Shortly after midnight, on the early hours of Wednesday 12th September, I uploaded Steps In The Shadows to Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon. I have now sold some copies of it, and I feel pleased to call myself an author -- a published (albeit self-published, something for which I make no apology) one, at that.
Now, my mind turns to marketing. As an indie author (indie sounds so much better than self-published, doesn't it?), it falls to me to promote and publicize my work. That's a challenge I relish, and I want to learn as much as possible about it.
I think I'm already learning. I've tweeted and facebooked extensively. I've prepared a press release and sent it to the Free Press Release Service. Someone invited me to the facebook group for Stoosh PR, which will enable me to help others promote their work (not just writers, either -- musicians, artists, actors, etc.!). I've let my friends and family know about it, and they've been very happy to promote it. I've even posted about it on an internet forum or two, and I have a couple of blog interviews coming up (and I'll ask for more of these, as well as guest blog posting opportunities). Finally, for now, I sent the press release to several publications, along with an author photo and book cover. No one has replied to me from any of these publications, but now the book's actually out, I'll try again by emailing them with the link to the book, which has the "look inside" feature so they can check out the first few chapters, and asking them to reply if interested in reviewing it and/or interviewing me (in reply to which I'll send them a free copy).
The only concern I have is that a review was posted very early on: a five-star review! Why the concern? you might ask. Well, given the recent sockpuppeting scandal (which actually seemed to be largely a problem among well established, high selling, traditionally published authors rather than the indie community) and the talk of reviewers being paid to write reviews, I think it was inevitable that I would feel a hint of concern. The writer of the review is none other than my dad, and he did this completely unprompted. He didn't tell me about it, but instead texted my wife to tell her that he had posted it. He has read the book - in fact, he was the first proofreader! - and he genuinely enjoyed it. He's proud of his son and wanted to post it. Yet I still agonized over whether I should ask him to remove it.
It would be nice to get a few reviews in addition to this, though -- so if you want to read a new crime fiction book set in Manchester, click here!
Monday, 3 September 2012
With my debut novel still in the hands of my proofreading and fact-checking team (comprising family and friends, all very kind and with a laser eye for detail -- if there's a missing comma, they'll notice it), I have had some time to think about other things. This latency period will, I hope, enable me to look again at the final, checked and edited copy before uploading it to KDP, and see it through the reader's eyes rather than my own. I certainly experienced some degree of this beneficial detachment last night, when my wife was reading it on her laptop. Looking over from the book I was finishing (Peter Robinson's excellent Past Reason Hated), I read a few pages and, after a couple of paragraphs, forgot for a moment that I was reading something I had written myself.
Even though I've only just finished my first novel, I've made a start on my second, bashing out five thousand words over the weekend. This is not a detective novel. This story, a dark comedy, is about a course of action taken by a normal, everyday man during the Jubilee Weekend, and I plan to release it before the end of the year.
After that, there will be a return to the crime genre with my third book, a second detective novel featuring the characters from Steps In The Shadows. When I started writing Steps, I set out to write a detective novel. Just one book, because I had always wanted to write a detective story. But as I wrote, my mind started wandering. I would create a character and think, what if they did X, Y or Z? I would refer to a particular incident and start to wonder, what were the antecedents to that? Before long, my simple, uncluttered story was at the centre of something greater, and I started to sketch out some possibilities. By the time I had finished, I had enough material to create an overarching theme and some more plots to give my characters a lot of work to do.
There will be four books in total to deal with the overarching theme, and Detective Inspector Molyneux is the central character throughout. The stories are set in Manchester and focus on events within the Northern Quarter of the city, hence the title I have decided to give the series: The Northern Quartet.