In just over three months time, I’ll be taking a year away from dayjobbery and seeing how close I can get to generating a full time freelance writing career. For the next couple of months I’ve the luxury of preparation time, trying to figure out how to make it work and putting some things in place that will pay off down the line (maybe). Then, at the end of September, I’ll take the leap, put all of this into practice, and see if I’m right about any of it. You can browse previous entries here.
Well, that’s what I’ll find out in three more sleeps. Not how, but if. As you can see from the photo, the proof of Craven Place was indeed waiting for me when I got back to Delhi after my Scottish sojourn. It looks fantastic, and though you’ll have to take my word for it, that extends to the interior.
Launch day is Monday, when the Kindle ebook will be free to download for the first twenty-four hours (and I hope you’ll help me tell people about that, when the time comes). The paperback won’t be reduced, but I’ve kept the price down as much as I can – it’ll be $9.99 in the US and £6.99 in the UK, making it the cheapest of the three novels. For non-Kindle readers the paperback will be the only way to read the book for several months, so I want it to be affordable.
Between you and I, the books are actually already available. I quietly published them a few days ago. The Kindle version is up, and the paperback is also available in the US, UK, and on other Amazon sites. Last year I discovered that it can take Amazon a few days to get the listings fully populated once a book is published, so I’ve set everything up a week before launch to make sure they can actually be purchased when I tell people about it. If you’re waiting for the paperback, no need to hold off. If you’re a Kindle reader though, hang back until I announce it on Monday and you can have it for free.
So how do I feel right now? Excited, obviously, but incredibly nervous at the same time. I have all the usual author anxieties that explode before a book launches. Will anybody actually want to read it, and will they like it if they do? Is it strong enough? Is it too different from the last book?
However, this book is also tied closely to the whole freelance plan. It’s the first of five releases over the next year and a bit which form the foundation of the loose business plan that’s either going to reshape my career, or crash around my ears. That’s a lot of extra pressure for a single book. In truth, because it’s the first of five it can afford to fail. That would be a troublesome way to begin though. If readers warm to Craven Place, the next steps will be that much easier.
There are early positive signs, including the first newsletter subscriber to have read it (free copies were sent to all subscribers a couple of weeks ago – you really should join up) dropping me an incredibly enthusiastic note all but demanding more from the characters (thank you sir – excellent timing, and you made my day), but I won’t be able to settle down until I’ve got a better idea how or if the book is being received.
My solution to the lingering stress will be the same as last year. Launch the book, then step away. No amount of staring at the Interweb or (god help me) incessantly badgering people to buy it is going to make anything happen. Either people will want it, and want to help spread the word about it, or they just won’t. I’m about the only person who can’t usefully promote the book (because authors shouting about their latest release is just white noise to most people). I wrote about that last year, and it’s still true. On Monday I’ll blog, drop some links on FB and Twitter, then stop. After that, and for much of July, I’ve another novel to finish, and I’ll get on with doing just that. It’s something solid to focus on instead of worrying about how Craven Place is getting on.
I suspect all authors have the same empty, restless feeling I do now in the days before a book launches. It’s the end of a big chunk of life – all that writing and editing, all that preparation and thought. Getting this book ready to be released has occupied me for months, and come Monday that will all be over and a new phase begins. When I get there, if previous book launches are anything to go by, I’ll feel almost immediately rejuvenated as I get on with that next thing. Until then, I’m sitting in a little bubble waiting.
I’ll see you on Monday. I’ll be the dishevelled, wild-eyed, sleep-deprived wreck in the corner over here, trying to seem cool and aloof while weeping inside.
June 2013 Summary: Another month in the red. Frighteningly few sales of previous books until mid-month, when things started to pick up a little. No idea why. Anyway, that’s income that will turn up in July. A trickle of short story money for More Tales Of The City arrived (very promptly – thank you Obverse Books), but then there were final expenses relating to the Craven Place release that I’d forgotten about. All covered now. Fingers crossed that next month is in the black. If it isn’t, I’m going to be a frightened author.