No new story for The 52 this week because PACKING THAT’S WHY! ALL THE FREAKING PACKING!
There will also be no new story next week because UNPACKING THAT’S WHY! ALL THE FREAKING UNPACKING!
We’ll be up and running again the week after that.
On Wednesday, the day I leave India, I’ll be putting up a super secret special locked post just for email newsletter subscribers. It will contain details of the second book of the Summer Trilogy (the sequel to The Flesh Remembers), including the release date and a hint of what’s in store. Once again, cover artist Vincent Chong has agreed to let me show you the rough sketches he sent to me so I could make decision about which direction I wanted him to go in with the visuals. Those sketches will also be in that post. They’re awesome. So is the finished cover, obviously, but I’m showing that to nobody until the guerrilla release day. If you want a preview, signup now and you’ll get the password on the day. It’s like playing at being spies. I was tempted to post everybody the password manually, written in invisible ink on the backs of postcards, but I’m basically quite lazy. Stick your email in the signup box at the bottom of the column on the right and you’ll be just like James Bond, probably.
As for this week, here’s an update on how The 52 ebooks are coming along. As you know, I’m currently writing a bunch of stories based on images sent by you lot. They’re collaborative pieces – things I never could have written otherwise, because they’re specific to the image sent (and sometimes specific to the actual people who sent them). The stories are being posted here for free, sort of weekly but with occasional gaps. It’s a project that exists purely for fun.
Although it wasn’t my intention when I started, I’ll be gathering some of the stories into two ebooks and throwing them up on Amazon. They won’t make much money, especially as all the stories are staying up here for free, but they’ll be there if people want to sample the best, or just prefer to read them on a Kindle. The first book will contain ten stories from the first half of the project, and the second will have ten from… well, you get it.
Rather than select my favourite stories though, I thought it would be more fun to put the final selection to the public vote. When the time to choose arrives I’ll look at the stats for each story, and work out how many people have read each one (I’m filtering the stats to show only those who stayed on a story page for two minutes – I reckon if they stayed that long, they probably read to the end). The top ten from each half of the project will form the contents of each book, whether or not they’re the stories I personally like best.
I’ve decided to add another layer too. All of the stories obviously come with images from my collaborators. When I know which story has had the most reads on selection day, I’ll approach whoever wrote that story and try to work out a deal so that their image will form the basis of the cover. They don’t have to say yes of course – if they’re not interested I’ll work down the rankings to the first person who is.
So far, we’re about a quarter of the way through this whole thing, with 12 collaborative stories published. Time for another update on how they’re polling. Here’s they are, in reverse order for additional suspenseful FUN!
You know you’re on the edge of your seats…
12 – The Midnight Desert (collaborator – Shawn Young). The most recent story has a meagre number of views at the moment. Is this because ‘desert’ keeps being misread as ‘dessert’? Do people fear stories about pudding? Who knows? It’s only been up a week, so there’s plenty of time for readers to find and share it if they think it’s worthy. 18 reads.
11 – Talking Point (collaborator – Michele Mixell). Faring only slightly better at the moment, this tale of tiny skeletons has yet to show what it’s made of. Maybe I should have used her picture of Tad the dinosaur instead? 19 reads.
10 – Kali’s Blade (collaborator – Kevin Lucia). An early story of revenge, but not one that’s ever drawn the crowds. I brushed tumbleweeds off this story the other day. 28 reads.
9 – The Black Dog (collaborator – Adam James). Creeping slowly up the rankings, this is one that people seem to stumble over through search engines. I hope they keep doing so, because Adam’s image is brilliant. 31 reads.
8 – The Echo Of Strangers (collaborator – R Thomas Allwin). Actually neck and neck with ‘The Black Dog’, but this is the one my stats thingy puts on top of the list. Stats thingy has the last word in the event of a tie. 31 reads.
7 – Messages Sent And Received (collaborator – Amanda Martin). There were a rush of visits to this twin towered yarn, but they died away fast. This could drop out of the top ten as new stories are posted, we’ll see. 34 reads.
6 – Observations Made In A Small Gallery (collaborator – Meghan Arcuri). This keeps leapfrogging upwards in little bursts. Is it done yet? Time will tell. 37 reads.
5 – Paper Cuts (collaborator – Andy J C Hannis). While it’s done well, this one hasn’t had any new love in a while. It could well be overtaken by more strategically-minded tales. 45 reads.
4 – From Above (collaborator – Mark Wholley). Only a little ahead of ‘Paper Cuts’, this story of descending doom is another which may have run out of steam. 46 reads.
3 – The Day She Died (collaborator – Susan Scofield). A little jump here, to a strange story that found loads of readers in its first few weeks and still brings stragglers in. 75 reads.
2 – I Am Hope (collaborator – Jackie Blewett). And a massive jump from three to two. This, and number one, have had so many reads now that it’s difficult not to assume they’ll make the final cut of the first ebook. 135 reads.
1 – The Smother (collaborator – Casey Tibbs). The very first story of the project maintains its commanding lead. Sometimes it’s good to go first. At the moment, Casey’s incredible photo is most likely to feature as the cover of the first collection if he’s up for it. There’s no such thing as a sure thing though. That’s what old people would probably say, if they were remotely interested in discussing The 52. 159 reads.
We’re only halfway through the stories that will be considered for the first ebook, so there’s plenty of time for things to change. It’s hard to imagine the top three not being on the table of contents, but you never know. Go and read some things. I you like them, share them. It would be fun to see all this get jumbled up a bit before the end.
Twelve stories, which have between them found 627 readers. Can I just point out how happy a thing that is? Collaborators stepped up and helped me make twelve stories happen. People are reading them. All is right with the world.
If you enjoyed these short bursts of fiction and crave something meatier, then you can make a suitable selection here. Enjoy!