Thinking about looking at some kind of professional self-publishing helper, not going to mention any names right now but thinking about what kind of audience I want to tell them I’m aiming at.
Thing is, everyone who reads it seems to see a different book. I suppose it’s at least three different books.
For me, first and foremost it’s the autistic spiritual journey, from the original predicament outlined in the rant at the end of Chapter 3 of Flaming Sword, to his much more laid-back persona at the end of Water of Life. That is the basic project that led me to write the trilogy in the first place. True, Vian already knew he was a bit weird; for me, I only got the validation when I was six decades old.
Secondly there’s the utopian ideal of how to organise a society from scratch – and you can only do it when everyone is at rock bottom to start with – and while it might look very bleeding heart leftie it does make room for people to get rich if they want to. It’s a model I’ve never seen anywhere else and I’m slightly surprised no-one’s actually commented on it, except one friend who said in an email that they wished we had people like that running the country. I don’t yet know whether it’s actually too naive for words, or whether those who might think so have axes to grind.
The third obvious thread is the romance, like a kind of reverse Pride and Prejudice/Pretty Woman. He’s reasonably secure in his limited lifestyle under the Theocracy, she’s high-born but not at all sure of herself because of her own limitations that also translate into high-functioning autism, which is why Vian noticed her in the first place.
What kind of ‘audience’ or ‘genre’ all that translates to is something I have to ask an expert. And I’ve had bad experiences with experts in the past, so we’ll have to see. Like Vian, I’ve mellowed a lot since I began my spiritual search (turning down the sacristan job at my posh boarding school for instance, and being ridiculed by all the loving and giving spiritual groups, Quakers included, that I’ve tried to join over many years since then, coping, not always very well, with the idea that I’m actually born spiritually blind and then finally getting the assessment of Asperger’s Syndrome). I’d better not say a lot more about that because it might constitute a spoiler.
But I think that the kind of people who would enjoy the book would include those who are bothered by the ‘Hard Problem’ (and if you’re not bothered by it you don’t know what it is) and those that are probably to the left in political thinking. People who are interested in autism might look at it but it’s not the kind of autism that most people writing about it recognise. For a start, it’s hyperverbal. But that’s well explained in the book.