My crowdfunding campaign for The End of Magic started on 14th February (how romantic!) 2018and the first pledge was from my aunt Marion. I got ten pledges on the first day… no day after that was ever that easy again! Almost 90 days of crowdfunding to reach my target, then months in the edit, copy-edit, proofread, cover design and then signing off on it and a few sleepless nights where I was sure there would be some disaster like all the pages being printed upside down. And then last week, this happened…
It’s one of those moments that writers dream of and for me it became a reality and I could not have done this without the amazing support of everyone who pledged and spread the word.
I’d become used to seeing the words on a screen and so to finally get a copy in my hands and see the ink on the grain of the page was really special. And then, my social media started going crazy…
You lot are amazing…
I’m completely overwhelmed by the amazing support I’ve had from you all. I really mean it. There’s so much crap going on in the world, but you’ve proven again and again that there are communities of readers and writers and creators who help each other out and bang the drum for new and shiny ideas.
I thank you all again, and I really hope the book lives up to your expectations.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all my years in bookselling it’s that the launch day is just the beginning. I’m going to be on the sales, marketing and publicity warpath for the foreseeable future and anything you good people can do to help spread the word would be much appreciated: pop a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or social media… let your local library or bookshop know that it’s out… stop random strangers in the street and badger them until they– Actually, you can probably skip that last one…
Whatever you can do, thank you, thank you, thank you. You’re all blimming marvellous and I really hope you enjoy the book and I promise to stop banging on about it…
It’s been a fun week with a trip to the beach at Whitstable to interview Julie Wassmer. I had hoped to get some lovely audio atmosphere with waves lapping on shingle and gulls screeching overhead, but the tide was out so I had to settle for a gentle breeze buffeting the microphone. Fortunately, Julie is great fun to chat to and she told me all about working on EastEnders, bumping off the locals in her novels, and why all writers should live in fear of a cup of tea and bacon sandwich. Listen here.
I also got to visit Hachette’s new warehouse in Didcot. While this may not sound like everyone’s idea of a fun day out, I did get to ride on one of their pickers, which went some 25 metres in the air and the queues were shorter than Disney…
Also, if anyone’s concerned that print books are on the decline, this vast palace of storage and hi-tech distribution should allay those fears. This place was built to pump books out into the world and they’ve left plenty of room for expansion.
I finished a short story this week. It’s a prequel to The End of Magic in which we meet our antagonist. My agent Ed read it and enjoyed it, though he did have one note: “Maybe the humour could be a little less lavatorial…? But that’s probably my shit to deal with.”
I do seem to have a thing about bodily functions… What do you say? Should I take this crap?
Like many science fiction and fantasy authors out there, I found myself sighing in despair at this comment from Liz Thomson in the Bookseller. I am beyond proud to have been published by Gollancz, and I realise that this kind snobbery exists, but you expect better from Liz (who’s always been very chatty and friendly whenever I’ve met her) and the Bookseller, a publication that should celebrate all publishing regarding of genre. Sigh…
And a quick update on my fantasy novel The End of Magic– it’s now 80% funded over at Unbound, so it’s not too late to pledge to join the adventure and get your name in the book along with some other cool extras. Click here for more info.
I had the pleasure of speaking to the superb Ed McDonald on the podcast this week. Ed talks very honestly about his first year as a professional author, achieving his dream of getting published, and then he asks the question, “What next?” It’s a very revealing chat and you can listen here.
She was deluged with replies, some from some very big names, and one from me. Only last week, I had a book pitch rejected by a publisher. The response I got was, “We pissed ourselves laughing, we loved it, we just don’t know how to sell it.” And that’s fine. I appreciate the honesty and know that there would be nothing worse than slogging away on a novel for however many months only for the publisher to give a shrug on publication.
And the big treat for the week is the Bestseller Experiment live show with Orion editor Emad Akhtar (pictured above). He answered all sorts of listener questions on writing, editing, storytelling and WWE wrestling… Yes really. You can listen here.
My co-presenter this week was the wonderful Jenn McMenemy, whose own podcast The Ancient History Fangirl, has just launched its second episode and it’s a blast. Check it out here.
In other news, I hit 60% funded on The End of Magic this week! A huge thanks to everyone who has supported the book so far. As a reward (punishment) here’s me reading from the book with another terrible “comedy” accent…
And finally, at the time of writing I’m 59% funded on my book The End of Magic. A thousand thanks to everyone who’s pledged so far, and if you haven’t joined the adventure yet, why not be the hero who nudges me over to 60%? Click here and hit the blue pledge button.
Yes, that’s the BBC microphone muffler I found in the gutter in Oxford Circus last week…
I mention this as it’s one of the many highlights from last week’s Bestseller experiment live show that are now available to plug directly into your earholes via the medium of podcast. Click here for audio fun time.
Thanks to snowmaggeddon I had to record this one at home, but the usually flaky BT broadband actually held up and a splendid time was had by all. We discussed…
The dark secrets of metadata and how you can make it work for your books
How you can make a blog work harder
Tips for when you’re stuck on your outline
Why you should celebrate weaknesses
The pros and cons of present tense versus past tense
We discover what “brain tabs” are, and we discuss top tips for avoiding distractions while writing
The question from Edward Kane on tenses was a fun one to answer, though I’ve since realised that my erudite rambling could be cut down to two simple principles:
The present tense works better for unreliable narrators
The past tense works better for reliable narrators
And the less we will say about the future tense the better*
*I made a bad grammar joke! Am I not funny?
PS. That novel I wrote with Mark Desvaux is still getting lovely reviews. Grab your copy here and tell us what you think.
PS. Oh, and if you want to support our work on the podcast, we now have a Patreon. Do please support us and we can keep this crazy train rolling.