The Adventures of Abigail Saltminder 3. First draft written!

Well, onwards and upwards we go. ‘The Adventures of Abigail Saltminder 1: The Complex’ and ‘The Adventures of Abigail Saltminder 2: The Underside’ are both out there in Kindleland, and I’ve just finished the first draft of ‘The Adventures of Abigail Saltminder 3: The Core.’

Now I have to tuck it away for a while before I start the hard work of rewrites and more rewrites. My aim is to get it in a fit state to be read and commented on by my critical friends (Sally and Chris) by the end of this month (Oct 2015). That gives me 3 weeks, which ain’t long. But then these books ain’t long either, so hopefully it’ll all balance out.

One thing I won’t change is the opening sentence of the prologue:

The girl – and that dog of hers – had gone. In the end it had been like a visitation from a small tornado: unexpected and violent, but not too much damage.

I also have a good idea of the cover design, which will show Abigail and George looking over a vast level surface, with hanging lights above and mysterious, wrinkled spheres scattered around. In the distance, against the far wall is a curving flight of steps to a small landing and a closed door. At the base of the steps is a pile of what appears to be rags. To the side is a small mound of pulverised soil and, just discernable, borrowing into the mound, a segmented, hollow metal tube about a yard across.

Of course by the time Sally has declared the image as being too busy, and suggests something different or simpler, God knows what the cover will be like. But she’ll nail it but good.

But whatever: even now, it’s a stonkingly fine read and after rewriting and polishing and being criticised and rewritten, it’ll be as gripping as superglue.

In other words, a worthy addition to Abigails 1 & 2!

Abigail Saltminder 1 now published, so time for lessons learnt

Well, two days ago Sally and I successfully launched ‘The Adventures of Abigail Saltminder. Book 1: The Complex.‘ on Amazon.

Also I have a Facebook account and a twitter page, and Sally is working on the Abigail website. And I’ve been finalising Book 2 and have got going with Book 3. So A busy time, and I’m sorry, avid readers, I have been neglecting this blog.

So, with Abigail 1 now out there, I think it’s time to do a little summary of what I have discovered.

  1. All this Marketing gumph is a darn site more difficult & stressful than writing the book in the first place. I always rather suspected it would be, and for once – unfortunately – I’ve been proved right. I’ve seldom lost sleep wondering what should happen to my fictional characters. I can get Abigail into the most perilous situation and still sleep like a baby. But trying to construct a tweet of one sentence can keep me awake for hours. Maybe it’s because the first can be changed and the second can’t. I mean, if Abigail is about to be killed by a runaway robot, I can always change the robot to a friendly mouse. But a rubbish tweet or a less than judicious FB post are pretty much out there for ever.
  2. There is not an avid audiance waiting for your pearls of wisdom. You might think you have something important and/or witty to say. The rest of the world doesn’t. In fact the rest of the world doesn’t give a flying fart. But you have to continue believing they do, otherwise you’d just give up. And as giving up is construed as failure one keeps on regardless, and so the sleepless nights build up.
  3. My life isn’t long enough to understand Twitter. FaceBook I’ve sort of vaguely got the hang of: someone else sets it up and you log on every few days and say how you did with your morning Sudoku. But Twitter? I really don’t get it at all. Thanks to Sally I now have something like 80 followers and an inbox full of stuff from people I’ve never heard of. But I don’t know what to do. I log on and stare at the screen and write a tweet and delete it and stare at the screen some more before logging off. I ask again, what am I meant to do? I read a ‘Twitter guide for idiots’ the other day, and they said something along the lines of  ‘imagine you’re sat in a circle of other people, and everything you whisper can be heard by everyone in that circle.’ Oh gee, thanks a bunch. Sounds a bit like my idea of hell, or one of the worst parties I’ve ever been to. I hate parties, by the way; that’s why I’ve not been to one for maybe 20 years. But going back to all these idiots sitting in a circle. What if you haven’t anything to whisper? Sally thinks you should tweet maybe once a week. But if I have anything interesting to say (that I want to share) as often as once a week then my brain’s fizzing more than it’s ever done.
  4. Everyone else is better than you at everything. That’s not completely true, of course. It just feels that way and is very disheartening.
  5. Using Fiverr or PeoplePerHour takes time. I’ve banged on about this before. There doesn’t seem to be enough work out there for the vast numbers of talented people who are desperately wanting to do it. So sifting through them takes time and more time. It’s easy to spend a couple of days looking through portfolios and still get it wrong. For instance I probably spent 3 man weeks trying to get a cover for Abigail 1 without success. In the end Sally did it in under 3 days. But then she’d read the book.  People in Fiverr or PPH don’t have the time to do that, and in fact hardly have the time to read what you tell them either.
  6. Everyone needs a Sally. It’s a hard slog on your own, and you tend to get bogged down in things that don’t matter. For instance this blog. Took me a week or so to set up and for a while absorbed all my writing time. In fact, in length, it’s approaching a small novel, the total number of words I’ve splurged out. But who’s going to read it? The comments from the few who have range from ‘Oh, black and white’ to – more kindly – ‘it’s really a personal thing, isn’t it.’ (And I haven’t missed out a question mark here. It was said more as a statement than a query.) But having a Sally around, creating the cover and the chapter drawings and a FaceBook page and beefing up my Twitter account (say no more) is tremendous. Basically, if you’re going to go through pain, try and offload some.