What’s an indie author got to do with a recalcitrant Ford Cortina? More than you might imagine!
I suppose we all remember the firsts. The first job, the first car, the first kiss…
I wasn’t an indie author in the summer 1974, but it was when I bought my first car. It was a ten-year-old Mk1 Ford Cortina, bottle green, the Deluxe version, and 1500cc. I almost stacked it that first day while driving home, sticking to the hot vinyl seats, and fiddling with the radio.
I thought about that car a few days ago, whilst walking through the deserted forest between home and the small village of Lutz. It was the second time in two days that the recalcitrant green Ford had pushed forward into my consciousness. As I walked, I pondered why…
That summer of ’74 faded, and the cold autumn foreshadowed a bleak Norfolk winter. It wasn’t long, before on one bitter morning the Cortina refused to start, and I was forced to learn the art of bump starting.
Push starting, or bump starting, is impossible to do alone unless parked on a significant hill facing down. So one must recruit help from sympathetic passers-by. It takes at least two enthusiastic people pushing for all they are worth at the back, and the humiliated owner pushing on the front door pillar with the driver’s door open, and ready to leap in. When enough speed has been gained, jump in, slam the clutch down, hit second gear, slam the clutch up and pump gas, praying that it starts before the volunteers give up. It coughs, spits, belches white smoke, then with a couple more hard thunks of the engine mounts, it roars to life. Give it gas, lots of gas leaving it no room to wheeze and die.
That excruciating task of push starting a car, which after that first winter I became expert at, is what caused me to recall it forty years later. It reminded me of what I am attempting now; to be a successful indie author/publisher.
Like bump starting a car, launching a book needs outside assistance, willing volunteers that help get your engine running. It calls for an immense gut-busting effort, humility, and luck laced with technique and determination. And once running, you need to keep your foot on the gas, acknowledge those who pushed, and then offer them a ride.