Tag Archives: actually making some sales; yay

One Sale A Day Is Fine (Actually It’s Great), Fairytale-X, Kay Nielsen, Zane Grey

Sold, another, book today. Sold another, book today. (That was my attempt at type-singing, by the way, not a Shatner impression.) (Although actually that could be fun, let’s try that.)

Today I sold … another book. Didn’t expect to. But when I … checked … the report. Well. There … it was.

You know what that means? One a day for three days in a row! That’s fantastic! Moving forward, slowly but surely, always moving forward.

Today I’m seriously considering putting out an older book that I’d previously labelled ‘not quite good enough for public consumption’. Why? Because I had a look at it and it made me laugh. It’s basically a bunch of fairy tales told through the confused-but-enthusiastic voice of a teenage guy–a little like MST3K but for the weirdness of old stories (and seriously, some of them are really, really weird). Tentatively titled “Fairytale-X”. Here’s a snippet of a cover test:

Instantly you can see some problems with it–so obvious I need not even point them out–but this is kind of the idea I’m going for, except I’d also put some more modern images over the ‘classic’ picture, possibly sellotaped on with torn edges, to represent a modern perspective on an old story. It’s not like I’ve shoved fighter jets and machineguns into the stories, just … hmm. Actually that might misrepresent things a little. I’ll have to think about this more.

The background image I’m using is by my absolute favourite illustrator of classic tales, Kay Nielsen, probably most famous for his (amazing) work on East Of The Sun and West Of The Moon. This image in particular I’ve always loved:

Flowing, lonely, otherworldly, and I mean just look at the composition, just LOOK at it. Every element perfectly balanced, the colours, the shapes, it’s perfect, is what it is. Just perfect.

I’ve wanted to get into westerns for a while now, but it was my father who finally connected me with a writer I could really get into–Zane Grey. Incredible writing. I’m reading Desert Gold at the moment and on almost every page I’m highlighting passages, I actually find it difficult not to read it aloud (in, of course, a weary, dusty, gravelly voice). You can find a lot of his books at Project Gutenburg, if you’ve any interest at all in good solid writing go take a look. Hard to believe they were written a hundred years ago.

“The desert surrounded him, silver-streaked and black-mantled, a chaos of rock and sand, silent, austere, ancient, always waiting. It spoke to Cameron. It was a naked corpse, but it had a soul.”
-Desert Gold, Zane Grey

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Posted by on March 26, 2011 in Of Writing


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Happiness, Gleedancing (totally a thing) (but nothing to do with Glee), Miya Black (nothing to do with Rebecca Black), Muffins

Ask me if I’m happy today. Ask ME if I am HAPPY today. Go on. Do it. Do it. Ask me. Do it.

Oh, you’re asking if I’m happy today? No, of course I’m not. Don’t insult me with your questions. “Happy” is far too weak a word, I am gleedancing today. Why? Because someone bought a copy of Miya Black II. Someone bought Miya Black and read it and liked it enough to want to read the next in the series. Do you know how amazing that is? How wonderful? It … it … it can’t be expressed. And I call myself a writer.

Every time this happens I want to just rush out Miya Black III, but I know it needs at last one more proofing run before I do that. There’s no sense in putting something out that’s not ready. These books marked as ‘first edition (unedited)’ irritate me beyond irritation, to me it’s wrong to do that. It’d be like selling muffins that you’re not sure are cooked, then expecting your customers to tell you about the gooey bits in the middle and the little bits of eggshell all through them. And then you don’t even give them a new muffin! Why? Oh, it’s because of Amazon’s weird system, you’d think they’d send everyone an updated copy of the .mobi file if the publisher changed it, but apparently they don’t even if you delete the old one from your Kindle and download it again. Baffling, I know, but oh well. All the more reason to get it right the first time. Which is not to say that I haven’t updated my .mobi files, I’ve caught a couple of minor errors (‘my’ instead of ‘me’, for example), but nothing gamebreaking.

Well, anyway. Still happy. See? This is my ‘happy’ face. And I have a fun-filled day of proofing-and-editing ahead of me, the sun is shining, weather is sweet, yeah. Make you want to move, your dancing feet, now.

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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Of Writing


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Proofing, Suspicious Lack Of Errors, Followers, Fun Panic, Crisis Of Genre, I Love Being An Indie Author

I’m just about finished with the first proofing run on Imogen Shroud–I don’t want to jinx anything but there have been far less errors and clumsy sentences and so forth in this than in other things I’ve written. No major story changes needed, either–not even minor ones actually. Could it be that I’ve produced a near-perfect first draft? But that NEVER happens! Although I did spend a lot more time outlining this one … well, anyway, I’m paranoid about typos and things so I’m going to do at least two more runs through it, but it could be that I’m ready to release it in just a week or two. I’m already getting the pre-release jitters. Note: Have to work on the cover sometime.

Also, as of writing this, I have exactly 100 followers on Twitter. How on earth did that happen? I’ve only been using it a week! This isn’t false modesty or anything, I’m genuinely baffled at this. I am following quite a few people myself, but that’s because … well, people are interesting. Anyway, I’m having fun with it and that’s the main thing. I still think the 140 character limit is about three dozen too short, though.

Had a fun little panic today, a crisis of genre. “Nobody reads young adult fiction! People only want romances with naked torsos on the cover and thrillers and mysteries, even fantasy sells better! There’s no one like me who wants young adult fiction for adults who read young adult fiction, that genre doesn’t even exist! What am I doing?”

Fortunately it passed quickly. I love writing young adult fiction, I don’t care if there’s not much of a market for it. (Well, for non-vampire non-paranormal-romance non-whiny-teenager-complains-about-her-life YA fiction, anyway.) I could force myself to write romances or thrillers or whatever if all I wanted was success, but I know I’d be miserable doing it. Well not MISERABLE, but less happy than I am now, less satisfied with what I produce. I was looking over my novels–the print editions–today, and I couldn’t help thinking, “Six novels in one year, and I’m proud of all of them. This is great, I love what I’m doing, there is no better life than the one I’m leading”. I love being an indie author, I love the indie community, this is all like a fantastic dream. Why yes, I DID sell a book today, how could you tell? In the UK, I have always said that the British have excellent taste. Selling a book is always great.

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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Of Writing


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Warning: Contains Faineance

Another day, another sale. Maybe things are starting to pick up? Do I dare hope?

After some intense soul-searching and a period of deep introspection (or, in fact, I had a thought while drinking a cup of tea this evening), I have decided that it’s not a lack of sales that leads to my famous Black Moods. It’s a lack of writing. Finishing a first draft is always a little emotionally fraught (or fraughtly emotional), and that I didn’t have a solid ‘next project’ to move on to left me at a loose end–basically, what I should have done in those few dark days was concentrate on something other than writing, on going on walks with my daughters, on cleaning the house, even on simple pleasures like playing games–things that I … well, that I didn’t neglect, not exactly, but things that I spent less time doing while I was in the depths of First Draft Frenzy (which is now a recognised medical condition).

To look at me and my life, you might conclude that I’m a fainéant, torpid slugabed, and you would be accurate in doing so. (Incidentally, if you would actually use the word fainéant then I think you’re super-brilliant.) I am extraordinarily lazy. Without motivation I will do literally NOTHING. Well all right not LITERALLY nothing, but I’ll just sit around in my pants all day eating biscuits and wasting time on the Internet and playing games. Well all right so playing games isn’t EXACTLY a waste of time but you get what I mean. What I need are projects, creative in nature, things to keep me interested–because once I am properly motivated I am a powerhouse of enthusiasm and drive. That’s how I keep up 10,000+ word days for weeks at a time, because I am SO excited to be writing and SO keen on seeing what happens next. Even fully outlined a first draft will surprise you every day, every hour, sometimes every minute, and each second spent writing is a second LIVED. Don’t listen to those pantsers who say that outlining kills a story, they are flat out WRONG. And I don’t often say that. (To be clear: I’m not saying that the ‘seat of your pants, no outline, just point your keyboard at the end of the sentence and gun the metaphorical engine’ method of writing is wrong; to each their own, I say, and good luck to you if that’s what works. But if you think a fully outlined story is dead or holds no surprises or is dull to write then you could not be wrongerer.)

Dragging myself back on point, writing is one of very, very few activities that doesn’t drain all of my energy in a matter of minutes. I can do it for hours, without stopping, without pausing, and in those times I am, I think, at my best. Everything’s simple and pure, my body is irrelevant, the computer disappears, the keyboard disappears, my hands disappear (“Holy Moses, where’d my hands go?”), and there’s only the story.

Wait, that wasn’t back to the point at all! I lied to you! Let’s try that again:

I have no idea what my point is. Well, that being the case it looks like it’s time for another patented (all right, all right, patent pending, stop splitting hairs) Point-From-Nowhere! Let’s see what we’ve got in the sack today:


“Carry a spare pair of socks with you at all times. That way, your feet need never go cold.”

Yes. That is EXACTLY what my point was. That’s what everything in this post was leading towards. Spare socks. Let’s just end this with a BJK Factoid:

BJK Factoid #152: My favourite ‘pure’ iceblock is the ever-elusive Fruju Grapefruit & Lemon.

And with that, it’s time to say good night, everybody! Except ah! Ah! Ah wait, because I remember now–today I wrote like 8,000 words on Power Play and I feel GREAT. Really having fun, really enjoying spending time with these characters again, really enjoying seeing what they’ve been up to in the six months (in-story time) since the last book (four months real time) (it feels like longer), REALLY having fun playing with the ‘diary’ format.

Quick Tip: If you want to make yourself feel good and produce a huge number of words every day, I recommend writing a book in the first-person diary format. It’s just like writing bjournal posts, except you can make up every single thing that happens.

Basically, writing is good and it’s good to write because writing makes you feel good.


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Posted by on March 19, 2011 in Of Writing


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Moving Slowly Forwards. Also Beyond Good & Evil, Zelda, Tetra’s Trackers etc.

I COMPLETELY forgot to mention that I made some sales! One of Birds Of Passage, one of Miya Black I. Thank you, buyers/readers, I sincerely hope you enjoy them.

Also, I got a review! It’s my first review EVER. Well second. I got a review from a friend who read Miya Black but I don’t think that counts. Anyway, here it is:

(It’s for Birds Of Passage, by the way.)

“I realy enjoyed this book. Some great ideas and a bit gritty. I can’t wait for the second book in this series to be published.”

Yay! I agree completely with this review, I can’t wait for the second book to be published either. They gave the book four stars, which I also agree with–the sequel is going to be the five star one.

This morning I worked on making icons for Charlotte Powers 2–every ‘power’ has its own icon, and they’re shown on the front cover. The first had nine, the second has twenty-seven so far. It’s fun making them, and I feel like I need a little break from doing anything too intensive right now. I was pushing myself a little too hard coming off the first draft for Imogen Shroud, I always do that, I get into this mindset of having to work that hard every day, that any day in which I haven’t written 10,000 words is a day wasted, but it’s not healthy to just keep pushing yourself like that. So, for now I’m letting myself relax a little–I’m still doing things every day, but they’re light things, fun things like working on covers and graphics, writing easy notes about potential scenes and characters and conflicts, and writing a little if I feel like it. I’ll give myself a few days like this, then (quickly checks to see what day it is) on Monday I’ll get serious again.

I’m playing Beyond Good & Evil on XBLA right now, I played it years ago on the Gamecube and always remember it as being great. And it is! Really fun and really well designed, I love how compact the world is, and yet there’s always something to discover–also, it’s great how all the little sub-quests and so on have meaningful rewards. Even a simple health pack is always welcome. Something that bothered me about Twilight Princess was that every time I did a sub-quest the reward was almost always a piece of heart, which did nothing but give me more health and make an already too-easy game even easier. In a sense, my exploration was being punished, because I had more fun when combat was more tense. Contrast Link To The Past, where exploring usually turned up something optional and amazing, and even getting a piece of heart was significant because that game was actually challenging.

Now I’m thinking about Tetra’s Trackers, the best game no one ever got to play. You needed GBA SPs up the wazoo and a Gamecube and it was only on the Japanese version of Four Swords but it was AMAZING. For a start, because of how Japanese pronunciation works (as opposed to English pronunciation, which doesn’t), you could enter your name and Tetra could actually say it. That was amazing, to hear something like “Come on, Ben! Hurry up!” as she commentated. (In Japanese, of course.) That was another thing, the running commentary–you played on your GBA SP but on the TV screen was Tetra, who quipped and joked and told you about things that were happening, special events in certain areas, and sometimes they’d be a lottery or a minigame and, oh, it was just amazing. Totally amazing game unlike anything before or since, just spectacular. The actual gameplay was great, too, taking traditional top-down 2D Zelda gameplay and turning it into a kind of gameshow, where you searched for items and rupees in an enclosed area.

BJK Factoid #173: My favourite Zelda game is Wind Waker. Then Majora’s Mask. Then LttP.

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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Of Writing


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