Today Red Season Rising is One!
One year has passed since I, with nerves jangling, took my first steps to achieving one of my life-long personal goals: to make a living from joining up words and making sentences.
Although I’ve not updated my webpage as much as I would have liked, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on the year since publishing, and say a big ‘thank you’ to all my family, friends, old and new, and readers who have supported and encouraged me over these last twelve months.
Red Season Rising got off to a flying start. Out of the blocks sales were good, and before long it was at #3 in both Low and Dark Fantasy categories, and only just missing out on breaking into the top 1,000 in the Kindle Paid Store (UK).
I remember I barely slept those first few weeks, such was the level of excitement I felt at RSR being out there and selling. Actually bloody selling!
I tried my best to learn the ropes of marketing, but it was soon evident that with only one book to flog, investing in and running adverts was not the right option for me. Instead, I found that the best marketing was in engaging readers, writers, and other professionals in the literary world.
After some detailed number crunching tonight, I’m pleased to say that Red Season Rising has sold nearly 2,000 copies. For new authors, weighing up tying themselves to KDP, or going wide, I think it is important to hear how others are doing. For me, just under half of my writing income comes from KNEP i.e. pages read of books borrowed from the Kindle library. It may not be a long-term preference, but when starting out, the additional reach is worth considering.
RSR has also received some pretty positive reviews, the highlight of which was when I received a review from Pornokitsch, the British ‘geek culture’ blog:
“A very solid read, with an appreciation for tactics and messy battles. There’s an Abercrombian vibe that comes from the characters’ honest and realistic outlooks. In fact, much of Red Season Rising’s combination of tropes and storylines feels familiar, but that’s no bad thing. For Gemmell readers.”
Having mention of two of my favourite writers in such a review was fantastic, and a real confidence booster, however one cannot get carried away on the back of positive reviews!
RSR has received a couple of more critical reviews. For all the highs that come with receiving a 5 or 4 star review, there are also the lows of a 1 or 2 star review. But that’s the game. You win some, you lose some. I’ve learned that the trick is in wearing the negative reviews as badges of honour. Or ignore them. I mean, I don’t even read my reviews anyway…
Also this year, I decided to try and double-down on writing. I aimed to complete the follow up to RSR within the year (titled Too Cold to Bleed). Aiming at around the 150,000 words mark, I set about writing TCTB in October. Since then, I’ve written just over 140,000 words. In addition to that, joining up words has seen me produce:
- a 4,000 word short for Booknest.eu’s forthcoming Art of War Anthology (coming in 2018, and you do not want to miss it. Sorry for all the cussing in my story).
- around 5,000 words on a non-fiction book on the great (and shamefully forgotten) Orkney-born arctic explorer, Dr John Rae.
- shy of 8,000 words on a small literary (it probably won’t turn out that way) book about West Coast of Scotland and how the love of the land never leaves you. No matter how shite the summer is.
So, in total, my word count for the year is around the 157,000 word mark. I’m pretty pleased with that, given I write mainly at night, and only when I’m not utterly smashed after a prolonged effort at my day job.
Another of the major plus points for the year has to be the fantastic community of readers and writers who seem to be there to support and promote each other’s work at the drop of a hat. A big shout out must go to the great and the good of the following Faceboook Groups: Grimdark Fiction Readers and Writers; Fantasy Buffet; Fantasy Faction; and the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off Group. Altogether, everyone’s enthusiasm, wisdom, and craic has been a constant positive this year.
Finally, on reflection, this year has taught me that no matter how tough it may seem being knee-deep in plot-knots and grammatical cluster-fucks, it is only a matter of time and effort before everything works out.
Shamefully, however, I still don’t have frigging clue how Goodreads works…