A change from my usual blog entries today. This week I was interviewed by Chantelle Atkins. The link to the interview is here. Have a read, and feel free to comment! I'll be back with another 'proper' blog post in the next week or two.
Those who know me well are still surprised that I managed to write the Tor. Not because of the intellectual or creative demands of doing so, nor because of the time commitment involved in creating the novel whilst juggling family life and a full-time job. No, the surprise comes from the fact that the perennial underachiever has somehow coalesced all the ideas, plots, themes and characters bubbling around in his head into a cohesive (and, modesty aside, damn well written) one hundred and forty thousand word tale of horror. Not only that but I’ve managed to plan, in some detail, two other novels during the same time. After all, this is a man whose entire existence is dominated by a melange of lists, lists of lists, post-it notes, and the intermittent pinging of the reminder on my trusty HTC Wildfire. Ping! - you need to collect your son from school. Ping! - don’t forget to buy milk and bread on your way. Ping! - you need to pack your bag for the gym. Ping! - don’t drive straight home after work, your gym bag is in the boot. Ping! - it’s somebody’s birthday so buy a card. Ping! - don’t forget to write the card. Ping! - don’t forget to post it. Ping! Ping! Ping!
Sadly I’m not getting any better with age. Far from it. Take my efforts at promoting The Tor. I’d contacted several prospective reviewers before I’d completed the final release edit. “Sure, we’d be happy to review your book. Can we have a copy?” Er, no. Not yet.
I’ve just not long submitted The Tor to several horror publications in the hope that they’ll review it. I’ve also written a bio and given them my contact information. Of course I had to delay the process as I started drafting my letters to them whilst still trying to sort out the domain name for this website (thanks to the Weebly support team for helping me with that). Then I realised that I’d offered to supply review copies in the electronic format of their choice, or a hard copy - before I’d ordered said copies from Createspace. My own proofing copy took four weeks to arrive. Thankfully those copies for review arrived even quicker.
I did have a vague marketing plan in mind as I approached the completion of the final draft. But a vague plan is nowhere near good enough. My advice to other authors would be to get the plan -a SMART plan- written down before the final draft is complete; advice I intend to take myself when working on the next novel. Sure, some of the bumps in the road were due to my inexperience as a writer and book promoter (tip for the inexperienced: however long you think something will take, double that estimate. And then work like hell). Even so I can’t help but think that, had I not been so arrogant as to think that I didn’t need to write all of this stuff down and think it through, many of those problems could have been avoided. Perhaps ‘arrogant’ is too strong a word. ‘Complacent’ is more accurate. Either way, the point stands. I’ve just noticed the prevalence of the word ‘think’ in the above sentence, too - another point of note. You can’t just wing this stuff. You need to know what you want to achieve, how you intend to achieve it, and who you will need to help you along the way. What can you do to promote your book that others may not have done?
This week I’m off to several local bookshops to try and sell The Tor. So I’ve a mental list of things to take (sample copies, pens, notepad, diary, business cards, etc), a breakdown of what it will cost me to supply them with copies in multiples of five, shipping times, change for parking (most district councils seem to be on a crusade to keep cars and customers away from small towns - but that’s a rant for another time!) - and that’s before I sit down to write a ‘proper’ list. As I said, lists dominate my life.
Anyway. At least the draft for the next novels are in place.
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