Well, it’s been a while. At the end of 2018 I wrote a piece about my first year as a published author. You can read about that by clicking the link below. I’ll be using a fair bit of that in this post.
A lot has changed in these past few weeks, so I’m here to explain a little. This year was originally going to be dedicated to three major writing projects:
The Aegis Mora, second of my Counterbalance series.
The as yet untitled third book of my Counterbalance series,
A new novel The Skeleton’s Eye, to be put forward to agents.
This was my original plan, but things have taken an interesting, scary and potentially exciting turn.
As of mid-Feburary, I officially parted ways with my publishing press Nordland Publishing behind The Thousand Scars. The book will be taken off sale very soon, I will let people know on social media when that is, but no later than March 31st. First of all, a big thankyou to Nordland for the time, and it was a good partnership. I wish them the best of luck in the future.
Let me tell you a little story how that came to be:
Slow but Steady
So, 2015. Counterbalance was still going. Slowly, but it was getting there. Or so I thought. I look back and laugh now at how naive I was at the time, because it was barely worth a first draft, let alone be anywhere near publication – worthy. It was bad. On a level of Ride to Hell: Retribution bad. Yes, I went there. I still have that 2015 version. I might even show it in future.
So, it was June 2015, and my girlfriend Vicky was staying over at mine for the week while the old ones (the mum and dad) were on holiday. It was an ordinary day, and I came across a post on a random Facebook writing group I was on from a certain Michael Kobernus (of Nordland Publishing). A small writing press, very small. As I say, this was completely out of the blue meeting. He was wanting to know about people’s writing, because of a lot of Facebook groups just have people spamming their book links. I posted regarding my book being 140k and “no end in sight.” I hadn’t a fucking clue what I was doing.
Naturally, he was intrigued and we connected on messenger, where he told me a bit about himself, Nordland and wanted to know more about my writing. Finally, someone else can rip apart my stuff and give me the kick I needed to improve! Poor Vicky spent three hours downstairs on her own while I went on Skype with Michael. She is amazing, she is. (She knows where I live. I must be nice.)
Strictly put. I had a lot to work on. And I mean a lot. My chapters were terrible, the opening had about 6,000 words of nothing before anything started. I barely had any meat on the bones throughout the “book”. Remember, it was barely half done. I had so much to do. Michael kindly but firmly advised I make it a series, split it and strip it all down from the beginning. It was exactly what I needed and wanted to hear, and the long journey began from there.
The Rocket into the Limelight
I took advice and split the novel from one book into three. It involved stripping the whole book and rewriting pretty much everything. It was the hardest lesson, but I cannot enjoy it more. The book turned from something which was a fragmented mess, into a (still in my eyes) fragmented mess, but one which is far superior to what it was.
It eventually turned into publication, and without that initial support, I probably would still be floundering like a fish in a dry pond.
I wish them luck going forward, but it feels good to have full control back over The Thousand Scars and in doing so, Counterbalance. My child from years of work. I love the world I’ve created for it and I see myself staying it in for years to come.
Where to go from here?
In good news, the book has done better then I ever dreamed. Sales across the world, over 300 total since launch. Nearly triple my estimation, actually. The reviews and ratings are good.
I have a lot to think about now going forward. Finances is one of them. Scary time right now but at the moment, I feel positive. This is the right decision for me to take, and I love this fantasy world I’ve created. It’s been my child since I was 12.
Now this brings me back to The Thousand Scars. I had a look through the full manuscript over the past few days and came to a conclusion.
I am not letting it back out there without a good edit.
That is putting it lightly. The more I’ve spent time on it with two years insight, the more I’ve come to the painful realisation its in dire need of an overhaul.
Now, I’ve had a few people worry that I’m changing the book or I’ll keep going back and editing it over and over.
That is not the case. This will be the only big edits I intend to make. Most of this is fixing mistakes (Chapter Two had 11 typos alone…), and fleshing up the prose based on what I have learned. After reading the manuscript, there is no way I am letting it back into the public without a good hard seeing to.
The plot, setting and 99% of the characters will REMAIN THE SAME. Do not worry about this. Think of it as an extended edition. Now, the beginning will change slightly because it was easily the worst portion of the book according to feedback. I feel I dropped the ball too soon. Too many characters introduced in stupid ways, too soon. The more I realised this, I feel it’s a perfect chance for me to give the book what it deserves.
Included will be, and this is just a short list:
- Fixing typos and errors
- Tidying up prose
- Fleshing out characters
- Overhauling the beginning (said to be The Thousand Scar’s weakest point according to most reviewers)
- Adding more events cut from the book. Battle of Manesow, anyone? Too much of that shit happened off-screen. Reviewers said battles were my strong piece. Why not add a little more?
As a result, my priorities this year are changing a little bit. The good news is The Aegis Mora is already in a decent state and in a complete one. I still plan on my other project for this year too.
Now, what will I do with The Thousand Scars upon fixing, some may ask? I’m still mulling over the options. Self Publishing it again is another option, as is another press. I’ve had offers already for it. Another option, and one I’m leaning towards is preparing it for querying agents with. I feel Counterbalance is a strong series, one good enough with time for interest. Will I get it? Unlikely, but it’s certainly a chance. With the brilliant Sarah Chorn (Bookworm Blues) as editor for the first two Counterbalance books, I am determined to make a proper show of this.
Part of me has been saying I’m taking two steps back, but no. This is my way forward, and I believe I’m doing the right thing.
I will return.