Thursday, 15 March 2018

The first book you write will be rubbish.

"The first book you write will suck."

This is something that I saw on a writing group on Facebook today and have seen many times before.

Googling on "the first book you write will be" the top hit I found that was relevant to this blog was in a piece by the bestselling author Amanda Hocking who says "Almost universally speaking, the first book you write will be terrible."

She is certainly not alone in saying so.

I asked 38 authors how many novels they completed before the one that first got published. I've shown the results in diagram form below.

(click figure for detail)

18 of 38 had the first novel they finished published. These 18 included mildly successful authors such as George RR Martin, Rick Riordan, and Joe Abercrombie.

It should be noted that a good fraction (but by no means all) of these authors had also written short stories and part finished novels.

Before his debut (Dying of the Light) GRRM wrote multiple short stories and 30 pages of a novel. Rick Riordan, who like GRRM published multiple novels before breaking big, also wrote a great many short stories. Robin Hobb wrote lots of novellas and "many many" short stories.

There are also some on that "zero" row who wrote no short stories, no part finished novels, and just knocked it out of the park first go.

The thing is that like almost every bit of writing advice or statement about writing ... this truism isn't true. Writers vary hugely in their methods and results. Statements about writing, however definitively someone delivers them, are a bit like the Pirates' Code ... more by way of guidelines.

With all this said, the first book I wrote was rubbish.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

I'm in a talkie!

After a lot of requests I've done my first ever podcast interview! Go me!

Listen to it here on The Grim Tidings Podcast.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Hooray for Grim Oak Press + Grey Sister charity lottery!

I'm at Charlton Farm Hospice right now with my daughter Celyn for a break. Much of what the hospice does is give respite breaks to life limited children and their families.

I was going to post this tomorrow, but about an hour ago a little boy died in a room close to ours. And that's the other part of what the hospice offers. End of life care in a place where the children feel safe and have happy memories.

So, here's a photo I took this morning of Celyn handing over a fake cheque for a real donation of $5,000 from the publisher of my Broken Empire special edition, Grim Oak Press.

To increase the pot I'm running a charity lottery for my last signed US ARC of Grey Sister which I will send to the winner on Friday.

 All you have to do is comment here, or on my Facebook, or Twitter posts to say that you have donated $5 or more to the charity that runs this children's hospice and several others.

I will trust anyone who says they've done it, because seriously, who would invite that sort of karma?

And on Thursday I will randomly select a winner from a combined list of all those who donated.

Be good to each other.

All my book awards are weapons!

Top: Gemmell axeling, for King of Thorns making the Legend shortlist (back in the day when they gave them for shortlisting)

Outer left/right: Stabbies for best book (Emperor of Thorns) and best contributing pro author on r/fantasy.

Inner left/right: Gemmell Legend Award for Emperor of Thorns and The Liar's Key.

Centre: The Golden Stabby, for best book (Red Sister) and best contributing pro author on r/fantasy.

My Golden Stabby arrived today, and it's a BIGGY!

Huge thanks to Elquesogrande, founder of r/fantasy, for sending this beast to me at vast postage expense.

The "golden" element derives from my decision, following in the magnanimous footsteps of Brandon Sanderson, to recuse myself from the Stabby Awards for a few years.

Anyway, it's a heavy chunk of metal, and I'm very grateful to the good folk of r/fantasy for voting Red Sister their favourite book of 2017. I shall wear it with pride!

And if we get burgled again then the criminal has even more to worry about! Same goes for zombie apocalypse.

Thanks again to all those voters out there who have made me an award-wielding author!