Wednesday 29 June 2016

Got ink?

Here are a selection of photos people have sent me of tattoos inspired by the Broken Empire, Red Queen's War, and Book of the Ancestor trilogies.

For the record, I have no tattoos. Nothing against them, I just prefer my tattoos on other people!

From Morty's Tattoo & Piercing on Instagram (where there is a video of it!)

Nathan Soares

A work in progress from Robert

And this one from Matt Rosa is inspired by Keot from Grey Sister!

And a Jorg from Morty

Bruno has a Jorg from the Road Brothers paperback cover.

Here's a Yaz (from the UK cover of The Girl And The Stars, With a Jorg from the King of Thorns cover, and a Nona from the Polish edition of Red Sister!

Jack's tattoo is inspired by the Book of the Ancestor - Nona's easy to spot

Jai S - slightly modified text

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Stuff I've read...

This list is the reddit r/fantasy list of favourite fantasy books/series (votes on the left).

I've highlighted the ones that I've read at least one book from (most often it's just the one book I've read). So now you know!

Saturday 25 June 2016

Shameless Self-Promotion

It's right there in that phrase:

Shameless self-promotion.

It's not hidden, it's not subtle:  You should be ashamed of yourself.

The 'shameless' isn't even required. Most of the time if you hear someone say the words the distaste is evident in their tone, especially if you hear them spoken in the UK. The US is a little more forgiving.

And sure, there are circumstances where self-promotion can be an unpleasant thing. In an office/company environment, promoting yourself at the expense of others might be a necessary evil to some, or classless and unfair to others.

But for authors? C'mon! We're one person sales-machines. We write books. We need them to sell. We're not stamping on someone else's chance. And who else is going to promote them?

"The readers!" you answer. "If you can't rely on your readers to promote your work ... it must be a bit shit, no?"

Well, yes, word of mouth, one reader to the next, is the best sales mechanism any writer has and moves a lot of books... but why should it end there?

Should we only ever lift boxes with one arm for fear that if we use two we'll be seen to be 'trying too hard'? Or should we use all the resources at our disposal?

I earn my living as a writer. I pay my bills with the portion of each book's sale price that comes my way. Why would I not use the social media options at my disposal to remind people when those books come out, get discounted etc? Who else is going to do it for me?

Self-promotion for authors means book promotion. We're not declaring ourselves to have great teeth and spectacular soccer skills ... or to be better humans than the next person ... we're saying 'buy my book' in as interesting a way as we can.

Wednesday 1 June 2016

The Big Five-Oh oh oh oh

It's been a year of milestones for me.

First, I turned the big Five-Oh.

Second, I reached a million books sold.

Third, I reached 10 years as a 'professional' writer.

Fourth, Prince of Thorns reached 50,000 ratings on Goodreads (I made blog posts for the 30,000 and 40,000 milestones).

Fifth, tomorrow my second trilogy concludes with The Wheel of Osheim hitting the UK shelves.

& sixth, this summer will mark the fifth anniversary of Prince of Thorns' release.

I probably should write a post that stirs the political wings of the genre into a froth and has them generating free publicity for me ... but ... I can't be bothered.

I could return to the well of 'grimdark' again ... but people's outrage over the (imagined) content seems to have worn out and even the term itself seems to have lost its power to cause argument. We might not be able to define it but, as with pornography, people are convinced that they know it when they see it.

What's a blogger to do?

I could write some take down of modern fantasy, bemoaning its failings and championing some 'fresh' approach. But I don't read enough books to have a decent oversight, and a lot of the fantasy I do read seems excellent to me.

So, no stirring from me, no opinion pieces. I'm just very surprised and rather happy to be in a position of such good fortune with my writing. It's great to be able to write stories and have them enthusiastically received by an intelligent and appreciative audience. It's great to hold the books and know they're mine.

As a kid when I read my favorite fantasy novels I never imagined I would write a book let alone have six out, occupying space on so many shelves across the world. There's a tendency to idolize those who came before, but the truth must be that they were much the same as the current generation, considering themselves lucky impostors who couldn't really hold a candle to the generation they grew up reading.

Seeing my work in bookshops, on library shelves, in people's homes has never made me do the happy-dance of triumph that many writers assure me will occur when they land their book deal. It does, however, give me a low-key but deep and enduring sense of satisfaction that I draw on when other parts of my life grow stressful (an inevitability for the father of a very disabled child). For that I am very grateful.

And that's all I have to say for the big five-oh-oh-oh-oh.