Author Newsletter August 2016

Wow – that was a busy month.  As I mentioned last month, I may have suddenly realised that I had to get my skates on and get the novella sorted out pretty sharpish!  I had been dragging my heels somewhat, and it turns out there was quite a lot to do.  But I got there!  Which is very exciting.  So, in news of all things Mandestroy, this is what’s happened:

  • Mandestroy book in a blog concluded;
  • The final edit of Mandestroy was pulled together (including a sentence by sentence overhaul);
  • It got a beta read from Joshua C. Cook – thanks Josh!;
  • And it was published (hurrah!) on Smashwords for FREE and Amazon for $0.99 (more on that later).

But it’s not all about Mandestroy – oh no.  What else has been going on in James Hockley’s world?

  • Fear’s Union limped out of SPFBO#2 with the “Katana of potential” award – not all bad then!
  • Some more reviews of Fear’s Union have popped up – mixed opinions so far…
  • I’ve been reading lots (as always) with a particular highlight being Robin Hobb’s Ship of Magic.  Epic in every sense.

That’s the headlines.  Now, on with the news!

What was on my to-do list?

Well, here’s what I set out to do in my last newsletter (with annotations to assess my success).  No wonder I’m tired:

  • Finish final review of Mandestroy ; done!
  • Blog the rest of Mandestroy and publish on Inkitt; done!
  • Bonnet-up review of the prose (the final polish)done!
  • Format Mandestroy for ebook distributiondone!
  • Setup a Smashwords accountdone!
  • Publish Mandestroy on Amazon and othersdone!
  • Publish Fear’s Union to Smashwords – fail;
  • Book review blogs (see above)done!
  • Reading the Assiduous Quest of Tobias Hopkinsdone!
  • Finish reading Ship of Magicdone!
  • Blog on my reviewing experiences (subject to time!) – fail;
  • Beagle continues his journey and finally reaches Mallisdone!

Is that success overall?  I would say so.  As you can probably see, much of my time has been devoted to getting Mandestroy over the line, and I think I’m actually really happy with the results.  Now I just need to spread the word – which is what we’ll talk about next!


It’s done!  So, I’ve managed to conceptualise, write, edit, re-write, Mandestroy_Book_Coveredit, re-write, final edit, and publish a book in 6 months.  Easy.

Well – not so much.  As anyone who’s a regular visitor will know, I have been logging all my time whilst I’ve been pulling Mandestroy together, and the results are quite astounding.  The total time spent  on the relatively short novella (it’s c. 35,000 words) was 162 hours.  That’s four full working weeks, and that doesn’t include all the other stuff I’ve been up to with this website, or Fear’s Union, or reading, or anything else I get up to in my self-publishing adventures.  And for the avoidance of doubt, this is on top of a full-time job and play-time with a two year old!  Here’s the schematic of where my author time’s been going for the past 6 months:


So there we have it, if asked what quality one needs to be a self-published author, my answer is this: obsession and blind-devotion to the path.  If I look at those stats objectively, I can only conclude that I’m mad.  Will I stop doing it?  No.  Because it’s brilliant!

Anyway, Mandestroy is now out there in the following locations:

So what do I still need to do?  Well, it’s been submitted for Smashwords premium catalogue approval which will then ship it out for free to all other major online retailers (iTunes; Kobo; Barnes & Noble; etc.)  And once it has gone through this channel properly, I will then tell Amazon that is available for free elsewhere so that (hopefully) they price match.  This is a bit experimental for me, but quite exciting.

Fear’s Union

Turning our attention back to Fear’s Union, as alreadyFear's-Union mentioned, I’ve been reading like a maniac in order to exchange reviews for Fear’s Union.  Overall I think that the feedback has been positive, though there are some clear points that keep cropping up which I think I would like to address.  You can check out the reviews on Goodreads here (I need to setup my website so these get linked through!)

But beyond that, it also got bumped out of the SPFBO#2.  A shame, but that was a long shot, and there were some positive comments which was cool.

So – what next?  Well, the KDP Select period has now expired on Fear’s Union, so I’m now free to publish the book through other mediums – which I shall do.  First things first though, there are some formatting issues that I need to sort out.  So, the plan is: sort those  formatting issues out and then get it published through Smashwords.  You will notice that this was on last month’s to-do list.  Whoops.

But what about beyond this?  Well, I’m undecided.  I want to make some changes to Fear’s Union, but I’m unsure how far I should go.  First things first, I will probably re-read the book, then collect all the feedback that I have, and then make a decision.  Because what I really want to do is get on with the next book!  Decisions decisions…

Author Newsletter

One thing I am going to do is to make the goodies available through my author newsletter much better.  At the moment this is the only way to access the short story “Dusk is Coming“, but I want to give more than this to those people who want to stay in touch.  So what I’m going to do is offer a trio of goodies for anybody who wants to sign up for my newsletter:

  • The short story, Dusk is Coming (including another edit); and
  • An extended version of Mandestroy with four additional “secret scenes”.

So come and join me to get hold of your FREE GOODIES by signing  up for the newsletter.

What’s on the go?

Without giving myself too firm an agenda, this is what I would like to achieve this month:

  • Get Fear’s Union published to other online retailers;
  • 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 – Beagle has told me he’s having a bit of a break.  I will find something else to put up instead!.

And please get in contact if you have any questions.  Thanks for reading!

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