Greetings folks. I just want to give those of you who are Reddit members a quick heads up that I am the “Writer Of The Day” on the R/Fantasy subreddit. For the next 10+ hours you can pop in an ask me questions. So whether you want to know my favourite books and authors or who my biggest influences are, feel free to drop in and join the conversation. Just click the link below.
This post is a little bit different from my usual ones given that I haven’t previously used my blog to discuss matters pertaining to popular culture. But I would actually like to expand the topics I write about beyond my own books and publishing journey, while still remaining within the realms of speculative fiction, and recent developments in Hollywood has given me the perfect opportunity to do so.
In a change from today’s scheduled post (which will now go up tomorrow) I’m just going to post three quick updates. First, I recently did an interview for the long-running book blog, Fantasy Book Critic, and that interview is now online for people to read. I’ve been a follower of the blog for five years, and it I feels surreal to be featured on such a well-known, established site. If you want to read the interview (and why wouldn’t you?) just click on the image below.
At the turn of the year I was fully committed to a revised second edition of my first novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, but it wasn’t until the middle of April that I finally decided to move forward with the project. From the get-go, I knew I would actually have to spend money on my book second time around if it was to have any chance of attracting readers in a way the first edition failed to do. That being the case, I earmarked £2500 as my budget for getting the book published to a sufficiently high standard. This post will let you know where the money went, and if it was well spent. I hope it will be helpful to other authors thinking about going the self-published route.
Today marks the commencement of a free book giveaway hosted by Instafreebie that I am not only participating in, but actually organised. The “Heroine Chic” fantasy giveaway is a one week only giveaway offering readers the opportunity to claim a free copy of one (or all) of twelve books featuring a memorable female protagonist. Obviously, my own novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, is one of the twelve books available, alongside eleven other titles by authors including Krista D. Ball and Donna Maree Hanson.
At the start of the year I set myself the goal of reading ten books for the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge. As I mentioned in a blog post earlier in the year, the reason for setting such a modest target was that every previous reading challenge I participated in ended in failure. This was typically the result of never having enough time to read as many books as I would like. But this year, much to my surprise, I read my ten books by the end of January. At the time, the ease with which I successfully completed the challenge caused me to contemplate the possibility of reading fifty-two books by the end of the year―an average of one book read a week―although I’d settle for twenty-five. Today this seems like wishful thinking.
Reader reaction to the protagonist of a story will not only influence whether they like a book or not, it can also make or break the fortunes of that book; maybe not in terms of the critical response, but certainly in the commercial sense. This is an observation I was very conscious of while writing my first novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers. I realised early on that my protagonist, Kayden Jayta, was a character who many readers would struggle to get behind. In fact, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to me if most of the people who end up disliking the book do so primarily on the basis of their dislike for Kayden.
I like to think that most books have a natural audience: specific readers whose preferences all but guarantee they will enjoy those books. With that being the case it obviously makes sense for authors and publishers to identify the type of reader who constitutes the natural audience for the books they want to sell. By specifically targetting the appropriate audience no time and money is wasted marketing books to the wrong readers. It obviously wouldn’t make sense to market a book like Altered Carbon to readers who favour Regency romance novels, for example.
Get your minds out of the gutter people; the title of this post is in reference to how many newsletters a year I’m currently committed to sending out to my mailing list subscribers. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that sending it out on a quarterly basis isn’t regular enough. As a result I’ve decided to make it a monthly thing, starting this week. I think once a month is frequent enough for the purpose of keeping subscribers up to date, while not being annoying to the recipients.
By now you should all be aware that the re-release of my debut novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, was last week, Monday. You should also have noted the most readily apparent difference between the first and second editions of the book: the cover artwork. Once I had decided to move ahead with a revised second edition, I knew that the book’s outer appearance would be the most crucial factor in improving its fortunes over its predecessor―even more so than the editing. This post will give you a little insight into my thought processes when it came to the design of the new cover.