A slight change of plans

Now that Dark Streets is available for the Kindle on Amazon, I’m moving ahead with making a print version available through CreateSpace (probably ready by this weekend), and I’m looking into an audio version.

My original plan from there was to publish my children’s fantasy story, Shadow Paths, and then move on before the end of the year to a collection of short horror stories that I’ve been working on.

The trouble is, I’ve had so much fun with the world of Dark Streets that I’m not ready to let it go for that length of time. Funny how that goes. For a while there, I was long past ready to be finished with it. It had been a long gestation from a collected series of short stories set in a Dark Futures world to a coherent novel-length narrative. Now that it’s published it doesn’t feel like it was that long of a stay at all.

The plan now is to publish Shadow Paths in September – I’ll be getting the latest draft out to beta readers about mid-July – and Dark Cities, the second Dark Futures story, in December. The short story collection – Tales From The Edge Of The World – will now be out in March.

Anyone who’s been following this blog will appreciate just how rash a statement that is, given my track record with Dark Streets. The difference this time around is that I now know what it takes to finish a story of that kind, and I know how to structure it. This, of course, doesn’t mean that I won’t be wildly wrong. I’ve done project management as a day job, and anyone who’s been down that road knows how your best laid plans can go adrift. On the other hand, I ought to know a thing or two about scheduling work, right?


Let’s see where we are in September…

Yes. Considerably.

Dark Streets is now available on Amazon for the Kindle.

It can be found here in the US, and here in the UK.

That seemed so easy to type, but the effort behind me being able to type it is about a year of work from me and many other people who supported me.

Everyone mentioned here is also a friend or family member, but I’d like to acknowledge them in their roles with respect to this story.

A huge thank you to Karen Barrett-Wilt, my editor, for her perseverance and advice. She had plenty of reasons to give up on this project over the last year but she never did. There is probably a lot of good advice she gave me that I didn’t take but should have, and so any mistakes that remain in the story are mine alone.

Enormous thanks also to my graphic designer Mary Musker for her vision for the cover, and her patience with my back and forth on things I know next to nothing about with respect to design (everything, basically).

Thank you to my principal beta readers: my brother Ean, John Telfer, Chris Alban and Greg Barret-Wilt. Your wide range of reading and critical commentary was invaluable. Your ability to give me crap over a few beers was even more important. John and Ean, we’ll have the beers part of that next time I’m over.

And thank you to my girls – Beth, Olivia, and Charlotte, and even Large Marge – for the time you gave to this story, the time that I was away living in my head and writing this down; thank you.

Dark Streets will be out on CreateSpace for paperback print on demand shortly.

And so on to the next journey.

Shadow Paths, a Celtic fantasy story about a young girl’s journey through darkness into light, was something I wrote years ago and will be rewriting for publication at the end of the summer. After that, it’s a seasonal collection of short horror stories, titled Tales from the Edge of the World, also mostly written, but needing some attention.

Plenty to get on with there, but having finished one novel, I feel very ready to get to the next.  To borrow from the opening scene of Casino Royale with Daniel Craig as Bond:

“…you needn’t worry. The second is…”

“Yes. Considerably.”

Centigrade 232

I just watched the Thursday Colbert Report and find myself thinking that Stephen Colbert is completely missing the point.

With regard to the Amazon/Hachette dispute he references a first time author and how the lack of anyone being able to pre-order her book on Amazon is the kiss of death for a new title.

Well, yes, if you go through traditional publishing. Sadly, that publishing approach has failed to keep up with the times.

Case in point: I just published my first novel length story on Amazon. Dark Streets will be available tomorrow, once it completes the Amazon review process.

Unlike authors published through Hachette, or in fact any other traditional publisher, 70% of any sales are mine (as opposed to 10-15% through traditional publishing), I retain the rights in perpetuity as well as total creative control, I publish whenever I’m ready, and my story is available for as long as I want to make it so.

What Hachette and other publishers aren’t saying is that they missed the boat and let someone else control not only the means of distribution for books, but also provide a direct line from the writer to the reader.

How many of us remember the name of the publisher of the last book we read? If you’d asked me in the 70’s I’d have said Penguin, or New English Library. Back then those were the only publishers who made available the books I wanted to read. Now, I don’t have a bloody clue. Most of what I read comes to me not from a traditional publisher, but the actual writer. That’s a pretty tough value stream to replace*.

Publishing is changing *very* fast and we’re going to hear a lot of sturm und drang from traditional publishers. After that, unless they change, we’re going to hear nothing.


* I do have some thoughts on this – my day job is helping companies with process improvement and identifying value streams – and I’ll post those on another day.