Thursday, 26 February 2015

Goodreads Author

I'm happy to announce that I'm now a Goodreads Author.

Check out my profile here when you get a chance:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7171085.Gavin_Whyte

It feels nice to be part of a community that's solely dedicated to books and authors.

If you're on there please stop by and review my books or/and get in touch.

It'd be nice to hear from you.

As always, thank you for your support.

Your friend and writer,

G

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gavinwhyteauthor

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Gavin-Whyte/e/B00TW6ODUQ

Monday, 23 February 2015

Facebook Page

I don't know why it has taken me so long to set up, but I've finally got my backside into gear and created a Facebook author page.

Here is the link: Gavin Whyte Author

If ever you're passing, please click on the Like button.

A little Like can go along way.

With gratitude.




Sunday, 22 February 2015

Being Birdman

Like a lot of people, I thought the film Birdman was great. Michael Keaton gave a fantastic performance. I thought the script was quirky and the way it was shot was very cleverly done.

What I wasn't expecting from the film was for it to be intertwined with aspects of spirituality... and blatantly so, too. 

Michael Keaton's dressing room mirror had a little note on it saying, 'A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing', which was exactly what I was getting at in my book The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair. In one scene he goes and gives a critic an intense lecture about how much she and people like her suck. He holds up a rose and says something like, "You have no idea what this is, do you!" 

It felt great to see such clear messages in a Hollywood movie.

Towards the end he says along the lines of, 'I don't even exist. I'm not even here,' (sorry I can't remember it word for word) and then goes on to shoot himself.

(I don't think I've given away too much...)

The reason I'm writing about this is that his realisation that he didn't exist should've been an enlightening experiencing. Only an unsteady mind would go on to try and terminate itself after having such an insight.

The truth of the matter is, in order to know who you are, you - that is, the you who you think you are - has to step aside and cease to be. Your whole personality, with all of its past and achievements, becomes transparent the moment you're truly Being. It sounds daunting and to some it will seem terrifying, but it's nothing but liberating.

I'm speaking from experience here. The thing is with me, I keep coming back and playing the role of Gavin Whyte. 

Why, if it's so liberating, do I keep coming back to the little me who I think I am? 

Because it's a habit.

It's the biggest habit I have and I'm forever going back and forth, back and forth, in and out of the game.

But I'm telling you, the moment you see through this habit of thinking that you know who you are, and playing the role that everybody knows and loves; when you become one without an identity, when you see that you are the silent witness, you will know in an instant who the real you is and you will be transformed. 

A glimmer of light will have got in and you will not be able to turn your back on it from then on.

No drastic change in your external life has to happen, although, I bet you will be drawn to reading spiritual books and texts, and begin practicing meditation or other techniques that allow you to go within.

Not knowing who you are sounds scary to the habitual you because it feels like it needs it to survive in the world. But it doesn't. You will at once step back and see through the illusory you and see through all of that with which you once identified with. 

You may laugh. You may cry with joy. You will at once be finally in love.

You will not put a gun to your head because you'll know that suicide is the ultimate waste of time. You will know that you're not your body, so destroying it isn't going to do a thing apart from get you a new ride. You will know this. It will all become clear.

Don't go looking for that which you are... look at what you're not. 

Tick things off the list, one by one.

You will come to the conclusion that anything that you're aware of is not you.

Birdman has the subtitle The Unexpected Virtues of Ignorance. It points to the life we have lived for millenia. It's amazing to see what we have accomplished through not knowing. But our ignorance is still with us, causing us stress, depression, doubt, grief and fear. Only when our ignorance is diminished will we truly begin to see The Unexpected Virtues of Being, and our fear and the rest of our burdens will be lifted.

(Go and see Birdman... it's a treat).

Visit my Amazon's Author Central here



Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Ebook News

OK, so for the past week I've been working my socks off to try and get the formatting sorted out on my ebooks. Not just that, but I've re-edited (in one case, nearly completely rewritten) my books, knocked down their price and changed the front covers.
I've been uploading versions of the books to Amazon KDP over and over again to try and get the formatting sorted out.
I think (hope) I've got it sussed now.
So, that being said, my books are now available for the Amazon Kindle at 99p each ($1.49).
The books are:
1. Waiting for Wings
2. The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair
3. Happiness & Honey

The last two are fables with no more than 20,000 words combined - but they're aimed to pack a punch.
I'm in the process of getting my website updated, too, so bear with me.
If you download any of my books I hope you enjoy them and you get something meaningful out of them.
Also, could you do me a favour? If you spot any issues (even if it's just the odd typo or it looks poor on your screen) please let me know.
You can contact me at contact@gavinwhyte.co.uk

My books can be bought here.
Thank you.
www.gavinwhyte.co.uk

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Writing, Rejection and Romance

Asking a girl out... could anything be more terrifying?

Growing up was a nightmare. While my mates were proudly losing their virginities, I was 'happy' (as I called it then) to remain single.

"I don't have time for a girlfriend," was my excuse for forever being single.

To be fair to myself, I was actually super busy trying to make it in the world of music. I was seriously motivated to make something of myself...

... at age 16.

On nights out as my buddies played tonsil tennis with anything without a penis, I was playing slam and it was making me gag.

Even when a girl approached me, my heart would suddenly start doing the River Dance.

And Flately, my dear, I did give a damn. (A.P).

My hands would sweat until I could no longer hold the beer, which then resulted in a severe case of dry mouth.

Not my best memories of adolescence, to say the least.

But I've gotten over all of that now... thankfully... finally... at age 32... and after all the turmoil I can look back and see what I feared the most.

Rejection.

R-Rated Rejection.

And here's what I figured out: It was the thought [the fear] of being rejected that filled me with dread.

There's nothing like the fear of something happening to prevent the thing you fear from happening, happening!

Rejection happens... especially when you're in the arts, such as writing.

There're people who will not even attempt to write a book, a short story, or a poem, simply because they already have rejection, that is, the fear of rejection, firmly placed at the forefront of their minds. Therefore their creative outlet remains trapped and unexplored, and sadly unexpressed. Voiceless.

(Note: Be aware of those who criticise you for putting yourself out there... are they the ones who don't or refuse to put themselves out there? Pay careful attention to this.)

Has it ever occurred to you that rejection could feel good?

It all boils down to your perception.

I was massively inspired by The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Pressfield says that getting rejection proves that you're in the ring. You're fighting for what you believe in. Therefore, all that matters is that you get back up again for another round. Those who don't get knocked down are those who are out of the ring, because they're scared of breaking a nail.

I made music for nearly a decade. During that time I learnt so much about how to handle rejection. I sent off countless demo CDs, all with the hope of getting signed. Did I hear back from any of the labels? Does the Pope go trick or treating?

(A friend heard one of our tracks being played on the radio. The DJ was a recording artist and it was his label that picked us up.)

Having said all of that, I thought you might like to look at a rejection letter I recently received from a literary agent:

Dear Gavin,

Thank you very much for submitting your material to us. Our agents have now had a chance to look at it and we are sorry to say we don’t feel that we can offer you representation. Because of the high volume of submissions we receive, unfortunately we are not able to give you more detailed feedback than this. However, these things are very subjective and someone else may well feel differently about your work.

Thank you again for letting us take a look at your material, and we wish you the best of luck in finding an agent and publisher.

Best wishes,


If you're a writer then expect something similar, that is, if you've got past the fear of receiving it. But it's not all that bad, really, is it? It's a part of your journey that you're going to have to learn to embrace.

So go on, send off that manuscript, upload that story, send off the script, enter the poem, pick up the paint brush... or even ask you know who out for a drink.

Ding! Ding! Round 2! 

www.gavinwhyte.co.uk

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Spring Clean

Is it sad that I like doing simple chores, such as the dishes, vacuuming and dusting? I even enjoy putting the wet clothes out to dry.

I'm sure it's not only me that gets instant gratification from these menial tasks.

(Is it?)

Doing such things allows me to practice mindfulness. They are in their very nature simple tasks (if you're physically able and well, that is) so it gives you the chance to focus on the minute movements of your body. You can follow your breath more easily, too. You can see thoughts as they come and go and bring yourself back to the task when you've noticed you've been led astray.

I'm now going through a form of spring cleaning with all aspects of my books.

Expect to see some inconsistencies surrounding prices, front covers, descriptions and sometimes even content.

Unfortunately it's not as simple as washing a few pots and pans, but it needs to be done.

And I know I'll feel instant gratification when I've finished.

www.gavinwhyte.co.uk

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Monkey See, Monkey Do

A friend of mine was visiting Taipei this week and asked if I was free for a coffee.

We first met in Okinawa, last November. After a brief discussion, we learnt we were both writers. He was working on a non-fiction piece, and I, fiction.

It's always good to see how other writers work. I would often see him when he got back to the hostel, laptop under his arm, with a look of achievement on his face.

I would ask him how many words he had done and his reply would be anything from 3000 up.

Until very recently, I had always harboured the feeling that the term 'self-published' carried a sense of failure with it. I don't think I was aware of this, mind. It only occurred to me after the aforementioned coffee.

Publishing your own work was the road you went down if you couldn't get the attention of a publisher and/or agent. Therefore your work wasn't good enough to sell. I'm sure I'm not alone with this view. Chances are, the majority of people still hold this view when they see or hear self-published author.

But the difference being is, I am a self-published author and I still held this view.

(Get the start gun and shoot yourself in the foot, Gav, why don't you.)

I remember when I was making music and I refused to download albums, because, well, it was a sin.

It my mind it was disgusting - yes, that's right, disgusting.

Why on earth would you want to download a dirty FILE when you can have a CD and an album sleeve and all that?

I just couldn't/wouldn't adapt.

Now I don't think twice about downloading an album from iTunes.

Look how much I've grown!

(I still don't download music illegally... for one; I don't know how, and two; expressing yourself is hard, whatever your medium is. By paying for the artist's work, I feel like it's giving something back to them; a little bit of gratitude for their dedication to their craft.)

And here's the thing... people still buy CDs! There are some who are adamant that vinyl is still the best sound source available!

Vinyl!

And I don't doubt them... get a great needle and all the rest and I bet the sound quality is amazing. My point is, even though it's legal to download music, and the majority of people nowadays are doing just that, CDs and vinyl are still living and breathing amongst us.

With that in mind, let's get back to meeting my friend for a coffee... (whose website is moritzdressel.com) I told him I had just finished my new novel and I was in the process of sending it out to agents. It had already been rejected by one agent... so naturally I had instantly sent it off to another. I won't forget the look he gave me (the exact same look I would've received if I had turned up wearing a tank top that said I Love Taiwan on it), which was then followed up by a deep, 'Why?'

'Why what?' I said.

'Why are you sending it off to an agent?'

'You know, I just thought I'd go down the 'proper road' (I actually said "proper road"), and try and get an agent, and then for them to get me a publisher, and then for my book to be given a chance in the world.'

'But why?' he persisted.

'Erm...'

'You don't need a publisher,' he said. 'You can do it yourself.'

He had mentioned this to me the first time we had met. He went on to tell me the title of a book to buy that he was sure would sell the self-published way to me. The book was APE by Kawasaki & Welch.

But I didn't listen. Or I should say: I put the title on the high shelf of my mind, forgot about it, and continued to work on my novel, and then went looking for a publisher and agent once I was happy with it (a creature of stubbornness and habit, I admit).

Baring in mind that I was already a self-published author, I lacked all faith in it. Three of my books were (are) sat there doing nothing - gathering metaphysical dust. What a shame! Not only did I lack faith in The Way of the eBook, but my attitude towards it showed lack of respect and faith in my own, already published books. What a bigger shame!!

Now here's my mate, telling me once again, 'You don't need a publisher, do it yourself.'

This time I listened.

And I feel driven, to say the least.

I've just finished reading a book called Be the Monkey by authors Barry Eisler & Joe Konrath (that actually inspired the book APE that I mentioned above). I highly recommend it if you're thinking of going down the self-published route.

My attitude towards downloading music was the same regarding downloading books. I love paperbacks. One of the very joys of reading a book comes from holding it (or is that just me?). You just don't get that same comfort from an eReader (plus, they don't smell the same as a book. Wait, you mean you've never smelt a page before? No? Well... this is a tad awkward).

But I love my Kindle! Having come to Taiwan, it has been a huge blessing. I now have nearly 200 books on that little bad boy and they all fit in my hand.

I've adapted now. Buying books on the Kindle is so convenient. So quick. So easy. And surprisingly it hasn't taken any of the joys out of reading. To be fair, if I prefer the physical aspects of reading a paperback more than I do the book (the book being the story), then chances are it's not a good book.

Eisler and Konrath point out that eBooks will not kill paperbacks. That chances are, like vinyl, paperbacks will become a niche and people will still be saying, "You can't beat a good paperback," yet they'll have hundreds of eBooks waiting on their eReader to be read (because it's so damn easy to click Buy!).

My approach to being a self-published author is going through a revolution. I can feel it.

It's time to take things to the next step, and that requires me to get a little bit more serious about what I want and expect as a writer.

www.gavinwhyte.co.uk