Author Newsletter September 2016

It’s been another busy month, but I feel like I’ve reached some sort of plateau, which is nice.  This is what I’ve been up to:

  • Sorting out free goodies for newsletter subscribers;
  • Getting Fear’s Union published in other retailers;
  • Getting Mandestroy priced for free on Amazon;
  • Reading and reviewing more books in exchange for reviews of Mandestroy;
  • Blogging book reviews and writing experiences; and
  • Thinking about where to go next.

So, where does this all leave us?  Well, I’m quite proud of where I’ve got to – the website has come along nicely, and I’m comfortable with the maintenance and blogging.  I have two books “out there”, including a free one, so I am officially an author and people are reading my work.  Hurrah!  And I’ve had some interesting feedback which really helps with forward momentum.

But now it’s time to stand back and think about that forward momentum.  At the end of the day, this is all about the writing, and so I’m going to get back to it.  Read on to find out what I have up my sleeve…


The to-do list – how’s it going?

Looking back at the month of August, I think it was quite productive (though quite manic).  I had a long to-do list, and I’ve knocked most of it on the head.  Here’s a run-down of how it all panned out versus what I had planned:

  • Get Fear’s Union published to other online retailers; done!
  • Make sure Mandestroy is available for free everywhere; done!
  • Sort out the free goodies for newsletter subscribers; done!
  • Book review blog of Robin Hobb’s ‘Ship of Magic’; done!
  • Book review blog for Kim Cleary’s ‘Truth Unveiled’; done!
  • Book review blog of James Faro’s ‘The Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkins’; done!
  • Book review blog of Brent Weeks’s ‘The Way of Shadows’ – fail;
  • My ‘How to edit your own book’ blog; done!
  • And Beagle will finally make it to Mallis; done!

All in all I call that a success, and the Way of Shadows only failed because I’ve been diverting reading time elsewhere.  It’s certainly not because I’m not enjoying The Way of Shadows – it’s hotting up nicely!


Mandestroy

Not a load to update on here.  Mandestroy is out in the big badMandestroy_Book_Cover world; it is free through Smashwords, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk; and it is being picked up by a steady stream of readers.  That has to be good news doesn’t it?  I’m looking forward to seeing some reviews come in, but there’s no movement in that space yet.  Hopefully people like it!

But I am planning on a bit of an experiment with Mandestroy as follows: so far, the grand total of my marketing is … nil.  I have put the book out for free, and that’s really it.  And that’s the way I’m going to leave it.  Until…

…next month (October), when I’m going to setup a series of tweets with a couple of different #tags.  Be interesting to see what happens, eh?

Oh – there is one thing that has moved on: the extended version of Mandestroy is available by signing up for the newsletter – see details below or here.


Fear’s Union

On the face of it, there’s not a lot of movement here either, but behind the scenes I’ve got a lot of decisions to make.  To rewrite or not to rewrite…

Fear's-Union-MediumNow, I’ve got some good reviews of FU, and I’ve had some great feedback in those reviews and via discussions with the reviewers, but the problem is that there’s a lot of food for thought.  Now, the reviews are varied, and that’s okay in itself (this is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea), but it has left me wondering whether I’m doing the story justice.  As a writer, you want to reach as many people who’d be interested in your story as possible, and I’m not convinced I’m doing this with FU.  To illustrate, here are some interesting facts:

  • FU has fifteen (yes, that’s 15) different POVs.  That’s a lot of heads for the reader to get inside!  One set of guidance I have seen suggests a maximum of three, so I’ve blown that out of the water.  Whoops.
  • None of the characters in FU get as much airtime as Kantal does in the novella, Mandestroy.  When put like this, this sounds like a problem.

The challenge with these points is that they suggest a rather substantial edit, and that is a bummer.  But here’s the other side of the coin: the Age of Ku series has been my goal for over a decade, and I’m desperate to tell the story.  But I also want to do it justice – it is not my proving ground.  So that decides it really.  We’re going in for a re-work…


What I’m working on

As part of the feedback process, and related to what I talk about above, I’ve been digging into deep POV.  Deep POV is essentially telling a story at the shortest end of the scale of ‘psychic distance’ – putting the reader in the head of the character.  It appears to be a popular writing style these days in a world where readers are hooked into the mega-internet-highway 24:7, i.e. always emotionally plugged into the world.  Now, this is certainly worth a look, and I think I may blog about this in my writing experience blog this month, but here’s a summary of my current thoughts:

  • As a reader, I’m not that bothered about deep POV.  As a “big-picture” reader, I don’t mind being a bit further from the head of the character – I am able to blank out the author layer as long as it is not too intrusive.  I am also comfortable back-solving conclusions (i.e. if I am told rather than shown, I don’t really give a damn!)  But that’s me as a reader.  I’m probably not standard.
  • As a writer, I need to stay faithful to my story, and there is a big picture in FU that I want to get across.  But deep POV is not about changing the story, it’s just about changing the perspective.  And if a change in perspective helps readers hook into the story, then it’s got to be a good thing, doesn’t it?  I don’t think I’m a million miles from deep POV in writing style anyway, though I do zoom in and zoom out more than  deep POV allows, so one thing I’m going to do is edit Mandestroy to deep POV standards.  Let’s see if that makes a difference shall we?

And once I’m comfortable with the deep POV principles, I will apply them to Fear’s Union!


But before that…

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and I will be jumping on board once more.  What to write?  Well, one thing I do want tWallpapersxl Hair White Woman Beautiful Girl View 917547 2560x1600o do is to write something new – as much as I love Fear’s Union, I do need a bit of a break.  So I’m going to revisit something I attempted a while back, and use that as a blueprint for a novel to write in November 2016.

For those who’ve read Mandestroy, you may recall that Kantal’s favourite book is The Dark Side of the Stone – the personal journal of Queen Delfin, founder of the nation of Delfinia.  Well, I had a go at writing her history a few years ago, and although the writing is not great, there’s the basis of a story there.  So I’m going to plan it out, and then write the book in November!  Stay tuned for more details next month.


The plan for the month

I’m not going to be quite so check-listy this month – I want to allow myself to do some research and play around with a few things without a firm agenda.  But there are some things that will happen for certain, so it’s only fair to keep you all updated.  So here’s the checklist I wasn’t going to write…

  • Read the old version of Delfin’s story and start planning The Dark Side of the Stone;
  • Investigate deep POV and gap analyse Mandestroy;
  • Writing experience blog: my thoughts on deep POV;
  • Book review blogs: Genesis; Sullen Falls; Bridgbreaker; and The Departed;
  • Beagle will immerse himself in Mallis; and
  • Finish reading The Way of Shadows!

That’s it from me this month.  As ever, please do get in touch if you feel the need.  I’d be delighted to hear from you!  And have a great September.

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