D-Day

Well D-day has come and I’ve finally uploaded my debut novel, 27, to the Amazon kindle store. Amazon willing (and let’s be honest Amazon does have deity-like powers these days), it should be available tomorrow.
It seems like it’s been a long journey, from writing the actual novel in the first place, to the 18 months of editing, to the real pain of proof-reading and then the last 24 hours of formatting.
Of course, those in the know tell me that the real journey starts now, that the marketing is much, much harder than the writing. I’ve been pretty lax on the marketing side and now need to get emailing all those book bloggers and influential publishing types. I did have one stroke of luck, though: I’ve been asked to do an interview on Resonance FM on Tuesday. The interview will focus on my work on Five Stop Story, but I’ll try to throw a bit in about my novel too! The show starts at 6:30 on 104.4 fm. I’ll be joined by poets, Indigo Williams Armando Halpern.

Traditional or Self-Publishing?

For ages, I’ve been considering the question of whether to self-publish my novel “27″ or to seek traditional representation. A couple of months ago, I couldn’t decide, and so as I often do in these situations, I decided that I would just pursue both options and see which one worked.

Using a very useful spreadsheet from the Writers’ Workshop (available here) I went through all the UK agents, looked at each of their websites and shortlisted them based on these criteria:

  • - Represents authors I have heard of
  • - Open-minded about new writers
  • - Good website and seems au fait with social media (The target audience for my work is 20/30-somethings so I wanted to select an agent who understood this audience)

I got as far as a shortlist of 20, and then I spent two days drafting a query letter.

Then I stopped to think. Stopping to think is sometimes dangerous as it can lead to inaction. On this occasion though, I think it stopped me from wasting time.

  • I thought about the ratio of query letters to publishing contracts (less than 1 in 5,000?)
  • I thought about the length of time, it takes to i) get an agent ii) get a publisher iii) get published ~ let’s say a year each for i) and ii) and 2 years for editing and marketing in part iii) – so 4 years in total (if your book is what they are looking for)
  • And then I asked myself where will traditional publishers be in 4 years? I suspect that with the way the market is going, some of them won’t even exist.

So do I want a traditional publisher? Well, I wouldn’t say no if one tapped me on the shoulder right now and offered me a good deal. But for the time being I think I’ll try self publishing.

The perfect Christmas treat: the Five Stop Story Kindle e-book

Christmas is coming, the shops are covered in lights and there is a Christmas tree on every corner. I’m in Bangkok and I never expected it to be this festive here. But it’s great – I’m loving all the good cheer and the decorations. The Thais love Christmas – I think mainly because it’s just enough excuse to have fun and enjoy themselves. And also an excuse to visit the shopping malls which are always packed whatever time of year it is.
Getting into the Christmas spirit, Five Stop Story is going to launch an e-book in time for Christmas. This will feature 30 of the best short stories from the competitions. It will be free for a limited introductory period so that authors and their friends and families can download it so get in quick and buy
At the moment, I am trapped in a formatting hell, pummeling the formatting into a Kindle-shaped Christmas package. I was hoping to put one of my own stories in the book, but I haven’t had time to do my own editing! Still, it’s all in a good cause – the first Five Stop Story Kindle book. I can’t wait.

The lovely Robert Coles has also recently interviewed me about the kindle book and Five Stop Story in general on his blog – check out the interview here.

Must get back to formatting now!