A serialised version of my prehistoric fantasy novel, Face of Glass, will be running on The Pigeonhole from the 18th of March 2020. You can sign up free through this link, but be quick! There are only so many slots available.
You might recall that The Pigeonhole serialised Ten Little Astronauts shortly before the book launched. That was a really interesting few days, and if you didn’t grab a slot that time, I highly recommend giving it a go for Face of Glass. It isn’t just an opportunity to read the book for free: you’ll have the option to leave comments in the margin, and I’ll be following along myself to answer any questions.
Because there’s a community coming together to read the book all at the same time – which will be released in eight staves, one each day – the whole thing is a bit of an event. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can just enjoy the book and never open up the comments. But if you fancy getting involved and/or seeing other readers’ takes on the story as it unfolds, it’s well worth getting a slot even if you’ve read Face of Glass already.
Finally, regardless of whether or not you plan to sign up for a slot yourself, if you’d care to share this news around then you’d really be doing me a favour. I’m just one guy – I don’t have some big publicity department to help me out – and with events like this especially it can be a challenge to get the word out before it’s come and gone. It would be great to see as many people as possible all making a start on Face of Glass when the first stave goes out on March 18th!
Unbound has opened up a special Christmas Shop of books and bundles that would make good festive gifts, and Ten Little Astronauts is among them! This bundle would be perfect for anybody you know who loves sci-fi so much they’d definitely get through more than one book before New Year.
This is currently the second most ordered bundle, which I realise isn’t saying much as the shop has only just opened and most have yet to see any orders at all, but still seems like a pretty promising start. Most books have an RRP of around £10, so four for £25.99 is a bit of a bargain. Also, if you order before the 17th of December (from within the UK) the bundle should arrive in time for Christmas.
Even if you’re not shopping for sci-fi, do check out the full selection of books and bundles: there’s quite a range on offer!
I’m putting together an illustrated omnibus of all my Flash Fiction Month pieces from 2012 to 2017, and I need your help! This thing will include 186 stories – 31 for each of the first six years I took part in the event – and I’d like at least a significant portion to have an image to go with them. Read on even if you’re not an artist: it matters less than you’d think!
This Google sheet lists the full selection of stories, organised by year (as well as a link to each one to refresh your memory). Produce an illustration for any of them – even if it’s just a doodle on a napkin – and I’ll consider it for inclusion in the book. I don’t promise to add in everything that’s sent, but I don’t rule it out either! Here are some tips to maximise your chances:
- The images will probably be included on their own page, which means it’s preferable for each one to be portrait (taller than it is wide).
- Colour illustrations are absolutely fine (and people reading on phones and tablets will see them in all their glory), but bear in mind the interior of the paperback will be printed in black and white. Most e-readers will show the images in greyscale too.
- Bigger is better. I can always shrink or crop a large image to fit the book, but I can’t do anything to conjure more pixels out of a smaller one!
- Scans are preferable to photographs (if you’re working on paper/canvas/whatever). Each of my #draw365 images is just hastily snapped with my smartphone, and they really suffer because of it. If you don’t have access to a scanner, this blog post offers some handy tips on how to get good photos (even on a phone).
If you’d like to submit an illustration, simply add your name and a hyperlink to the Google sheet. That’s all there is to it, but if you’d like to tell your friends too then that would really help me out a lot!
The goal here is ideally to have one illustration for each of the 186 stories in the book. I’d settle for less, and I might consider more, but that one per story seems like something to aim for. Obviously nobody’s had a chance to ask any questions yet – let alone frequently – but here’s an FAQ anyway.
An FAQ Anyway:
Q: Will I get paid for this?
Q: Will I at least get a copy of the book?
A: If I end up using your artwork, I’ll send you a free ebook! I’ll probably send one even if I don’t.
Q: Why should I send you my work for free?
A: Literally the only reason is “Because you want to.” If you don’t, then don’t. Absolutely do not consider doing this for exposure. That’s a terrible idea in general and in this particular case I can’t even promise it’ll get your work in front of a significant audience.
Q: No, seriously, is there any reason I should get involved with this thing?
A: I think it’ll be fun! If you like any of the stories I’ve produced for Flash Fiction Month, this is a chance to engage with them and create something for future readers to enjoy. If you just like drawing and want to get involved with a big project, that’s great too!
Q: What’ll happen if you get more than one illustration for the same story?
A: I’ll probably just choose my favourite and the other(s) will go unused. However, if it’s a long-ish story then I may be able to fit both in.
Q: How should I add my name and link to the spreadsheet if someone else has already illustrated that story?
A: Just stick them in the next available cells on that row. I don’t anticipate that there’ll be too much competition.
Q: What’s stopping me doing an absolutely rubbish scribble just to get a free book?
A: Nothing. Scribble away! But again, there’s no guarantee I’ll use it and therefore no guarantee of a free book. (This is the internet: I acknowledge the possibility that 5,000 people will send me a hastily scrawled dickbutt, but I’m not emailing out books for the privilege.)
Q: Can I submit more than one illustration?
A: Yes, submit as many as you like!
Q: You’ve emphasised that quality isn’t much of a concern, but I’ve got an idea for something really good! Will that look out of place?
A: I certainly hope not! I hope that people will endeavour to produce work of the highest possible quality, much as I did when producing these six years’ worth of stories. However, I realise that people may find they don’t always quite manage to achieve their own expectations, as I did when producing these six years’ worth of stories.
Q: What exactly am I letting you do with my artwork?
A: By submitting an illustration you are granting me the non-exclusive right to reproduce that image for commercial and non-commercial purposes, which is what I need to make, sell, and promote the omnibus. You maintain all the rights you would have if I weren’t using the image at all (which is actually kind of a grey area when it comes to fan art, but I’m not exactly going to sue people for drawing things I’ve invited them to draw!).
Q: I’ve already drawn fan art of one of these stories! Can I submit that?
A: Yes! I actively encourage it.
Q: I’ve already drawn something that wasn’t specifically based on one of these stories, but might as well have been. Can I submit that?
A: Yes, that’s fine too.
Q: Is there a deadline for this?
A: Not currently, though I’d like to be able to release the omnibus sometime in 2020.
If you’d like to submit an illustration (or a few!) then here’s that link to the spreadsheet again. Even if not, I hope you’ll consider sharing this around. I think it could be a neat project, and I’d like anyone who might be interested to have a chance to get involved.
I’ll be at Waterstones in Winchester (the High Street one) 6pm on June 10th to talk about Ten Little Astronauts.
If you missed the launch last month, this is the perfect opportunity to stop by and celebrate the publication of the book! Tickets are just £2.00 and refreshments will be served.
Do feel free to come along even if you did make it to the launch too! This event is organised as a sort of interview, so it’s likely to be a little different to the last one.
The launch party for Ten Little Astronauts is coming this month! It’s 6:30 – 9:00pm at P&G Wells on April 25th. It’s a lovely independent bookshop a literal stone’s throw from Jane Austen’s House (though probably not the house you’re thinking of).
I’m hoping to get an idea of the numbers before the event (and a guest list, in case there are more people interested than will fit into the shop), so send an RSVP to the email address in the image above if you want to be sure of a space. I’ve also set up a Facebook event, if you’re one of those people who needs Mark Zuckerberg to send you a reminder before you’ll turn up to anything.
If you’re reading this but have somehow never heard of Ten Little Astronauts at all so far, it’s a hard sci-fi murder mystery inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. It’s got a promotional video filmed on board Britain’s last surviving WWII submarine, a cover by the same designer behind Barack Obama’s paperback memoir, and has gone down well with just about everybody who’s taken the time to review it.
So do come along! It’s set to be a fantastic evening.
The launch event for We All Saw It Coming will be at The Railway Inn, 7:30pm on the 3rd of April. The Railway is a great venue – I’m there at least once a month since they host the Poetry Platform open mic – and if you fancy catching some excellent stories, music and/or poems then you can stick around afterwards for that very event (starting at 9pm, with sign-up for slots in the half hour beforehand).
If you’d like to come along, you can RSVP and get updates through this Facebook event, or you can just show up on the night. I’ll be bringing copies of all my books, though probably not a huge number of each: I’ve written enough by this point that it’s getting difficult to cart everything to events. If you’d like me to sign something, you might be better off getting hold of it beforehand and bringing it with you to avoid disappointment. I’ve run out before! Continue reading
Another milestone, and this one’s a biggie! Ten Little Astronauts is now at 25% funding, meaning that we’re a quarter of the way towards getting the book professionally edited, designed, and finally distributed by Penguin Random House. This would be well beyond anything I’ve managed to do so far, and with the support behind it already it’s starting to look like a real possibility.
If you’re supporting Ten Little Astronauts already, you’ll now have access to a couple of rewards not available anywhere else. One is an audio recording of the first chapter, the other is the just-released My Name Algernon, a work of interactive science fiction quite different from anything I’ve written before. Since Ten Little Astronauts launched, I’ve been determined to make sure that the people who are generous enough to help it reach the bookshops get way, way, way more than their money’s worth, and there are more rewards on the way. When the campaign reaches 30%, I’ll be making available Harvest Moon, a short folk horror that you’re unlikely to have come across before, along with a brand new audio version of the same.
Before that, though, I’ll be running another book giveaway, this time for a copy of short story anthology Kicking and Screaming, which includes (among many other things) Harvest Moon itself. I’ll be sending out a signed copy to one of my first 125 supporters at random, which means that at the time of writing there are just 10 slots left. Those last few draw pledges went pretty quickly ahead of the 100 supporter giveaway, and I actually had a couple of people put in pledges right after the cutoff. Don’t hold off and get caught out!
Of course, if you’ve already put in a pledge for Ten Little Astronauts, then your name’s already in the hat. A couple of very generous people actually have their name in the hat twice, partly because it would be hard to keep track of the total otherwise, partly because I’m aware it’s fairly common for supporters to pledge on behalf of a friend.
Part of what makes reaching 25% funding such a big step is that it means there’s a huge group of people willing to put money towards making Ten Little Astronauts a reality, and I’m hoping they’ll be willing to help spread the word about it too. If everybody who’s put in a pledge so far found just one friend willing to do the same, we’d be literally halfway towards getting the book funded. That’s the stage we’re at now, and it’s huge! So seriously, thank you to everyone who’s supported it so far, and everyone who simply let someone else know the book exists: you’ve all made a massive difference.
Ten Little Astronauts has hit 10% funding. Double digits!
Everyone who’s pledged so far has done their bit to get the book to the stage it’s at now, and you’ve all earned my eternal gratitude. Still I’d like to thank The Writers at Lovedean in particular for having me over to speak and to run a little flash fiction exercise at their group: their very short stories had me very impressed! While I was there, Charlotte Comley also filmed me (and I her) for her vlog, so check out this video for my top five writing tips.
10% is quite a milestone, but there’s still quite a way to go. If you haven’t pledged already, doing so now would be a real boost to the book. If you have pledged already but want to help further, please consider recommending Ten Little Astronauts to a friend. You’ll have someone to follow along with, and the book will be that much closer to publication.
There are a whole lot of book giveaways running as part of the event, and though all the paperback ones seem to be US-only, I’ve taken the opportunity to make the Face of Glass ebook available as a free download worldwide. Since Face of Glass was until recently the only book I actually charged for, this isn’t something I’m likely to repeat any time soon. Grab your copy now, and pass the message on to any friends who might be interested, because when the fair ends on March 4th, I’ll be shutting that link down.
Incidentally, you might like to download all the different formats while you’ve got the chance: this is always an option if you buy from Smashwords, but if you only download one during the giveaway and change e-readers later on, you might regret not getting hold of the version it takes.
As it’s the first day of the book fair, it’s hard to say how this will all play out, but I’m looking forward to seeing some interesting things from some interesting authors. M.R. Graham‘s The Medium is also among those books featured today, and having seen the blurbs for some of the things coming up later in the fortnight, I know for sure that I’ll be keeping an eye on the event.
My first book, OCR is Not the Only Font, has just passed the 1,000 download mark! Within the last week or so, even: I’m glad I happened to tally up the downloads across all the different retailers just after it rolled over into quadruple figures.
It’s really neat to see one individual book reaching this many people, since it’s hard to guess who’s reading my Flash Fiction Month series as a whole. Because there’s no need to read them in order, it’s possible that the second book, Red Herring, has reached an entirely different audience. However, it’s far, far more likely that the same people who enjoyed one are coming back for the others, or (since the books are free) simply that people who’ve stumbled across one are taking the opportunity to download the whole series at once. That’s great for sharing stories, but as a personal milestone I think the reach of just one book is more significant.
If you aren’t one of the thousand(ish) people who’ve already got OCR is Not the Only Font, now’s your chance! I’d also like to give a mention to G. Deyke’s Borrowed Strength and Joe Wright’s A Certain Number of Hypothetical Scenarios. Both are made up of stories written as part of Flash Fiction Month, and both are by extremely capable flash fiction authors. If you enjoy my writing, there is a very good chance you’ll also enjoy theirs.