Credit where it’s really due

So, Jeremy Drysdale and I wrote a novel called Clown Wars: Blood & Aspic. It was full of cool characters, wicked scenes, genius gags, tragedy, comedy and irony. And it was an ace story. Usual problem – no one wanted to publish it…

Five years later we thought: “Hey! We can do it ourselves! Easy!”

But it isn’t, actually. Especially for a pair of bozos like me and Jez. We needed help. But what do you know? Help was out there in veritable cohorts.

Continue reading

Cover reveal!!!

Five years ago, Jeremy Drysdale and I finished a manuscript; possibly the strangest manuscript I’ve ever worked on.

We got into the submissions process and it only served to reinforce just how unusual the material was. Many agents and editors came back to us saying they hated it. Others liked it but had no idea how to market it. Either way, the answer was ‘no’.

They say nothing ever happens fast in publishing but, after five unsuccessful years of trying to get this novel to a readership in the traditional way, we decided to take matters into our own hands.

So, without further tantalising, teasing, taunting and being generally mean, feast your eyes on this: Continue reading

And maybe it will come back to you…

There’s been an overwhelming response to yesterday’s post, in which I talked about releasing my next novel for free, chapter by chapter, right here on the blog.

I had emails, tweets, DMs, Facebook and blog comments. A lot of them suggested I charge something for each chapter. Others thought I ought to self-publish the novel as an eBook. I also received many offers of help. It was lovely to suddenly have so much input from people who are clearly very keen on my fiction.

The most profound contact came from my old agent, Brie Burkeman, who closed her agency a year ago for family reasons. After speaking to her on the phone, it was very clear that she was opposed to me giving my work away for nothing.

The combination of her pep-talk and all the comments and messages of support that I’ve had have convinced me to hold off just for a little longer.

I do have several ‘live’ submissions with editors and agents but these are people  who are, often-times, too busy to respond – or, if they do, it’s months and months later. I wanted to make something happen fast and I thought I’d come up with a good way of breaking the deadlock. On reflection, however, perhaps I was a little hasty.

So, I hope you’ll keep waiting – as I keep waiting – to hear from the gatekeepers who can make or break careers with their decisions. Tentacles crossed, there’ll be some big yeses from them this time.

Some of you have also asked me what the novel is about, so I’ll do a post with some teasers for you soon…

If you love it, let it go…

At the end of the day, all I really want is for people to read what I write and be entertained. It’s a simple wish; something heartfelt.

Would I like to be paid for that? Of course.

The reality is, however, that in fifteen years of pursuing that simple, heartfelt wish, only one year of writing fiction brought me a living wage. If I’d given up my day job, I’d have starved years ago!

I have no agent. I have no publisher. What I do have, though, is what I’ve always had: a story to tell. Something that will transport you to another world, just as I was transported in the writing of it.

And, seeing as I have nothing tangible to look forward to in publishing at the moment, I have nothing to lose by giving something away – the one thing of value that I posses; my work.

So, if you’re interested in seeing my latest novel, released chapter by chapter right here on the blog or if you want to know more about the story, let me know.


Traditional publishing vs self publishing: some thoughts and an interview with Jeremy Thompson, MD of Troubador Publishing Ltd

The publisher I’m using for The Hairy Faerie is Matador – an imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd.

As you probably know, this is the first time I’ve ever self-published and I wasn’t keen to do it.

However, because I read The Hairy Faerie aloud at school assemblies and writing workshops, I wanted a ‘real’ book; something children could take home and enjoy. Waiting the ‘traditional’ amount of time for publishers to get back to me meant I was missing opportunities to take the book into schools.

So, I decided to do this title myself.

I’ve taken a lot of advice from some very experienced people, already running their own indie houses and imprints. I looked into Kindle, Lightning Source and Ingram Spark. None of them offered exactly what I wanted – even though I wasn’t sure what that was, at first – and all of them had negative legal and taxation aspects that were off-putting.

In the end, a personal recommendation from someone who freelanced for Troubador Publishing
caused me to investigate. And now, here I am, reading proofs of The Hairy Faerie with publication just around the corner.

It struck me that the best person to explain some of the pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing was the Managing Director of Troubador – Jeremy Thompson – a man with vast experience in both fields.

I got in touch with a few questions and this was the result: Continue reading