Hey, I’m back. I wish I could say that my life is completely out of the doldrums but it’s not. Nonetheless, I can’t just sit about waiting for things to change for the better. It is the start of a brand new month and time to kick on with the writing gig. So, as of this week I’m resuming work on the second draft of my “untitled sequel” to The Exercise Of Vital Powers. I don’t currently have plans to publish it (or anything else) this year so I feel no pressure to finish writing it ASAP, though I do hope to have it wrapped up this summer then immediately starting work on Book Three.
To say that life hasn’t always been kind to me would be an understatement. At the risk of sounding like someone suffering from a persecution complex, my life has been tormenting me mercilessly for the past quarter of a century. What kept me going through all the tribulations was convincing myself there was nothing I could do about the crap life throws my way, and that these things happened to test me. Inevitably, this coping mechanism couldn’t continue to work forever. Sadly, I am only human; I can only endure so much before I eventually break, and by the end of last November I had reached my breaking point. I struggled on as best as I could into early December, because I had commitments I needed to honour. But once I’d done so, I had to admit defeat; life had finally got the better of me and I couldn’t cope with things as they were.
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.
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.
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.