I’m not usually the kind of person who makes plans for the future―principally because in year’s gone by I’ve learned through bitter experience that if I make plans for my future someone or something will pull the rug out from underneath me, and ruin everything. As a result, I’ve spent the last two decades of my life simply existing in the moment without a view to the future. However, in recent weeks my mindset has shifted, dramatically. Not only am I much happier about life in general, I’m also (much to my surprise) greatly looking forward to what the future may bring, particularly with regard to my continuing adventure as an indie author. It is for this reason I’ve been happily making exciting (to me at least) plans for next year.
Greetings folks! This is the post I delayed from yesterday, announcing that the inevitable has finally come to pass; the #SPFBO adventure of my debut fantasy novel The Exercise Of Vital Powers reached its conclusion at the weekend after missing out on an unlikely place in the final, having been pushed into second place by Devil’s Night Dawning by Damien Black.
To varying degrees, many authors, particularly those who are genuinely passionate about their craft, invariably put a lot of themselves into their writing, whether it be in terms of their personality informing their characterisation, or their life experiences influencing their plots. I’ve never been one of these writers. I have always consciously gone out of my way to avoid putting any aspect of myself into my writing. There are a couple of reasons for this: first of all, I am a very private person, so the idea of incorporating any part of myself or my life into a story is one I could never be comfortable with; opening up and sharing personal things about myself with anyone, even indirectly, is something that doesn’t come easily to me, and (with one notable exception) it never will. Secondly, I’m a boring person with a boring life which doesn’t really lend itself to writing exciting stories.
It’s been very quiet on the blogging front over the last month, even though I actually have several blog posts written and ready to be posted; I’m just waiting for the right time to post them. In the meantime, I’ve decided to kick-start things again with a post about Kayden Jayta, who is (for those of you who don’t know) the central character of my novel The Exercise Of Vital Powers. It’s an opportunity for me to provide some insights, not just into the character, but my reasons for making certain creative decisions about her and her story.
This weekend will mark the six month anniversary of the publication of my debut novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers. A lot has happened in that time (mostly positive I’m pleased to say), but looking back at my first six months as a published author I have no trouble admitting that I embarked upon this independent publishing journey without the faintest idea what I was doing. I self-published my novel pretty much on a whim, with no forethought, content to just learn the ropes as I go. It has definitely been a valuable learning experience, and in hindsight if I knew six months ago what I know now, I would have handled the publication of my first book very differently. But I have no regrets. Sometimes the best way to learn lessons is through experience, and I’ve learned three things that will help me with the launch of every subsequent book I publish in future.
This week I’ve finally been forced to do something that I really wanted to avoid doing, but can no longer justify not doing. I have decided to make my debut novel The Exercise Of Vital Powers an Amazon exclusive by enrolling it in the KDP Select program. If you don’t know what that entails, KDP Select is the means by which Amazon incentivises authors to give them exclusive ebook distribution rights, in exchange for various promotional perks. Choosing to go this route means that authors cannot sell their books via any other marketplaces, be it Apple iBooks or Kobo.
You may recall from the last update on my work in progress that I decided to re-write everything from scratch because I wasn’t happy with the opening chapter. Since then, though I’m much happier about the state of my WIP, I am much less happy about the slow progress of my writing throughout September. While most of the problems that prevented me from getting as much done as I would have liked were (as usual) out of my control, I fully accept that there is one issue that is in my power to affect: Time management.
I have been a Goodreads member since 2013, and every year since 2014 I have participated in the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, wherein users set themselves a goal for how many books they will read over the course of the year. For various reasons (the principal one being I chose not to include re-read books) I have yet to successfully complete a reading challenge; and progress on my current one isn’t going so well. I am way behind schedule.
If you ask a hundred bookworms to identify the most essential ingredient for a must read book, there’s almost no chance you would get unanimous agreement. All readers have differing sentiments that affect what they want and enjoy most in a work of fiction. For many readers there will be one specific box that absolutely needs to be checked in order for a book to be essential reading. For some, pacing is the priority, for others it’s writing style, for some it’s originality, while for others it might be thought-provoking themes and ideas. I’m not going to attempt to provide a definitive answer because there isn’t one. But I will give you my thoughts on what I consider to be the most important constituent of a good story, the absence of which always detracts from my reading pleasure.
During the weekend just gone I came to the realisation that I don’t blog nearly enough; certainly not as much as I should. And though it’s true that in person I am a man of very few words, it’s not as though I don’t have anything worthwhile to say with the written word. To remedy this situation (caused by laziness on my part) I’ve decided to commit to posting updates a minimum of three days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If I can keep to that on a regular basis I’ll even consider trying to make it a daily thing (but baby steps first).