Thursday, May 19, 2011

A word says a thousand pictures: COMPETITION!

As an author who has yet to see his first title hit the shelves, my humble blog probably doesn't have thousands of avid followers hanging on every post. However, the internet's a great resource, and I've decided to make an effort to see whether those who are reading my posts would like to win a free signed copy of COVENANT when it's released in the UK on November 10th 2011.

The task at hand for anyone valiant enough to undertake it, is to think of a single-word title for my third novel. Currently, it's under the working title of EVENT-HORIZON, which is highly apt for the novel's content. However, my publisher thinks that one-word titles have more punch, and also that the current title makes people think of the horror movie of the same name released back in the 90s.

The novel will be about time-travel, the paradoxes that it creates, and the hunt for a man who has the ability to see both forward and backward in time. I've been advised that the title should have the word "Time", or something obviously related to it, somewhere within it. It's a tricky task, and one that I haven't conquered myself yet. The winner, as well as getting a free signed copy of Covenant, will also get a mention in the third book's acknowledgements for coming up with the title - something that might just help a budding author's chances of getting noticed....

I look forward to seeing what ideas appear in the replies. As this competition concerns a globally published novel, the publisher may decide later to change the title in one territory or another. I'll pick the winner of this competition at the end of May 2011, and use it for the work. The winner will get their signed copy and a mention in book 3, even if ultimately the title isn't used upon publication.

Best of luck!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The publicity drive begins!

I've had a hell of a week, with so much happening that it could take a few posts to fit it all in!

Firstly, my agent Luigi Bonomi loved my manuscript for ELIXIR. He had just a handful of minor suggestions to individual pages, and one or two scene improvements. The work has been done and the MSS is now with my wonderful editor Maxine Hitchcock at Simon & Schuster.

Secondly, I was hugely honoured to be invited to the Simon & Schuster 2011 conference at the Paramount Hotel in London. This was a major event for the publisher, with many celebs invited, and I learned a huge amount about what's happening behind the scenes with COVENANT. Probably the biggest news is that it will be getting not just national print publicity in the USA and UK / Commonwealth but that it will be advertised on television, on Sky's CBS Action channel in October, with ads running for a month around major crime and drama shows. Add to that the first hints that the MSS is doing the round with production studios and things are looking very bright for my debut launch. The novel is also to be a lead title in Australia, another major breakthrough market if things go well.

It was fantastic to be invited to such an event, which involved a lot of work as well as fun. I had to talk to dozens of booksellers, buyers, representatives of major chains and supermarkets and so on, trying to do my bit to help the team at S&S reassure potential stockists that I'm a long term bet with more novels on their way. As far as I can tell it went well, and I finally got back to my superb hotel at 4am after a few after-party sherbets with the S&S team! I had a great night, and if every publicity event is as much fun, I'm signing up for them all!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Draft complete!

Finally, after several weeks of furious editing and re-drafting, I have finished writing my second novel, ELIXIR. Or at least, I've finished the very first stage of writing my second novel.

What happens next, for those aspiring authors following this blog, is the beginning of the rest of the hard work. I'm fortunate to have a very hands-on agent, Luigi Bonomi, and he likes to have a read of his client's novels before they are sent on to the publisher in question. This is a sort of safety-buffer, for reasons that any experienced author, published or not, will understand.

No matter how 'good' a writer I may ( or may not ) be, there comes a point where I can no longer see the woods for the trees in a manuscript. I'm not the sort of person who finishes a novel, looks at it and thinks: "Wow, fantastic, that's going to sell millions. I'm a genius." Mostly, I realise that I've gotten to the point where every 'i' is dotted and every 't' is crossed and I can't think of anything else I can do to improve the script. This is where the ever present editing work begins, and Luigi provides that first-glance to ensure that I haven't done anything blatantly stupid, that the story runs well and so on. He'll suggest revisions, flag-up any slow-spots where I've waffled or lost direction in any way, identify character flaws... the list can be endless, but hopefully will come back relatively manageable. Notice I say "will" come back. There's always changes, always something that won't be quite right. When it's one person writing 110,000 words, nobody can get it perfect first time, and when it's going to be on shelves across the English-speaking world and perhaps beyond, 'okay' isn't good enough...

Despite all of this, I'm really excited about ELIXIR. I reckon the story is an equal to that of COVENANT, that the main characters are developing really well and that my chief villain is quite possibly the best I've managed to create yet! There's plenty of action, a great new high-concept scientific core to the story that I hope will get people talking and great locations throughout!

Now for a well earned rest, my first proper break since Christmas. Next week, I'll start planning for book three, EVENT-HORIZON. Can't wait!