After receiving the same feedback on the story from several different people, I’ve decided to give in and produce a revised edition. The main thing people have said is ‘I like the historical parts but the modern ones aren’t so interesting’, so they’ll have to go. I was trying to be too clever when I wrote the story and it seems that didn’t really work.
Normally I would just say it is what it is and leave it alone, but I’m intending to write at least a couple of prequels with Uncle Howard and at least one sequel, so revising this one to fit better with those books makes sense. It probably won’t take more than a couple of weeks as most of the work is to remove the present-day sections and turn the journal sections into a narrative form. I’ll also be expanding some sections and adding a few odds and ends.
I’m not unpublishing the current version, so if you buy it today it might be a valuable and rare first edition some time in the future :).
The main thing I’ve learned from this is to trust your beta readers. I should have removed the present-day sections when they said to do so, and should have known it was the right thing to do because I could never quite get the opening to work.
The new version of Tartarus with an improved cover and a slightly different opening is now up for sale. I know, I shouldn’t have changed the text, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to tweak a couple of lines.
Temporary discounts for the Smashwords summer sale:
Get them while you can!
The Createspace version is here. Unfortunately the cover is too dark and a bit too red so I’ll have to update that, which isn’t such a bad thing as I can use it as justification for producing a blog post on how to make a Createspace cover.
Otherwise it looks pretty good and is a good exercise in practising PoD production for future projects. I was particularly worried that the font might be too small as it looked OK on screen but there’s no easy way to see what it will look like on paper without having it printed. But it seems a decent size for the story. The only real issue is whether switching fonts between the modern and past chapters was a good idea, I’ll have to think some more about that.
And it probably looks better than the attached images, which I had to take with the built-in flash on my camera, hence the reflections and the shadow on the side where the zoom lens blocks the light from the flash.
So Tartarus is finally off to Createspace to be reviewed. What a pain that was.
Eventually I had to give up on uploading Word files and just export it to a PDF, which Createspace actually imported with all the relevant formatting.
For the cover, I used Gimp.
- Download the .PNG template from Createspace
- Create a transparent version of the template (create an a layer mask from the greyscale version of the image and then adjust levels).
- Put the transparent template as a layer above the background colour, then build the rest of the cover on top. That way you ensure that you won’t be putting anything where it shouldn’t go.
- Temporarily disable the template layer and export the image as a TIFF file.
- Use ‘tiff2pdf’ to convert the TIFF file to a 300DPI PDF file using zip compression. Then upload it.
Createspace cover. Remember to remove the template layer before uploading!
In a few days I should find out whether that actually works!
More than a year since I began writing it, I’m into the final stretches on Horror Movie. It’s still going to need editing, but I should have the complete second draft in three or four weeks, time permitting. I’ve been struggling for months with character motivations but finally managed to work it out by combining elements of the first draft with other elements that I’d deleted over the last few months; so far the story has had four different antagonists and I realised I had to combine two of them to make it work.
Let’s see if I can get it out by the end of June; if I have the draft complete soon that should be doable.
Interesting article on Stephen King, which I forgot to post about when I first read it:
Wall Street Journal
Some of the more interesting parts:
When he left his publisher, Viking, 14 years ago, he traded gargantuan advances for his current deal with Scribner, granting him much smaller advances and roughly half of the profits. In another unusual move, Mr. King leases his titles to publishers, typically for a period of 15 years, rather than selling them.
To finally complete and publish Horror Movie while continuing to work through some more short stories. The first two thirds of Horror Movie is pretty much done, but the ending still needs a lot of work. Hopefully I can get that complete by the end of May and then spend some time cleaning it up ready to upload.
I’m also working on completing the first Prudence Fitzgerald short story; it’s what I would call ‘hard steampunk’, with an alternate Victorian era where the British Empire acquired Martian techology which left it decades ahead of the rest of the world and perpetually in conflict with them as all the competing nations and empires want to collect as much of that technology as they can to maintain their own position.
Smashwords are having a promo this week, so I’ve added some of my e-books to it. Use the coupon on the book page for a discount until March 10th.
Tartarus is on sale for $0.99 through March. I was intending to do it as a promo and release Horror Movie in April, but at the rate I’m going War Show will be out first. Still, I’ll be interested to see what effect that has on sales.
War Show has a mind of its own and I’ve been writing it whenever I had to take a break to think about Horror Movie; it’s a relatively easy job since I outlined the whole story a few years ago when we were considering making it as a movie.
However, to avoid going around in circles, I think I should set a schedule to try to get everything done by:
End March: Horror Movie
End June: War Show
End October: Highgate Horror
Shorts: Whenever I have time to finish one.
After that I should really work on some pure SF novels
Now that I have two thirds of Horror Movie basically done and much of the rest in a state where I can revise it to fit the new changes, that shouldn’t be hard to achieve. It gives me two weeks to finish the second draft and a month to edit.
Horror Movie is heading toward a resolution at last; I’ve had to make some major revisions to fit the changes to the antagonist, but I’ve finally got one that works. I should get the second draft finished this month and then I can revise it next month and hopefully get it out around the end of March.
Which would be good because that’s approximately a year from when I started it. The next novel should be much faster as I have a complete rough outline from when I was going to write it as a movie script a few years back.
Endless Love is almost ready to go; I need to create a cover and do one more pass through it to tidy up a few loose ends before I can upload it. I should really find the original short film and upload it here afterwards.
I’m about a third of the way through revising Horror Movie, and I’d like to complete that next month but I probably won’t finish that quickly. I began writing it in March last year, so hopefully it will be available to purchase in March this year. The main reason for the rewrite was to change the location, and that’s given me some great new ideas for improving the story.
I should also have an Amazon author page shortly at:
And I’ve updated the Smashwords page at:
I’ve posted a link to my review queue:
Next up will be Creepers by Brian Dunn.
Well, back we go. I’m just starting on the first revisions for Horror Movie so I can finally get it out into the world; and the first stage is to convert it from Open Office to Scrivener, which is turning out to be harder than expected. For some reason I’m getting weird characters around the quotes when I try to transfer the text.
Another year, another Nano-novel. Tunnelers finished at around 50,500 words but is now shrinking as I rip out some of the bad parts. After a few tweaks I’m going to leave it alone until after Christmas and then create an outline from it, fix that up and write a proper draft.
On the plus side I’ve got some good new scenes, better characters and a better ending. I just need to fit it all together and pump up the horror.
In the meantime I’ve begun converting a couple of short movies I made some years ago into short stories. Hopefully I’ll have those up before Christmas.