December already!

Somehow we have reached the final month. No idea how that happened! But I have set myself a target, 1k a day, at least, until the end of the month, and then I should have my short story collection at 40k and all finished and ready to go to publishers in the new year. I have three done now, Hylas and the nymphs, Lamia and my Orpheus story and am working on Circe. The collection will probably be about 12 stories long, which is certainly more short stories than I have ever written in my life, let alone in such a short space of time. Of course it helps that the myths are already written, I know the beginning, middle and end, I just have to put them into a modern setting.

On the selling front, my short story collection, Rules of War, does really well at face to face things, so hopefully the horror greek myth collection will too! It doesn’t do so well online though, but that’s where marketing and promoting comes in and I SUCK at that sort of thing. Give me a table I can sit behind, with my books out in front, and I’m happy. But targeting people online is hard. You can’t be too pushy, you have to find the right audience and it takes up so much time when I could be doing something else. I do worry, though, with every sale, that people will hate it. I guess because I’m not a fan myself of at least two of the stories in the collection. But different people like different things, and a magazine liked them well enough to publish them, so that’s what I have to keep telling myself.

Oh well, year almost done, no more selling occasions until 2014, I guess I better mush with the writing. :)
Have a good xmas and New year, if I don’t write anything again before Jan. :)

A matter of taste

Tomorrow I’m off to sell at a pagan market here in Swansea. I have my Shadow Seer books, part 1 and 2, and the new short story collection, Rules of War. I love selling, but I’m a bit nervous about my short story collection. I worry that there aren’t enough stories. I worry that the stories (except two) aren’t good enough. I worry that it will put people off reading the rest of my work, when the main idea was to interest people in it. I worry that people think the price is too high for such a small collection. I worry and worry.

And it’s daft. My cover artist just reviewed the collection for me. She liked, best of all, the story Homecoming, that I thought was the weakest of the lot! One I almost didn’t include. So there you are, you can’t tell what someone is going to like, or hate .If there aren’t enough stories, or the price is too high, I’m sure someone will tell me. It’s stupid to worry. The book is done. Some people will like it, some won’t, but that’s the same with anything.

And even if the entire world does hate every story in it, at least one person didn’t and that’s ok. :)

August already

Well it’s August. I had a lot planned for this year, things I wanted to do, and have only achieved two of them, I did Race for Life, and I published a short story collection, Rules of War and Other Stories (now available on smashwords, amazon to follow.) Any weight I had lost has gone right back on with three months of laziness and overeating.

But, it’s a new month, and there are still five until this year is over and done (including this one) so its time to get on! Diet beginning again today, gym tomorrow (unless the weather gives me another headache!) and I have set myself a writing target of 30k a month. That’s only 1000 words a day. Easy! But as I’ve been doing so little, having been so stuck, I thought I better start slow! Ultimately I want to finish the whole thing by the end of the year, in rough, but we shall see! I’ll do what I can while I have the motivation! I’ll try and post a word count progression regularly. Until I do, here’s a picture of the new book’s cover.

rules_of_war_cover

It’s pretty fab. If you do get a copy (0.99 cents. Not much else you can get for that) please do review it, and if you like it, tell your friends.

Reading and signing

This saturday I’m doing a reading, and signing, with fellow fantasy author, Joanne Hall, in swansea’s Oxfam bookshop and I’ve been rather conveniently ignoring the fact that part of a reading, means reading! Out loud, so people can hear me. I hate that.

Now, I am proud of my book. I put a lot of effort into it, it came out more or less the way i wanted to, it’s the best thing I think i’ve written. Ever. I want people to read it, and enjoy it. But, when you read it out loud, well, it sounds daft. Talking about demons and things. And i get nervous, and stumble over my words, and sound stupid, and i worry that will put people off. You shouldn’t judge my book by my bad reading of it. You should buy it, read it, then judge it :)

So, if you do come along, please forgive me if i sound a total tit. I will get better, I’m sure, and the book is good. I promise!

British Fantasy Society and Cardiff Expo

Monday was the Welsh gathering for fantasy/sci fi and horror nerds here in Swansea. It took place in the No Sign Wine Bar, a suitable venue, as venues go, and was basically just a group of us sitting around, talking and drinking. It was a good night, a chance to talk to other writers and publishers and to promote my own work, though most of what i remember, after just two glasses of wine, was discussing Knightmare, the children’s show from the 80s, and how things were much better ‘in my day.’

Saturday was the Cardiff Comic Expo. It was my first comic expo and i had a table with Joanne Hall, a fellow fantasy writer. And it was excellent! Lots of people in costume, from comics, from anime, from fantasy and sci fi generally, all ready to chat. It was a good, friendly place, lots on sale, including copies of my book. And, surprise of all surprises, a friend of mine, from Live Journal, many eons ago, was also there. I wasn’t sure i recognised her, at first, her hair was a different colour and it wasn’t at all what i expected, but yep! It was her, Reaperfox. It was a slow day, but i still had a great time meeting new people. I think that’s the part i enjoy most about promotion, getting out there, meeting new people and talking about books and fantasy. The other parts, the internet sales, the readings, that’s a lot harder.

It’s always great to meet other writers, (everyone is a writer, if not, they’re an artist! :) ) other fantasy fans, to network and to sell and I had a great time. WIll be back next year, dressed up and hopefully with something new to sell.

Bristol, Cardiff and Beyond!

Well, tomorrow I’m at Bristol, doing a reading/signing. Next weekend if Cardiff Expo, for signing, with Joanne Hall (see my calender for details on all this) And in April Joanne and I are doing a signing in Swansea Oxfam Bookshop! I have the flyers for that, so have to get on promoting, and hopefully people will show this time. It’s hard being a writer these days, having to promote. People don’t come if they don’t know you, and won’t get to know you if they don’t come. But on the advice of a friend I have rejoined Twitter, to see if that will help me get out there more, and I missed the postings of the Horrible Histories gang. This is ME on twitter, feel free to follow me. I’m still on Facebook, of course.

For my reading tomorrow i have put together an introduction, so i won’t ramble like an idiot. I will, of course, have to start thinking of something else to read for other readings, otherwise people may get bored of hearing me the same thing! I remember hearing Robin Hobb read from Shaman’s Son, in Glasgow, a few years back, and she sounded fairly bored. I didn’t much like the book anyway, but i think if even the writer sounds bored reading it, it’s not going to appeal much to new readers. The issue, of course, is what to read? Something drammatic, but not too spoilery, that doesn’t require too much introduction. Hmm.

Still, busy few months, hopefully a busy year, with lots of sales, and this book/series finished!

And training for Race for Life. Now that I have my depression under some control, I’ve signed up for the 5k Cancer Walk/Run. I did it 5 years ago, and enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to that. Set myself a high target though, so if anyone out there fancies sponsoring me . . .

http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/frannyjacobs

Signings: a sad state of affairs

So, I have a signing arranged at Swansea Library for the end of the month with fellow fantasy writer Joanne Hall. The library warned me that even though they put up posters, not many people come to these things. But I was prepared to do some promotion myself, made some posters, got some flyers and went to put them out in Oxfam bookshop. They are more than happy to put them out and to let me do a signing there, perhaps. Certainly nicer than the indie bookshop on Uplands who said no, outright. But, like the library, they warned me not many people come, even if they promote. And i find that so sad. As a kid I used to love to go to book signings, to meet authors, and i would read any book on the fantasy shelf. I loved to try new things. But readers today seem to be fussier. Is that because bookshops only stock the main authors, so it’s actually harder to get to know new authors. There are more books available online, of course, but it’s hard to browse. You cant just look for titles and at pretty covers and take it from there, the way you can in a shop. You need to know what you want or have a recomendation. Is this why people don’t come to book signings? Because if they haven’t heard of the book, or had it recomended, they won’t take the chance? But getting someone to hear of your book, to get them to want to read it, that’s a difficult thing too. You can’t just bug people, because that pisses them off. You can’t fake reviews, because that pisses them off AND opens you up to ridicule and a bad reputation. So, what to do? Social networks are all well and good, but you can’t spam them, you need to get to know people, network, talk in groups, give advice, sell yourself, without selling yourself. But that isn’t easy for everyone. I’m not very good at it. I hate twitter and don’t have the patience to give the same general advice over and over on writing forums. It seems that, though technology, social networks, have brought us together with new people and given us more choice, more access to things we wouldn’t have had otherwise, it also creates more of a crowd, which is harder to stand out from. So, im trying real world promotion, discount flyers, posters, as well as online. I’ll find out end of the month if my promotion has paid off.

I really hope it does :)

Bristol Con, reading out loud and favourite books

Well Bristol Con is next saturday!!! And at this moment I still haven’t received my book order, so i have nothing to sell, which is a little worrying! I will be doing a reading from the Shadow Seer, and sitting on a panel to discuss my favourite book, also worrying! I have never done a reading before and it’s a scarey thought. What if people don’t like it? What if i pronounce my own characters names wrong and sound a tit? What if i read too fast? I have chosen what i hope is a dramatic bit, Candale’s attack in the Square Garden, and practiced to make sure that it’s the right length, but still, it’s all a bit scarey.

And my favourite book? It’s hard to narrow it down. There are lots in the, i enjoyed this but it’s just ok, pile, and a few in the, this was great I’m going to reread it lots, pile, but favourite? best of the best? That’s a lot harder. I’ve gone with Flesh and Spirit, by Carol Berg. First of the lighthouse duology. I’m rereading it for the fourth time maybe, and it’s something i can say a lot about. It has faeries, conspiracies, crazy people, magic, a world that is falling apart, and a hero who is rather likeable, fanciable even.Valen. A rogue, just looking for somewhere warm to stay for the winter, who ends up caught in all sorts of trouble. Berg is certainly one of my favourite writers, along with Lewis Carroll. Her world’s are varied, her characters are as well, although they all seem to be tortured, physically, in some way. And though there are a few books that i don’t care for particularly, the ones that i do like, I come back to time and again.

So, I’m sorted, other than the missing books, and working onwards with my own. Shaping a festival, including some mad prophets, but still looking for the right end . . .

Poster!

My talented website designer has put together a poster for me to take to Bristol Con and other promotional type places.

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Pretty fab! I just hope I’m able to get print copies in time!

Book 2, the Seer’s Tower, is also now available on amazon.com and co.uk in kindle format. If you’ve been waiting for it, get buying! It’s at a bargain price so no excuses really.

Bristol Market

Had a great day at Bristol Market selling copies of the Shadow Seer, part 1 and 2, and books by other writers, local to Bristol, with fellow writer Joanne Hall. I got to meet other writers, based in Bristol, and the mayor! And sell copies of my book, of course. I have left 6 copies with Joanne to sell at a regular display she and other Bristol writers will be setting up. More news on that when i have it. It was a very tiring event though, strangely, even though I just sat there for the entire day! But Joanne and I did discuss BristolCon and it’s likely that I will be doing a reading from the Shadow Seer at the event. I have never done a reading before, so it’s a rather frightening thought, but I think it will be good for me, and should increase sales!
Anyway, here is a picture from the event of our stall: