A proper author

Thanks to my good friend Jean, I got an invitation to a book launch yesterday evening and met Robyn Young, author of bestselling historical fiction such as Brethren, Crusade, Requiem and Insurrection. Yesterday saw the launch of her latest offering ‘Renegade’, a clash between Kind Edward and Robert Bruce. It was great to meet Robyn, if only briefly and see what a book launch looks like in the traditional publishing world.

Meanwhile, I’m a step closer to the launch of ‘New Fire’ as I have now signed a contract with Grosvenor House Publishing, an outfit based in the South of England that specialises in helping writers to self-publish. I dispatched the contracts and cheque yesterday with a promise to send the ‘final’ draft for proof-reading by next Monday! This shouldn’t be an impossible task as I finished draft #4 on Monday. It’s quite scary to think that I’ll have to let go and stop tweaking, fixing and changing, but I have to draw a line under this somewhere, especially as the target publication month of October is nearly upon me.

Test your writing skills on WEbook

Here’s a really fun way to check out if you’ve got the writing magic! www.webook.com. You write and other people rate your work and if your mojo is good, your work rises up the ranks and you get to submit more and more of the work. It does cost £3.95 to submit each work but it looks really addictive. Obviously you’re part of the community so you need to rate other peoples’ work too but that’s quite painless because to begin with, you only have to rate the first 250 words.

I’ve submitted a portion of page one of ‘New Fire’. Let’s see if it goes anywhere!

Extract from the battle with the Chalca

Then Jaguar recognised Two Sign wading towards him through the frenzied action and felt a sudden thrill. Far out on the flank he must have seen the plight of the macehualtin and, knowing that his knights were in control, he’d left them to it, electing instead to help the common warriors. Two Sign was Tlacaelel’s right-hand man but he was also a fighting legend. He had crossed from shore-to-shore and seen the broad expanses of their land. He’d led successful missions from the wilds of Toltec to the borders of Oaxaca and even as far afield as Zapotec. Some even claimed he’d led an army of one hundred of Tenochtitlan’s finest jungle fighters to some distant ruins called Palenque, allegedly in search of gold. Through the ducking, wheeling crowds, Jaguar watched Crocodile’s adoptive father carve his way towards them.

A tall man came at Two Sign, all teeth and spittle, long arms wheeling. The Eagle warrior took the first blow on his fast disintegrating shield and parried the next with his own sword, turning it aside. Quick as a flash the tall man launched a backhanded blow. Two Sign nudged it safely up and over and then had to dance back as the rangy man jabbed at him with his shield. Jaguar saw Two Sign wait. A thrust with the shield, and then another. The Chalca used the length of his arms to keep Two Sign on his back foot. Suddenly the Eagle Knight hooked his shield behind the other as it came at him again. He wrenched the man towards him and calmly inserted his sword into the space between shield and neck. Gangly arms dropped the sword and shield as the stricken warrior clamped his fingers to his jugular in a futile attempt to staunch the wound.

Author woos local library

It seemed like a reasonable question to me. I stood in the library with a quizical expression on my face and a determination to not move until I got an answer. I asked one more time, just in case I’d done it wrong the last time around.

“So you say you’re prepared to put posters up of local events and places of interest, but you’re not prepared to allow a local author to promote a book…this being a library and all.” I looked at the shelves all around me, as if to make sure I was in the right place. “Don’t you think that’s a shame?”

Well the good lady behind the counter was applying regulations and she had the good grace to acknowledge that it would be nice to allow local authors to promote their books in the library.

“Leave your card with me and I’ll ask the management,” she said.

So I returned five days later and there was good news! Someone in the council run West Sussex library service had graciously agreed to allow me to present an A4 poster advertising my novel which would remain on the notice board (I was promised) for “a while”.

So the moral of this story is ask nicely and then ask nicely one more time. Finally, put on your best confused and slightly hurt expression and then ask the person you’re asking to ask someone more senior, just in case. This leaves me with one problem…I need to print a poster! :-/

60 day to go!

There are sixty days left until October, the month that I set myself as the target publication date. It’s time to take stock:

The writing – I’m halfway through draft #4. It’s not a major rewrite, more of a proof-read and minor tweaks but there are still over 160 pages to check.

Cover art – Not done. Ideas on themes only.

The printing – Talking to several companies. Sample hardbacks being sent to me to evaluate.

Clear plan for printing and level of spend – A total shambles. No nearer a decision on exactly what I need.

Publicity – Site following low (18 registered) and little feedback