Sunday, 18 December 2016

A Novel Way to Publish: Close But No Cigar

"... you didn't miss by far, you know you came so close." T. Dolby

During the long dark of winter and the early cold haze of spring I did something that is rare for me. I finished writing a novel.

This was surprising on two counts because I already had two other novels on the go, a gothic horror nearly finished and a crime novel about two thirds of the way through. But no I had to go and start another novel. Its a wonder I get anything finished.

Then I thought "well I'm broke, so lets stick it up online for free as a blog and see what happens."

The Serene Giant: a pulp science fiction novel completed in the dark of winter 2016

Then I started reading a novel I'd written in 2007 and found the grammar, paragraph structure, and general writing were just awful! But I still liked the story so a complete revamp occurred using the skills and experience I'd gained in the nearly ten years that preceded its original creation.

So I stuck that up online as well as a blog and thought 'well, we'll see what happens.'

The Sol Dichotomy: a ripping Earth Invasion novel

Well nothing happened, due to the mix of the wrong media, no marketing or advertising (I can't do everything!), and a simple lack of interest.

Day after day the stats for the blogs sat at zero, no one was reading them, although there's a slim possibility that someone in France is reading a chapter of the Serene Giant every week - but I think this is in reality a netbot.

So after crying those hot tears of disappointment my arrogance knew no bounds and I decided to supply the manuscripts as unsolicited entries to Double Dragon.

After another serious round of editing to adhere to the submission formatting guidelines - where I re-learnt what polishing a novel really means, off went the Serene Giant. Answer - thanks but no thanks.

Then I fired off the Sol Dichotomy and waited. I waited a while. This was odd, what could it mean? They had a lot of submissions? They were actually reading the book?

Then the answer, we would have published your book but won't be because its already up online - but the story is 'seemingly good'.


After the sobbing and floods of tears had stopped, and the heart-wrenching dissappointment subsided, a little voice inside my head whispered soothingly, it said 'don't give up, they thought your book was seemingly good, seemingly enough to have published it if it hadn't been online... they would have published it... it was seemingly good...'

Talk about clutching at straws.

I then remembered about Stephen King and his words from his non-fiction book 'On Writing' - in summary 'just keep going'. He had a notice board above his typewriter covered in rejection letters before Carrie was published.

But - and some would say its a big one - to be fair, and after the first round of rejection in 2007 from New Zealand publishers because "it wasn't about New Zealand" - what? Its a science fiction novel you twats!- with this level of rejection statistics it surely won't be too long before someone publishes me and I did get so very close after only seven abject rejections.

You see I'm an old traditionalist. I will not accept that I'm a 'real author' until a publisher actually publishes one of my novels. Harsh but fair - as I am to others so unto myself. I've been through the 'vanity release' stuff with the music videos and singles, that's the bar I've set.

So there you have it, I would have been a published novelist by now if it wasn't for the blogs, close but no cigar - just fucking typical.

But should you want some seemingly good and free reading over your break:
- try the Serene Giant if you're looking for a hard science fiction epic with quantum and temporal weirdness that will blow your mind, and that is full of AIs, swearing and black comedic cynicism.
- try the Sol Dichotomy if you're into strong female leads, characters with real feelings, facing the tough and grim fact that the world as they knew it has ended.

If you prefer to read on your reader, just message me or leave a comment here, and I'll produce a PDF for you. 

Otherwise its OK, I understand, you're busy.

And to those intrepid pioneers that have consumed my novels in varying states of edit - Chris, Brendan, Spiro, Natty-J, to name a few - I thank you for your time and feedback.

I suppose I better get back to banging my head against the wall and finish those other novels... of them ties in with that album I've been demoing... 

...I need an agent/manager...



  1. I understand, and I keep meaning to finish reading these finished works, but you know me and time management.. :/

    But on the upside, the greatest thing I struggle with is completing a book. And you've finished 3 counting your non-fiction. It should get easier. You are probably figuring out your workflow right?

    Maybe try writing some short stories, novelettes, novellas, and submit to places like Analog magazine. Or publish your short stories online and use that as marketing material or a portfolio for getting full stories published.

    Read books and blogs from other authors who have been through the same thing. There are some good books on the Kindle store for a few dollars or less. I can give you some recommendations of ones I've read (or started reading) if you want.

  2. :D thanks my brilliant buddy! This was a non-directed satire/rant BTW, I'm actually chuffed with the DD response (coz I don't get out much).

    Yes you're right, I've got a really good workflow for 100k-130k novels now, its like an addiction, and later stages still need work - always did have trouble with big climaxes... just ask my ex-wife, ba boom tsh!

    These blogs have helped with writing heaps as did polishing an old novel for DD.

    Great suggestions and you know my feeling is that if I'm reading about writing, writing short stories/novellas, I'm not writing novels ;)

    The stupidest thing is, to finish writing a novel you simply have to finish writing it - like SK says, one hour a day, no interruptions, sit down and start typing - unless you've been fiendishly clever, structure can/will come later. Finishing the non-fiction helped.

    I like your serialisation suggestion a few months back the best, so will look at that next year when I'm not so drunk and sitting around in my underpants so much.

    Or maybe a series of short Sci Fi - which is what The Serene Giant started out as :)

    Miss you heaps - onwards into that hoary breach of a bitch and the beasty interior that is the 100k+ novel - get me coffee, wine, and nicotine, where's my rifle?!!!!