rage can all too easily turn into the real thing.

As can the blood.

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Comments
  1. morvael says:

    Sorry to hear you leave the cyberspace… And sorry for being one of the factors that influenced your decision.

    I’m Dominik from Poland (in private email I could share more details, to stop being anonymous to you), so I guess we will not meet in a pub in the forseeable future. I’m not going to “invade” Britain like a lot of my countrymen. Besides it’s too late to do this now 🙂

    I enjoy reading “private” thoughts of various authors (of books, games). Their works will tell you whether they have talent, but you won’t know whether they are nice folk or not. Being likable person has some influence on book sales IMHO. Keeping the readers interested during downtime between book releases also helps to remain “in the picture”. And teasing new work is always welcome. I understand you may not wish to be your own marketing and PR guy.

    • guyhaley says:

      Bardzo milo mi, Dominik. Jest wielka przyjemnosc doznac ciebie prawdziwie. Ale musze mowic ze dokladnie to nie twoja wine ze nie bede blogawac dalzsy (czy jest “blogawac” rzecziwystym slowem? Nie wiem). Tylko wspominałem twoj alias na przykład. Chociaz faktycznie nie lubie anonymowosci w internecie, obecnie to zwyczaj normalny. Ty robisz tylko co wszyscy robia (oprocz mnie, wydaje sie). Dziekuje za komentarzy tu. Twoje slowa na mojej stronie byli przyjemny, inteligenty i nawet uzyteczny. I teraz ze dowiedziec ze jestes polakiem, moge odpodwiadac w moim okropnym jezyku polskim 🙂 Jezeli kiedys chcesz rozmawiac ze mna o ksiazkach moich, zawsze mozesz skontaktowac sie mnie tu lub w Twitter. Nie bede odszedl z interneta calkowicie.

      • morvael says:

        Dziękuję za miłe słowa, Guy. Twój polski jest bardzo dobry, wszystko zrozumiałem 🙂 Ciekawi mnie dlaczego nauczyłeś się takiego trudnego języka. Jestem trochę młodszy (1980), ale też nie przepadam za publicznymi dyskusjami w internecie, wolałbym takie rozmowy prowadzić za pomocą emaila. Mam konta na FB i Twitter, ale bez znajomych, używam ich tylko do czytania publicznych ogłoszeń firm i autorów książek.

      • guyhaley says:

        Znam twoj jezyk troche bo pomieszkalem w polsce przez dwa lata kiedy bylem mlodszym czlowiekiem; nauczylem sie w tamtym czasie bo lubie rozmawiac ze ludzmi. Znalem kilka innych anglikow tam ktore nie mowili ani slow polskiego. Nigdy nie zrozumialem dlaczago oni nie nauczyli sie. Wierze ze to wazny komunikowac sie. To bylo 20 lat temu juz, i zapomnialem duzo, ale pamietam wystarczujacy zeby pogadac troche (przepraszam ze nie mam polski klawiature). Czy ty masz moj twitter? Niestety nie daje ludzom moj email, ale chetnie mowilbym z toba po twitter przez prywatna wiadomoscia.

      • morvael says:

        Mój twitter to “@morvaeldd”. Mam Twój, ale nie widzę możliwości wysłania prywatnej wiadomości.

      • guyhaley says:

        Okay! Sorry. Just read this.

      • morvael says:

        Connection established, first message sent 🙂

      • morvael says:

        I know how to do it, but it’s impossible unless you’ll follow me on Twitter.

      • guyhaley says:

        What’s your twitter name?

  2. morvael says:

    Connection established, private message sent.

  3. Corey Winder says:

    Hi My. Haley! My name is Corey Winder, and I am aspiring to write for black library. I have an idea for a novel, one about a space marine chapter ive extensively planned out, and I wanted to know if I could show it to you, hear your thoughts on it, and quite possibly even write it out for you or for you to show, if I may be so bold. Would it be possible for us to chat in some way?

    • guyhaley says:

      Hi Corey. I’m afraid I don’t look at novel proposals for a number of reasons. You can appreciate I get asked to do this fairly frequently, and I don’t have the time to spend reading other people’s work and advising them. Then there’s the danger of people worrying about their ideas being utilised. But most importantly, I have no influence over what BL publishes outside the projects I am involved in myself. I’m a freelancer, and I don’t work for them directly. It would be best for you to write your stories and show them to your friends, especially if you have any who, like you, want to learn to write themselves. Once you’re happy with them, try to submit them to the Black Library directly.

      Learning to write fiction can be a long and frustrating road (it took me nearly 20 years to get my first novel published), but it can be done. I’ll give you some advice though:

      Finishing something is the hardest part of writing. Don’t try to write a whole novel as your first project. Try a couple of short stories, or even some individual scenes. We all have those really cool bits of a book we want to write. Try starting with those if you don’t want to attempt a short. Whatever you do choose though, finish it off, polish it up, figure out what works and doesn’t work with it. Attempting a novel straightaway is too much, and consequently leaves you open to disappointment on multiple fronts.

      Talk to other people about your work. I was part of a writing group before I got published. It really helped.

      Read lots of books, not just BL fiction. Also read books about writing. Academic writing courses aren’t much use, in my experience, but you could always try writer’s retreats or short courses.

      Good luck with your efforts Corey. I hope it works out for you.

      • Corey Winder says:

        Alright, thank you Mr. Haley. It means alot to me that you took the time to respond. Unfortunately my main issue is that, despite checking everywhere, I dont know how to submit it directly to black library. Do you know where I should submit it?

      • guyhaley says:

        Well, they don’t accept unsolicited proposals very often. However, every couple of years they have an open submissions window which they widely announce. They don’t do it very often as they get literally thousands of manuscripts, but I know they will do it again. My advice to you is to work on perfecting your writing in the meantime. There are other ways in: Firstly, you could send your writing to an agent to see if they would represent you, they can put you forward to BL. BUT they probably won’t take you on from what will look to them like fan fiction. You can try to get published elsewhere, in short story magazines, or in ezines and the like, but again, that would have to be non-GW material. Also, if you attend Games Workshop events and talk with the editors they can and will help you. I will say that there is no easy way to do this, and that increasingly GW only employs already published writers. I reiterate that it is a long and hard road to getting a book published, and even tougher making a living out of writing, but if you really want to do it, then it is possible.

      • Corey Winder says:

        Alright, cool. I didnt know that I could attempt to go through an agent, it puts a new look on it for me. With that in mind its time for me to get making this some actual good. Thanks for your help Mr. Haley, once again it means alot. I have an idea for the Iron Warriors that I have gone out of my way to ensure sticks with their canon, scouring every novel just to be sure of it, so thank you very much for telling me about the editors and agents. Hopefully they(and more importantly GW)approve of the final draft when its shown to them.

      • guyhaley says:

        Agents won’t take Warhammer stuff – just to make that clear. You’ll have to approach them with original work. But if you can get representation then they can put you forward to BL. It’s one way in. Good luck!

      • Corey Winder says:

        Ah what you mean is get published by an agent, and then have the agent represent me to Black Library. Gotcha.

      • guyhaley says:

        Agents don’t publish anything! They represent you to publishers, just so you know.

      • Corey Winder says:

        Right my bad. Ok then, I have it in mind now. Thanks Mr. Haley. Anything else I should know sir?

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