"Oh dear someone's got hiccups. Where are you Pundy, I'm missing my fix, have you got bird flu?" was the plaintive question posted by Minx at the weekend.
Yes, I think I have. Hiccups and bird flew both. Bloggers block I guess you could call it. It came on last week. Triggered I think by the realisation that in some ways the objective of this blog had become redundant.
As you know, I started the blog as a promotional platform for my novel A Half Life of One. But as I've said before, that has turned out to be a flawed business model. Flawed because its success depends upon me building up a large and regular readership to this blog. Something that's impossible. Even if I had something interesting or informative or amusing to say every day. Which I don't. Building up a widely-read blog is a full-time job for someone far cleverer than me.
And I want to be a novelist, not a blogger.
To make matters worse - or rather better - my new novel is coming along nicely. The time I previously devoted to my blog I now spend on my novel. Which partly explains the silence. I hope you can forgive me.
Not that I think blogging is a waste of time for a writer. Far from it. Since I started in October I've had a lot of fun, I've revitalised my flabby old writing muscles, I've made new friends, gained encouragement and, above all, learned a lot about writing.
I've also learned a lot about my book. A Half Life gets about 15-25 visitors a day. Most people look and go. A few download the PDF version. But every week two or three visitors hang around long enough to read the whole thing. I can tell all this from the stats and the feedback I get. Most of the visitors come from the website www.free-online-novels.com/. They come from all over the world too. Over the weekend I received an e-mail from a lady in India who thoroughly enjoyed the book, which is pretty amazing. What more could a writer want? Modest "sales", encouragement and really useful feedback. It's much more than I ever got in the world of traditional publishing.
There is one more step I think I may take. In a few weeks time I'll take a break from my new novel. I then intend to go back to A Half Life and subject it to one more revision, based on the feedback I've received. Then I'm going to make the book available via Print On Demand, as a proper hardback or maybe paperback. I'll do this because I know there's a few people who would like to own the novel as a proper book.
And the blog? Well, I still have some unfinished business here. There are the results for the International Blookreader Awards to announce for a start. And perhaps a little bit more on the lessons I've learned from this experiment. And I'm still trying to track down that Evelyn Waugh joke I wrote about earlier.
So, my dear Minx, you can look forward to a couple more fixes in the next few days. Indeed, I have to confess I've missed you too. And that goes for the rest of the regulars. I guess we're a great comfort to each other after all.