Archive for May, 2012

Dead tree in yellowstone national park

(last year’s holiday to Yellowstone National Park is proving a great source of atmospheric photos)

I am terrible at writing blurbs for my novels. I agonise over it for hours – weeks – months – years. In the end I reach a level of snowblindness where the words kind of lose all meaning and are just wierd noises.

I now hate the blurb I wrote for Darklands, but have been unable to come up with anything better, so it stays. In any case, there’s probably nothing wrong with it – except my extreme over-familiarity with every damned word of it.

Having read a pretty good post on synopsis writing last week, I’ve been trying to rewrite the blurb for Kikimora. This was the original blurb I came up with last year:

Raised in isolation by a brooding magician and his learned cat, Kikimora has almost come of age – and that means she has a destiny to fulfil. For Kikimora is no ordinary girl, but a monster spun from the breath of an ice wyvern and the crocodile tears of a killer, and her purpose is to wreak vengeance on mankind.

But Kikimora’s nature is not harsh or cruel. Sent out into the human world alone, she will need all of her ingenuity and resourcefulness to overcome the destiny laid out for her, and perhaps find her own path to happiness.

I quite liked this at the time. It captures the fairy tale quality at the heart of the story. But, as a writer friend pointed out, there’s no catch. No hook. No question to be answered.

When I tried to come up with a new blurb using the formula outlined in the post on synopsis writing, I surprised myself by the themes I revealed about my story. I hadn’t actually realised the central dilemma was between love and duty. I’ve been painstakingly re-ordering words for some hours now, and this is what I’ve come up with:

The spirits of Korsakov forest are unhappy, their home under threat from mining pollution. So they enlist the help of the magician, Anatoly, to create for them a fearsome monster.

Spun from the breath of an ice wyvern and the crocodile tears of a killer, Kikimora’s sole purpose is to terrorise the miners and drive them from the forest for ever.

But Anatoly made a mistake, and gave his monster a brave and loving heart.

Kikimora finds that cruelty does not come easily to her. Instead she sees the good in everyone – even the very worst of the miners, the gunpowder master. And the longer she spends trying to torment him, the more her heart rebels against her duty.

When disaster strikes the miners, Kikimora must decide whose side she is on; the men or Anatoly. But saving the miners will mean sacrificing everything – perhaps even her life.

I am not at all sure about this new blurb yet. Odd as it may sound, most of my reluctance stems from it sounding *too much* like a hollywood film trailer :-/ I’d love to hear some opinons. Is it good? Is it bad? Does it give too much away? Does it sound cheesy?

me being a divvy

me being a divvy

The radio interview and reading I recorded a couple of months ago is to be aired this saturday between one and two pm on 96.8fm Erewash Sound.

I did a reading from Darklands, then a reading from Kikimora. Oh, and a trailer for them. By the time we got to the interview I was so frazzled I have absolutely no memory of what I said. I just burbled. Hopefully they’ve managed to edit it together into something vaguely coherant, but there’s every possibility that I’m going to sound like a bit of a divvy… :-S

The show is Erewash and Beyond with Tris Walker. You can also listen online, but I don’t think there is any listen again service – which is a shame, cuz I’m going to be out hiking all day :-/ I’m sure someone will tell me what stupid things I said.

Depending how much content they have, they might split it over two weeks, so I’ll be on next week too. Maybe I’ll get to listen to that one 🙂

Darklands goes on sale as a paperback today via Feedaread, priced £7.99.

I decided to purchase the distribution package at £88, so that it will also be available through Amazon and other booksellers (though not for a few weeks… watch this space). Since that fee is payable anually, and I am looking at only £1 profit per Amazon sale, I need my marketing efforts to go into overdrive if I’m to make any money at this.

Discussing marketing tactics with my sister the other day, she pointed out that although Darklands largely takes place in another world, and the parts in this world have made up names, they are nevertheless very recognisably Derbyshire. She suggested playing up the local angle, which I think is good advice. I can think of a few local bookshops and libraries which I’ve frequented over the years who might be interested.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be putting together a publicity package. Some posters would be nice. Wonder how much they cost to produce…? Ian will know (Having a graphic designer for a boyfriend has come in extremely handy throughout this publishing venture. I highly recommend it).

My sisters and I grew up in Cromford, which is home to the very wonderful Scarthin Bookshop. That place took a lot of my pocket money and weekend job wages when I was growing up. My mum still lives in Cromford and we all visit regularly. Thanks to facebook I have recently reconnected with a lot of old acquaintances from school days. I am sure a few of them would be interested in seeing what I’ve finally come up with (25 years after telling them I wanted to be an author), so I have hopes of making a few sales there.

I am wondering whether I have the temerity to ask them about doing a book launch at the shop? What does a book launch even involve? Who knows? The only ones I’m aware of are those by Emilly Ladybird, which seem intimidatingly fabulous. All I know for certain is that they involve pimms and cake. Lots of cake.

While chatting with my sister (who is an English teacher) we also concocted a plan for her end of term activities week. She wanted to do something involving writing. I told her how easy it is to produce your own paperback – and we both realised it would make a great project to do at school: some short story writing, the nuts and bolts of self publishing, and a quality paperback to take home at the end of it. Pretty cool, huh? She’s trying to persuade me that if the plan goes ahead, I should come over to the school and give a talk about my experiences with self publishing – which I know would look great on my writing CV, but I have to admit, the prospect fills me with horror.

So there are lots of exciting things on the horizon, and I need to turn the marketing engine up to 11. I’ll keep you apprised of how it all goes.