I could not have done this without the help and support of those wonderful people at Libboo.com, who've actually done all the dirty work (conversion to eBook, posting the book on Amazon etc) and are now helping me with promoting it. Thank you everyone at Libboo, any success I have with this book will be a reflection of all your efforts, time and patience.
(Actually, as previously mentioned, I'm part of an experiment they're running to team writers and marketing people up to help each other get the book in front of as many people as possible. The screams and moans you hear coming out of the turrets of Libboo Castle, is the sound of their scientists and surgeons reading yet another dumb question from me...)
Which brings me on to a question that all authors (self-published or traditionally published) have to face up to, eventually: who's going to do the marketing?
On Your Marketing
I know and fully accept that we have to market our work, but I can't say I'm full of enthusiasm for it, especially as it means bothering people I'd rather leave alone (friends and family). Obviously total strangers are a fair target, but to get to them, I have to enlist the help of the F&Fs to (as we said in the marketing meeting where many creative ideas crashed and died among the rocks of apathy and a fiercely negative budget) help out. So if I annoy anyone with my requests and constant banging on about my newly published first novel, The Darkness Beneath (now available on Amazon) please accept my apologies.
Personally I'd rather not be doing this, but I can't avoid it if I want the book to be a success - and yes I do want it to succeed! It took roughly two years of writing in my spare time, and was revised seven times before I felt it was good enough to be published. I'd like a return on that investment (preferrably in the shape of massive sales and a blockbuster film).
The Name Changes the Game
A funny thing happened along the path between writing the book on my laptop and it appearing on Amazon: the book's title changed. Some of you might have noticed that I ran a quick competition to find a new one. The original - The End: The Beginning - was deemed to be too mysterious (which is what I wanted) but the Libboo team that it was too mysterious. It didn't give one single clue about the story, which was a fair point, hence the competition. Weirdly enough, I won that competition and have now sent myself a signed copy.
Although a few people tried to help out, for a few days I was stuck with nothing that fulfilled the task being asked. Then I had the genious idea of looking up quotes about hell (which isn't part of the story, but as that's what a lot of people go through in the book, and because the main character lives in the depths of the London underground, it seemed appropriate).
Eventually the phrase 'the darkness beneath' came to mind. I wasn't fond of it at first, but after a day of allowing it to percolate in the washing maching of my subconscious, I began to see and feel that it was a good choice. So listening to the marketing team has paid off as the title now hints at two of the book's elements, which is definitely a step forward.
This shows how important it is to get the name right, and why, but also that the name the author chooses may not be the right one - something that's a bit hard to admit.
It also means that the painting on the front cover, all of which was created by the utterly fabulous Nicoll Peschek, can be seen more clearly. And as a big fan of her work, I'm very happy that she designed the cover and allowed me to use her painting.
Nicoll and I have also collaborated on her hand-made books. Some of these feature her calligraphy and my poetry. If you're looking for someone to design your book cover, I'd suggest you talk to her asap.
Incidentally, this novel was going to be published by someone else a few months back. I didn't like their cover ideas, which were poor to say the least. But what really annoyed me was the fact that they wanted to censor the cover by removing the nipples. Apparently this censorhip was being asked for because some of the publisher's other clients are religious groups and they didn't want to offend them. There's nothing like a bit of moral cowardice in the arts is there?
(As an aside, and given decades worth of non-stop research, I've discovered that we all have nipples, sorry if this shocks and/or surprises you.)
Buy, Buy, Buy!
I'm pleased to say that as soon as I announced the book's availability, a few friends went out and bought it! So thanks to you as well, it'll be great to read your feedback (and scary) if you decide to review it.
Remember to be honest: it's my fault the book exists and if I send it out into the world, then I have to be able to take criticism as well as glory. Which, as we all know, sounds very noble in theory but, as well all know, will be very much harder to deal with in practise.
So, if you want to, please buy it (it's ridiculously cheap), and if you want to help get this literary earthquake a-shakin', I'd love it if you could tell everyone by featuring it on Facebook, tweeting it on Twitter, adding it to Google+, texting it to...