Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Back Inaction

I haven't posted in a while, not because of any lack of activity but because I put my back out at work, and when I'm not at work I have no internet. Ergo, I can't make updates here. On the plus side, being away from work has given me some extra writing time. Which I have mostly been using to play video games, but also to write. Prioritising is not my strong suit.

My Goodreads giveaway finished up on November 7th, and I've shipped the books to five lucky winners. The giveaway attracted over a thousand entrants, and over 400 of those put Jack Manley on their to-read lists; but, as I suspected, none of this has translated into sales. To be honest I'm more interested in getting people to read my book then getting them to pay for it, but that's easier said then done.  The giveaway got five copies out to people, but at my expense, so that's not viable on a large scale.

To that end, I made the kindle edition free on Amazon for two days (the 18th and 19th of November). Of course, given that I've been away from the internet for a while, I wasn't able to promote it, so I probably didn't attract as much interest as I could have. I got about 130 downloads. Again, there's no money in it, but the egotist in me loves getting eyeballs on my work.


Aside from The Lightless Labyrinth and the Marvel Comics Guidebook, I've been tossing some more Jack Manley ideas around in my head. I always intended to write more about him, and I have no shortage of stories to tell. In the interest of keeping my productivity up, and getting my work out there on a regular basis, I'm thinking of releasing Manley's adventures as a serial. Once a month a new installment would come out, available for free, and when a complete story is ready it would be collected in paperback and e-book format. It's a model that works for web-comics, and I'd like to see if I can make it work for prose. More on this as it develops.


What I've Been Reading
About Time Vol. 4 by Tat Wood and Lawrence Miles
Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Good On Paper by Andrew Morgan

What I've Been Watching
Torchwood: Children of Earth
Red Dwarf season 6

What I've Been Listening To
Innuendo by Queen

What I've Been Playing
New Super Mario Bros. Wii on the Nintendo Wii

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Deadly Doldrums

I have not done a great deal of writing in the last few weeks, either on my novel or on this blog. Much of that can be blamed on the Doctor Who shaped vortex that I fell into following the recent miraculous recovery of nine presumed-lost-forever episodes. But aside from that, I think it has a lot to do with where I am in my burgeoning career at this point.

Let's review. I've finished my first novel, and published it on Amazon (both as an e-book and in paperback); I can't put it up anywhere else just yet, because I'm signed up to Kindle Select (and that means I'll be giving it away for free at some point in the near future; watch this space!). I'm working on a second book, but that's nowhere close to completion, nor are the non-fiction projects I'm tinkering with. I have no money to pursue proper marketing, and sales have dried up. I'm running a giveaway on Goodreads, but that doesn't finish for a few days.  I'm in limbo. There's no concrete task ahead of me except for "write more". I'm no longer getting the addictive buzz that comes with seeing another sale come in. I have no writing to submit anywhere, and nothing that's ready to hand out to my fellows for feedback, ergo I'm not going to get the periodic ego boost that often drives me forward. As I said, I'm in writing limbo.

I'm sure that this is something every writer faces, but sometimes just writing is the most daunting part of the process, even though it's the whole damn reason we do this (oh yeah, and the aforementioned ego stroking). That's the only solution: write more.  It's not as easy as it sounds.


I've been listening to Son of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth in the series. As you may have guessed, this one is about Tarzan's young son Jack Clayton, aka Korak. And he is insufferable. Which is odd, because in may ways he is exactly like Tarzan: noble, physically impressive, morally righteous, etc. And yet while I find Tarzan likable enough, I'd be happy for Korak to get eaten by a crocodile post haste.

Perhaps the reason for this is to do with the backgrounds of the characters, and how they came to be the way they are. Both of them are basically amazing at everything. Tarzan gained these attributes through an arduous childhood raised by apes, slowly progressing from weak child to muscular super-man and earning every skill along the way. Korak is just born that way. He's rich, because Tarzan is rich. He's strong because Tarzan is strong. He's naturally great as soon as he goes into the jungle, and everyone loves him.  (Also, he's a bit racist.)

See the difference?  The reader is with Tarzan every step of the way as he goes from weak to strong. Korak starts as strong and super-human, and stays that way. And I HATE HIM.  If a character is going to be super-competent, he has to be seen to earn that competence.  Especially so, if he's going to do so at the expense of established characters in a series.  Korak hasn't done that yet, but I'm only halfway done; there's still time for the little bugger to prove himself.


What I've Been Reading
About Time Vol. 3 & 4 by Tat Wood & Lawrence Miles
Son of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

What I've Been Watching
Red Dwarf season 5
Torchwood season 1

What I've Been Listening To
Ill Communication by The Beastie Boys

What I've Been Playing
Need for Speed: The Run on the Nintendo Wii (yes, still)