I haven’t been blogging very frequently lately, so maybe it’s time for a progress report at least.
I’ve just had the best sales yet on a Kindle Countdown Deal, with The Legacy selling over a hundred copies in total. I realize this doesn’t sound like I’m into the megabucks range – I’m a long way from that! – but compared with the way things were before I got back the rights to The Legacy and The Dream, it’s amazing. Back then I would get excited when I had a couple of sales in a month, so a hundred in seven days feels like pretty good going.
Like most writers I want to make a living from doing what I love, and of course so far I am nowhere near that point, but there is improvement, albeit that at times it seems almost imperceptible.
I am currently working on two novels, both of which will have time travel elements. I enjoy writing ‘stranger in a strange land’ stories, where the main character has to put it all together herself (I haven’t yet braved writing from a male perspective!) and keep up appearances, so one of them is in that form. The other one is far more tricky but involves a dystopian near future and the 18th century. I’m still working out all the details with that one due to the complexity of the ideas so watch this space!
I also still have a children’s science fiction story work in progress that I hope to get finished at some point, and ideas for further novels occur far too often for me to keep up!
I’m going to carry on with self-publishing for now. I may submit work to agents at some point but although I would very much like my books to be in libraries and bookshops (as the versions of The Legacy and The Dream published by Snowbooks were, of course) and my paperbacks to sell better (available via CreateSpace) so far my experience of self-publishing has been good and enjoyable, and of course more lucrative, even though still a long way from enough to live on!
To my utter amazement, Angelica Died is almost ready. It seems incredible to me that I’ve actually reached that stage. With each book I always have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t, somehow, manage to complete it, and yet the miracle occurs, nevertheless.
So here is the cover of Angelica Died, and I anticipate its being on Kindle in March and then soon afterwards available in paperback.
This is my experiment in self-publishing an actual novel. I shall see how it goes!
I’m pretty good at changing my mind about things, and now that I’m not hamstrung by any plans to offer my next book to a publisher (short of an absolutely fabulous offer of thousands and thousands of pounds!) I’ve had a lot of ideas about the book formerly known (to me at least) as The Song. I’ve been working madly on it lately, but the signs are that it may well become two novels. I’ve even considered making it a trilogy, mainly because ‘the muse is upon me’, but I’ve decided two books will be best. If the word count is as long as I anticipate then it will be two books, but if not then it will be a single book with two distinct parts.
My decision to self-publish my next novel is exciting and freeing, but I shall miss the pleasure of seeing it in libraries and bookshops. In the case of the latter I’ve seen almost no copies of my other two books in bookshops, but it has been especially heartening to know both my books are in quite a few libraries. If things go well with e-book sales then I’ll look at producing a paperback.
Watch this space for more news of…er…whatever title I finally decide upon!
An old friend asked me yesterday whether, given my current shaky financial situation, I regret giving up work. Should I, as advised by myriad writing gurus, have kept my day job and written in my spare time?
The answer is no, because I wasn’t writing in my spare time. I was plagued by work stress that sucked the life out of me. I was depressed, miserable, and despite a constant longing to write and the sense I’d had all my life that I was born to write, I was not doing so in any more than the occasional, short-lived spurt.
I didn’t have any money behind me, or a partner to support me through the process, but I felt that I had to take action to achieve my life’s ambition. I eventually took a lump sum out of an old work pension and got to work on The Legacy. It was a revelation to find that I had been right. I immersed myself in research and writing and the word count began to grow. I had always feared that I couldn’t finish a book, as all my earlier work had stuttered to a halt when I’d lost interest after about 30,000 words.
I think, more than anything, reaching that final 100,000 words was the biggest achievement for me. I had actually written a book! I could do it. I could finish a project. It took a lot longer to find a publisher than it had taken to write the book, and of course it was a wonderful moment to receive the e-mail from Snowbooks saying they wanted to publish, but the greatest achievement was just finishing the novel.
Now I’ve finished my second novel and am working on my third and I don’t regret anything I’ve done. I haven’t made any money to speak of yet, and I certainly hope that changes very soon, but even so, I’m not sitting hunched over my computer screen at work wishing I was writing any more; instead I’m sitting hunched over my laptop thinking up my next piece of dialogue, and that is just where I want to be.
The Dream is finally complete, barring one final edit (I can’t be the only writer who finds it so hard to let go of her baby, can I?). It has been a lengthy process and I’m still finding it hard to believe that it’s at an end.
I wrote the outline of my proposed third book last July and I’m very glad to finally get started on it. So far I’m writing fast, and it’s going well. My main female character seems to get younger with each book, and it’s an interesting change to be writing about a protagonist who is in her early twenties. She’s surprisingly easy to imagine, as I’ve based her on what I’d probably have been like if I’d been born in 1990 to well off parents!
I’m hoping most sincerely that it takes me a quarter of the time to write this novel, tentatively named The Song, as it did to write The Dream.
The heading for this post has a bit of a double meaning. I’m still completely amazed that my book is going to be on the shelves in a mere couple of months, and that I am on the cusp of achieving my lifelong dream. At the same time I’m getting near to concluding the first draft of my second novel, The Dream. It’s taken me a little longer to write The Dream than it did to write The Legacy, perhaps because of all the repercussions of my mother’s stroke in mid-2009. I had just finished The Legacy then, and was in (what I thought was…!) the final editing stage, but due to the drastic situation with both my mother and father (he had Alzheimer’s), I didn’t begin sending out to agents until several months later.
I started The Dream after my father died at the end of 2009, but new caring responsibilities for my mother, as well as study commitments with the Open University, must have slowed me down because here I am still working on it a year and a half on! I’m hopeful, however, that I won’t have to spend quite as many months editing The Dream as I did with The Legacy as I’ve done more as I’ve gone along this time.
I have several ideas for further novels banked up, but I still haven’t decided which of them I will start on once The Dream is finished. The sad thing about completing The Dream is that I won’t need to think myself into New Zealand any more. That has certainly been a boon during stressful times (thankfully not so bad now that my mother can walk again).
I spoke to my ‘Uncle’ in New Zealand this morning, and told him all about the book and how parts of it are set around where he lives. He’s not a blood relative, but was my father’s closest friend when they were growing up. He emigrated, but my father couldn’t because he had asthma. The Dream incorporates some of this sort of story as well as some of the things that actually happened to me in New Zealand. It’s all completely fictionalised, but I think I can safely say that my memories of New Zealand have been well used! I had no idea that was going to happen when I went there, of course.
I’m hoping that The Dream will be good enough to follow The Legacy into print, and that it makes it onto the shelves in New Zealand as well!