I haven’t had a book out for a while now, and the next one is still a few months away. So, I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time doing what I like to think of as ‘preparing for success’. Foolhardy, perhaps, especially if that success never comes, but if there’s one thing that my career within the Very Grown Up Big World of Business has taught me, it’s that it’s better to be prepared. I think they were the ones to come up with that phrase, right?
A lot of the writing podcasts I listen to are interview based, little hourly chunks of chat with authors who have somehow stumbled across success in finding and maintaining an audience. I find these chats fascinating, because there’s always one part of the story where the author has to fudge the fact that they really don’t know exactly how this success happened. There’s an ephemeral something else at play that’s out of their hands. Call it luck, call it whatever you want, but they can’t quite place their fingers on it.
In most cases, the next thing they say is that they weren’t prepared for it. One had a bestseller but no mailing list or internet presence, so by the time their next book came out nobody remembered him. One managed to sell thousands of their first book before they’d ad it properly edited, leaving them with hundreds of one-star reviews they found it difficult to shake.
And yet, each of them bounced back, and reached that holy grail – being able to do this nonsense for a living. But what about the other ones, I wonder? The ones who didn’t bounce back, or bounced right off into some cosmic dustbin? I think about the success stories, and I think about the ones I never hear about, and I think a lot about preparing for success. In the event that a massive audience trips over my books and discovers how goshdarned excellent they are, I want to be ready for them.
As part of this, I’ve been thinking about the way I brand my books, and myself. In the extremely long-term, I’d love to try and help other authors, maybe act as a small press organiser. I’ve spent the last few years trying to bring as much of the author process in-house as I can, learning cover design, formatting, advertising, mailing list management, all sorts of things. My wonderful and talented wife is learning to be an editor (she already has a wicked-sharp eye and doesn’t mind telling me if something’s terrible, so it’s only logical), and as a next step, I want to set up my small press.
Yes, it’s early days, but I want to get the name up and running, a few titles under its wings, ready for that success, should it ever come. So, today I’m launching Hollow Stone Press. Ta da!
If you click on the Store link at the top of the page, you’ll be taken to the Hollow Stone webstore, where you can buy e-book versions of all my books, as well as some merchandise. Pretty soon there’ll be the chance to buy signed paperbacks, and I’ll be looking at doing some cool bundles, too. It’s still very early days, but as the Very Grown Up Big World of Business says, always be prepared.
Blood on the Motorway: An apocalyptic trilogy of murder and stale sandwiches is out now in ebook and print from Amazon and all other good bookstores. You can get the first book free by joining my mailing list or read along at Wattpad. Oh, and I’ve got a Patreon. Sign up for free books, a free weekly short story, and much more.