The Ides of March

March brings the equinox, the highest spring tides, the werewolf moon. It’s the month of a new season, new energy as the earth warms, and animals and plants are gripped in the fever of reproduction. The weeks start counting down to the start of the summer monsoon; by April or May the southeast wind is blowing strong across the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean currents flip as a consequence.

I have also been counting down the weeks, as I revise The India Road manuscript, tightening the plot and dialog. Much of the text has been rewritten, new chapters have been added, some chapters have been deleted. This revision has been a direct result of the E-Publishing process. Because it’s a paid service, you can order an unbiased, professional review of what you wrote.

This is similar to the peer-review process for scientific papers, a system with which I am extremely familiar, both as a reviewer and as an author. It works. It is an element which is missing in other types of writing, where the review is post-facto, i.e. authors wait with bated breath for the hammer of the critics to come down, once a book is published (could be baited breath, since some critics are engaged in author-baiting). Of course there is a possibility of using other paid services, probably performed by the same people, or resorting to an author’s workshop or club type of approach. Whatever you do, it’s a very positive experience, because it improves what you’ve done, and provides you with a reality check.

What I don’t think you should do is ignore the advice provided, relying on your own judgement, or that of friends and family. Most of your friends are really acquaintances, and generally people that like you will give you a break. You don’t want that. You need comments from people who don’t know you, and quite possibly don’t like you. A blog is not a bad example.

What I also don’t think you should do is proceed with a paid publication process despite a terrible appraisal. Although that is the Vanity Press concept, applied in the strict sense of the word, it won’t do much for your ego. You already know you shouldn’t have done it, and in all probability sales and (any) reviews will be punitive. E-Publishing potentially plays a much stronger role than ego massage, as I discussed in an earlier post. The article below reassures me that this is actually happening:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1873122,00.html

A friend told me the other day that her Ph.D. supervisor used to say: “don’t tell me how hard you’ve worked, show me what you’ve done.” Hard work is necessary but not sufficient for success. For The India Road, promising developments are in the air, ripe with the energy of spring.

The Spy is on his way to Naples, at the start of the long trip east. Just like the recession we are presently in, the Portuguese adventurers were heading into uncharted territory, Dias through the south, Pero through the east.

I am posting the last two public chapters of The India Road on this blog. One in this post, one in the next. I opted to use the earlier versions, i.e. without the recent revision. The reason is that this blog has been an opportunity not only to air parts of the manuscript, and some of my thoughts on and around it, but also to illustrate a process. And the process is fun. As soon as you realise the journey is fun, you stop worrying so much about the destination. Life is like that. Many people spend their days worried and upset, unable to see the joy of the journey. Waiting for an end point at which they’ll be happy. Unfortunately the end point of life is death. Enjoy Now. See it. Feel it. Don’t put your toe in. Dive.

http://www.theindiaroad.com/blog/1487 – The Banker From Naples.pdf

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One Response to “The Ides of March”

  1. A. Bull Says:

    It’s nice that someone has chosen to highlight that the journey is all you have in life. From point to point, cape to cape, you’ll find ever changing winds..

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