I have recently come to learn that the most rewarding thing for any author, after successfully writing and publishing a book, is the feeling experienced upon discovering that the story you have written has really connected with a reader. This amazing feeling is further magnified when such a reader chooses to share their appreciation for your work with you, and the rest of the world.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better for my SPFBO entry, along comes Kitty G’s video review of The Exercise Of Vital Powers, yesterday. Not only did Kaitlin produce a very complimentary overview of my book, watching the video has actually made me seriously start to believe that it’s a better story than I previously thought. I still don’t think it’s polished enough to progress to the final round, but Kaitlin’s praise has already had a positive effect in terms of increasing interest in my book, as well as causing a spike in sales. In that respect, entering this year’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off has definitely paid dividends so I’m really glad to be involved. Anyway, that’s enough waffling from me; you can watch Kaitlin’s review below.
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.
Earlier this year something rather unusual happened to me; I had a 150,000 word unpublished story on my hands.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.
So, I’ve been sitting on the ebook edition of my novel for a couple of weeks, waiting for the completion of a front cover design I was pleased with. Now that the waiting is finally over, I am seriously contemplating having the book published sometime next week. I will probably make up my mind first thing tomorrow as to whether to do so, or hold off for a little while longer.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade, you can’t have failed to notice that the publishing industry has experienced significant changes during this period. The advent of the e-reader and, subsequently, the ebook market that online retailer, Amazon, was at the forefront of establishing has been a disruptive game changer.
Once upon a time, the traditional publishers were the sole gatekeepers of the publishing world. What we were able to read was ultimately decided by the publishers because they determined which authors, and which books got published. Today, this is no longer the case. The new status quo, ushered in by the ebook revolution, has created new opportunities for authors and readers alike. Self-publishing is now very much a viable alternative to traditional publishing, providing options that weren’t previously available.