I work extremely hard at it and now, after almost ten years of effort, I can finally say ‘Yes, this manuscript is suited for publication’. You’ll know this moment yourself when you return to a manuscript and think, ‘Hey, this isn’t as crap as I thought it was! It needs lots of work, but… ’
I have two manuscripts. One is an epic exploration of bravery, danger, religious intolerance and the treatment of trauma during the Thirty Years War, set in the Swiss border regions and featuring some dialogue in German. The other is a knockabout fantasy novella.
Which of these do you think I’m going to try and sell as an e-book?
E-books are a great invention. In less than five years, they’ve started to break the stranglehold of the big five publishing companies and allowed individual artistic voices to be heard. They are finally delivering on the long promised democratisation of publishing.
And I’ve decided to get on board.
Since I’m currently without a job, I’ve got the time to pursue two separate routes to publication. The serious novel, The Witch, is going the conventional route. I’ll submit it to editors and agents, publishers and presses, and see what people think. I have a horrible feeling it will end up in desk drawers and recycling bins – the success rate of a manuscript going the traditional route is less than five percent. Pretty tough odds for something I’ve been working on for over a year, but that’s the way the game works and I’d like to try it this way first.
My fantasy novella, The Darkness Embraces, has a 100 per cent chance of publication. Cool, huh? The joy of e-books is that there’s no danger of rejection. You don’t have to put your writing to the test and run the gauntlet of professional readers in publishing houses and literary agencies. You can write whatever you want.
This is also the reason why the majority of self-published e-books are simply terrible.
So, over the next six months or so, I’m going to try and be your explorer in the wacky world of e-publishing. I already have a few ideas about what I’m going to do and a boatload of optimism about what could happen. I’m also terrified. I’m entirely certain that lessons will be learnt, tears will most likely be spilt and I’m going to drink lots of cups of tea.
So join me on my tea-fuelled odyssey. Let’s see how far a good idea and some carefully crafted words can take us.
Kieran will be back in two weeks with the next edition of Mundane Adventures. But come back next Saturday when World Fantasy Award nominated author Simon Kurt Unsworth starts his regular column about writing and publishing – The Bellows.