___WORDS FROM ME_____________________________________

down the well

In a recent interview George R.R. Martin talked about life before the big success of his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. (That’s the Game of Thrones thingy, for those few of you not in the know.) He talked the usual stuff, characters, historical analogies, world building, the pressure to complete a big series, and so on; but he also talked about being a writer and how it used to be, before the bestseller charts and a hit TV show changed everything for him. It was good, and I enjoyed reading it. But the bit in the interview that struck home with me was when he said he’d spend a couple of years writing a book and then, when it came out, it was like he’d thrown it down a well for all the difference it seemed to make.

Well . . .

You don’t expect fame. You don’t expect riches and to be lauded with praise. (If you do, you’re really in the wrong profession, buster, because believe me, the statistics are heavily against you.) But when you put all that time in trying to make the best book you can, it’s nice when, now and again, someone actually reads your book.

It’s a rarer thing than you might expect. Book sales overall are not that large given the population of any particular country, and it seems there are fewer and fewer readers in the world, something that can’t be true given the need to be literate in a computer age. They’re out there, are readers (I’m one of them, and I assume you are, because you’re reading this blog); the thing is, they’re just not reading many of us.

Most of my readers have never heard of me. They pick my books up from the genre section in the library, read them – sometimes all of the book, and I suspect sometimes not – and then they return them and take someone else’s book out. They’re there for the genre, not me.

That’s fine. That’s great actually. On some level, it’s probably how it should be. People might find you, and suddenly take to you and read your other stuff after stumbling upon one title of yours that they like. They might not, because tastes differ, and just carry on going from genre author to genre author. And that’s fine too. It’s nice to be quietly anonymous while one of your books is calmly getting on with its business of being read without telling you. It doesn’t feel like there’s any pressure then.

Sometimes I sneak a peek, though, to see what’s going off. Now and again, as a sort of off shoot of a Google vanity search, I’ll dip into the online catalogue of a library and hunt for my stuff. It’s nice to see your titles out on loan. It’s also a little strange, to think that people you have never met are reading your books. It buoys up the confidence, gives you a little warm feeling inside.

But your books aren’t always out on loan. And for most of the time it still feels like you’ve dropped a stone into a large circle of darkness and are counting away, waiting to hear some sort of sound come echoing back up from deep down below, even if it’s only the crack of things breaking up when they’ve reached rock bottom, with no liquid dream to settle into. The book is published, and then it’s gone.

Is it worth the hard work and effort it took to get that far, though?

You know, for want of something better to do, I think it is.

Which is why I am here, standing slightly to one side of my usual place when I have a new book out, trade paperback and ebook in hand this time, looking down into a well that seems deeper and darker than any well I’ve dropped a book into before. Different well, different darkness, potentially a fathomless pit.

But maybe it’s a wishing well.


I just don’t know.

You see, I’m doing things differently, because I wanted to. Because I think I needed to. If you keep repeating the same actions and expect a different outcome, you’re going to be disappointed.  I’ve written a book, a sort of YA dark fantasy that might actually be a Crossover novel. It’s a tricky one to pigeonhole. I’m calling it A Clash of Ichor and Blood and keeping my fingers crossed that someone, somewhere, might read it. Maybe more than someone. Maybe lots of someones.

That would be nice. But I think it’s unlikely. Unless Chance intervenes, or Fate, whichever is less capricious; or a bit of friendly help sticks and makes a difference.

Still, you don’t know.

A Clash of Ichor and Blood is being published as a trade paperback through Amazon, and as an ebook through Amazon and Kobo. Hopefully it will make its e-way out onto other platforms at a later date. It doesn’t have a traditional publisher behind it. This time there aren’t likely to be any library sales. If anyone reads this book, then it may well be because I have given them a paperback copy or they have bought a digital edition at a very favourable price – see your local Amazon and Kobo store for details, folks – or they’ve found it on a pirate site for free.

The book is available now in its trade paperback format. It’s about 106,00 words long, which, given the font I’ve gone for and the size of the typeface, means it’s about 297 pages long. I’ve tried to price the book competitively, so that not only does it cost just a little more than half the price of many trade paperbacks these days, but it also hits the “free delivery” mark Amazon offers for postage of books. If you like your books physical, I think this is a good and nice thing that should bring a smile to your face.

If, however, you like reading electronically, on your phone or tablet via an app, or on an e-reader – which is my own preferred method of devouring ebooks – then Kobo and Amazon will have the ebook all set for delivery to you at what I hope is a fair and very competitive price. (I mean, come on – you’ll pay more for a fancy cup of coffee than you will for the ebook of A Clash of Ichor and Blood. How could you not buy it? It’d be crazy not to.)  The ebook is coming out this Sunday, on April the 15th.

I hope you can get a copy of the book in one format or another. If you do, I hope you read it. I hope you like it. I hope that it was worth it, for both of us.

I wish you well.

(The ebook, incidentally, is available without Digital Rights management applied, meaning you can take the epub or mobi file and convert it to any format you like, put it on any device capable of reading your chosen format, and also give it away to friends and enemies. I’d prefer it if they bought a copy. But if they can’t afford it, or wouldn’t buy it other than for free, what the hell – let’s get the damn thing get read. I can always drink rainwater and eat flies.)

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