I’m hearing a lot of people trying to sum up their goals for 2015 into a single word. This extends to a lot of writers. I’m the odd one out it seems as I have two words: “hard work”.
But one word (that is one word long) I’ve been hearing over and over again from writers is “diversification”.
Once a month, I submit an article and it gets posted to Fantasy-Faction. There are loads of others who do likewise and a couple of people like Mark & Jennie who work their socks off for the site. Having run Action-Figure, I know just how much work goes into running a big site (and the stress that goes with it – never again!) and I have nothing but admiration for Mark & Jennie.
After a few award nominations Fantasy-Faction has won a Reddit Stabby award. This is awesome recognition and well-deserved! I’m very proud of the site and the work it’s done and pleased that it is getting the attention it deserves. Well done!
I have to be honest – I’m going to miss 2014. It was such a good year for me that it’s going to be hard to top. I’d set out to have a Year of Adventure and I certainly managed that.
In between all the house buying, tornado chasing, and sword stabbing I also managed to get a lot written. Probably the most I’ve ever done. The sad thing is that the results of that hard work never got to be seen by anyone. That’s publishing for you!
But I’m determined to capitalise on the work I’ve done and continue to push myself forward. It might be 2016 or 2017 before I reap the benefits of that work but I don’t want to slack off just yet.
And so 2015 is my Year of Hard Work – a year to knuckle down, shut myself off from the world a little and just get a tonne of shit done. I was pretty productive in 2014, but I intend to see just how far I can push it.
Hence the last couple of days I’ve been working on the last chapters of Thieving King, doing some submission work on Black as Knight, researching my next book, and starting work on a proposal. January is going to be insanely busy.
Because of this and because of things I learnt in 2014, rather than plan the whole year out, I’m going to take things as they come. Projects have been shuffled around based on which one seems the best fit at the time and matches my career aims best. So rather than plan all my 2015 projects right away, I’ll just work on this one and then when it’s done choose the next one. At least that’s the current plan, I intend to be flexible as needs must.
I’m very excited about the 2015 projects I’m already working on but I’m not ready just yet to start talking about them.
But what I can say with a fair amount of confidence is that after a lot of delay and heartache, barring any major issues, The Thieving King should see release in 2015. I know, it’s been too long a wait and I intend for a MUCH shorter gap before the next book in the series. It’s the largest book I’ve ever written so hopefully that will go a small way toward compensating for the delay.
So here’s to 2015. There’s a lot of writing ahead, a lot of hard work (hence why I’m writing blog posts at 1am). Let’s hope it proves as successful as the Year of Adventure did!
With Black As Knight out the way, I spent some time last night scheduling the remaining work needed to get the final draft of The Thieving King done. It’s a huge, complex book and I really started to appreciate all the planning I put into this draft which should make it easier now I’m in the meat of the novel. Still, I reckon I can get it done by my internal deadline, even allowing for all the other craziness that’s currently going on in my life.
But, as if to remind me Thieving King needs to deliver as much as its prequel, I got a couple of bits of good news about The Four Realms.
It appears that The Four Realms is current on offer at Amazon for just £1.02 in the UK and 99c in the US! So if you’ve been considering picking the book up then now is a good time. I have no idea how long the promotion will be running for, so best not delay.
The Four Realms also recently got voted as one of Reddit R/Fantasy’s Official Underrated and Underread Fantasy. Whilst the main vote is now over, there’s an ongoing poll over at Goodreads. I’m currently sitting at #16. So if you loved the book (or indeed loved any of the others listed), please be sure to go vote.
Which leads me to the last point. If you’ve read the book and love it, or even if you didn’t, please be sure to go and rate the book at places like Amazon and Goodreads. Aside from being a major ego boost when someone posts how much they loved your novel (and trust me on days when you discover massive plot holes and have unco-operative characters, you need it!), small press books like mine really, really depend on word of mouth and reviews at places like Goodreads or Amazon. You honestly have no idea how much. False platitudes aren’t going to help anyone but honest reviews might just help someone find a book they love.
It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation. You need honest reviews to get people to consider your book and possibly buy it. But you need people to buy it so they can review it. So if you have two minutes to either rate or review, I’d really, really appreciate it.
So I have returned home to a week I have just blocked out as “comedown”. I’m tired, jetlagged and missing new friends I made on the trip. However, something exciting got announced yesterday that I’ve been keeping quiet for a couple of weeks… I’m on a jury for the British Fantasy Awards, specifically the jury for Best Film / Television Episode. For obvious reasons I won’t be talking about the work I’m doing for it, but I’m both thrilled and honoured to be asked and hope we do the award proud.
Details below the cut.
In many ways I should look back on 2013 as a shit year. It challenged me in ways I could never have imagined. But in reality, I think it was actually a really good year. The universe decided to throw everything it possibly could against me… and it lost.
Leggedon was a defining moment and I surprised myself with how I reacted. If I’m being honest, I would have pegged myself as someone who when faced with overwhelming adversity would have turned away. But I didn’t (probably more out of stupidity than courage), and in doing so discovered some inner strength I didn’t know I had.
This came at the same time as a second draft of the sequel to Four Realms seemed to collapse on me. As much as I like to use fate, destiny and divine providence as a storytelling device, it’s not something I really believe in. But if the fates really wanted to try and stop me in my tracks they made a bloody good attempt in 2013. But I still won.
Anarchy Books is running a promotion between 25th and 30th December where you can download a copy of The Four Realms and four other of its titles for FREE. Please tell everyone you know to ‘buy’ a copy (even if they don’t own a kindle) as it not only helps my Amazon sales ranking but it in turn will help with future book sales. Full press release after the cut.
Read My BSFA Article In This Sampler Issue
I only half apologise for talking about it again (as I’m secretly quite proud of this article) but Alex has emailed me to let me know that the BSFA (British Science Fiction Association) has put together a sampler of the latest issue of Focus where, amongst other things, you can read the article about my personal experience with writing groups on the way to becoming published.
If you’re looking to get published then it’s definitely worth checking out. The BSFA provides a number of excellent resources for unpublished genre writers, including Focus and their Orbit Writing Group.
I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately. This is partly because Wolf Hall is proving to be the slowest book I’ve ever read – that book is like rich Christmas cake, unable to be devoured and instead eaten in small, well-spaced, delicious slices. This weekend I read a book I received as a Kickstarter reward on chasing tornados and then found myself, almost inexplicably, diving into several books on the self-publishing market.
Just a quick note to say that there’s an article on myself and The Four Realms inside this week’s Bracknell News, including a suitably dodgy picture of said author. If you live in the area, be sure to pick up a copy!