Spotlight: Nick Parker

In this month’s profile of a 26 member, we talk to Nick Parker, creative director of The Writer and author of The Exploding Boy. Here, Nick reveals how his self published short stories got reviewed by The Guardian.

Day job: Creative director at The Writer.

Private passion: I am an enthusiastic honky tonk piano player with no sense of timing. And a rock climber who’s afraid of heights.
What do people get wrong about you? That I’ll be able to think up witty answers to questionnaires just like that.

What do you like best about belonging to 26? Working on interesting and random projects, like ‘Throwaway Lines’ – the way 26 projects take the copywriters’ brief, constraints, and deadline and use this to squeeze out interesting creative work in unlikely places is ace.

What’s your favourite story in The Exploding Boy? Favourite line? I don’t really have a favourite story – though among readers, The Field of Ladders seems to be getting a lot of votes. Favourite line – it’s a bit of an obvious gag, but the opening line of the title story sets the tone nicely:
‘He’s only known as the Exploding Boy now, of course; retrospectively.’

What’s your favourite piece of advice for good writing? Like Elmore Leonard said: ‘cut the parts that readers skip.’
Like Emily Dickinson said: ‘Tell the truth, but tell it slant’.
Like somebody who’s name I’ve forgotten said: ‘Look. Just get the bloody words down. Then worry about what to do with them all.’

What advice would you offer to other 26ers looking to self publish? Do it. The mechanics of it are now ridiculously easy. Publishing is turning itself inside out right now – there’s no ‘right way’ to publish a book any more. BUT – because more people are doing it, readers will most definitely want some kind of ‘validation’. Which basically means you’ll spend more time marketing than you’d imagined. (My external validation is currently this review in The Guardian.)

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