Happy New Year, y'all. Let's get to it, shall we?
So 2014 is already a landmark year for me. On a personal level, I'm almost certainly moving house at the end of the month, following a long period of employment uncertainty, and whilst in the short term this means I'm entering a personal hell of boxes, packing paper and scotch tape, in the medium and long term it is unequivocally A Good Thing.
And of course professionally, my first three pieces are being published. Which is nice.
So this seems like a good time to reflect on my writing career so far, and maybe just do a little bit of thinking about what comes next. I'm going to start with the numbers:
- Folder entitled 'Stories' created in my Dropbox account on 13th August 2012 (I'd started work before this, but this must have been the day I realised I needed good back-up storage for my work)
- File entitled 'Lifeline D1.wps’ created 24th August 2012. 'D1' designation is only attached to completed stories, so this is the date I finished D1 of Lifeline, my first story.
- From then to today, I've written 22 short stories and 1 novel to at least D1.
- 12 of these short stories are now at 'final' status, indicating they are ready for market submission. Of the remaining 10, 2 are awaiting final story edits following critical reads, 1 is currently with critical readers (so at D2), and the remaining 7 (including the novel) are at D1.
- Of the 12 stories at 'final', 9 are currently 'at market' - i.e. collecting rejection slips. So far, I have made a total of 50 submissions to markets for consideration. I have received 38 rejections (5 personal), with 9 currently pending.
- 3 of the above 12 have been accepted for publication.
For my first 18 months, I think that's pretty good going. My production rate could be higher - will be, once I'm in the new place and have more space. But given I have a full time job, yeah, not too shabby. Also, I'm being published.
This is insane. To be getting acceptances, and acceptances this early on, is nuts. It's a huge confidence booster, sure, but there's also a weirdly nervous component to it. I have a complicated relationship with success. I can handle rejection. I expect rejection. This is helpful in many ways. It means I'm not fazed by getting told 'thanks but no thanks' for the 38th time (and counting) - I just shrug, look for the next market, and send it back out there. Also, as long as this thing is just a hobby, I'm 100% free to write whatever the hell I want, without any worries about expectation. Crime thriller? Cool. Sci-Fi? Go for it! Friday night at a casino poker table? Hell, why not?
I get a cool title or concept, I can just write it, see what happens, where it goes. It's endlessly entertaining and liberating and I don't want to stop.
On the other hand, I want people to read this stuff. That's kind of the point. And yes, specifically, I want people to pay me to read this stuff, because I'm better at doing this than I am at doing anything else, and because I love doing it.
Which means sales.
So here's where I am. My debut e-novella 'The Loving Husband and the Faithful Wife' (plus short story 'The Debt') goes on general release via Amazon on 25th January. It's being published by Black Beacon Books. The release price will be $1.99 ASD, which will be a little over £1 on amazon.co.uk.
I want people to pre-order this story, because I want good week one sales. It's important. It tells the publisher I'm serious. It demonstrates I have an audience. It helps build my profile, increases chances of better exposure which in turns means more people are likely to want to read, my piece, which means... all good things. The bandwagon effect, driven by positive word of mouth. It’s pretty well the only shot small indie publishers and authors have, for obvious reasons.
So that's what I want, and what's in it for me. What's in it for you? Well, for starters, if you pre-order before release date (25th January, remember) direct from the publisher ( http://blackbeaconbooks.blogspot.co.uk/p/shop.html ) you will be charged only $1.10 ASD - which works out around 60p - and you will receive the book by email on the day of release. So you'll get to feel great about supporting my work, AND get it way cheaper than the people who stumble in late to the party. Also, the 25th, 50th, 75th and 100th people to place a pre-order will have that order fulfilled straight away - that's right, those lucky people will actually get the book IN ADVANCE of general release. You'll need to be quick though, as that 25th order will be placed any day now... :) Finally, if 100 pre-orders are made, one lucky UK resident will receive a signed copy of my band’s debut album in limited-to-100-pressings CD format, and I will sign it with the dedication or inscription of your choice.
I'm doing what I can, everything I can, to try and make this a success. I've sent queries or review copies out to 75 book review bloggers over the last week. I've hassled every writer friend I know, and dropped 'no obligation' review copies into in-boxes. Some of those critical notices will be coming in before the 25th, and you can bet I'll be yelling it from the rooftops when they arrive. I've spammed Twitter ( @KitGonzo ), Facebook ( www.facebook.com/kitpowerwriter ) and in the next day or two, my band blog and emailing list. You have my apologies, and my gratitude for your forbearance.
But I need you. I need you to 'like', and 'share', and 'retweet', and '+1' and all of that shit. I have 100 friends on FaceBook, and 90 twitter followers, with a fair amount of overlap. It's unrealistic to expect every one of them to buy a copy. So I need you. I need you to help me, to tell anyone you know that owns a device that can read Kindle format books (which, by the way, is anyone with a SmartPhone or iPad or PC - so, everyone) who likes thrillers, crime stories, non-supernatural horror, who likes writing with passion and blood, writing that sucks you in and makes you think, every single one of them, and ask them to take a flyer, and put 60p on a hungry up-and-coming author friend you know who is trying to make something happen.
Oh, yeah, and buy a copy yourself. I promise you won't regret it. I'm proud of these two tales, and I want them out in the world.
This is not the last time I will be published. But it is my only debut.
Thanks for being here at the beginning. It means the world, and I will not forget.
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