Self-publishing – why it’s no longer a good idea

I knew this anyway but it’s painful to see it in black and white:

The above blog, belonging to Claude Forthomme, lays out the facts as barely as possible and it’s caused quite a bit of fury.  The problem, as I’ve seen it for quite some time now, is that there are too many writers.  I myself feel like a teeny tiny voice in a vast ocean of teeny tiny voices, while the loud, ugly ones get to smash up against the shore.  Why bother to carry on writing when when the whole world seems to be at it and getting their crap out there more successfully as well.

It’s at this point that I remember why I write:  I write because if I don’t, I will go mad.  I will be a lunatic in an asylum smashing my head against a wall over and over and over just to make the pain of living stop.  I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want to be a robot in a robotic job.  I want to be me.  And I am only me when I write.  Even if no one ever reads it.

Sometimes you just have to say fuck’em.

Extract of “Reflected” on YouTube

Overcoming immense personal horror of myself on film, I’ve made a video of myself reading an extract of “Reflected” which can be viewed here:  It’s part of a contest to win promotion for my work and by golly miss molly, do I need some promo.  I’ve haven’t done very well at it so far and need every bit of help I can get!  Please view the video – it’s less than five minutes.  As a writer, I really just want to remain as anonymous as possible and quite utterly invisible.  And I really, really don’t want people to know what I look like, let alone what I sound like!  So it’s taken immense courage on my part to even enter this contest – so please support my efforts!!

REFLECTED ~ free giveaway

I’ve been saying “free giveaway” in various promotional strands all morning, realising wholeheartedly that the words are synonymous.  Oops.  Will anyone notice?  Aren’t giveaways usually free?!  I’ve taken the week off work to really push ahead on my new novel but started the day in a wild panic because my damn Broadband is down.  This was FATAL.  I had organised a free giveaway (erk, I’m doing it again) and needed to promote it like mad.  So phoned up Virgin to shout at them but all I got was an “I don’t know.”  God, thanks a lot, guys.  However, the little flashy blue light came up on my modem thingie and it has stayed on since so I’ve managed to do all those promotional things I’m not very good at:  tweets, FB post, GoodReads comment, LinkedIn promo.  I gave away 33 “units” (free books, it’s called free books) when Wired was free back in February but since then I’ve published the entire Exodus Sequence collection and was curious to see what would happen to the [non-existent] sales of that if one of the stories was promoted as free.  Well, we’ll see.  I feel as if I’m wasting valuable writing time doing these promotions but this is what I signed up for as a self-published no-hoper.

Anyway, if your interested is piqued, REFLECTED is available here:

It’s about a woman who witnesses an invasion on Mars in a bizarre afterlife.

My favourite selling line is this one and I’ve pinned it on Twitter:

“Just what exactly is a post-death installation?”

Be warned – this novelette is the most incomprehensible thing I’ve ever written!

Exodus Sequence is published at last!

My new collection of short stories is published today!  Golly, it’s a thrilling feeling, no matter how many times you’ve done it before (not a lot, really….)  This is the first time all the Exodus Sequence stories have appeared together.  Until now, they could only be purchased individually, along with the occasional freebie.  I’m advertising it as sci-fi/fantasy/horror/romance but to be honest, it’s none of those things.  I feel that I’ve taken the genres and given them a good shaking (rather like a dusty carpet.)  I would love to know what you think – genre writing seems a bit fraught these days!

Link to Amazon:

This is what the blurb looks like on Amazon:

An alien disturbs war-vets in a wire prison.
A woman experiences aliens on Mars in a bizarre afterlife.
A war veteran can’t remember how she was crippled.
A disturbed young woman is approached by a secret agent to break a code.
A fighter experiences a revelation that goes beyond immortality.
Scientists try to break a field around Mars.
Nimue tempts a magician into his future.
The most powerful man in the solar system hides in a soulless world of white.
An autistic girl falls in love with an alien…
The nine apparently dissimilar stories in diverse styles and structures are connected by a single thread: the existence of Atlantis. The mystery of Atlantis, its disappearance and its people are gradually revealed in the stories, each a substantial novelette.

Thought I’d try my hand at giving it away…

I know I’m new at this but you’d think Amazon would tell you when they decide to give you the choice of offering your book free for a few days!  I had no idea until I happened to open my Bookshelf – and I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t actually been doing something else.  I wonder what makes them decide that you should have the chance of selling your book for zero pence/cents/kopeks.  Do they feel sorry for you?  Is it reserved for books that are utterly crap?  Or is it a kindness?  Well, whatever, I didn’t sit around thinking about it – I went for it.

So for the next five days, I’m going to be doing nothing except promoting WIRED which is now free.  I feel exhausted already (and my hands are frozen – golly, it’s cold sitting at a computer for long periods) but I’ll keep going!

This is the Amazon link:

Brand New Year, Brand New Novel

Today for the first time in years, I sat down to start pre-writing a new novel.  I’ve been looking forward to this for an entire year.  I’ve been looking forward to it all Christmas.  When I did sit down at last, and pulled out my ancient, worn-out copy of “Teach Yourself Screenwriting,” it took me half an hour of internet time wasting before I could get going.

It was only when I finally got to the bit about choosing a title that I finally stopped for the day (also, I need some tea).  Finding a title has been excruciating.  After several false starts, I eventually settled down on a title that was basically pinched from a Marilyn Manson lyric.  This is NOT a good idea.  Having written before about plagiarism, I took myself in hand.  Anyway, the lyric kind of gave away the ending so really not a good idea, then.

It’s been three years since I first wrote up the original few pages of notes of this novel and in those three years, the novel has been through about ten titles.  The one I finally settled on today seems okay – but only okay.  It doesn’t have a WOW factor.  So I’ve bracketed it off as a Working Title and hope that something miraculous happens before I published, otherwise I’m going to end up with a lame, meaningless title like Ultra.  And look where that got me.

I can’t remember when last I sat down to write a new novel cold, as it were.  When I wrote Ultra several years ago, it had already been developed from a short story into a screenplay, with months and months of complex pre-writing.  So when I sat down to write the novel years later, it was easy.  I’d done all the preliminary work.  I just changed the names and places that felt more familiar to me and the story and characters literally flowed from my fingertips.

Since then, I’ve done a great deal of improving on my Fleet novels, but none of them needed rewriting from scratch.  Even when I rewrote Commences some six years ago, it was the third major attempt at getting the story out, so it wasn’t new.  Transference also became a novel developed from a short story into a screenplay.  Flesh for Sale started life as a novella.  V.Gomenzi, which needed a GREAT deal of work, had to be structured around the three other written Fleet novels, so it didn’t entirely feel new.  I was inside a universe that had already been created and V.Gomenzi bound that universe and made sense of it.

So, in fact, I have NEVER sat down to write a novel that wasn’t something else before.  This is my first truly NEW novel.  I self-published in order to get to this novel because I knew I couldn’t write it until I had the Fleet novels out the way.  I had to find some kind of closure on them and even though self-publishing has been a total utter failure, at least I feel it’s DONE.

I can begin again.

It’s been three years since I first had this idea.  What a relief it is to be finally working on.  Expect many reports on the gruelling writing process.

And as for that title, it’s top secret!!!

PS  Great date: 5 – 1 – 15