The Benefits of Being a Squeaky Hinge (as opposed to being unhinged)

What a week… firstly I went with the Gollancz gang to Secret Cinema’s Blade Runner, an incredible immersive experience that I’m still thinking about now. You can read about what happened (including my arrest and interrogation) here!

I also had a great time at the Herne Bay Sci-Fi By The Sea convention at the weekend. Not only was I with my brothers-in-ink Kit Cox and Thom Burgess, but it had a wonderful family atmosphere and I sold and signed quite a few books. I hope to return next year.

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Some of you might understandably cry, “You jammy sod, how do you get those cushy gigs?” Well, one thing I’ve learned over the years is to be a bit shameless and make a bit of noise, and I’ve tried to apply this to every avenue of life, and generally it works. Back when I was starting out as an actor, a friend put me in touch with the film director Vadim Jean. Vadim was hot off Leon the Pig Farmer and, incredibly, he returned my call… but I was out. He left a message with my dad to call back. I had already summoned up all my courage to have left a message for him in the first place, and a weird crippling shyness and fear prevented me from calling him again, and so I never did… God only knows what opportunities I missed because I felt that I was being a needy pain. It’s something I did a few more times in my youth, and I never really remedied it until I had a bit of success and younger writers started contacting me for advice! I was delighted and only too pleased to give whatever encouragement I could to steer them in the right direction… They weren’t being a pain. They were starting out and were bold enough to ask for a bit of help. Ever since I’ve overcome any doubts and been the first to volunteer myself for all sorts of endeavours. It’s one of the reasons I’m presenting a podcast, it’s how I got my agents, it’s how I summoned the nerve to invite myself to various comic cons and pretend to be in Blade Runner.

The world will not come to me, so I need to make a bit of noise to attract its attention.

The same rule applies for my agents and work life: book, TV and film people already have far too much to do, but if you want their attention you need to be a bit of a squeaky hinge. Not too taxing, not rude or obnoxious, but the squeaky hinge that can be sorted quickly so they can get on with their other stuff. Just this week, I politely chased a TV production company for an update and, as a result, I have a meeting with a director next week that could prove to be life-changing (or it could just be a nice chat over coffee… who knows?).

As I discovered with the Blade Runner experience, the more you put into something, the more you’ll get out. Be bold!

Speaking of bold, if you haven’t pre-ordered my fantasy novel, The End of Magic you can do it right now and still get your name in the book. Click here!

And you can download a short story set in the same universe. In How Drust Krax Lost Two Fingers you meet the novel’s main antagonist and it’s all seen from the POV of a defeated warlord who awaits execution, but also really, really needs to use the privvy… It’s available exclusively for my newsletter subscribers, and you can sign up for that here!

Until next time!

Mark

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Come and see the sci-fi by the sea shore…

Ahoy!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve blogged and one reason for the delay is that I flopped into an exhausted heap after completing the crowdfunding for my novel The End of Magic. A huge thank you to everyone who pledged, spread the word, banged the drum, stopped strangers in the street etc. I could not have done it without you.

The next stage is the edit, which should take until mid-September, and I would reckon the book would be published Jan/Feb next year. In the meantime, here are all the things I learned from crowdfunding.

Oh, and there’s still time to pre-order the book and get your name in it. Just click here and choose from the list of options.

The Bestseller Experiment podcast has had an eventful few weeks: a live show with Orion Fiction editor Ben Willis where we went deep into metadata while eating cheese and onion crisps, I caught up with my filmmaking friend Deborah Haywood and talked about how she wrote and directed her fantastic debut feature film Pin Cushion (and it’s the only episode of the podcast where a guest has meowed like a cat), and I talked about being buried alive with Sharon Bolton (as you do). Never let it be said that we don’t offer a varied platter of awesomeness.

If you love a bit of sunshine and sci-fi, then I’ll be with my brothers in ink Kit Cox and Thom Burgess at the Sci-Fi by the Sea convention in Herne Bay on June 17th (Father’s day). It promises to be a fab day for geeks of all ages. Kit, Thom and I will be there signing our books and happy to chat about all things sci-fi and fantasy. We’d love to see you there, and you can get tickets here

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The End of Magic – week 2

Another week passes and I’m currently at 35% funded with 73 wonderful backers. A big welcome to everyone who’s joined the adventure in the last week. Your pledges mean the world to me.

I’m also amazed to see that the ‘Be in the book’ pledges have sold out! Thank you Craig, Phill and Andy… I look forward to giving you all glorious deaths on paper very soon.

I’m currently hitting my target of 1% per day, and if we keep this up then we should be fully funded on 4th May, so if you’ve already pledged please continue to spread the word and let any fantasy fiction fans you know that the book is coming. Word of mouth is the best way to help make this happen. Here’s the link: https://unbound.com/books/end-of-magic/

We discuss The End of Magic and how Unbound work in this week’s episode of The Bestseller Experiment podcast. Have a listen here… http://bestsellerexperiment.com/unbound-and-the-end-of-magic/

 

 

The End of Magic – week 1 update

My new book The End of Magic is coming soon from Unbound! It’s a fantasy adventure mash-up of the kind of high fantasy I read in my youth, with a bloody dash of the grimdark I enjoy now. Yes, I’ve invented a new genre called GrimFun* – you’re welcome!

Here’s a short video of me looking all windswept and David Starkey…

 

 

Why Unbound? One big reason was the opportunity to work with Simon Spanton. Simon is an editor of excellent taste who has worked with the likes of Richard Morgan (Altered Carbon), Joe Abercrombie (The Blade Itself) and Scott Lynch (The Lies of Locke Lamora). I couldn’t pass this up!

And Unbound use a crowdfunding model, which means I have to raise about four grand in 90 days! It also means that every book they publish is profitable, and there are few publishers that can boast that these days. And after the Bestseller Experiment it seemed apt that I should jump feet first into a new way of publishing.

To entice you good people to pledge for a copy of the book, there are all sorts of rewards on offer. You could get your name in the back of the book (or the front, for a few quid more!), you could even have a character named after you (but be quick – two of those have gone already!). If you’re a writer, I could give you constructive feedback on your novel or screenplay, or I could give a talk on the Hero’s Journey to your writers’ group or school, and there’s a completely mental option where we go for a pub lunch in Herne Bay. Only two available. One has gone already…

I know that times are hard and money is tight, so if this is a little rich for your pocket then all I ask is a little signal boost: please tell all your fantasy fiction fans that this book is coming, because I think they’ll love it. Please send them here: https://unbound.com/books/end-of-magic/

After a week of fundraising, I’m just over a quarter of the way there, which is great, but other Unbounders tell me that this is the easy bit. Once your friends and family have all chipped in the real work begins… Wish me luck and come and join me on this adventure!

 

 

PS. If you like the music in the video, it was composed and performed by my friend Dominic Currie. Check out his Soundcloud page here. He’s something of a genius.

 

*I actually think Jen Williams got there before me, but she prefers the term GleeDark, which is just as cool.