Monday, June 20, 2016

Ask JKM a Question: Book or Blog Regrets?

A reader named Will writes:

"I have been a fan of your writing since I read your first book: Exploring Space:1999. And I have been reading your blog for over a decade!

I was wondering: Are there any books or posts you wish you just hadn't written?"

Will, thank you for supporting me in print and on the net. I appreciate it very much.

Looking back over my career, I don't think there is any single book that I would "undo."  

That doesn't mean that all my books have been financial successes, or that all of them are perfect, by any means.  It just means that I've learned something from each and every publishing experience. 

And wishing a book away is too much like un-wishing your child.  I just can't do it. 

I think what I can establish, more completely, is the simple fact that I am a different writer today than I was twenty years ago. 

So how I approached a book a decade ago -- or two decades ago -- might not be how I approach writing a book today. 

When I look back, or re-read some of my books from many years ago, I muse sometimes about how much I would like to go back and improve certain arguments, or add certain points.

Things change. People change. Hopefully, I'm better at what I do now. Hopefully I've learned a thing or two.

Sometimes, I am indeed insecure, and absolutely second guess everything...and every choice I've made.
Certainly, the British press's response to my Doctor Who book back in 1999 -- in which I was seriously and regularly compared to the Anti-Christ -- gave me pause at a crucial time in my career. 

I've come to understand that those attacks weren't about my book's arguments...they were aimed straight at me, as a human being. I guess that's part of being a writer too, and I'm glad I learned, after much difficulty, to grow a thick[er] skin.

Other times, I feel like everything has turned out the way it should. 

Even that very negative experience taught me something valuable and significant. I don't think, before that experience, I had ever fully stopped to consider the idea of gatekeepers and territoriality in the publishing world, for example. 

On the other hand, the same book was also greeted with open arms by many readers. It came out at the dawn of the Internet, really, and I received so many fan letters from happy American Doctor Who fans (which I still keep in a scrapbook).

So for every bad thing that's happened because of my books, there was a good thing to go alongside it, a balance if you will.

Even if my books get negative reviews, or don't manage to be huge hits, I count them as important sign-posts in my professional and personal education.

The blog is a little different.

I have written here before that I regret some reviews I have written.  The nice thing about the blog, as opposed to book writing, is that I can review a film three, four, seven times if I want. If my perspective changes, I can update the review, or write a new one, and explain my thinking.

Certainly, I love that kind of freedom.  That's why I still like this format, and continue to blog.

Don't forget to send me your questions at

1 comment:

  1. John thoughtful answer to your ongoing writing. I know I have absolutely no regrets on your books that I have purchased.