I’m still buzzing from an amazing launch event at Waterstones in Canterbury last night. It was wonderful to see so many people turn up in person and online, and it was great to finally launch one of the Woodville books in person (the first came out during lockdown, and I had Covid for the second). It was all such a blur. Catching up with old friends — including one of the teachers who inspired me to write — and making lots of new ones. My thanks to all of you for coming and I hope to see you all again soon.
We live-streamed the event thanks to some technical wizardry from filmmaker Douglas Ray. We had some mischief switching between live and pre-recorded feeds with our ghost towards the end. You can watch it here…
My thanks to all at Waterstones, Canterbury for making us feel so welcome, to Douglas, Kai, Emily, George, Claire, Emily Bracknell and our wizards and witches.
Or, you can join us on Youtube! This will be interactive, so you can ask questions and there will some extra bonus material for you streamers (to make up for the lack of cake) . Just click on the screen below…
Today also sees the start of a wonderful blog tour from Random Reads..
The first reviews have been amazing!
The Book Lover’s Boudoir said: “I love Faye. She’s my kind of witch. This is a hugely entertaining mix of history and magic. I can’t wait to see what the witches get up to next.” Here’s the full review.
And the Witches of Whitby at the Enchanted Emporium said: “The witches didn’t think this series could get better, but they were wrong. This is the best book yet – full of humour, magic, betrayal and murder, with a slight inkling of romance between Faye and Bertie.” Here’s the full review.
My huge thanks to everyone who helped bring this book into life, and to all you readers who have ordered it. I really hope you enjoy it and do please leave a rating or review wherever possible. Happy reading!
You can get a free Witches of Woodville bookmark (while stocks last).
You can have your photograph taken with me, a wizard, a witch, a ghost, or all of us!
Did we mention the cake?
This is the first time I’ve been able to launch a Woodville book in person. The Crow Folk was published in lockdown, and I had Covid when Babes in the Wood was published, so I would love to see as many of you good people as possible, so book a minibus and crash the party!
To ensure your place at the launch, simply visit those splendid people at Waterstones by clicking here.
JOIN US ON THE INTERWEBS WITH LIVE STREAMING
But if you can’t make it on the night, fear not… you can join us live on Youtube! Yes, we’re also streaming the event live, and you will have an opportunity to ask questions like everyone else, and there will even be some exclusive spooky content for streamers (if we can get the technical jiggery-pokery to work). You will have to provide your own cake and beverage, however. To join us on YouTube, simply click here.
FREE CHAPTER SAMPLE
Psst? Want a sneak peek at the first chapter of The Ghost of Ivy Barn? Simply click here to download it. This is the sort of thing normally reserved for subscribers to the Woodville Village Library Newsletter, but I like the look of you, so you can get it too. If you like what you see, you can find all kinds of pre-order links when you click on the book cover below.
You are cordially invited to join me for the launch of the new Witches of Woodville novel BABES IN THE WOOD on Thursday 28th October (that’s this Thursday coming!) at 7pm BST (11am PST, 12 noon MDT, 2pm EDT, and 4am next day Brisbane… with apologies to the good people of Australia!).
I will be joined by the magnificently-bearded bestselling author Caimh McDonnell, and we will dig into the origins of this tale and you will discover…
Why it’s called Babes in the Wood.
Who the blazes is Otto Kopp?
The influence of PG Wodehouse, the movie Night of the Demon, the Midwich Cuckoos, and Dada art.
The secret of the Ur-Tree…
And what the dickens is an Ur-Tree?
And will Faye and Bertie ever find true happiness?
The dress code is 1940s Home Front and our Master of Ceremonies for the evening will the wonderful Mr Caimh McDonnell — author and stand-up comedian of some repute. There will be revelations, merriment and a splendid time for all.
If you have any questions for me, then simply pop it in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer it on the evening.
If you cannot make the launch party, then fear not: it shall be recorded and distributed across all the usual social media channels.
Good gravy, can The End of Magic really be a year old already? I guess if you’ve been keeping up with the blog and me constantly banging on about it, it must feel more like a decade, but as I get older the years become more of a blur and it’s good to take stock occasionally.
Below are some select diary entries from around the time of publication, along with a few asides to put them in perspective. Once again, a huge thank you to everyone who supported the book. It would not have been possible without you.
Monday 28th January
The End of Magic has arrived!
My finished copies were delivered this afternoon and I’m very happy with them. They’re reassuringly chunky, the spot UV on the cover will help them stand out, and the cover art is magnificent in the flesh.
Claire and Emily helped with a little social media video where we played out the where George McFly gets his books and I’m happy to say it’s getting lots of love online.
Wednesday 30th January
A good writing start this morning, but when I had a mid-morning cuppa I checked social media and discovered that folk were getting their copies of The End of Magic! There followed a day of social media madness as the good people who pledged for the book sent photos and congratulations. It was euphoric, overwhelming, and I could get very used to it.
I have an email dated 5th February where I inform Unbound that a reader noticed two typos. This is pretty standard with any book, despite all the proofreading. We fixed the eBooks pronto.
Wednesday 6th February
No writing today for two reasons…
It’s publication tomorrow and there’s all sorts of bits of social media to prepare, and…
My MacBook went kaput yesterday. The keyboard and trackpad wouldn’t respond.
I took it to Stormfront this afternoon and the guy held it up to his ear. “I think there’s something rattling about in there,” he said. He ran a diagnostic, restored it a few times and it was fine. Phew.
Friday 8th February 2019
The End of Magic is out now!
Well, yesterday… Quite an exhausting day yesterday, so let’s take it one step at a time.
Yes, the book is out and off to a good start with reviews: three five-star reviews on Amazon, and a four and a five on Goodreads.
I had a day in London yesterday, starting with an attempt at uploading all kinds of social media for the book via the wifi at Waterstones, Tottenham Court Road. It was too slow to the point of stopping, so I took myself off to the Byron at Farringdon where I was meeting Graeme (author Gray Williams) for lunch, got there early and gobbled up most of my spare data using the hotspot on my phone*
*It still astonishes me how much money I spend on data
(After lunch I met with two of my uncles who showed me where they grew up with my dad. We’ll skip that bit!)
*Yes, I do shameless namedropping even in my own diary. It’s partly why I started a diary. I kept meeting amazing people and then forgetting that I met them.
Told you, my memory is like a sieve.
This morning I put together a couple of ad campaigns and caught up on emails.
Tonight, Claire and I went to Vicky Newham’s book launch at Harbour Books and chatted with Vicky and her editor Clio.
It was around this time that I discovered that Unbound had published the eBook with two of the chapters in the wrong order! A bit of a panic as I kept readers updated, while Unbound made the fix. To be fair, they were pretty quick about it.
Thursday 14th February
Tonight I drove down to Tunbridge Wells for the Dominic King show (on BBC Radio Kent) and I got to plug the book and tomorrow’s launch big time. Also started to notice that complete strangers are mentioning me and The End of Magic and saying nice things. Exciting stuff!
Saturday 16th February
Last night was the launch party for The End of Magic and I’m still coming down from the giddy high it gave me.
Claire made amazing cupcakes, George handed them out and charmed the crowd (Yes! A crowd — 20+ people), and Emily live-streamed it and did cool time-lapse videos.
Rich Boarman — The Steam Wizard! — was there with Steam Witch Katie, and the Steam Sorcerer Andrew, and they stood by the door of Harbour Books getting admiring honks from passing cars and drawing the punters in.
(There’s a bit here where I name people who turned up, but I’m bound to have forgotten someone, so I’m leaving it out here)
It was overwhelming. Olivia (from Harbour Books) said it was one of the best and busiest launches they could remember.
Once we figured out how to fit the magic staff in the car — it had been presented to me at the start of the event by Rich, and it is magnificent! — we went for chips.
What an incredible evening.
Saturday 23rd February
Faversham Literary Festival
In the evening I was back for my event with David John Griffin. We had about twenty people and it was good event with excellent questions. We started selling our own books, but then the room was swamped by bloody poets turning up for their open mic session, so few people could actually get close to us… Which was not conducive to sales.
It was around this time that I started planning to self-publish The End of Magic in the US. Unbound don’t have much of a presence there, and I fancied self-publishing it after my experiences with Back to Reality. This had all been agreed at the contract stage with Unbound, but they still fed their edition out to the world, including the US. Having seen this sort of thing happen many times when I was Orion, I knew it was a simple fix and I asked Unbound to sort the feed. They promptly did… but also accidentally removed it from the UK Amazon store… This was after a successful AMS ad campaign that placed it in the top 100 Fantasy titles. It never really got the same momentum again. Sigh.
Friday 8th March
I sent a signed a contract to Amazon for The End of Magic, finally proving that I have US rights, so with any luck I can get that live soon, too.
And thus ended a barrage of emails between me, Unbound and Amazon sorting the rights situation. Would I do it again? Possibly, but it was a right old faff and accidentally removing the book from Amazon was a real blow. Amazon’s algorithms were behind me, I was making my up the charts and becoming more and more visible and then… nothing. Ah well. Onwards. Upwards.
The question I get asked the most is will there be a sequel. Probably not. At least, not with Unbound. As publisher, they have first dibs on any sequels and I don’t fancy going through the fundraising process again, lest I become like that guy in the office who goes on a 5k charity fun run every few months and expects you to donate every time (that said, I am mulling over the idea of doing a Kickstarter for something very different). I have ideas for a sequel, but I had planned for the book to work as a stand-alone, which is does.
The biggest surprise is how many reviews I get that say, “I don’t normally read fantasy, but I really enjoyed this.” That’s my market. Which might explain why it’s been so blooming difficult trying to target them with ads to keep the sale momentum.
But I must stop griping. Overall, The End of Magic has been a terrific experience. I had great editors, fantastic cover art, and incredible support from readers.
We had the brilliant and all round lovely author Lara Dearman on the podcast this week. Lara is a debut novelist who has gone from community college courses to a major publishing deal with her book The Devil’s Claw. It’s an inspirational listen and I know Lara will go on to great things. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW
Also have a listen to this week’s Deep Dive, where Mr. D and I discuss the topics brought up by our chat with Lara, and I reveal my true feelings about Enid Blyton. CLICK HERE for a wee snippet.