But anyway, since then I've sorted out a more straightforward way for people to get a copy, by making it available on Lulu.com. All you have to do is go to the website and type in either my name or the title and the details will come up.
Before I go any further I'd like to address the fact that there's one or two people here who seem to object to what is, effectively, merchants selling their wares on this forum, so I'll begin by reiterating what I said in another strand:
...the self-employed have to self-promote, it comes with the territory.
Most creative people seem to be terrible at self-promotion anyway, and they don't come any worse than me, so please forgive me if - in blowing my own trumpet for a few bars - I solo for too long, and maybe even hit a few bum notes along the way.
In that previous plug, I mentioned, in passing, that my novel had had nice things said about it by Jamie and Charlie. But being crap at self-promotion (and British) I didn't put up those quotes or give them any context. So here they are:
'A major achievement. Authoritatively convincing in each of its settings , continually intriguing and elegant in its interlocking story-lines, and peopled with appealing and distinct characters.' Charlie Gillett
'A nimble juggling of genres (conspiracy thriller, faux music memoir, comedy of manners, travelogue) which has resulted in a novel both page-turningly readable & intellectually stimulating.' Jamie Renton
I'm now imagining that some of the more sceptical amongst you will be thinking that those two venerable critics are probably sort-of friends of that there Howard Male fellow, and they must have therefore felt obliged to say kind things about his book. Well, that's where the context comes in.
When I sent CG an earlier draft of what was in fact quite a different book, he emailed back to say he couldn't get beyond page 20, because he'd read it all before. Needless to say, I was gutted. But CG is the kind of man who's not just going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear, and such a punch to the gut was exactly what I needed at that point in the development of the book. I wasn't a novelist yet, and I hadn't realised it. All I'd done was create a shallow who-done-it peopled by two dimensional archetypes. Over the next 18 months or so, CG would occasionally offered further constructive criticism for which I'm eternally grateful.
And then there's Jamie Renton. He was targeted as a usefully critical reader because I'd got a sense of the kind of books he liked to read, and hoped mine might fall into that same catagory. He confessed to me - after the event - that he wasn't looking forward to having to struggle through a friend's novel, just because it was a friends novel. Then, after only a couple of chapters, he told me he was the perfect reader for 'Etc Etc Amen' and found himself looking forward to getting back to it each night when he got home from work. I told him this made me feel nervous as, for me anyway, it's usually the case that if I start off really loving a novel, it will inevitably let me down in the end. But I think Mr Renton ended up enjoying the whole package.
Anyway, these thrillingly positive responses from two people whose opinions I have a lot of respect for, gave me the confidence to email a copy to David Quantick (scriptwriter for 'Brass Eye' and book critic for The Word) after I'd met him briefly at a party and managed to trick him into giving me his business card. I nearly jumped for joy when, a month later, these comments arrived in an email:
'A sharp, funny, scary and incisive novel that's as readable as it is wide-ranging - which is very.' David Quantick
So that's the story so far. Some good comments but zero sales.
I'm under no illusion that selling copies on Lulu.com is going to make my fortune. Initially the idea was to just get some copies printed for promotional purposes, but then I thought, why not put it on the market place too - what have I got to lose? And then I thought, why not tell you lot about it too - again, nothing to lose. Some of you might even be sufficiently curious to part with the price of an Indian takeaway for a novel that isn't like any other novel you will have read this year (was that a bum-note there?)
One last thing. If you do buy a copy and end up enjoying it, do tell your friends - especially if they happen to be in publishing! At the moment the publishing business seems an impenetrable fortress surrounded by a high unscalable wall, with that high unscalable wall being made out of a million-and-one unread manuscripts. I never thought I'd look back fondly on the days when I was sending demos to record companies, but at least a demo only demands a few minutes of someone's time, so there was a much better chance it would be given a reasonable hearing.
Finally, I've just realised I've not given you any idea of what this novel is about. Well, here's the blurb from the back of the book. I've tried to make it tantalising without giving anything away about the storylines.
Set in present-day Marrakech and 1970's London, 'Etc Etc Amen' is a satire on organised religion, a conspiracy thriller, a love story, a hate story, a who-done-it, and a why-they-did-it. It also explores the similarities between the anoraked music obsessive and the blinkered religious extremist.
So, now you know.
Shit! That was a very long trumpet solo! Sorry about that.