If there’s one writing project that’s fallen behind schedule this year, then it has to be the mysteriously named Project Tornado.
My plan was that this would go live in early February, and what are we now?  Mid-March?  Six weeks later.
In many ways there’s good reason for this.  This has been me dipping my toe into uncharted waters and seeing how deep that water is.  The answer: a lot deeper than I thought.  As a result, this project has grown a lot in scale in those additional six weeks.
So what is Project Tornado, I hear you ask?  Well it’s my folly – my very own digital imprint – Tornado Press.

Oh, so you say, you’re moving into self-publishing?  The answer is both yes and no.  You see my fiction is currently focused on traditional publishing.  I’m getting close to finishing off the first draft of 4S, which with any luck will be a traditional publishing project.  Thieving King already has a home and a few people think that Black as Knight can probably find a traditional publisher (that’s my next major project after launching this).
But the one thing that’s always impressed me about successful indie publishers, is how hard they graft in marketing their books.  I honestly wonder how some of them have time to write books, given how busy they are, doing jobs that would typically be spread over entire teams at a traditional publisher.
I, for my part, know nothing about book marketing.  I mean, I can go on twitter, I can rustle up a blog post or two, but I can’t do marketing like these guys.
And as I’ve stated, my business strategy this year is to do everything at once.  And that means learning about book marketing.  And if I need to learn book marketing, where better place to learn than from those who are finding success in indie publishing.
But I want to do far more than just learn.  I want to know that if months or years down the line I’m in a position of having to go self-published that I know what to do, that all the newbie mistakes are behind me.
I came to the conclusion last year that if I really wanted to learn this stuff, then I needed to do it.
So this year, I created Tornado Press – my very own digital publisher, a place where I can play, trying out a few things and see what works and what doesn’t.  I honestly expect to fall on my face more than I succeed.  Hence why, whilst not a secret, I’m keeping it separate from my fiction career.  It’s also why I’m not looking for other people to publish.  Sorry!
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking it seriously.  I’ve taken it more seriously than I thought, invested more money into it than I ever intended, and am targeting the sorts of results that even successful indie writers would think amazing.  Yep, never let it be said I do things by halves.
So in between pitches to traditional publishers, writing new novels, editing articles and submitting short stories, I’ve been learning about SEO, learning how to commission covers, formatting ebook files and navigating KDP.  It’s been scary and exciting.  And you thought writing over 200,000 words so far this year had been keeping me busy?
The current plan is that Tornado Press will only publish my non-fiction ebooks  (either as me or alter-ego mes whose careers I don’t have to worry about accidentally destroying).  I’m experimenting with a self-help series under a pen name (mainly because these can be very short and so don’t take a lot of time to write), and there was that Geocaching book I always said I would do that was too niche to be anything other than a self-published project.
I’ll be adding further ebooks to the line-up as the year progresses.  I’ll also be taking what I learnt and applying it to my fiction career.  I think there’s a good chance of there being a prequel novella for my Four Realms series before Thieving King comes out as a result of all this.
Obviously I’m learning as I go.  Even if this is one massive failure, I’ll have got something worthwhile out the experience, despite the corpses of pen-names scattered behind me.
My first release is “Fail Your Way To Success” under the name Hutton Armstrong, and it’s currently available on Kindle for the paltry sum of $2.99.  However, if anyone is willing to leave me an honest Amazon review, I’m happy to give you a review copy for free (There’s also other ways to get it free but I’m finalising the marketing plan on that!).  It’s only about 10,000 words long, which seems to be the market average for self-help (and part of the reason for trying this genre), so it should be a quick hour-long read.  Shout me on FB, Twitter, email or in the comments if you’re interested in reviewing this and I’ll get back to you.
I need some reviews before I can progress with the next stage of the marketing plan.  If there’s interest I’ll be sharing progress and stats here as I go along with this experiment so you can see where I succeed and where I completely fail.
And if you’re there sat wondering how I got this far, let me know in the comments below if there are any areas you’d like me to cover.