Today is a special day because it’s my first leap into the busy world of indie/self publishing.
I suppose to those of you who may not be authors, or know people that are, or are connected to the inner workings of the publishing world, this might not mean much. But what it actually is, is me striking out on my own and being able to publish a lot of books that have been gestating on my hard drive for some time. Some are very new books, some are very old, and some are in between, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they are all mine.
I class myself as extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity by Scott Pack at The Friday Project to see The Cornelius Quaint Chronicles in print – and there’s still the last in this volume of the series (The Romulus Equation) to be released later in the year/early 2013. Without Scott seeing something that he liked when I’d first posted my book on The Frontlist authors’ forum, perhaps I would never have been able to realise my dream and become an author. Up to that point I had certainly done my fair share of submissions (followed by polite rejections later) and I was getting turned down by every agent that I approached. Being able to give some credibility to my hopes of becoming an author was a galvanizing moment for me, and I felt like a ‘proper’ writer.
But as big bad Bob said, the times they are a’ changin’ and with the end of my 4 book contract for The Quaint Chronicles in sight, I really was unsure about what to do, or even if I wanted to publish anything at all. I thought about quitting writing many times, asking myself if it was worth it? I felt as if I’d failed a bit, in that my books hadn’t received the positivity that I had dreamt it would. I hadn’t ‘failed’ as such…but I just hadn’t attained the place that I wanted to be at yet. I was fatigued from the agent-hunting process, and reticent to start at the beginning and submit to publishers again (and for anyone who might think that just because you’ve got a book in print somehow this opens doors, it’s not true in my experience. It might make an agent or publisher pay more attention to what you’ve submitted, but it’s by no means a foot in the door).
I had been aware of the changing perception of self-publishing, or indie-publishing if you’d prefer, and I knew that it was an option for me but I just didn’t know where to start. I downloaded the Smashwords Style Guide – but that looked like a lot of work, I got an account on Kindle Direct Publishing – but that seemed a bit complicated, and I sort of put it aside until the time was right – even though the time was probably right long ago.
It was not until a phone call with Scott Pack that the prospect of me being able to publish myself became something that I couldn’t ignore – and not just for a chance to publish my back catalogue of unseen material, but also to publish some brand new stuff that I was working on – in short; it helped me to stop wishing and start making my own luck. He recommended an old friend (Tim O’Rourke) that had published himself, and was very good at it. And so I gave Tim a call, and he was a mine of information and really helped me think of this masterplan as something that I needed to do.
And so, the first fruit off the tree is The Lantern Menace, which was released today…me (okay, via Smashwords, but you know what I mean). I’m incredibly, incredibly proud of this book. I first started it probably way back in about 2009-ish, and it won me an agent and very nearly a deal with a major publisher when it was touted about back in 2010. It was not to be at that time, but this story’s saving grace was that I knew it wasn’t because of any faults with the book, or the story, or me. It was just not time for it to leave the nest.
But I kept working on it, here and there, and now here it is at last.
TLM is a wry, tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted adventure story for anyone over the age of about 8 years old. A little bit fantasy, a little bit comedy, a little bit adventure. It’s like a combination of The Edge Chronicles (that I love) by Riddell and Stewart, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Douglas Adams, and the Artemis Fowl series. If I was really going to town, I might even say there are shades of Harry Potter in there – but that’s not really for me to say. I’ll leave that up to anyone kind enough to buy it and let them decide.
The most important thing is that it’s not just another Cornelius Quaint book. It’s something brand new and amazing. It’s a platform for me to be able to say “This is the kind of writer I am”. I’ve written more than a dozen books in my life and only a 1/3 of them have been Quaint books, which puts things into perspective a bit. It’s a book that is free of wanting to please an agent, or a publisher, free of any constraints whatsoever. All I had was a laptop, Word, and my imagination. And I love the result. Hopefully you, your offspring, your family and friends will too.
The Lantern Menace is available for download from Smashwords.com RIGHT NOW across a variety of eReader platforms – for a very negligible, yet I hope you’ll think fair, price. If anyone is kind enough to buy a copy, do please let me know what you think 🙂
* Oh, yeah……..and I drew the cover myself too. So when I say it’s totally mine, I mean it. And it’s all down to me (and you!) to help it succeed.