Monday, 13 January 2020

The Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man - CHAPTER FIFTEEN


Why am I writing this book ?  Why do I write anything ?  

Two different questions, each with a totally different answer.Let's start with the first shall we - Why am I writing this book - The Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man ?  Very easy to give you an accurate answer - to make money. Yes, to make money and as much as I possibly can.

I am writing this chapter on Tuesday 14th January 2020, I am about half way through my rambling and hope to finish writing by the end of the month but I fear I may stray into February.  Once finished, edited and quadruple checked for typo's it will be available both in paperback and e-book format.

When I first started, touting my writing round publishers,  you could have papered every wall in my home with rejection slips. Things have changed. Once accepted by Amazon a writer can upload anything to the system.  I have many books published on Amazon, you can find the bookshelf right at the end of this book. 

There are Amazon millionaires who make a very comfortable living from royalties. I am not one of them but that has to change. The Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man has to bring about  that change, money needs to flow in faster than water over Niagra Falls.

The Silly Old Man, a retired school teacher and failed retail magnate, what do I do with my time ?

I am a Councillor, an independent member of my local council I hasten to explain and confirm my independence, I am not a politician. I am a Radio DJ, The Geriatric DJ broadcasting a two hour show every day Monday to Friday. I love the work I do in both organisations but they are only a small part of how I spend my time. I call myself a Community Activist and Campaigner, that is who this Silly Old Man is. I support vulnerable people from families with a child sick in hospital to homeless rough-sleepers, from our local Food Bank to those going through times of mental depression. I love and support our NHS, I go into schools working with teenagers helping them to make career and lifestyle choices. My overall mission is to make people smile and be happy.

There are costs involved: transport, postage, stationery, mega expensive printing ink and donations both in money and in kind to the good causes I work with. I fund all costs for the work I do from my own pockets, pockets. I do not take a single penny from any organisation I support or work with. My pockets are not deep enough.  As The Silly Old Man I am an old age pensioner, there is no such thing as a pension which reflects the work of its recipient during his career. I need to become an Amazon Millionaire. I need help to make this happen.

The difference between an Amazon Millionaire and this Silly Old Man is the millionaire promotes his work to achieve sales, I simply do not have the time to do that and even if I did I do not know where to start. This book, The Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man, needs a marketing manager.  My thinking is to find someone who will get this book into the Amazon Top 100 list. If it gets there then not only is there the royalty payment but a mega generous prize fund put up by Amazon for its top writers.

I will split all royalties and prize money this book achieves 50/50.  Half to my pocket and half to my marketing manager. So as I publish draft chapters of  my ramblings could you become my marketing manager.

Now let me turn to the second question: Why do I write anything ? Another question easy to answer but a little more complex than the first question.

I have always been a writer although I was forty-two years of ages when I fist had a book published. Since my late teens I managed to get little pieces into local newspapers and national magazines. I write primarily for pleasure, I actually get a bit embarrassed when I see my work in print. I guess I need to prepare myself for the international best seller list with Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man.

No, seriously the first enjoyment for any writer, any writer at all is the actual writing putting words into an order to tell a story, develop a plot and bring characters to life. It does not matter if anyone reads what you have written or not. If somebody does read what you have written then that is a bonus, if they tell you they enjoyed what you have written then you have a double bonus.

These days I write for adults although I began as a writer for children.  My first published book was a child's time travel adventure Peter's Magic Fountain Pen. I wrote that for my oldest son's twelfth birthday.  I once wrote a book titled Garatt's Gang, sadly the manuscript was lost decades ago. This was a book that helped wallpaper my home with rejection slips. I wrote it for my English class when I was a teacher, it featured many members of the class and was used to help inspire my students to write their own stories.

Allow me to take you through a few authors who wrote for children. Michael Bond who wrote the Paddington stories.  With the films of Paddington I and millions of other silly old men love the stories. It may have been written for children but has a wider appeal. I sponsor a pig in a rescue centre, Piggie Alfie.  I would love to write something in the style of Michael Bond - The Adventures Of Piggie Alfie And Friends. These days it is just not my style and while I like the Paddington stories they have never inspired me to give it a try.

Winnie The Pooh by A A Milne, as kids my family loved these stories. My late daughter was always a fan of Eeyore indeed in adult life the character featured as part of her e-mail address. One of my sons was a Pooh fan, unlike his father he did become a successful retail manager.  The author's son, Christopher Robin Milne was not a fan, he did not like being cast in the stories as Christopher Robin. I would suggest that A A Milne's stories would never have been a success if it were not for the illustrations by E H Shepard.

In the same way I believe that Roald Dahl would never have sold more than a tiny amount of the books he did without Quentin Blake.

I believe that my best work ever is The Wild Adventures Of Die Central Eating. It could be read by children in the eleven to thirteen age bracket but it really is more an adult's view on a child's life. Each adventure of Di is based on something from my own childhood then wrapped in my author's vivid imagination.  I do believe that if the like of Quentin Blake were to illustrate the adventures it could be a best seller.  I have tried so many times to find an illustrator, tried and failed.

Max Robinson, of course, is my pen name my real name is David - David Ashford. I am not the first Ashford to be a writer. Daisy Ashford, was a writer who is most famous for writing The Young Visiters, a novella concerning the upper class society of late 19th century England, when she was just nine years old. The novella was published in 1919, preserving her juvenile spelling and punctuation.  These days we call them typo's !  When I was writing my book The Bridge House I found myself writing in Daisy's style as an adult. That was uncanny.

Stop rambling you silly old man !

J K Rowling, she made a bob or two !  Aged fifty-four he estimated wealth is around one billion pounds. Be great if this happened with The Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man !

So there I have taken you through some writers of child fiction. Let me remind you: Michael Bond, A A Milne, Roald Dhal and J K Rowling, who is the most successful children's story writer of all time ?  Not any of them !  What about J K Rowling, success is not measured in terms of money. No not Daisy Ashford, she was successful as a child not as an adult and she did not write stories for children. Who then ?

Enid Blyton. Oh I hear you sighing and saying Max Robinson, the Silly Old Man really has lost his marbles. He stories were sexist, they were racist, the plots were shallow.

Enid Mary Blyton's books have been among the world's best-sellers since the 1930s, selling more than six hundred million copies. Blyton's books are still enormously popular, and have been translated into ninety languages. Some of her characters included :Noddy In Toyland, The Famous Five and The Secret Seven.  

J K Rowling has sold five hundred million books. Roald Dhal only pitches in at two hundred and fifty million. But it is not sales,it is not wealth that matters.  I was an avid reader of Noddy In Toyland when I was a small child, Round about the age of ten I liked stories of The Secret Seven. Yes they were sexist, the boys always were stronger characters than the girls. Enid Blyton was born in 1897 so was twenty-one years old when women in England got the vote, she died in 1968 well before equal pay rights for women. Do not accuse her of being sexist, she was writing in the style of her time. You can not judge the past with the standard of today.

But her books were racist ! At the time I was reading Noddy In Toyland I had never seen a black man. She had a character in the Noddy stories which was a Golly Wog, we all had Golly Wog toys and Robinson's Jam had a Golly Wog as its logo. No, her stories were not racist and a Golly Wog is not sexist,  Golly, that means amazing doesn't it ?  What about WOG ?  That stands for Western Oriental Gentleman. So a Golly Wog is a Western Oriental Gentleman. That's a compliment isn't it ?

I am rambling again !  so what isn't this book called The Ramblings Of A Geriatric DJ ?

Enid Blyton is the greatest writer for children there has ever been, she is better than J K Rowling, Roald Dhal, A A Milne and Michael Bond put together. He success is not measured in how many books she wrote nor how many books she sold. No, What makes Enid Blyton such a success is the fact that her stories inspired children to write their own stories. Millions of kids across the decades scribbled their stories as they emulated Enid Blyton. I know I did. None of those stories were published as was Daisy Ashford badly spelt novel. Going back to my saying the first pleasure of a writer is actually writing, writing just for the fun of it.  No writer has come close to achieving what Enid Blyrton did.

Yes I want this book to sell millions but more important is if these Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man inspires just one person to sit down and compose their own thoughts and ramblings this book will be a mega success selling just that single copy.I have said for years that as a writer I would like to be remembered as The Thinking Man's Enid Blyton. 

Well done Enid.

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