Hold on to your hats, this is going to be a long one.
Where to start…
I’m actually going to be a rebel and start in December 2017 because it was the beginning of that month that my publisher Loose id announced they were closing down, less than a week after I’d signed a contract with them for my 3rd book. It left me spending a whole weekend researching everything self-publishing because I literally didn’t have a clue-about anything, so if nothing else can be said for 2018, I learnt a hell of a lot: editors, proofreaders, formatting, how to use Photoshop, AMS ads, ARCs, starting a newsletter, using beta readers, and I’m sure there’s probably more things that I’ve forgotten. Am I an expert? Not even close. There’s probably a whole stack of things that I don’t even know I don’t know yet, and ones I do but just haven’t gotten around to like audio books and translations.
2018 (and the end part of 2017) was the first year where I actually gave priority to my writing, over teaching, which accounts for the fact that I published 5 books this year (4 full-length, one novella.) Not bad for someone who managed one book in 2015 and then didn’t manage another one until 2017. I’m terrible though, for looking at some authors output, and feeling I don’t measure up, but everyone’s writing speed is different, everyone’s targets and the amount of time they spend on writing is different. Should I stop doing it? Yes. Will I? Probably not.
February 12th – I released my first self-published book Kept in the Dark. I always call this book my side project, the book that kept me sane while I was writing Refuge, but that’s probably a little unfair on it. I always laugh when reviewers call it predictable because that’s exactly what it was meant to be. The inspiration came when I was reading Megan Derr’s Tournament of Losers. For anyone that has read that book, you’ll know that there’s a major detail that everyone knows apart from one of the main characters, yet I really enjoyed that book because you’re waiting for the moment when that character finally gets with the programme and knows what everyone else knows. So poor Dean became the character in the dark, not knowing what just about everyone else knew. Why was he called Dean? Dean from Supernatural due to my love of the character and Jensen Ackles. I was surprised by how well this book actually did for my first indie book.
Why did it do well?
Rent boy trope? Naked torso on the cover? Follow up readers from A Temporary Situation?
That’s the question that every author would love to be able to answer for every single book that either does or doesn’t do well. But I had no ads (because I was still clueless about them), did no promo, didn’t send it to any blogs for reviews. I look back now and think how much better it could have done if I’d had a remote clue what I was doing.
April 10th – I released Refuge, the first book which wasn’t contemporary. I still can’t recall what my inspiration for this book was. According to a reviewer (Grrr) I ripped off something called The Fifth Wave. Well, all I can say is I probably should get around to watching this at some point as I’m guessing had I ever seen it, I would have enjoyed it. Maybe someone that has, can tell me how similar it is. I mean it was also mentioned by another reviewer (in a less vicious way) so I’m guessing there must be something similar besides it being an alien invasion as that story has and will continue to be done in a hundred different ways. I was warned by more than one person before releasing this book that sci-fi books don’t sell as well, and they were right, they don’t so it was a little disappointing after how well, Kept in the Dark (the supposed side project) had done. Is this one of the reasons I haven’t written the sequel yet? Probably, yes. It’s difficult to spend time on writing a book that will make less money and therefore sacrifice time which could be spent on a contemporary that has a larger readership. Will I finish the trilogy? Definitely. Ironically, it’s my highest rated book on GR, and the one that tends to get more recommendations. It was also the only one nominated in the GR awards. It’s sequel, Rebellion currently stands at 11 000 words and has a cover all ready to go. I’d initially wanted to try and get it out for April so that there would only be a year between the two books, but that’s now not going to happen. Blame the half Russian ballet dancer who’s in my next book for taking over my brain.
I still hadn’t learnt ads at this point so I’ve never run an ad for Refuge, and I probably won’t until the sequel is ready to go.
Any other facts about Refuge that I didn’t share. Hmmmm…well, Zed’s physical description probably owes more than a nod to Keanu Reeves.
I know I said this post was going to be long, but it’s even longer than I’d envisaged so I’m going to split it into 2 parts and talk about Taking Love’s Lead, Edge of Living and A Christmas Situation tomorrow.