Now Someone Has To Write the Blurb (and I Don’t Want That Someone To Be Me)

19 Aug

As I type this, I am listening to a fantastic soundtrack recently shared by a friend. She told me she is listening to this while she translates Qayqa into Spanish. I’ve added it so you can listen to it while you read!


Dear ayllu,

As you might have seen in my excited tweets, the basic formatting of Mark’s illustrations into my novel Qayqa is DONE. Is all the page numbering… the dedication… the “other books by the author”… as well as a very proud page that says THIS BOOK IS A CROWDFUNDING PROJECT. TO THE FOLLOWING I GIVE MY ENDLESS THANKS… And then your names.

I didn’t have all the names in my head so I went back to my StartNext page and went through every single supporter, re-read your comments and re-saw how much you supported my book project. Oh you guys… It was an incredible feeling writing all your names into the opening pages of Qayqa, seeing how much you BELIEVED in my baby. Thank you, again and again and again.

I spent the rest of the evening remembering the crowdfunding time. That was one of the most exhausting periods of my life. I don’t know how much I let it on at the time, but I felt like I was running from one exhausting, disheartening event to the next. I had no energy, no self-belief, and no more fucking desire to go through with it. I just wanted it all to end – and I felt so horribly ungrateful for thinking that because I had so many people writing me, believing in me and giving me such good advice – which only served to exhaust me more.

If I didn’t let it on that the time, it was because I thought I would seem ungrateful. So I’m admitting it now.

Photo 19-08-2014 15 09 39

my face today feels so clear and happy in comparison to the exhausting time I’m describing

I had a lot of help at the time. A pixie showed up to support me endlessly and regardless that we’ve since gone our separate ways, I will always be grateful to her for this. I also hired a Power Ranger to kick my ass into working. (Essentially she is my PR lady but we needed a nickname for her because power rangers like to hide their identities.) She did a great ass-kicking when I most wanted to give up. For this above all things, I recommend artists build a PR team when they’re about to publish.

At the time, I thought I would never want to do a crowdfunding project again. I can’t express how utterly exhausted I was. Every day was a battle and I couldn’t even blog a proper THANK YOU.

Now – I would do it again. I’ve learnt a lot and one of the things I most learnt was to keep at it with my GUT. People will have a lot of well-meaning advice, and mostly they’ll be right – but it has to be done according to what *I* feel is right. So now, if I do a crowdfunding project again, I will prepare myself for it as though I were going into battle.


Since Qayqa is now formatted, I turned her into a PDF and sent her to Mark. He is the visual artist, so he’ll give Qayqa an eye-over and we’ll get on Skype in a few days and discuss what he thinks of my layout.

Formatting his illustrations into my book were all about adding narrative dimensions. Sometimes other ways of looking at the world I’m describing… Or times added emotions. They’re not illustrations; they are dimensions Mark adds to my world.

I don’t know if you know what I mean?

small part 2Ochoa isn’t really running in that part of the book. In fact, this bit takes place under the earth and he is represented by one of his potato roots. This image, to me, just represents Ochoa’s playful, joyful nature. When Damian touches him and says: “There you are, my brother”, this image represents how Damian’s words must have made Ochoa feel.

At least that’s how I see it. I’m very curious to hear what you’ll say when you’re holding the book in your hands.

Which, by the way, is looking like this at the moment…! (It might still change.)

my book's skin

my book’s skin

What do you think?

As you can see, I’m hiding from the blurb! I’m reading all the do-it-yourself websites like this one, which make me feel like I’m doing self-therapy!!

The blurb and the author’s biography are scaring me the most. I don’t know what the hell to say! I might just write some nonsense that feels right to me, because it won’t be nonsense, it’ll be the thing I can most represent instead of the conventional author nonsense. A bit like Neil Gaiman’s: “One day I’ll get a real job. Until then, I’ll keep making up stories.” That feels more real and right than “Ritti Soncco was born in…” I think that’s the thing that gets me the most about blurbs or biographies: writing in 3rd person. Like we all don’t know exactly who is writing this!!

writers blockIn the meantime, I’ve reactivated a lot of tweeting and posting about Qayqa and I must confess I’m amazed at all the responses and interest I’m getting! Having time in Lima is really helping, as I thought / hoped it would. Lima is, after all, the place I wrote The Backpacker Poem and started its around-the world-project. Some places are best for extroverting (like Cusco); others are best for introverting (Lima). Know your geography!

I feel filled with energy now: to prepare Qayqa properly, slowly… to make Facebook pages… to tweet… all that jazz. Thinking about the crowdfunding time, I remember thinking I wasn’t cut out for the artist life because I couldn’t deal with it then. I sincerely thought I would never have energy again.

It took time – but it’s filling me up again.

I want to leave you with two brilliant videos I think you simply have to see. Two weeks ago, my pole fitness friends from Studio 202 (where I teach aerials and learn pole) participated in the Mister & Miss Pole Scotland 2014 competition – and they took 1st and 2nd place!!!

I simply need to share these stunning & touching videos with you. These are kind, sweethearted and generous people I train with often, who always took the time to teach me, to chat, to hang out. They taught me to do this:

handsprings // pole fitness

handsprings // pole fitness

I am proud to call them my friends, and so endlessly proud of their success!!!

Taking 2nd place for Mister Pole Scotland 2014: James Denholm!!!


And winning 1st Place for Mister Pole Scotland 2014:  Theo Robertson!!!


Now… To tackle that blurb…




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