And so it comes to be that you hold a copy of Welcome to the Fold in your hands. Or at least the digital precursor to what will one day, with hard work and good fortune, become the justification for a lot of dead trees. Because, let’s face it, we all like to see our work on the shelf, in tangible, sniffable form. The impersonal web store lacks a certain romanticism, doesn’t it?
‘So why not go to a “proper” publisher?’ you might ask. Well, you see, in my time as a hack journalist, I interviewed my fair share of writers established and upcoming, and came to the conclusion that if I have to promote my own work, as must many scribes in this literary decline we’re currently enjoying, then I might as well publish the damn thing myself.
In short, this isn’t the self-published work of a failed writer who’s been rejected by every publisher on the planet, but an assured step into self-publishing by someone who doesn’t see the need for publishers in the era of the Kindle and the iPad.
I actually began writing this novel some eight years before sitting down to consider a foreword; further still, both plots were based on short stories I’d written in my teens. So if this tome contains more than a trace of youthful angst, I can only apologise and promise to man up a little in future volumes.
Much of this book was written while I was suffering a form of belated angry young man syndrome (with a dash of messiah complex thrown into the mix) in my mid twenties. I guess I devised The Fold as a way of putting my anger into words. Somewhere along the way, as these things often do, the concept took a hold of me.
So what exactly is The Fold? That overwhelming sense of isolation and alienation we endure? Frustration at the combined ignorance of the human race? Affluenza? Unquenchable sexual frustration? That moment before you drift blissfully into Slumberland when you realise that you really, really need the toilet? All and none of the above, I’m afraid. Rather than attempt to write a simple straightforward genre novel, like any sane first-time novelist would do, I decided that Welcome to the Fold would be my opus, a book in which I’d define then indefinable and change the lives of everyone who read it.
I was deluded, of course.
But reading this tale for the first time in two years – a tale which nearly took my sanity from me at several points – I’m grateful for those pretensions. The result is a baffling, multifaceted, convoluted attempt at putting the modern world into perspective. Did it work? Only time will tell. But I’m proud to have written a book that will undoubtedly prove divisive. For every soul that latches on to Welcome to the Fold’s cod philosophy and droll wit, several more will find the book self-indulgent and conceited. Those naysayers are perfectly entitled to that opinion; I’m even inclined to agree with them. But secretly I’d like to think that The Fold got to them long before I could.
Anyway, this is my book, the first in a series of at least six. Read it, enjoy it, tell your friends. Read it, hate it, and warn others against wasting several hours of their pointless existence as you just have.
Just spread the word. And keep on fighting The Fold.