|Wow, this cover actually matches the background colour on my blog. Pure coincidence.|
It's finally happened. I've crossed over to the other side. The 'published' side. I'm starting to think of it as the Dark side. Because the last few months have been mad. Manic. And also, inevitably, filled with huge amounts of frivolous time wasting and not much actual writing. And it kind of goes without saying seeing as this is my first post since early February that I haven't been blogging either. Or visiting any of you. :-( Most of this I blame on the sustained state of heightened nerves arising from the fact that I've had four books released in four months, with another two releases still to go next month. They're all actually the same book: Dark Child. But as it's been released as a digital serial, one new episode has come out each month, each attended by a flurry of tweets on Twitter, and updates on Facebook, and hours and hours (oh, let's be honest, days and DAYS) wasted obsessively checking sales ranks and figures on Amazon and the iBookstore. Why did nobody tell me it'd be like this? Actually, they probably did, but back then I wasn't listening. I just wanted to be published!
It's true though. For me, anyway. With a digital book release the problem is that you CAN keep a constant eye on it. With a print book, once the publisher has sent it out to bookstores it's months and months before you have any idea what has sold. You're pretty much forced to put it out of your mind. But digital makes information so much more accessible, with ranks that actually change hourly at some retailers. It's an obsessive author's nightmare. I think I'll have to work through this new addiction with checking every single new review and watching rankings like a hawk until I'm good and sick of it, and then I'll be able to move on. Because it's certainly not helping me get any other work done!
Enough of the rant - but that might go some way toward explaining what I've actually been doing in the last little while. (I've also had sick kids, which is never fun, but they're on the mend now.)
Anyway, next week, I will have to put on my extremely-professional-published-author hat, because I'm on a panel with my agent and publisher at the Sydney Writers' Festival talking about Dark Child and the entire process of how it was turned into a digital serial. Talking about it might give me some perspective! It has been an exciting ride, that's for sure, from the first introduction of the idea by my publisher Joel Naoum of Momentum, up until now. I was terrified at the thought initially, mostly because I felt it placed a lot of pressure on every single part of my book to perform; each of five 'episodes' has to carry enough weight to be satisfying, and yet leave enough enticement for the reader to continue. Obviously I ended up going for the idea though, given that publishing a first novel is pretty much jumping in the deep end anyway...
There have been a few readers who hated the serialised approach, and just wanted the whole book. And of course, despite (I think) being the minority they were the ones who weren't shy about leaving reviews. Isn't that always the way? (though I don't mean to imply I didn't get some lovely positive reviews too - I did, and I appreciated every word!) For the ones who wanted the whole novel as one, yes, you're getting it! The Omnibus edition is coming out 1 June, and contains all five episodes of Dark Child - it's the complete novel as I originally wrote it.
So yes, for readers who prefer their novels as novels it's possible to skip the serialised experience entirely. But as a bonus of the serialisation, the publisher is able to make Dark Child: Episode 1 (the first 20,000 words or so of Dark Child) available free for most of the forseeable future, letting readers try the first part of the novel before they decide whether to invest in the Omnibus. So go and get your free copy of Episode 1! It's a nice meaty length that's much longer than most samples, so I'm really happy about that. (and see the bottom of this post for an offer to get a copy of the Omnibus free and review the entire novel)
The final serialised episode of Dark Child, Episode 5, will be coming out concurrently with the Omnibus in just a couple of weeks. Here's a cover pic.
And now I'm feeling reflective, and thinking 'where to next?' Because I always intended for Dark Child to be more than a stand-alone novel. I'm already working on a sequel. But what will that be called? Will I try serialisation again, and start the next round off with Episode 6? Do I call my next novel/serialisation 'Season 2', to mimic the style of television? Author John Scalzi is rumoured to be doing with his recent serialised collection 'The Human Division' which was a novel released over 13 weekly episodes.
You used to just be able to release a book, and then its sequel. Not too many issues with how to label or promote a book in those familiar circumstances. But in this scenario...I admit I'm finding it all a bit confusing, and want to make sure readers won't feel the same. Thoughts, advice, in the comments please? And also questions about anything else. And comments telling me what YOU'RE up to to get me up to date and help assuage my guilt for not visiting.
Seeking early reviewers:
A special offer for readers of this blog (and any other lovely reviewer types you want to refer on). I know most of you are writers, but if you're someone who also reviews books on Amazon/iBookstore, Goodreads, or your blog, (hey, preferably ALL those places!) and you'd like to review Dark Child, (read about it here to be suitably enticed) then please comment below or otherwise get in touch BEFORE 31 May 2013. The Omnibus edition is being released 1 June and will be available for review very shortly and I'd like to make the offer here first, 'cos you guys have been with me since the beginning! And you're awesome. And there really aren't very many of you still reading this blog, so, um, yeah. If you're one of the loyal few, have a free (digital) copy on me. Or, you know, on me and my publisher.
I kinda hope my publisher doesn't read this. Except I did link to them on Facebook. So they might.
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters)"
Shakespeare, Henry V