Proper update soon.
Just so people know, I won’t be writing any more music books after the two Beach Boys ones I promised to write. It seems that no matter how clearly I label the books, or how much I make available for free, the majority of people buying them who care enough to post reviews have four complaints:
1) That they’re not sessionographies or reference books listing times and dates.
2) That I have opinions which they disagree with
3) That they don’t contain any photographs
4) That I use what they consider an excessively large type size.
1) and 2) are never going to change, because dry reference books already exist about these people. I’m interested in analysing the music, not in saying “the session took place on 23rd March 1964 and featured Joe Drummer on drums”, and am never going to write that kind of book. 3) would only change if someone was willing to pay the many hundreds of pounds per book photo licensing would cost. And 4) isn’t going to change, partly because I don’t consider twelve-point type to be exceptionally large, and partly because I want my books to be accessible to people with visual problems (I design the layout of my books specifically to make them easy for my wife, who has limited vision, to read).
This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing and publishing books — I’m writing a novel at the moment, I’ve got a book on comics I’ve been planning for a while, I’m going to turn my Mindless Ones Doctor Who essays into a book, and so on. Expect at least four books from me in the next year. But after I finish the Beach Boys books, I’m not going to write any more music ones. I’m not going to spend six months working on, say, a book about David Bowie for the end result to be three days of sales followed by “Hinkey doesn’t even tell you the recording dates! He thinks he’s an expert and yet he thinks Kooks is better than Life On Mars! And Hinkey uses large print!” It’s simply not worth the stress. I could just punch myself in the balls and save everyone involved a lot of time and effort.
The annoying thing is I know there are a lot of people who *do* like those books — but they’re not the people buying them, and I don’t want to write books that sell to people who don’t like them and don’t sell to people who do.
I’m not being self-pitying here. The reactions of the people who *do* like my music writing have made it more than worthwhile for me to write those books — a lot of people I like and respect, and a lot of total strangers, have said lovely things about them. But I don’t write books in order to upset people, and so I’m going to concentrate on my other writing.
In the Kinks book, there is a factual error that I’ve only just noticed as I’m putting together the ebook version. I say in the Plastic Man entry “Up to this point, every single they’d released since 1964 had got to at least number 12. This was banned from the radio for using the word “bum”, and so only scraped to number 33.”
In fact Wonderboy, the previous single, had only reached 36, and Plastic Man made number 31. I’ve fixed this now, so any future copies will not say this, but the few copies that have already been bought contain this error. If you’ve got one and want a replacement, let me know.
The book on the Kinks I’ve been serialising here, Preservation: The Kinks’ Music 1964-1974, is now available in paperback, hardback and PDF formats from lulu.com . Versions for ereaders should be up tomorrow when I finish formatting them.
For those who don’t know what my music books are like, this is a collection of the essays I’ve been posting here about the Kinks, with some mild revision (copy-editing, factual corrections, removals of most of the uses of the word ‘paean’, which I used far too much in the last few essays, that sort of thing), notes on three songs from The Great Lost Kinks Album that aren’t on any of the album CDs, and two indexes. You’re more than welcome to just read the essays on the blog and you’re not going to miss much by doing that, but they *have* been improved for the book.
(For those who think the price is a little high, that’s an unfortunate factor of working with POD publishers — I’ve priced them so that when sold through Amazon, I will get £1 per sale after Amazon and Lulu take their cuts. The ebooks will be priced much more reasonably).
If you like those posts, please buy the book and let other people know about it — and let me know. These books take a lot of time and effort to write, and getting feedback is always useful.
I’m putting the final touches to the Kinks book now, and so I thought I’d upload the cover.With luck the book should be out later today or tomorrow.
Incidentally, this book is going to be the test case as to whether I should write any more of these music books. If it sells reasonably well and gets good reviews, I plan on doing books on George Harrison’s solo music and David Bowie, among others. If, on the other hand, it gets the kind of Amazon reviews my other music books get (from people who don’t understand the concept of criticism, and have bought the books thinking they’re something else) I’ll be sticking to the books on comics and TV, and to fiction. So if you want more of these, buy the book and review it on Amazon, and if you don’t, then don’t…
(I will be continuing to write books no matter what — it’s just a matter of what kind of writing I prioritise).
Also, the Beach Boys books will come out no matter what, because you don’t write a vol 1 and then leave people hanging waiting for vols 2 and 3.
Anyway, here’s the cover. What do you think?