Here in Crouch Corner on the south coast of England, with the sun pouring through my study window, I’m wondering what happened to August.
It strolled in off the back of July, filling the streets and beaches with children and families as the school holidays got under way in earnest, tossed in some wicked weather to break up the sunshine, and then quietly slinked away under the cover of darkness, which now arrives around 8pm.
For me, August began with a satisfied sigh, as I’d completed the first draft of my third novel, No Remorse, the day before. The draft will now sit on the metaphorical shelf, gathering dust and distance until late September, when I’ll return to edit and revise with fresh eyes.
With time available for the other jobs and activities involved in writing, August was a chance to catch up, take a fresh look at what I do, and embark on my first blog tour for the relaunched No Accident. It promised to be exciting and scary, starting with a reveal of the new cover for the novel.
The amicable split with my publisher has given me the freedom to work with an editor, a graphic designer to a produce a new look and cover, and the blogging community which passionately supports authors and books.
Since becoming a full time writer in 2016, I’ve witnessed, followed and enjoyed many blog tours, discovering new authors and books, reading intriguing interviews from the well-known to the unknown, and wondering whether anyone would be interested in featuring my work.
Thankfully, the lovely Caroline Vincent of Bits about Books, came to my rescue, setting up a cover reveal and blog tour for No Accident during August. Looking back, I’m still stunned by how much tireless work she, and the amazing bloggers who took part, did to promote the book over the course of nine days.
Reading alone must take up hours each day, yet these selfless people keep their followers informed and entertained, producing reviews, articles and interviews on a daily basis in most cases. I don’t know how they do it, but now that I’ve seen their work at close quarters and engaged with them on social media, they deserve respect and credit. I’m truly in awe of what they do to help authors.
And a little nervous, if I’m honest.
Like many authors, I imagine, it’s one thing writing a novel in the safety of your study, but putting it out there for the world to see and judge … yeah, that makes the stomach tremble. Okay, an editor’s helped you iron out the faults. The graphic designer turned your rather vague ideas on a cover into something enticing.
But there’s no telling what others will think of what you’ve written – and you have nine of them, lining up to tell you over as many days. These are not friends and family, who pat you on the back, but honest reviewers, passionate (and dispassionate), but always professional.
I’m still a little stunned, but delighted, by the amazing reviews and insights they produced.
If you’d like to check them out, please visit the News tab on my website for all the details.
I was also delighted to interview Colin Garrow, author of the excellent spoofs of Sherlock Holmes, as told by a rather irreverent Dr Watson. His latest, The Curse of the Baskervilles, kept me chuckling away for days with three tales filled with dark humour, imagination and wit.
You can read the interview on this blog, and please visit his website and sign up to his newsletter as he’s a busy, busy writer, producing lots of great work.
That left me with the final edits and revisions to No Bodies, my second Kent Fisher mystery. Though comfortable reading and revising on screen, you can’t beat a printed version, especially when you can put your feet up and enjoy several cups of tea in between scribbling notes all over your manuscript.
It’s taken me three days to read and make notes to add a little more polish. Once updated on computer, advanced reader copies can be sent out to reviewers and bloggers before the final version is uploaded, ready for release on October 19th.
‘Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.’
Robert J. Collier