The BIG Giveaway…the results.

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Image courtesy of Cjcj at Stock Xchng

 

Twelve days have gone by since the Big Giveaway of ‘A Construct of Angels’ and as promised, I’m typing a few lines of feedback to let you know if I thought it was all worthwhile.

Before the giveaway, ‘Construct’ had sold eighteen copies.  That wasn’t a problem – I’d always imagined that my first novel would be a slow seller.  As I’ve told many people, I didn’t buy any of Robin Hobb’s books until she’d written six of them.  The first Harry Potter book I considered buying was ‘The Goblet of Fire’ – book four in the series.  E E ‘Doc’ Smith had written seven Lensman books before I ever laid eyes upon them.  Robert Heinlein, Arthur C Clarke, Andre Norton…all the same.

So I wasn’t expecting a stampede.

The weekend of the giveaway arrived – December 1st and 2nd.  I watched with barely-restrained anxiety.  Would anybody bother?  I’d Tweeted, I’d Facebooked, I’d emailed, I’d reTweeted, I’d told KindleBoards plus everyone who knew I’d published.  What more could I do at this early stage in my self-publishing career?  Ryan Casey had warned me to expect hundreds of downloads.  I saw twenty.  I stared at my tiny Netbook screen, waiting for the numbers to change, but they remained steadfastly low.  I refreshed.  Nothing changed.  I logged out and back in again.  Still no change.

It wasn’t until I realised that my Netbook was only displaying part of the Amazon KDP screen that the true scale of what had just happened hit me.

I’d had eight hundred and twenty-six downloads.
Smiley Faces
I looked again, scarcely comprehending.

How many??

Even now, nearly two weeks later, I can scarcely believe it.

So, to say that word got around would be something of an understatement.  With only Twitter, Facebook, Kindleboards, this blog and my contact list to work from, at least a thousand people had received the message that ‘Construct’ was up for grabs.

I’m happy to report that the first part of the exercise has been, without any shadow of doubt, a big success.

Now I can only wait and hope that the main object of the exercise, the procurement of some useful feedback, will bear fruit.  Even if only 5% of the readers leave positive feedback, that would still be forty reviews to strengthen ‘Construct’s credibility.

Fingers crossed and on with the sequel.

Write on!

Read outside your genre

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Strange how things work out.

Many of us tend to stick to the genre we know and appreciate (dare I say love?) during the early part of our lives, but this could be a grave mistake for the aspiring writer.

As a hardened sci-fi reader (I was a big fan of E.E.’Doc’ Smith, Heinlein and Clarke), being passed the complete ‘Sharpe’ series (British soldiers fighting in the Napoleonic era) made me shudder, but I quickly learned to appreciate the works – eventually going on to buy the entire televised series on DVD.

The fortunes – and misfortunes – of Richard Sharpe came to have a subtle influence upon the Marines in ‘Homeworld‘ – the WIP at the time  (Yes, it was hard sci-fi).

And when I shelved ‘Homeworld‘ and embarked upon the (Stephen Donaldson-inspired) fantasy saga that was to become ‘Elementals‘, the same benefactor who had introduced me to Richard Sharpe then revealed to me the wacky (Disc)world of Terry Pratchett.  Traces of those wandering wyrd-oes can be found within ‘Elementals‘, despite its serious nature.

Genre blindness can be a very sad thing.  Think of it as akin to literary inbreeding.  If an author restricts their reading solely to their pet genre,  that genre can only expand so far before it implodes for lack of new material.  A good writer (and I’m not counting myself among them) should look beyond his own works and read voraciously of other genres, to bring back new material and further the diversity of their own.

What I’m saying (without the pseudo-19th century english) is basically read, read, read and don’t restrict it to fantasy if you’re a fantasist, or sci-fi if you’re a futurist.  As I mentioned in my last post (Extra-genre readers), I was passed a book (Run for Home) that revolved around a 13 year-old girl who was kidnapped for the purposes of white slavery.  It’s a subject I would never, ever have chosen to read, but I read the book out of politeness, never realising that the feelings it invoked would stay with me for life (ok, 12 years to date).

These feelings, served me well they have, as I attempt my first (supernatural) romance novel.

Read well, my friends, and go on to write…um…weller?

Ahem.

So, what have you taken from books outside your genre?  What unlikely story has had an influence on your writing? 

Write on.

P.S. I make no apologies for the scattering of links within this post.  Not to everyone’s taste, they may yet stir your curiosity enough to explore them…

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