From my cold, dead hands…

No, there’s nothing to worry about!

In the ongoing delight (and I’m not being sarcastic!) of pre-novel-launch excitement, I received a small parcel of ACTUAL PAPERBACK COPIES of my novel this week. I mean they weren’t free or anything, I had to pay for them, so you know, it cost me money. But… here’s the thing. If I was publishing in the more generally understood usual way (otherwise known in the community as ‘trad publishing’ which makes me wince a little, why not use all the syllables?) there’s no such thing as a free lunch in that environment either.

Unless you get very, very lucky, via the traditional route you are still expected to market your own book, very heavily. Your advance is not going to be Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell stratospherically huge. And your royalties? Pfft. Let’s not talk about that. The average wage for a novelist is… small. Especially when you think of the hours and months and not unusually, years, that go into crafting a manuscript even before the author gets even close to the agent/publisher stage of the process. And then it’s a massive lottery. The author is hoping that an agent somewhere will like the manuscript well enough to take it on and market it out to publishers. And then the publishers have to be in the right frame of mind too. Fair enough, it’s business. But it depends on many, many ‘what ifs’. Traditional publishing is a tricky process. (I may yet try it one day though because why not?).

I’m not complaining. Nobody forced me to write and dream of being an author. It’s all my own fault! And nobody made me choose independent publishing either. I like control (anyone who knows me, knows that!). I like that I learn knew things. It keeps my brain ticking over. I went into this with my eyes wide open. And it’s been a wonderful fairground ride of fun and oohs and aahs. So. Many. Firsts.

Holding a physical copy of Anti-Virus in my hands, seeing the cover (and feeling it!) in all its glory, admiring the stellar job that has been made of the formatting inside, even the simple joy of the front matter (copyright, ISBN and so on) – these are the firsts of firsts. As one of my wonderful ARC readers wrote in her review on Goodreads (five stars, thank you so much!) ‘TO RULE THEM ALL’ (she used shouty uppercase too!).

So yes, if everything goes up in flames and I am nothing but a crispy corpse when all’s said and done, you’ll have to pry Anti-Virus from my cold dead hands. Once the burning embers have died down. Otherwise they won’t be cold at all…

So close, I can almost taste it

Although, what do books taste like?

I imagine the boys in J2 could tell me, as they used to chew up pieces of paper and spit them at anyone within spitting distance (except teachers). Charming, but then nine year olds are pretty uncouth and (literally) unwashed, aren’t they? Or maybe that was just the 1970s. Or just Birmingham. I dread to think. Although having said that, I am reliably informed that it wasn’t just the Wumpty buses that had ‘No Spitting’ signs painted on the interior walls…

What’s a Wumpty bus? Ahhhh… So, here’s a bit of history. The Transport Act of 1968 created Passenger Transport Executives in four major British conurbations. Each PTE was managed by transport professionals carrying out the policies of a Passenger Transport Authority made up of elected representatives from local authorities. Their task was ‘….to secure or promote the provision of a properly integrated and efficient system of public passenger transport to meet the needs of that area….’

The initial tools were the municipal bus undertakings in the relevant areas. The West Midlands PTE absorbed the Corporation buses of Birmingham, Walsall, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton with effect from 1 October 1969. The largest contribution to the new WMPTE came from Birmingham City Transport, accounting for around two-thirds of the new 2,100 strong fleet and 8,500 employees. Birmingham’s dark blue and cream buses were well constructed and maintained so the new PTE operations began life in good condition. (I found this information on the Transport Museum Wythall website, in case you’re a fan of public transport!).

So, WMPTE becomes Wumpty, and Wumpty was also a cheerful bus conductor mascot for the transport executive, as you can see (I remember him well!). I found him in the comments on the Beauty of Transport blog. Ah, the 1970s, when bus conductors were still a thing… (along with power cuts and three day weeks). How times have… improved…?

Anyhoo… back to my initial reason for picking up the blogging ‘pen’ again. I’ve finished my final post-editor edit. There’ll be just one more read through to check for those sneaky typos that seem to regenerate when your back is turned (I know, right?), and then Anti-Virus will be winging its way to the magical Becky at Platform House Publishing who will be waving her formatting wand and making it look professional on the inside (thank goodness for Becky, I have minimal patience for that kind of task). Her husband James is the marvellous book cover designer – they are a dynamic duo between them and I highly recommend them!

So, this is the state of play. It’s getting closer, ever closer, this publishing my first novel lark.


The good, the bad and the ugly

I’m not a fan of Westerns at all, but I love that film. You can hear the music right now, cant you? You have an earworm don’t you?

You’re so welcome…

Actually, the title of this post is a little off. There’s no bad (sorry to disappoint if you’re a fan of high drama), nor is there any ugly, unless you count my anxiety going off the scale at various points in the last couple of weeks for no reason whatsoever.

Good – my editor had wonderfully positive comments following her review of Anti-Virus. No major plot holes were revealed, no ‘eh, it’s OK, I suppose’ (a lukewarm response would have been worse than a ‘this is absolutely awful’ to be honest), nothing requires major reworking. Hallelujah!

Double Good – the book cover design is done! I had such a brilliant experience, loved working with the designer and he just ‘got it’. This, my friends gave me such a boost. The book is starting to feel really real, not just real. I think of Anti-Virus and I picture the cover – how cool is that?!

Double Plus Good – I’ve taken the vast majority of the pain of the formatting side of things out of my hands and will be paying Someone Who Knows Things to do this for both ebook and paperback formats. You know, I could learn, but quite honestly, I don’t want to and also don’t want to devote the time to it, not right now (if ever, to be even more honest). I know I’m lucky to be able to do this and am very grateful, definitely.

So, things are moving on. I’m in the final stages of the final edit before handing over to the Someone Who Knows Things. And then I can find something else to worry about, like, I don’t know, what will my ARC readers think?

Until next time…