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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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amanda fucking palmer

Good Search Terms

If you follow me on twitter (@12books12months) you’ll be aware that I am a sporadic stat obsessive.  Which basically means I while away certain evenings by checking how many hits the blog had that day, then putting out plaintive messages on social networking sites to increase the numbers.  Obviously it would be more constructive to spend this time writing, but whatever, you’re not the boss of me.

This lurking around the WordPress Dashboard offers mixed results, but I think the main thing we can take away from it is that it makes me kind of annoying to be around.  I know the best way to get hits is to have interesting stuff to post, not to whinge at folk on Facebook – but that doesn’t stop me.  It doesn’t even slow me down.  I merely hark back to the glory days of the book festival when I was all kinds of popular without having to do very much, because people wanted to read about what was going on and I happened to be writing about it.

However, the book festival comes but once a year, and to conduct a countdown from this point on until next August would be overkill.  So what to write about?  Well, stats can help with that, because they show the most popular search terms that have brought people to the blog.  Once you know what piqued internet interest in you, it’s merely a case of emulating that success.

Except it isn’t really, because people get to this blog by searching for three things.  They either look for “12 books in 12 months” or some variation thereon; “Amanda Palmer”; or some one-off random search term that means nothing to anyone other than the searcher.  Having said that, I do like reading those bad boys.

Here are some of my favourites.

Continue reading “Good Search Terms”

August Thanks

Today is the last day of August and therefore it feels like time for a progress report.

I have just over 15,000 words of book 8 written in a delightful stream of consciousness that makes no sense whatsoever; a situation unlikely to be improved by the fact I have a full day of work ahead of me and guests staying in the flat for a few days who it would be churlish to ignore. 

I’ve been writing in first person from the point of view of several characters, and accidentally switching tenses all over the shop.  This will almost certainly make for a narrative that feels immediate and tense and worthy of all manner of high praise…  That or when I go back to it I’ll be so confused and irritated I’ll consign the whole lot to the recycle bin and try to forget it ever happened.  I considered posting an extract by way of example, but to give you a proper sense of the nonsense it’d need to be 1k +, which seems inappropriately long for a blog post.

I have mostly been writing on my laptop, which has been the case with the bulk of the project, although I did actually scribble quite a few notes by hand this month (how retro) and I also typed out a few sections on my phone in queues at the Book Festival.  To the untrained eye, I was the only loser who was playing on my phone instead of reading a book.  Little did the general public know that in a couple of years they’ll be picking up the very book I was writing on my phone from the festival book shop!  Muahahaha, etc.  Except they really won’t.  I can’t see book eight being my debut – not unless there is some kind of drastic book shortage that necessitates the publication of things that need so much re-writing it makes your eyes water. 

By way of research (it’s scifi this month, by the by) I have read half of The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross and the first chapter of Neuromancer by William Gibson.  Oh yes, I am that prolific a reader these days.  It turns out having a vast pile of recommended books did not translate into having time to look at them all – who saw that coming, after my amazing track record?!  The only book I’ve finished this month is The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein, which is a good story but doesn’t have much bearing on genre fiction.  Not this genre, anyway.

Naturally I am disinclined to take responsibility for my own actions and therefore lay the blame for this appalling lack of reading squarely at the feet of festival season.  To be fair the festival has been very distracting, although it has also been amazing in terms of making blog posts more diverse.  In fact I would like to thank Andrew BlairEmily Dodd, Ruth Dawkins, Harry Giles, Bethany Anderson and Mara from Toto Tales for their excellent guest posts; Amanda Palmer, Rod Jones and Andy Stanton for letting me interview them; and the Edinburgh International Book Festival for having me along to an amazing range of literary events over the past couple of weeks.  All of you have made things a lot more colourful around here, and generally helped to set a blogging precedent I am unlikely to maintain.

Which is nice.

When I Met Amanda Palmer

As some readers may know, in another life I am a bit of a freelance journalist.  Not enough of one to be able to give up administrative temping (unless I wanted to live in a shoe somewhere, but that would be ridiculous – where would I plug in my laptop?); but enough that occasionally I get to do interviews.

This being festival time, I managed to secure a couple of pretty cool ones.

Continue reading “When I Met Amanda Palmer”

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