I’m excited to announce the release of my latest novel, FEEDBACK.
Twenty years ago, a UFO crashed into the Yellow Sea off the Korean Peninsula. The only survivor was a young English-speaking child, captured by the North Koreans. Two decades later, a physics student watches his girlfriend disappear before his eyes, abducted from the streets of New York by what appears to be the same UFO.
Feedback will carry you from the desolate, windswept coastline of North Korea to the bustling streets of New York and on into the depths of space as you journey to the outer edge of our solar system looking for answers.
You can find FEEDBACK in the Amazon Kindle store.
My thoughts on writing
Writing is an art.
Hugh Howey recently made the point that writing a novel is a bit like running a marathon. Anyone can do it, well, I couldn’t with my dodgy knee, but most people could run a marathon if they put their mind to it and put in the hard work necessary to train beforehand. But you can’t just throw on a pair of sneakers and turn up at the starting line. As my editor, Ellen Campbell, will attest, getting FEEDBACK produced has taken a marathon effort.
One of the criticisms often leveled at indie writing is that there’s a lack of professionalism, but that stigma is rapidly becoming outdated. Easily 2/3 of the effort required to produce a novel like FEEDBACK comes from editing, re-editing, revising, reviewing and polishing the story so it shines like a gemstone. Find an indie author prepared to do that, and you’ll always get a top-notch story.
What advice would I give to aspiring authors?
- Aspire no more — the only way to grow as a writer is to write.
- Write short stories & fan fiction — seriously, it’s fun, rewarding and a great way to grow. Writing a novel is a herculean task. You’ll probably underestimate the effort and commitment required for a full-length novel, so start small and build from there. I love Kindle Worlds. Get something out there for people to read.
- Kill your darlings — this is a bit of a cliche, but I mean it in terms of your writing. I culled 25,000 words out of Xenophobia based on beta-reader feedback. That’s a quarter of the book gone with a single keystroke, and a publication delay of almost two months, but the story was better for the revision. Be ruthless. If you don’t, you’ll never grow as a writer.
- Don’t look at reviews or sales stats or author rankings — seriously, don’t do it. You don’t need affirmation from others. Write because you love to write. I try to limit myself to peering into these dark webs once a month. I try. Reviews, sales & rankings are a fickle yardstick with which to measure yourself. Avoid them like the plague.
- Don’t take rejection personally — all writers love five star reviews, myself included, but look closely at any 1, 2, 3 or 4 star reviews you get. Look for what you can learn. If I get a one star review, I’ll look at what that reviewer rated five stars and download at least a sample of that book, as I want to learn how I can do better. Sure, there’s nothing to learn from trolls, but most low star ratings are genuine. For some reason, the story missed the mark. Learn from that.
- Surround yourself with people who make you a better writer — I don’t have many beta-readers, but I’m thankful for those I have and their input is invaluable.
- Respect the reader — readers are placing a portion of their lives in your hands while they read. They’re giving up something far more precious than a few bucks, they’re giving up their time. There’s always a risk of mistakes creeping through, but do everything you can to polish your story to perfection for their sakes.
- Learn from other indie authors — check out Favorite posts for writers on Hugh Howey’s home page, tap into indie groups online, talk with other authors about what works and what doesn’t. Mathew Mather and I recently swapped notes on how we approach character studies when planning a novel. We both took advantage of the opportunity to learn from each other.
- Have fun
Thank you for supporting independent science fiction. If you do grab a copy of FEEDBACK please leave a review online as your thoughts and insights are invaluable in helping others determine whether this is a book they’d enjoy.