Thursday, 25 October 2012

Harvest time

As you sow, so shall you read.
Despite a few days of consolatory sunshine, autumn is here to stay. Did you know that we used to refer to this season simply as harvest? It does exactly what it says on the tin.

As writers, we reap what we sow - if we're lucky. Only sometimes it takes more than a year to bring those seed ideas to fruition, weathering storms and drought and frost along the way. I've actually yet to meet an author who managed to plant in spring and then harvest even the following year. Literary crops seem to take their own sweet time. Scratch the skin of an overnight sensation and you'll generally find someone who has worked away at their craft.

Last year I had a short fiction ebook, The Silent Hills, published by Musa. It was well reviewed, copped some good reviews, and came top of a readers' poll for Best Mainstream Short Story. (Does this entitle me to use the award winning now?) But I didn't know what to expect in terms of sales figures and I still don't now. So I can only say that it did better than some and worse than others.

I treated it as a learning experience or an experiment. Musa assigned me an editor who did a thorough job, and a cover artist who based the design on my ideas and gave me final approval. And I pretty much thought that was the end of it.

Until...something came along

I rarely set out to write anything specific (except perhaps the Bladen novels) - the stories usually seek me out. The one that's coming to fruition now is another short fiction ebook that was an unexpected and welcome guest. Superhero Club has a protagonist who's a 12 year-old obese girl. The book deals with modern families, mental health, bullying and transformation. Possibly not the hot topics for children's fiction these days, unless a vampire or hungry person is involved.

But the harvest principle is the same. To get it published you have to have it accepted. To have it accepted you have to have submitted it. To have submitted it you have to have finished it. To have finished it you have to have started it. To have started it you have to have had a good idea at the beginning. And that's a heck of a lot of haves

Superhero Club is a bit of  departure for me and I look forward to seeing how it fares. Sometimes writing is like a magic trick. You start off at Point A with a kernel of a scene or a green shoot of dialogue. (I know, enough with the nature references already!) Stick with it and one day you're staring at a paperback or an ebook on screen and whispering to yourself, 'I did that.'

Superhero Club will be out on the 10th of November. I'll be the one waving a huge cover flag and showing like a barrow boy.

* As far as I know, Musa is still open to submissions. 
Check the site out for details - www.musapublishing.com

8 comments:

Suzanne Furness said...

Great analogy and very true. Like the sound of your new idea, good luck with it.

JO said...

Great post - and I'd add: you have to carry on writing, even on days when you decide the whole thing is rubbish and your finger hovers over the delete button!

Chloe said...

I love the sound of your new book. Will it be available in physical copies or just digital. (I've never owrke dout - do you need an e-reader for digital books, or could you read them on a computer?)

L said...

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

Kate said...

A great analongy, and congratulations on your book!

Kate said...

Yikes - typo alert - I meant analogy!

Derek said...

Thanks all for your comments. Writing, I hope, becomes a compulsion - a way of expressing ourselves, making sense of the world and translating our ideas and inspirations into some sort of order.

Superhero Club is only available as an ebook, and can be read in the following file formats:
PDF (Computer)
ePUB (Nook, iPad, Android)
PRC (Kindle)
Mobi

I love analongy as a word - an overlong comparison!

Julie P said...

Great post,Derek. I hope your books do well and I totally agree that in order to have been published you need to have written the book in the first time - back to the manuscript!

Julie xx