Today on The Tattooed Book Geek I am pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for the recently released (it was out on June 12th) A Demon in Silver (War of the Archons #1) by R. S. Ford with a guest post courtesy of the author himself.
Massive thanks to Lydia at Titan for the tour invite and of course, R. S. Ford too for writing both the book (which I am sure will be fantastic, his previous trilogy was) and this really interesting guest post on what he has learnt as a writer.
Guest Post: Five things I’ve learned
After five published novels you’d think I was an old hand at this, a grizzled veteran of the publishing industry, a well-oiled book producing machine. Well, you’d be wrong! Every novel is as difficult to write as the last, sometimes more so. And with each novel comes new challenges to face. However, there are some invaluable lessons that only hard-won experience can teach. Here is a little bit of what I’ve learned (please note, this is just personal opinion and should under no circumstance be treated as gospel):
1. Deadlines are Real
Generally I’m a footloose and fancy free kind of bloke and try not to conform to too much convention. I don’t wear a watch, I hate cricket despite being from Yorkshire, that kind of thing. So you’d think I’d view deadlines as more of a suggestion than a rule, like the dry-clean-only label on a brand new sweater, right? Wrong!! Deadlines are very real, and there are particular consequences if you miss them. A publisher has a very strict schedule several years in advance of a book’s publication. If you’re late it messes up the entire process, and your publisher won’t see the funny side. Take it from me, it’s not called a deadline for nothing.
2. Twitter is a Sewage Pit
Now I’m probably preaching to the converted here (who doesn’t know about Twitter?) but it bears repeating. When you’re first published all sorts of people will encourage you to engage with the public, have a presence on social media and generally put yourself out there. There are all sorts of channels for this, and on the surface of it Twitter seems like one of the best. And you know what, sometimes, it can be. Sometimes it makes engaging with your fans an absolute breeze… until it doesn’t. As with any open forum there will be a multitude who don’t like what you’ve got to say, who don’t like your book and are happy to tell you, who don’t like your political views, who think your profile picture sucks, and the list goes on. It’s also the worst place to engage in a ‘robust discussion’ anywhere on the planet since you can only express your views 240 characters at a time. There will be misunderstandings and wilful misreadings of your posts. People will @ you with loathsome intent. Things will get god-damn tribal on your ass. To counter such issues, I’ve learned to stay as positive as possible when dealing with all aspects of the internet (although sometimes I just can’t help myself). I’m sure you’ll work it out for yourself, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
3. Planning is Everything (unless it’s not)
In general there are two schools of thought when it comes to approaching a novel. You may have heard of ‘gardeners and architects’ or the more recent ‘pantsers and plotters’. Now this is just a personal thing, and I know many writers who start a story and see where the muse takes them, but if you don’t at least know where the story is going at the start, you’re opening yourself up for a whole world of hurt. I plot meticulously, I know my characters at the start of a novel (though sometimes they can surprise me while I’m in the process of writing) and in general I think this saves I lot of rewriting and revisions. My latest novel started as a bit of a pantsing experiment, which resulted in me structurally reworking the entire last third. I won’t be trying that again! The best way to work out which you are is to experiment and see what works, but I don’t need to tell you that, right?
4. Book conventions are NOT compulsory
Some people love doing the whole promotion thing, and I am constantly amazed by those writers who can own a room and have a gathering of readers hanging on their every word. I’m simply not like that, being quite introverted, and so I find the whole book convention circus a rabid mix of anxiety and forced smiles. But guess what… you don’t have to go! It took me a while to appreciate the fact that spending a fortune on travel, accommodation and a con ticket wasn’t necessary, and in most cases was a complete waste of money (the one exception being a con in France, where they paid for everything, but our Gallic friends do have a much better appreciation for the arts). So go if it floats your boat, especially if you’d go to a con even if you weren’t published, but know that it’s not compulsory and…
…neither are book signings. Although I’d love to do a book signing, just me in the shop with a huge pile of novels. But it’ll never happen. I’ve heard too many stories, and I never want to be that author just sitting there all sad and lonely with no one paying him any attention. That kind of shit you never recover from. But guess what… you don’t have to.
5. You’ve made it… only you haven’t
The best bit of advice for published authors I’ve heard is: don’t give up the day job for at least five years. There may be a huge temptation to take a dump on the boss’s desk and give him the finger while you moonwalk out of his office, but take it from me; that’s not the best approach. When you get your initial deal, and your initial advance, it looks like you’ve hit the big time. You haven’t. The book industry only loves you for as long as you’re selling books, and if you bomb you’ll find yourself at rock bottom all over again, abandoned like one of those puppies in a Christmas-time RSPCA advert. Take your time, learn the lay of the land, and if you’re one of those rare authors who becomes a bestseller, then you’ve made it, it’s your career. Otherwise, don’t burn those bridges.
A Demon in Silver (War of the Archons #1).
In a world where magic has disappeared, rival nations vie for power in a continent devastated by war.
When a young farm girl, Livia, demonstrates magical powers for the first time in a century there are many across the land that will kill to obtain her power. The Duke of Gothelm’s tallymen, the blood-soaked Qeltine Brotherhood, and cynical mercenary Josten Cade: all are searching for Livia and the power she wields.
But Livia finds that guardians can come from the most unlikely places… and that the old gods are returning to a world they abandoned.
Purchase A Demon in Silver (War of the Archons #1).
About R. S. Ford.
Richard Ford originally hails from Leeds in the heartland of Yorkshire but now resides in the wild fens of Cambridgeshire.
You can find out more about what he’s up to, and download free stuff, here:
And follow him on Twitter here: @rich4ord
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