After answering a tweet in the autumn of 2009, I agreed to assist Graham Storrs’ virtual book tour (blog tour), on the release of his new book “TimeSplash”. At that time I also asked for two interviews with Graham; one to cover his feelings and findings before the start of the tour, and the second one after the tour to ask how, for him, the tour went.
As is the nature of things, we quickly realised that a second single after the event interview, could not do justice to what was occurring during the tour. So we chatted together after each event, whilst the tour was running and this has resulted in a post of seven and a half thousand words.
This is now too big, so to help the weary reader I have serialised it over a few days. I hope you keep coming back to see what Graham did next.
Today we join Graham during the first week of his tour. (Click here for yesterday’s post.)
Before we move on, let’s jump back a bit. On the original tour plan there was no mention of an interview with Lux Zakari. Yet a few days into the tour and an impromptu stop pops up, tell us a little bit about how an unplanned stop gets added to the tour.
My publisher has a number of Yahoo groups that all its staff and authors and readers belong to – in various combinations and for various purposes. It’s a nice idea. It keeps the information flowing and creates a bit of a community feeling. Sadly, they’re Yahoo groups, so I hate using them. It just happens that Lux has a new book coming out with Lyrical Press, so she’s on the groups too. When she suggested doing interviews with other Lyrical authors, I jumped at the chance. The timing was just perfect for the tour.
Last Monday (which is not your last Monday dear reader), you posted on Lyrical Press’ blog about how you saw building a network as the corner stone of your marketing. In one sentence you mentioned how networking was getting in the way of writing the next novel, plus of course, if you have been successful in your efforts, then all those new contacts will still make demands on your time. I’ll bet there have been some surprises in wielding this double edged sword?
Yes, double-edged is right. Someone should tell would-be authors, “Be careful what you wish for!” If you do achieve your lifelong ambition and get a book published, the chances are that yours will be one of the 95% of new novels that fails to ‘earn out’ its advance. It’s on the shelves for three weeks then returned to the publisher – or the ebook equivalent. That was it. That was your shot at the big time. And, after that, every agent or publisher you approach will look at the Nielsen ratings for your last book and shake their head, sadly. I’m exaggerating a little but not much. The surest way to ensure that you don’t get published twice, is to get published once – and not sell.
So I obsess about how my book is doing and I put a lot of effort into promotion. The thing is, you see, I don’t just want to be published. I never have, really. I want to be a writer. And that means being published over and over again (unless you’re Harper Lee, of course.) So success for this book is very important to me – very important – because it means I can sell the next one.
I suppose the big surprise about all this networking is that I actually enjoy it. I think you’ve got to be a bit ruthless about who you’re networking with to make that happen. On Twitter, for example, I’ve been careful not to follow anyone who didn’t sound interesting, and I mostly follow other writers. The end result is I now have hundreds of interesting people saying interesting, funny things all the time and it’s really good fun to be there to chat to them. It limits the number of people you interact with to be so choosy, but it’s much better that these things are not a chore.
Ouch! The hard reality of the publishing business, “The surest way to ensure that you don’t get published twice, is to get published once – and not sell.” Just piles the pressure on doesn’t it?
Oh yes. This is a hard business to succeed in, and you’re only as good as your last book. Even quite well-known writers keep their day jobs going. On the other hand, having a book bomb doesn’t necessarily mean the end. I know someone who just got his second book deal after a less-than-spectacular first novel, but he had to work very, very hard, and the new book is really something special. You really have to find some way to keep publication separated in your mind from the writing. If I never publish another book, I know I will still keep writing them. I just can’t help myself. And it is in the writing where all the pleasure and satisfaction lie. You have to try not to let all the rest get in the way, somehow.
Also, you can’t drop hints like that about a next novel and then leave us all hanging…
Well maybe you can, after all that is a writers’ thing that they do.
But do tell, what are you expecting to be working on next?
Since I finished TimeSplash, I’ve been writing another sci-fi thriller called (at least provisionally) The Credulity Nexus. It’s about a guy who gets himself tangled up in something very big and very terrible and spends the whole book trying to extricate himself, and everyone he knows, from the consequences, while saving the world on the side. It’s set about 60 years from now and a lot of the action takes place off-world. It’s set in a future world I’ve been building in a series of short stories about the early days of transhumanity and the struggles that individuals and the world have in coming to terms with it. The idea fascinates me. The Credulity Nexus takes place during an early paroxysm of reaction by the old order against the new power that is emerging. My protagonist just happens to be stuck in the middle of it.
If that is the same world as in your short story about the scanned consciousness of a man living inside a mechanical body, who ‘lived’ and worked in orbit, then I shall look forward to reading it. I really liked the social interaction in that piece, and it sounds like there is more good stuff to come.
Thanks. Yes, the story was “All the Way”. It won a prize in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest last year and it has been published recently in The Future Fire magazine (one of my favourite spec fic magazines, by the way.) There’s another story “Jim’sWorld” which I’d like to see published before the new novel appears (if it ever does – I haven’t quite finished writing it, remember) because it covers the origin of several elements of the book. I really like the idea of prequels and sequels to my novels appearing as short stories. Just for this blog tour, I wrote a prequel for TimeSplash called “Party Time”. It appeared in Merrilee Faber’s blog on 12th March.
On Wednesday we had fun talking on the Comings and Goings blog about the weeks and months of preparation that went into the tour. That was the fourth stop on the tour (not including the 24 stops on day one), and I have to ask is there anything that, if you had the chance, you would change? (Dear Reader; Don’t be surprised if I ask him this same question again, at a time point, some weeks in the future.)
Yes, there is. When I planned the tour, I spaced the stops fairly evenly throughout the two months. With hindsight, I think I should have put in a few more stops in the early part of the tour. After the excitement of the launch itself and the 24-hour world tour, I feel I should have kept the momentum going with more events in the first couple of weeks of the tour – and some more interesting events at that – a competition or two maybe. Of course, I have no evidence that this would have been better. Perhaps my readers are glad that I’ve let up a bit on the bombardment. But I have the energy right now and it’s a shame not to be using it.
I also noticed that, and I was pondering how an author might bridge the void between any two substantial tour posts, without instantly overloading his/her self with work. Apart from what you have already mentioned, I had a few initial thoughts on this and they are.
Close up the spacing during the initial week(s).
Serialise either an initial chapter (or few) each day over the initial period.
Serialise some short stories based on or around the book over the initial period.
Serialise the characters bio’s or world information, in between posts.
Question and answer session on a forum(s). (Not so good if you reside in Australia)
I’m sure there are loads more options, but it is a very valid point and well worth having at the front of your mind when planning a tour. So now that you are well into the tour do you feel that you want to meddle with the tour plan?
Click here for the next post, when Graham covers when meddling is not “exactly” meddling.
TimeSplash Virtual Book Tour (Blog Tour)
This interview is part of the virtual book tour running from 16th of February to the 5th of May. To find out more about the book, characters, Graham, publication and inside information about writing the story, go to the virtual book tour schedule page at “TimeSplash – The Blog Tour 2010″
About Graham Storrs
Graham Storrs is someone who thinks a lot about the future. It’s a place we’re all going, whether we like it or not, a place where we, our children and their children will have to deal with changes we can barely imagine. Some of us can’t wait to get there, to see what it’s like, and how we will cope. That’s why Graham writes science fiction – he wants to know what happens next in this amazing story we’re all living.
After a career in research and software design, Graham has turned his gaze firmly to the far horizons and now lives and writes on a remote mountain-top in rural Australia. Surrounded by gum forests and wild animals, he relies on his wife, Christine, and their Airedale terrier, Bertie, to keep him anchored in the present.
Released: February 15, 2010 · Lyrical Press Inc.
Purchase: TimeSplash can be bought as an eBook direct from the publisher, by clicking on “Buy now”.
e-Book: All six popular formats supplied with each purchase
Price: US $ 5.50,