It appears that the stamp collecting fraternity of America are not happy with me. I think I’ve really pissed them off. I may well have a stamp-collectors’ fatwa issued although what they’ll do when they track me down is anyone’s guess. Lick me to death probably; I’m sure there’s worse ways to die.
What have I done to induce their ire? It’s all about my short story ‘Two Penny Blue’. Now for those who are not familiar with the world of philately, a Two Penny Blue stamp is one of the first stamps to be issued in the
in the 1840s and it is one of the key characters in my story. If you ever happen to find an unsullied strip of them then you’re in luck as they’re worth a bob or two. Anyway, someone downloaded my story and as it isn’t actually about stamp collecting, they were upset and then posted a 1* review on Amazon.com. The outrage! It’s not about stamp collecting! The book has a stamp on the cover! It’s outrageous! We should inform the CIA, no, the president himself! I want my 99c back! IT’S OUTRAGEOUS! UK
Now it is easy to get snippy with someone and comment, “I’m outraged that you are outraged; I’m more outraged than you! I’m so outraged, my head has just fallen off! And please don’t be mean to me, sniff, you didn’t give me enough stars. I’m telling my mum.”
Not long after I received another 1* review from someone I managed to really annoy. The review was entitled ‘Badly Written’ and this time, I’d really, properly, got up someone’s nose. I aim to please. It would be very easy to get upset by the comments that appeared in that review and give up writing. After all, that appears to be aim of that type of review. But I beg to differ. I revel in the fact that I’ve made someone angry. For anyone who knows me in real life, they will tell you that I have no compunction in being annoying. In fact, I’m so bloody-minded I’ll use it as fuel to get further up their nose. If I’ve annoyed this person then I’m going to write even more just to piss them off. I’m going to be so good at being bad, I’ll make Amazon invent the minus star scale just for me!
Ever heard of a poet called William McGonagall? He was a Scotsman who lived in the mid-nineteenth century and he found infamy for being Britain's worst poet. He was originally a weaver but he wanted to write and boy did he write. His most famous poem is called ‘The Tay Bridge Disaster’ and he was considered so bad, he became a cult figure in the Victorian age for his unintentionally comic verse. What I like about the man though is that he did not give a toss. He didn’t listen to or was put off by the criticism, he just carried on writing and why the hell not? The irony is though, he’s still in print over a hundred years after his death. He’s got websites and societies in his name and for someone who was supposed to be crap, that’s not bad going.
So I shall continue in the same way as our friend William McGonagall. I’ll laugh in the face of critics and carry on annoying people in my own stamp-related way. And in the words of the great Clive James in ‘Dad’s Army’:
“They don’t like it up ‘em!”
I’ve done a mini-blog tour for my new novel ‘The Policeman Who Was Afraid of the Dark’...
And many thanks to Rosen Trevithick for interviewing me on her blog...