Working, is it?

Well, I remember sending off many things for consideration and once it’s done, the obligatory “you may or may not hear in six to never weeks” means I often send and forget. I have learnt to forget and not dwell and when the email rejections come it always adds that surprise feeling that you forgot you sent the submission in the first place!

I know that sounds dismissive and believe me it is far from that…it is my coping mechanism to deal with the plethora of “thank you but…” and “no reply is coming” type emails having tried to pitch what we believe is worthwhile but the Agents and Publishers probably think we shouldn’t bother spouting about.

It is, after all, a very big game to play.

That said I did recently submit a short story I wrote last year to an anthology following seeing a post on a Facebook Authors Group. I never thought anything more of it until last week when I had an email.

I almost deleted it “regarding your submission….” my mind was filling in the gaps already, preparing me to deal with another rejection. That said, fully expecting the no thank you I was pleasantly surprised when the Publishing House said yes!

Did I read that right? A story, by me, in an anthology, published for proper? Filled with scepticism I decided to read and re-read the offer letter.

Which, I digress, but I recall about a year ago getting a contract sent through the post from what I now know to be a Vanity Publisher. Don’t get me wrong, getting that well laid out publishing contract pushed through your door seems almost too good to be true that your hand shakes with excitement. The big words and bumph of paper (they even had a personalised paperclip….come on who has that other than reputable people right!?!……WRONG!) I remember wanting to jump at the chance but decided to do my research. And that was when it all fell down. Pay us up front and we will “share the risk” a few thousand (pounds or dollars you choose) here or there and suddenly the offer isn;t as good as it felt at first. In fact, it was utter tripe and after a few conversations with other authors, it was a run a mile event that was both liberating and soul destroying at the same time.

So back to this anthology offer. I did my research and it wasn’t a Vanity Publisher (so we were nto a winner here). I did my reading up on the company, a new one, and thought this was a good path to go down. Who knows, it may open up something for the future considering my subject matter fits their submissions so I may send them a full novel.

I even had a conversation with one of the founders. It was just a normal conversation, nothing about the “business” but instead some praise for my story and a few answers to some questions I had. It was refreshing.

Don’t get me wrong I could end up with egg on my face but considering the fact I am not having to pay anything up front I cannot say the risk is anything other than handing over my story. The contract reads sound (but I am no legal brain….well not on this sort of law anyway).

I am going to take it as a good sign, a step perhaps in the right direction. Maybe it will open doors, maybe it won’t but you know what it is encouraging that someone enjoyed my story enough to have faith it was worth a part in the anthology they are putting together.

But with that glimmer of encouragement I have been on fire when it comes to creating and writing. Blackout, my mid/end 2018 novel is well underway and I am loving writing it. Into The Dark is ready to rock and roll with some final touches on the paperback version along with Blue Light Christmas 2 ready for finishing edits. Oh and of course the final in the Origins Of The Magdon Series for release in October.

Wow! Please, rest assured these are not rush projects. Origins Of The Magdon has been a two-year project split across five novelettes so have been written for some time just a staggered approach to release. As for Into The Dark, this will not come out until next year (and I am hoping to pitch it around some more to see if a mainstream Agent/Publisher wants to run with it). As for Blue Light Christmas 2 this is in the works along with the illustrator so I am hoping the collaboration will make an exciting new story to raise money for Care Of Police Survivors again this year.

So yes I am busy but for the right reasons and motivations.

Hopefully, I don’t let any of you down!

Attacking from every angle!

Wow, this life can be fun………and intense at the same time. I’m currently running four projects at the same time, all at varying levels of completion which is quite fun. Thankfully I am only “writing” one of them which is BLACKOUT.

By working on I need to explain why this seems to work. The final Origins Of The Magdon book is done and just in need of a final read through and format ready for an OCTOBER 2017 release. That is probably the easiest of the projects.

Then there is Blue Light Christmas 2: A Cry For Elf which is second draft ready and in need of editing, formatting and illustrating. At the moment I have left the project in the hands of my ultra talented illustrator. If he can connect with the story and draw something then the story is right, if he can’t then I would rather shelf the project than creating something that doesn’t work. So this project is on HOLD PENDING CONNECTION but if it works then I will look for a DECEMBER 2017 release.

Of course, then comes Into The Dark which is final draft done, formatted and in the process of submitting to different people/places to see if I stick Self-Published or drive for something different. I now have a physical paperback copy from CreateSpace which has helped me find a whole new plethora of formatting issues. While I know paperback isn;t the current thing and not many people go for a physical book I still pride myself on getting that part right.

So, these three projects are already created meaning to me the story requires tweaking and editing but I don’t have to create. This more a process of finishing touches than anything else. Which, by doing it this way, allows me to have Blackout in the works. This is my (current) new project which is in the formation stages. I have three and a half chapters as I write this blog post which isn’t a lot but means it is all “up here” *points to my own head* and the hard work is yet ahead of me getting it out and down onto the page.

In my other life, my real life, it’s been a very demanding week of shifts but I keep that and my writing life as separate as I can so as not to conflict!

So that is just a little update on where we stand with the future of Tobey Alexander……you never know one of them may actually get me seen and recognised. You never know!

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The latest “idea book” – Italian Leather bound journal, I use a new one per “big” project.

 

Indie and self-published aren’t the scurge!

I try not to get involved in the politics of all this stuff. It doesn’t really bother me normally but recently there have been a lot of Indie-bashing articles popping up on my feed (Twitter and Facebook). While everyone has an opinion, and I get that, I feel that there is a lot of people just hacking away at the trust and confidence Indie and Self-Published authors fight to get in order to be seen above the “published” authors.

Don’t get me wrong, I see that there are some shoddy covers, some poorly written books out there but you know what…that counts on both sides of the river. Indie and “proper” published.

We are all guilty of feeling superior to another but does that mean the quality is any better or worse? Not particularly, I have my own opinions about what makes it through the inboxes of Agents and Publishing Houses and this isn’t the time for me to spout about it.

In the grand scheme of things though there is absolutely no difference between any of the suddenly appearing “classes” of authors. Those supported by big publishing houses are no better because in the end, we all did the same thing…we all just sat down, had an idea and ran with it.

So why the hate?

I know it flows both ways, a lot of Indie and Self-Published bash those that have got published and the same the other way around. Why can’t we all just sit back, be proud of what we have created and just get along? Yes, I know that sounds all idealistic but I find it quite funny having bumped into some people out and about (physically and inter-weberly) and the sudden reactions or looks of disdain I sometimes get when one of my children says “my daddy has written a book” and then it’s followed by my explanation I am self-published. I have even had one person literally curl their lips and walk away!

More fool you I say, because like I said, we all did the same thing. We all embraced our imagination and just ran away with it. It just so happens that whatever that person wrote fit the box of their Agent/Publisher and they got picked.

Do I think self-publishing harms my chances of “going big” as I was once told. Well no. Had I not self-published then nobody would have heard of Magdons. As it stands across all my social circles both on and offline there are lots of people who have heard of it now. Had I just sat on it and hoped the “big people” wanted to play with me I doubt my projects would have been as fun to write. For me I write simply because it’s fun, because I want to inspire my children and because you know what, because I bloody well feel like it.

There are so many projects that I wrote (and I’m not saying they were any good but that is not the point), there are so many I got rejections on and have disappeared into the ether having been lost to computer crashes and hard drive failures. All because someone didn’t like it I based my decision to give up on that.

Once again, more fool me!

I have written things since my teenage years yet why did I wait until I was in my 30s to actually run with it properly? Well now I have learned that I can do it alone.

Sure, those in the “circle of business” get help promoting, marketing etc and there are those that think self-promoting takes you away from writing. Well, really? I don’t think so. After all it is a project I have created and if someone doesn’t believe in it as much as I do then I’m not interested in having them onboard. I would rather pump my entire effort into getting seen (or not as the case often is) than let it become one of fifty projects a company holds and really doesn’t give two cares about other than making their money.

No! Everything about this is personal to me, the stories, the effort, the marketing, the creation…..so if it fails I can be 100% confident that the only reason it failed was because of me!

So really, after all this rambling and complaining I just want it to be known that there are no upper, middle and lower classes in the world of writing. We are all just creators, nurturers of ideas and to suddenly start thinking any one is better than the other undermines what all this is about.

Authors are often the social outcasts, those that were looked at with furrowed brows when the random ideas came spewing from their mouths. Yet we are in this together, whatever path you choose or are lucky/unlucky enough to be set upon in the literary world.

Just play nice and accept that talent isn’t always noticed, isn’t always appreciated by everyone but even if it touches one imagination and entertains them just a little then we’ve got it right.

To the scorners of my path you’re no better than me, I’m no better than you. We are just the same, someone who taps away feverishly trying to create something people will enjoy.

So to both sides, get off your soap boxes (as I am about to do) and crack on with the thing that matters……….feeding the inastiable monster that is our imagination!

Sorry

Rant over!

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Engaging young imaginations

It has been a rather amusing past few days in respect of my stories. My sons have had their friends around yesterday and today which means I can pollute even more imaginations with my creations and madness.

At the end of the day yesterday I gave a copy of Origins Of The Magdon: Vercovicium (Book 1) to the oldest one (10 years old) and thought nothing of it.

Well, when they arrived this morning I was bombarded with questions about the book and he had only read to Page 11!

We decided to take a walk in the local countryside and needless to say he was glued to my side asking me every question he could possibly think of. It was, in itself, thoroughly enjoyable coming up with answers and telling the story of The Magdon from a different point of view as the descendant of Archy.

As the morning rolled on in the middle of an expanded explanation about the Nivags and how they protect The Magdon he proudly declared “You know what, I believe it’s all real now!”

What better encouragement is there than my target audience properly engaging with the story.

I suppose it helps that I could talk the hind legs off a donkey when it comes to off-the-cuff ad-libbing the finer details of the story but for me it is moments like this that really tell me that I have created something for the Mid-Grade audience which not only seems to connect with them but has also spurred on the adults who have read it to want more from the mythology.

Could it be that I am simply not giving the books enough service and my own inexperience, and a mistrust of all those “highly promising” PR companies and online ad campaigns is thwarting my own progress?

Am I being too picky actually wanting people who have a care for my “product” to get involved? If I could get the right people I would want a parent or someone who connects with the story to help me take it forward. I don’t want to just be another project on a massive list. This whole adventure of Magdons and Monsters has been a personal one and I want to use that motivation, personal investment and growth, to make a success of it.

It is difficult though, because when you look at it…..WHO AM I?

From the inside out I am the grand story master, the creator of adventure, the spinner of lies and intrigue, the all knowing Oracle but from the outside in I am some untrained hack bleating on about a project that makes no sense to even pay attention to.

It’s a frustrating world and awful position to be in.

Am I wrong to believe in the potential when so many Agents turn me down? Am I simply deluded as to the quality and connectivity of my story or am I just the undiscovered talent I hope I am?

If you hadn’t guessed it’s probably a self-doubt day Days like this when I sit back and consider what I create and ask myself…….”Should I be here? Do I belong here? Do I deserve to be here?”

Who knows! I suppose when it boils down to it I can be the only one to sell myself and my adventure. I don’t have (friends) people to fight for me, to sing from the rooftops and say LOOK AT THIS BOOK so any progress has to be made from, for the time being, me alone. Sadly I don’t have the funds to throw money at the big firms and say “make it work” and in lieu of that, I either need to put up or shut up.

But all that aside I had an audience today. A new mind to pollute with my imaginings and stories and that will be encouragement enough that I am not as bad as I fear I am.

Only the future will see!

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Author Interview: Tobey Alexander

Book Squirrel

Interview Lime

Hey folks, I’m here today interviewing author Tobey Alexander!

Welcome, Tobey! 

Thanks Squirrel, I’m glad to be here!

Me too! I mean, uh… I’m glad you could make it!

Haha, okay!

Tell us, Tobey, what inspired you to write?

I have always written as an escape from what I have been doing in my everyday life. I wrote through college and university to, probably more honestly, avoid the work I should have been doing. But, I never did anything with those stories. Perhaps because I didn’t have the skill to write properly back then but now, since I have had children, I have decided to lead from the front and get my stories out there.

It all came to a head when I saw my youngest son’s growing imagination and how it makes him look a little odd to other children. The way he plays, the stories he comes up…

View original post 2,301 more words

Serious progress – so far!

Well, while work has been all encompassing recently with rest days mismatched, shifts changing and having to deal with “internal politics” the work on my books had taken a back seat.

Thankfully, however, it would appear that has changed. So much so that I have now announced the cover, or best intention of my cover, for INTO THE DARK. Yes! I am aware it isn’t coming out until January 2018 but I want the cover to become familiar and desired.

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I’ve also created a sign-up list for Advanced Review Copies which I aim to start releasing in September/October so people can enjoy it and then upon release review it honestly. I am hoping after all this work that they will enjoy the story but that will be out of my hands by that point.

If anyone wants to sign up then follow the link:

HERE

There is also the promise of two more books…………..YES TWO MORE………..before Into The Dark hits the shelves.

Origins Of The Magdon: The Journey Ahead will mark the end of Archy’s story ahead of January. This is set to be the ending everyone has been waiting for, allowing Archy to finally face The Magdon and bring a finality to his journey.

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AND……..

Blue Light Christmas 2: A Cry For Elf, a Christmas sequel to last year’s charity book for Care Of Police Survivors charity.

So between now and Into The Dark we’ve got new things coming and I am planning to do some giveaways with the complete Origins Of The Magdon series so watch this space.

I know it’s only a short entry and one to plug projects but I’m brewing a new idea in the background, under the working title BLACKOUT. This, if I continue with the story, is a whole new story, no Magdons, no Jack James, nothing I’ve done before…………a whole new story to tell which is very much in the idea formation stage but it may grow and grow until I decide to commit it onto the page.