A writing update

I've had two novellas released. Yay, go me.

They are a Parallel Life and the Intersection and they are linked, sharing as they do the same unfortunate protagonist. Here's a couple or four links

A Parallel Life

Amazon UK

Amazon US

The Intersection

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Here's a shot of the covers.

Exciting eh?

But it's not been all fun in Edmund Lester-land. You see in the lead up to the release of the two novellas but I was having some issues with my writing process.

I enjoy creating stories, building worlds and populating these worlds with a cast of living characters to drive my story forward. But writing isn't just limited to this act of creation. Writing books is one thing but it only really has a point if someone is going to read them.

And yes before I go much further I will have to admit having had three books accepted for publication I am better off than some striving authors. But I have more stories. And so I've been trying to find homes for these other stories and, when I find potential homes be they publishers or agencies, I've been preparing submissions.

Submitting to markets is a very necessary part of the publishing world - traditional publishing that is. I have nothing against indie publishing, it's just not a way I wanted to go - but for all that it's necessary I find it soul destroying. And it's not just the rejection emails. To be honest I don't overly mind those. The part I find problematic is the void. The submissions you spend time preparing that never get a response. Now don’t take this as a criticism of the companies and individuals that do not respond personally. I get it. They receive a lot of submissions and resources are limited. So not taking time to personally write “thank you but no” emails – an act which gains them no revenue after all – makes perfect sense. It’s just that being on the receiving (or non-receiving) end of it was getting me down.

So I made a call. I’m not going to do it. At least not for a while. I’m not going to spend any time hunting down potential markets. Nor will I be reading through submission guidelines and creating new versions of my submissions files for various stories and novels so they comply with the requirements of this new potential market. And finally I will not be checking my email several times a day hopeful for an email containing good news (or any news).

Instead I’m going to see if I can get the fun of writing back to centre stage. I can always give submitting another go at some point in the dim and distant.

My first attempt with this new philosophy in command was this epic sf idea that I’d had germinating for a while. I borrowed a title from Robert Frost – Two Roads Diverged – which matched with the central concept and helped coalesce the whole and set about fleshing out my notes, trying to see if the idea was a goer.

Several dozen pages of A5 covered in my almost legible scrawl later I’m convinced not only that this is a goer but that it could be the best idea I’ve ever had. So time to give writing a go and see what kind of word count might result.

13,000 words later and I have a rough estimate.

Based on those words I now believe to tell this story will take roughly 400,000 words. Given the average novel is 90,000 words this is long. Long as in comparable to the Stand long (although I’d never claim being equal to it in standard – Stephen King’s book is a masterpiece).

400,000 words could take me a year to write, maybe longer. It’s a hellish commitment made worse by the fact that being a new author with no proven track record I can’t imagine there would be a rush of people willing to consider it for publication. And there’s no point writing unless it’s for others to read. Now I know this is a bit of a contradiction to my earlier statement about not submitting. After all I’d need to submit to have a chance of someone reading it but I’m only not subbing for the foreseeable future. I do intend to do it again in future. Maybe when I’ve finished the next novel.

So I’ve made a decision. I’m putting it aside. For now.

I will come back to it. The story is just too interesting for me and, from what I’m told by my beta reader in chief, it’s engrossing – they wanted to keep reading once getting to the where it currently stops.

But I need to plan it a little more carefully and try something a little more viable in a commercial sense – i.e. shorter. So I’m going to keep jotting down ideas and details for Two Roads and so have opted for another comedic story – my third. This one is a little sacrilegious I will admit but before you blame me, please remember one thing. I’m English. We don’t really do religion. I’m hoping it will be seen as humorous not a novel attacking faith. I’m not trying to. I just have a silly story idea. We’ll see.

Anyway I’m well underway. The novel is standing on 15,222 words with an aim of 85-90K. Now that’s something I can cope with. And if I do manage it I will have at least achieved something – I don’t know if there’s been another speculative fiction novel set in Acocks Green, Birmingham.

So that’s where I’m going fiction wise. I’m hoping I get some decent sales for the two Ben Williamson novellas – a pretty obvious thing to say I know but there’s a reason. I’ve written a further four Ben Williamson novellas and I would dearly like it if the publisher wanted to continue the series. Just a quick polish (one last one, I can never resist a final tinker) and these are good to go. And this isn’t a plug, a way of me saying…oh, please go buy my books.

Although if you’re headed that way why would I stop you.


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