Joe Wright just sent over this absolutely fantastic Ten Little Astronauts artwork! It’s based on a scene from the novella that a very small handful of people will have heard me read at the International Agatha Christie Festival.
Chances are you’ll have come across Joe Wright’s work before, as he also produced the image I’ve been using in almost all my promotional materials for Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure. This one’s very different in terms of style, though:
I was trying to make something that was reminiscent of old sci-fi pulp novels, which I understand isn’t exactly the aesthetic you’re going for, but I think it’ll help catch the eye.
It may not be a direct representation what’s described in the book (in which the U.N. Owen is not much to look at), but for the overall tone I think this is a great match. The pulp style harks right back to the time of And Then There Were None, and the image itself certainly captures the tension at this point in the story. But to find out what’s really going on here, you’ll have to pledge for the book!
If you’d like to see more of Joe’s work, one handy place to look would be his profile on deviantART. He’s a writer as well as an artist, and regularly takes part in the same Flash Fiction Month event as I do: you’ll see his stories referenced in a number of my own, typically those written as part of a challenge involving another author’s entries for the event.
Ten Little Astronauts has been making spectacular progress recently. So much so that it’s actually a little difficult for me to keep up: by the time I actually managed to record the 225 supporter book draw, the count was up to 233. That’s a good chunk of the way towards the next draw, which will be coming up at 250 (if we reach 250!). That next draw, by the way, will be for a brand new story written specifically for the winner: quite a prize!
This is the kind of sudden surge of interest that the book needs to reach 100% by Christmas: a tight deadline, but one that’s looking more achievable than ever now that we’re already more than two-thirds funded. Right now Ten Little Astronauts is just a hair away from 70%, and if we can reach that today there’s a chance that Unbound themselves will even step in and start promoting it more.
Basically, whether you’ve put in a pledge or not, doing something to share the book would make an absolutely massive difference to its chances of success. Tweeting it or sticking a link on Facebook helps a little, but actually sending a personal message to someone you think would enjoy a sci-fi murder mystery in particular would help a whole lot more. With so many people behind the book already, I know there must be more out there who would be willing to support it: the only challenge is reaching them in time!
It’s the eleventh hour. Aragorn is making his “It is not this day” speech. The rebels are approaching the Death Star. Neville Longbottom has destroyed the final horcrux and Harry Potter is preparing to battle Lord Voldemort. I’m not familiar with Twilight, but I’m sure there’s some confrontation between Heartthrob McSparklepants and a bad guy of some kind.
The point is, there are just days left to fund Ten Little Astronauts. At 63%, it’s the bulk of the way there and it has a solid chance of reaching its target, but only if the people who want that to happen make it happen.
At this point, you’re either behind the book or you’re not: there’s no time left to “get around to it.” 213 people (at current count) have pledged for a copy of their own. Countless more have shared it, told their friends about it, and generally helped it along in less direct ways. If it’s not your kind of thing, I get it. If you can’t afford to chip in for a copy right now, I definitely get it. But if you’d like to help my career as an author all the same, doing something – anything – to spread the word about it before that Christmas deadline would make a spectacular difference to the book’s chances of success at absolutely no cost to you. Continue reading
Ten Little Astronauts has now reached 20% of its crowdfunding goal, which means – as promised – the audio version of the first chapter is now available to all my supporters! If that link just takes you to the standard book page, you either haven’t pledged or you’re not signed in: either way, there’s an easy fix. 😉
One thing you might notice (and may already have noticed if you read the excerpt very closely) is that the first chapter of Ten Little Astronauts is in fact titled “Eleven.” This is because the title of each chapter corresponds not to the chapter number, but to the number of crewmembers alive on board. As a result, the chapters count down rather than up.
This is the first recording made using my new equipment – a condenser microphone connected to a mic preamp and voice processor – that I’ve released online, so I’m hoping it’ll hold up favourably to the audio I’ve put out there in the past. I’m still learning how to make the most of the equipment, and I expect that the next few recordings will rely less on editing the sound in Audacity and more on finding the right settings to use on the hardware itself. “Eleven” does feature quite a bit in the way of ambient noise added in afterwards, however. If you’ve already pledged and you fancy having a listen, I recommend using speakers if at all possible: if you’re just using earbuds, chances are some of the detail won’t come through. Continue reading
Until now, if you wanted anything other than just an ebook version of Ten Little Astronauts, you’d also have to pay for shipping on the paperback included in the next pledge level up. Since that may not be ideal for supporters outside the UK, I’ve just added two new options geared specifically towards anyone for whom shipping costs could be a problem:
£25 Digital Bundle:
This reward consists of absolutely everything I can send you without sticking it in the post. You get all the digital rewards: the ebooks of Ten Little Astronauts, Face of Glass, and all my flash fiction anthologies, plus the audio collection that’s normally introduced at £35. That means you’re getting £10 off the audio collection, and not paying a penny shipping on anything at all.
£30 Read With A Friend:
If you do want a paperback but don’t want to pay the full cost of shipping, this may offer a solution: two paperbacks, two ebooks and two names in the back of Ten Little Astronauts, but all in just one parcel. That means that if you can find a friend who’d also like a copy, you can split the cost of delivery and still get your futuristic sci-fi murder mystery in tried-and-tested dead tree format.
Though I’ve included these rewards with international supporters in mind, they’re still available within the UK. You’ll still save on postage if you want to read with a friend, and if you’re particularly keen to hear my brand new audio collection but aren’t fussed about getting a paperback, then the Digital Bundle could be for you.
If you’ve already pledged but would like to take advantage of one of these new options, you can do so by following the advice in this FAQ guide. Essentially, it’s just a matter of emailing email@example.com and asking them nicely: they’ll be able to return the value of your original pledge, which you’ll be able to put towards the new one.
If you initially went for the £10 ebook to avoid the cost of shipping, please do consider upgrading to the Digital Bundle. You’ll get greater rewards, Ten Little Astronauts will be that much closer to publication, and by my reckoning it’s still cheaper than a paperback and postage.
After days of planning, one of which involved getting up at 5:30am to film on board a WWII submarine, Ten Little Astronauts is now live at Unbound. If you’d like to see a hard sci-fi reimagining of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were none become a thing that actually exists and that you can find in bookshops, now’s your chance to make that happen!
Unbound is a crowdfunding publisher. If you’ve ever organised a project through, supported a project on, or simply heard of Kickstarter, you’ll have some idea how the process works. The main difference with Unbound is that they’ll only take on projects they have some faith in: they already put forward the money to get me on board that submarine with a professional videographer!
However, in most other respects things do work a lot like on Kickstarter, right down to the goodies for supporters. If you just want to support Ten Little Astronauts, the minimum pledge is £10 and you get an ebook to read. An extra £5 gets you a first edition paperback as well. For £10 on top of that, I’ll sign your first edition and throw in every ebook I’ve ever published up to this point. Continue reading
July 1st, as always, marked the start of Flash Fiction Month, but for me personally there was also some very big news: I’ve had a book accepted for publication!
If you’ve subscribed to my newsletter or have spent some time in the Flash Fiction Month chatroom, you may already be aware of this, but the Winchester Writers’ Festival this year went a little better for me than I initially let on. One of my one-to-one meetings was with Scott Pack, an editor at Unbound. He passed on the manuscript for Ten Little Astronauts, my MA novella, to the rest of the team. A week or so afterwards I found out that they’d decided to go ahead and launch it.
Unbound is a crowdfunding publisher, which is pretty much why I decided to approach them: it is nearly impossible to get a novella published by conventional means. The couple of weeks since they accepted my work have mostly revolved around organising a campaign for it, which alongside Flash Fiction Month and my regular job have resulted in more than a couple of very, very long nights. I’ve been working on a pitch, thinking up rewards for supporters, and – for reasons that will become apparent below – arranging the use of an Acheron-class submarine.