John-Paul Flintoff

"What you want to get out of it"

Thanks for clicking. Here we are again!

Knees of a bee

The first email I sent you, earlier this week, went to a small number of people – a few dozen.

Each subsequent email went to fewer people because I don’t want to pester those who, for whatever reason, didn’t click or reply. We’re all busy.

Which means that the small number of you reading this page are, from my point of view, absolutely the bees’ hinged leg joint. I haven’t even told you what this book is about!

What you’d like

I had many excellent replies to my question, “What do you want to get out of it?” But the first one especially pleased me. Here’s what I sent in reply:

Who actually are you?

Not everybody reading this is a writer. But most of you are. Most met me on one or other residential writing retreat at Arvon.

If I may, I’d like to say how jolly pleased I am that one of you has already published the memoir you were working on. It’s on Amazon, here:

Another has completed 100,000 words, in more or less the right order.

Yet another, having started her memoir many years ago, was approaching the end when lockdown caused a bit of a setback. You can do it!

And two more, who sent regrets that they can’t read my manuscript, explained that they were too busy finishing their own. (Excellent reason!)

And the rest of you?

What about the others, who didn’t meet me on Arvon? Well, you helped me out last time by reading the final draft of my novel, What If The Queen Should Die?

Of this smaller group, one took her time to answer my question about what’s in it for you. She / you sent three points. I’d like to highlight the third one:

I get to feel like I’m part of a little group of like-minded people – and at the moment feeling a sense of community or belonging is even harder than normal.

I couldn’t agree more. It’s lonely being a writer.

Done and dusty

One among you replied to my query by asking what’s in it for me. After all, I probably don’t need a proof reader, as the MS has been read twice by my agent and editor, and they’ll probably hire someone else to do the goalkeeping (typos etc).

This is what I replied:

I’m [asking you to read the manuscript] because it really helped me last time to have comments from people who had no stake in it. I’m only asking people whose opinion I respect, and like. Another reason: it gives me a sense of oomph and engagement on a project that is somewhat done and… dusty.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!