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.
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).
It’s been a while since the last update on my current work in progress, principally because it’s been slow going (in more ways than one) these past three weeks or so, resulting in no noteworthy progress to report. However, it’s probably now worth mentioning a very significant development with my WIP (the sequel to The Exercise Of Vital Powers) that occurred at the end of last week which has had a drastic impact upon the direction and progression of the story.
Greetings folks, it’s time for a quick SPFBO update for those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the latest developments in this year’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off. First of all, with more or less two months having elapsed since the contest officially got under way, just over a third of the 300 entries have been eliminated from the competition so far. (You can view the list of titles that have fallen by the wayside at this point by visiting Mark Lawrence’s blog where he is keeping track.)
I have an exciting (to me at least) update about the Self-Published Fantasy Blog off contest, and it concerns my humble entry, The Exercise Of Vital Powers. To my surprise, #SPFBO judge Kaitlin aka “Kitty G” read my debut novel this week during her trip to Worldcon in Finland, and even more surprising than that was discovering that she really liked it. Yesterday she posted an initial review on Goodreads, awarding my book a 4.5 stars rating and it’s fair to say it has made my year. Knowing that my story struck a chord with a reader who has no vested interest in kissing my behind has gone a long way to making me feel a little less like an imposter.
It’s time for another update on my current work in progress. Unsurprisingly, last week was not as productive as the previous week, though surprisingly it wasn’t due to any of the usual suspects negatively impacting my freedom to write. The time I was able to devote my WIP wasn’t significantly less, but I only have a single chapter to show for it. What hindered my progress in the end were two time-consuming bumps in the road; the first was minor, therefore easy to resolve, while the second proved to be a major problem that took much longer for me to figure out.
Earlier this year something rather unusual happened to me; I had a 150,000 word unpublished story on my hands. Certain facets of this manuscript were different from every other story I had ever written in my life before, the most notable difference being that it was a finished novel. Prior to its completion, the only stories I had ever successfully completed were short stories and the occasional novella; all previous attempts at novel writing resulted in abandonment, usually because I unceremoniously tore up or deleted the offending work. It was also different in that it was the first story I had written with the explicit intention of having it read by persons other than myself. And perhaps the most unusual thing about the manuscript was fact the that I was actually happy with it, which shouldn’t have been possible; I am never satisfied with my own writing.
Last week was a surprisingly productive week for me with regard to my current work in progress. That being the case, I feel it is worth my while to provide an update of where I am, so far; even if only a handful of my (soon-to-be) legion of rabid fanboys and fangirls notice. For those of you now scratching your head wondering what I’m working on, you obviously missed (or didn’t pay attention to) my announcement in late June, in which I mentioned my decision to focus on writing a follow up to my debut novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, even though it was originally written as a stand-alone tale. While at this early stage of writing I hesitate to claim that significant progress was made on my “untitled sequel” last week, I certainly feel like I’m finally on a roll now, to the extent where I hope to have the first draft completed a full month sooner than expected.