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.
Since I'm ALL the way over here in Europe, and my publisher is ALL the way over there in the USA, a traditional face-to-face bookstore tour is not really practical. But, we're ALL about the digital and so I'm happy to hit a global audience by writing for, and being interviewed by, these lovely bloggers.
(That sounded dirty).
So, click the link below to see my schedule running over July, August and September! One cheeky blogger has even asked for a video interview. God help us all.
Oh, and I'll also have a short article published in The Strand soon, as well as on BookTrib via Meryl Moss Media!
So, kids, Children of the Fifth Sun is available in print and ebook on July 25th. Can't wait that long? You can now download the first 9 chapters with extra goodies inside for FREE now!
For USA, use Amazon.com here:
For all other countries, use the other platforms, here:
As you know, it's already optioned for Film/TV and making quite a buzz in Hollywood! Now we're aiming to make it the #bestcifibook2017! It's been compared to #clivecussler #michaelcrichton #DanBrown #tomclancy
So If you haven't read it, give it a try!
So, a couple of days ago I was stuck in Heathrow airport. Delayed flight. Again. As a result, I mooched around the airport trying to avoid impulse buying. What better way to do that? Get a book and read (yes, I see the irony of the impulse buying avoidance, but it was a small purchase vs a large one).
Stu Jones just blogged. It's the second time in as many weeks. And that's weird for him. Perhaps it's Thanksgiving bringing a well spring of emotion to the surface. Or maybe he's just chomping on his nails while an important beta reader for Vesuvian reads our latest novel, It Takes Death to Reach a Star, so he needed to keep busy. Whatever the reason, he blogged.
The question he posed, and then provided his own view on, was: why do we write?
Stu's take is a noble one. Some of us have a magic inside. We crave to write, to express ourselves. To tell that story that crouches like a tiger inside, waiting to explode into the world. I agree that for some, this may well be the case.
But it's not why I write. At least not anymore. When I was younger, I wrote because I enjoyed telling stories and writing descriptive prose. How could I make the reader see what I'm seeing, or smell what I'm smelling? I covered topics from the Bushido to the dangers of being an over-bearing parent.
Children of the Fifth Sun was a labor of love, some twenty years long. Ideas and thoughts that had been gathered from countless non-fiction books. I saw it as précis on the human condition; the experience of loss. But more than that, it was cathartic - selfish even. The protagonist reflects very specific parts of me. And with the end of the book, came the end of a chapter of my life.
I was sure I wouldn't write again. I had told my story. I was done. I had no more.
And then I had children.
They changed my perspective on life - on everything. And when I re-examined why I write, it became crystal clear. I wanted something to leave behind. Something that my kids could pass down to their kids. Sure, if I make money or even a movie from my work, I'll be happy. But that's not why I do it. I do it for my children. Even way back when, I did it for the children I thought I may one day have.
When I'm dead and gone, no one will care what day job I had, or what clothes I wore. But, for as long as they exist, my books will be pieces of me that my children, and their children, can hold. A piece of me lives in Kelly Graham, and in Demitri Stasevich. Forever.
Now, I am less compelled to put onto paper every thought that I've had. Every spark of inspiration. Now, I only pursue those ideas that, to me, have a greater message for my children.
I write so that one day my children will be proud of me.