So folks, it has been a while since I blogged. It's been friggin crazy! But in a good way.
Within the last 6 months my books have been storming the awards scene.
Children of the Fifth Sun, won the 2017 Londin Book Award in sci fi and is up for a Silver Falchion Readers Choice Award and Silver Falchion award in sci fi; and the sequel Echelon just won the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival sci fi category.
It Takes Death to Reach a Star won the 2018 NYC Book Festival sci fi category and is short listed for a Cygnus Award and a Dragon Award! This latter one is a HUGE deal. The Dragon Awards are akin to the Hugos... but voted for by fans. To be shortlisted is unbelievable, winning would be gravy. And of course, my coauthor and I want the gravy!
Therefore we ask, if you read this book and liked it, would yiu do us the honor signing up to recieve the voting ballot which is sent out twice a week by survey monkey during the month of August, and vote for us!
Thank You and Wish us luck!
So, on my trip to Rome I was faced with horrendous delays and a taxi ride that was so scary I would rather have been driven by Richard Pryor in See no Evil, Hear no Evil. This might seem like a weird 80s reference, but leads me nicely (clumsily) into the real reason I'm blogging: Ready Player One.
Now a highly anticipated Steven Spielberg movie, dripping with 80s pop culture, video games and films from my childhood, Ready Player One is based on a novel by Ernest Cline.
Given this visual feast of a movie looks quite cool, I decided to read the book while I sat like a lemon in the airport.
And it was... okay.
In my last blog I promised not to judge another's work too harshly given they have put their heart into it. So instead, I'll comment on two things:
1. The book was relatively boring for me. The pace was slow and much of the narrative was dedicated to excruciating detail on various 80s games, books and movies - from the super famous to the down right geeky obscure. Every other line was in italics as the author name-dropped something copyrighted. It felt like he was being paid to do so. The characters for me were a little thin and the story predictable. I confess I even skipped pages to get on with the story.
That said, I can appreciate the author's absolute passion for his love of all things 80s and he clearly has put everything and the kitchen sink into the book ... now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, a trade journal review of my novel Children of the Fifth Sun. Because I like Ernest Iove my topic and want the world to love it too. Which brings me to point two.
2. While Ready Player One was a little boring for me as a book, I can totally see it as a movie. Visually it will be amazing and every 40-something male's wet dream. 80s nostalgia is in right now. Just look at Stranger Things. Who doesn't want to see a time travelling Delorean and an X-wing in the same movie using AC/DC as the soundtrack?
And this gives me hope. In fact, it gives all of the works being published by Vesuivan Books hope. The books, including mine, published by VB are done so with Tv and movies in mind. They are born of the passion and deep-seated knowledge of the authors, just like Cline, from 90s slasher movies, to horror, to sci fi and ancient history. They are written as much to be read as to be watched, because we want the world to see what we see.
So, my fellow VB authors. We may get the occasional reviewer who doesn't 'get what we're doing' but I guarantee you all lots of people do. People who share your passion and vision. People who can see what we see. Keep at it and dont let things get you down. If we don't play the game, we'll never win.
So, ask yourself my author friends: are you ready, player one?
So, last time I blogged I was asking the question: should we care about awards?
Well, this past weekend I attended the London Book Festival 2017 awards ceremony to collect my winning certificate for the sci fi category. It was held at the 5* Grosvenor Hotel in London, and there was nice alcohol and food and even real drinking glasses. About 30 people came, from the USA, Switzerland, the UK and Latin America.
So, already my expectations were surpassed.
I was able to give a short speech and feel important when receiving my award. People laughed and cried. It was emotional… (cough).
But, that is not why I’m writing this blog.
I will fully admit that I went in very focused on me. My award. My achievement. My interest in the other books was not high. It was my first award ceremony, and so I was busy being all self-important.
That quickly went out of the window.
Firstly, we had some VERY educated people in the room. A psychiatrist, a PhD in literature. A guy from Capitol Hill, a former exec from HBO… the list goes on. My little PhD was not stand out in this crowd.
Secondly, the stories behind these people’s books reminded me that for every book out there, someone’s blood sweat and tears have gone into it. For many it’s very personal. Just a few examples from this event included:
I know that I will not be quick to judge another’s work so harshly. For every story, there’s a story behind it.
So, I dug a little further and came across an interesting article on the shift in the publishing industry and the weight of even the big awards; Pulitzer, Man Booker, Hugo etc. The author told of how since the consumer is now king, as opposed to the literary elite, the awards themselves have less impact. Some of the best-selling books in the world have zero awards. The readers just really like the book.
So, I asked myself again - should I care about the award?
More digging, and another article came up which was quite positive. The author suggested that while awards may not have direct impact on sales, it does allow us to give a boost to our marketing campaign and put a shiny sticker on our book that other books don't have. He/she equated it to a bottle of award-winning wine with a lovely gold star. No-one questions the competition it came from; the consumer only knows that one bottle has the star and another doesn't. It may tip the balance when choosing.
A solid reason to enter competitions and hope for an award.
But, after much thought, finally I came to a different conclusion. I care about the award, because I care about my book. I write because I like to write. I do it for the love of it. Thus, if someone, somewhere, in a competition, big or small, has deemed my book to be more worthy than others to receive an award then I'm damn happy.
Someone liked my book. They liked it enough to give it a gold star. I feel proud, and that - dear reader - is all that matters.
Now, I'm off to rub shoulders with fellow winners and drink Lambrini from a styrofoam beaker.
A good example is the book I'm currently reading - Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari. I LOVE this book. It speaks to me in ways that I didn't think possible. His brain is how my brain works. Relentless logic. Have I reviewed it on Amazon or any other platform? No. Why? Because I have a million things to do. I will, but when it comes to me and I feel I have a spare moment. That could be months from now.
Thus, when a person takes the time to look at my book cover, like it, buy the book, read the book and review it I'm pretty damn grateful. I'm even more impressed by those who talk about it on their social media or post their review to multiple platforms. That means I had an impact. On one person maybe - but isn't that why we write?
So, to my author friends I say this: don't be disheartened if you are not getting the reviews you think you should be. Every single one counts.
Well guys, it's been a couple months since I blogged properly on here, but that's because I've been busy launching my debut novel, Children of the Fifth Sun. I've been interviewed by Simonetta Lein for the the Huffington Post, I've had big influencers Instagram and tweet about the book, I've had interesting trade reviews, Hollywood interest in it and of course, I've done some guest blogs. Rather than repeat all by guest blogs/interiews here, you can go read all SIX of them, for yourself at:
7/25 Interview on CMash Reads
7/26 Interview @ Tess Burnside – Author
7/27 Guest Post at Writers and Authors
7/29 Guest Post @ Mythical Books
8/01 Guest post @ BooksChatter
8/02 Interview @ The Reading Frenzy
Speaking of COTFS, it released to rave reviews... okay, lots of varied reviews... okay, 11 reviews on Amazon.com, 5 on .co.uk, 3 on .de and 64 (overall) on Goodreads. Though I did make it into the top 100 paid kindle books in TWO categories in the UK.
But I was telling the truth about the varied bit.
As an author, of course you want your book to be an out and out success with everyone. You quickly learn, it won't be. Not everyone likes your style. Some won't like the story. Some will like the story and curse you for something you made happen to a character. On the flip side, some will LOVE, ADORE and CHERISH your book. I can say I have had my share of both. Of course, you'll also get reviewers and bloggers who attack you as a person, or at the least make fun of you. In the current climate, which seems to favour the keyboard warrior - with death threats abound from all sides of the political and social spectrum for simply disagreeing with each other - such criticism is more pronounced than ever. I've actually had one guy - who gave a pretty good review of the book - poke fun at me for my website tagline (and probably my modelling pics LOL). But do I care? Hell no. We are all different as authors, and we have our way of expressing ourselves. At least he liked the book!
At the end of the day, do you know what that means? It means I'm finding my people.
I'm a first time author. Lots of people will read my book. If HALF like it, that's bloody awesome. Then, my other books will come out. People who liked the first will pick it up and tell their friends. And eventually, the haters will meld into a white noise and only my supporters, however big that group is, will read my books.
7 years. That's how long it takes from your first novel. I'll be releasing at least one per year now for that period of time.
Check back here then. Until that time, check out my book and those that are coming.
And if you're an author, take heart. Your people will find you.
Not because it was bad, but because something happened she didn't expect. Right at the end. Now, I'm not going to give away spoilers here. But, it did get me thinking.
As I market COTFS, I have played heavily on the sci fi factor, on the in-depth research. On the twenty years it took me to gather everything I wanted in my head. The comparisons it has recieved with Indiana Jones and The Abyss movies. Even the those reviews that are positive, have pretty much focussed on what I would call the macro story.
But, at it's core, behind the bling, it is the story of a man and his pain. The loss of a loved one and how one deals, or does not deal, with it. It even goes on to consider the pain all humans feel. The feeling of loneliness and the need to find another. It's a story as old as the Greeks, who believed Zeus punished humanity by splitting us in twain, into men and women, leaving us to search for our other half forever.
Tess Burnside, my ARC reader, picked up on that. And while she loved the macro story, and expouded on what a great movie it would make, it was the personal story, the protagonists journey, that affected her most. Even though, he's initially arrogant and in your face. In Tess's own words: "Kelly Graham grows on you like a fungus." Nice.
So, perhaps I should focus more on that when talking about COTFS? Not everyone can relate to the science, or the action, or the semi-contentious religion vs science debate. But most everyone has felt loss in their life.
People like to feel it's okay to be broken - just like Kelly. And let me tell you: it is. How else would the light get in?
You can pre-order COTFS here.