Kickstarter success – “The Murder Club” Reviews – Edge-Lit this weekend

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted and a few things have happened, so let’s get listing!

  • The Murder Club Kickstarter finished, just tripping over the finish line on the final day! This means I now have the funds I need to get 200 copies of the graphic novel printed, along with 43 backers, and I’m almost ready to send the final pages off – I’m just waiting on the last few surveys to come back. I’ve already thanked them directly via Kickstarter, but it can’t help to give another big thanks to everyone who pledged to make this happen – it really does mean a lot, not to mention you get a cool graphic novel at the end of it!

 

  • I have three reviews! Two came in as the Kickstarter was ongoing, and the third dropped shortly after. Luckily, they are all very positive and I’m pleased with the feedback I’ve had so far. Here they are:

 

  • This Saturday 15th June I’m in Derby at Edge-Lit 6, a science fiction, fantasy and horror literature convention – there promises to be loads of panels, workshops and more, along with some big name guests, so worth looking into. I’ll have a dealer’s table there selling my usual books, so hope you can make it.

And that’s it. Well there’s more actually, like I’m working on the concluding part of the graphic novel, I’m also doing some freelance level design work and finishing off some DIY in the house, so there’s plenty to keep me occupied!

Till next time, Tony.

Kickstarter summary – halfway there!

The Murder Club Kickstarter is now halfway through, with just 15 days left to raise the remaining 70%.

The Murder Club: Useless Deaths - a dark graphic novel -- Kicktraq Mini
It can be done! Here’s a quick summary of the campaign so far.

Future updates include Tools and processes, more on the supporting characters, and exclusive lettered and cut pages for backers only!

Spread the word and let’s get this funded!

Tony.

“The Murder Club” Kickstarter is live!

Kickstarter is live!

The Murder Club Kickstarter has gone live! Go have a look now 🙂

If you are going to pledge (and many thank-yous if you are!) I would love it very much if you could place your pledge in the next 72 hours. The reason is that Kickstarter boosts the visibility of projects that have a really quick initial pledge surge, which in turn makes them more likely to reach their goal. And if you’re pledging, I’m assuming you want the project to reach its goal, so it’s a win-win! 😀

I will be keeping you updated with the progress of the campaign over the next month, so stay tuned here or on my social media (Twitter, Facebook page) to get all the inside info!

Tony.

And if you’re afraid of going direct to the KS page, then here’s the campaign video right here for you!

 

“The Murder Club” Kickstarter preview link!

Oh yes indeed! Follow this link to have a preview of the whole Kickstarter campaign for The Murder Club.

‘Like’ the campaign to be notified when it goes live (30th May), and any and all comments are welcome – I’m very thick-skinned, so don’t hold back!

For press types, there’s also a press release here: https://www.prlog.org/12637993

Tony.

TMC_KSLaunch

“The Murder Club” Kickstarter launching 30th May!

TMC_KSLaunch

 

I can announce today that The Murder Club is coming to Kickstarter on the 30th May.

I am looking to raise £900 for printing 200 graphic novels and postage of rewards (+ Kickstarter fees), and I will have a preview link up in the next couple of weeks for feedback before the campaign goes live.

You know, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this goes, so stay tuned for more information coming soon!

Tony.

Current and future work plans

Yes indeed! I have planned out what I’m going to be doing next in terms of personal work, and have decided to share my plan with you so you can shame me later when I spectacularly fail to accomplish any of it:

  1. Complete chapters 1-3 of The Murder Club Part 1 – This is ongoing with only a few small elements to finish, mostly some panel background detail, text/legal pages and the front cover.
  2. Plan and prepare the Kickstarter for The Murder Club Part 1 – The idea is that this will go live mid-June (after the Election chaos is out of the way) to finish in July, for final release in August.
  3. Continue with the third book in the Powerless series – It’s already around 40k words out of a predicted 120k, so ‘just’ need to finish that off to get a first draft done.
  4. More short stories and art – I will continue to create exclusive short stories and artwork for my Patreon followers, but also a longer short story I want to submit to some SF magazines.
  5. Continue with the art for chapters 4-6 of The Murder Club Part 1 – I will carry on with this in the background. The vigour with which I proceed will be determined by how well Part 1 is received. But however Part 1 sells I will still finish the final 3 chapters, as all the writing, roughs and layouts are done and I personally want to see the whole project completed. Plus I don’t want to leave anyone hanging 🙂
  6. Some super secret project work in the background – This is so super secret I can’t even tell you I’m working on it! Oh… bugger.

And there we have it! At first pass this smells like it might just work, but as always I’ll keep you up to date with what’s happening with me on here as well as my Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Tony.

Eastercon 2017 Arrives!

Eastercon Header

Hello all!

Yes, Eastercon 2017 is finally here – from the 14th-17th April I will be at the Hilton Metropole hotel at the NEC in Birmingham.

I will have a table in the dealer’s room, selling all my books, and I am on two panels this year – the first is “Enhanced Reality, Virtual Reality and Three-dimensional Fiction and Games” on the Friday, followed by “Keeping it Weird” on Sunday.

If you haven’t got tickets yet, there is still time to get them here. And FYI here are the links to the full schedule and event layout.

This is the biggest SF and Fantasy convention in the UK, and my second time there. When I heard it would be in just up the road Brum in 2017 I jumped at the chance! It really is a great convention with SO much to do, as you can see from the schedule linked above. Looking forward to this one 🙂

Tony.

I’m going to Thought Bubble!

Thought Bubble Logo

I am very happy to announce that I have managed to get a table for this year’s Thought Bubble Festival! Thought Bubble is the UK’s premier comics and comic art festival, with a curated list for anyone wishing to sell their goods there, so I am chuffed to have got in. Even getting on their reserve list (which it seems I was) is an achievement.

So I will be in Leeds on the 18th-24th September this year, selling The Murder Club (which will be completed and published by then) as well as Some Kind of Hero.

I’m really excited about this one (as you can tell). The only other really comparable convention is The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which I have also applied to enter (but won’t hear about until June), and also attracts big names in the world of comics, as well as hundreds of independent creators.

Thought Bubble is a bit earlier this year (usually November) and is a bit more central in the city, but I have no frame of reference, so have no idea whether this will affect it for the better or worse. All the same, it looks like it will be a great event, and I will share more details as I get them.

Tony.

Read an ebook week – my books on sale!

It’s Smashwords annual Read An Ebook Week and two of my ebooks are on sale till 11th March:

Powerless CoverPOWERLESS – When the best friend of a retired superhero is killed by another power, Martin must drag himself out of his self-imposed isolation to find out who is responsible. In doing so he finds himself digging up a past he would rather forget, risking exposing the secret of why the team split up and destroying all their lives in the process.

This is completely FREE this week with coupon code SFREE, so go and bag your copy now!

 

 

 

Killing Gods CoverKILLING GODS – When a physically mutated villain’s son goes missing from protective care, he goes on a rampage to try and find his child.
In his way stand a Child Protection Officer following her heart above her duty, a violent anti-hero group desperate for media attention, a seemingly benevolent hero-worshipping cult and Martin and Hayley struggling to work out who they can trust.

This is 50% off this week at just $2 (£1.60) with coupon code RAE50, so get the deal here.

 

 

A summary of my work – Or “What I did in the last 5 years”

I’ve had this blog for nearly 10 years now – my first post was in June 2006 and yes, it was a boring “Hello world!” article.

Back then it was mostly about videogames and gaming, but slowly morphed into a writing blog as I worked on my first novel. Some of you who randomly come here might not be up to speed on everything I’ve worked on and been part of, so this post is going to be a brief run down of the last five or so years. To be honest, it’s a bit early in my writing career (hah!) for a retrospective, so this is more to show myself I have actually been doing something all this time…

May 2011 – MAKING GODS

Making Gods Cover Making Gods was a short story collection I released on Smashwords initially, before I plucked up the courage to submit to Amazon in December the same year. For me it was a toe in the water, a test of the whole self-publishing process, both technical and philosophical.

The stories were written over the space of a year or so, and at some point (although I can’t remember the details) I decided to turn them into an ebook.

I was fairly proud of the stories in there, and still am today. Perhaps I should have had a few more in the book, as it’s a bit sparse, but it was never intended as a full release anyway. It helped me learn the processes involved in formatting a document for submission, the whole submit procedure on Smashwords and Amazon, and got me writing for more than just a hobby or interest.

It’s completely free now by the way, and you can grab it on all major ebook stores.

After releasing this, I did a few more short stories but what I was really looking for was an idea I could turn into a novel. Something that could ideally become a series. And that idea came to me with the mental image of a retired superhero working incognito as a night security guard to get away from a terrible event in his past. That’s all there was to begin with. What the event was, what his powers were, what the world he lived in was like I had no idea.

As I do, I left it to stew in my head for a year or so, before I started cobbling all my ideas together and finally pulled together an outline for a novel that would become…

January 2013 – POWERLESS

Powerless CoverOh yes, I bet you’ve never seen that cover before! I made this one myself (can you tell?) and released my great typo-ridden work on the world.

It had taken me a year in total to write Powerless. I wrote in the evenings and on my laptop at lunchtimes, while sat in the back seat of my VW Polo in the carpark at work. I was my own editor (hence the typos, and at least one plot-hole) but I was proud, not just of managing to finish my first novel, but also of the story. I didn’t want to write a ‘typical’ superhero book, and I didn’t want to set it in the USA. I had finally written my dark and contemporary British superhero book that had been stuck in my head for nearly two years.

And you know what? It sold 354 copies in the first year. I also got a 5-star review praising the story, and a 1-star review criticising the editing. And I can’t argue with either of those 🙂

Anyway, I was bitten by the writing bug, and after a brief respite, I had picked the story for the sequel. This was a slightly shorter book word-count wise but still took a year to write and edit.

July 2014 – KILLING GODS

Killing Gods CoverI didn’t find Killing Gods easier or harder to write if I’m honest. It was a different book (no jumping between two time periods – so a more straightforward narrative) but had more groups of characters involved, so making sure the outline worked so no one group was overplayed or short changed was a challenge.

I also got some decent cover art for this (and for Powerless, which had its 2nd edition and a proper edit) from Harry Corr, a friend of mine at work who just happened to be a budding concept artist.

I dropped the price of the first book and kept this one high, as was the reigning wisdom at the time. And… it did OK. It was a slow start. Both books had petered out in terms of sales, but at least they were consistent.

Anyway, at this point I was done writing dark, grim stuff. I wanted to do something a little lighter, just for my sanity if nothing else! So I started work on an idea I had for a Sci-Fi novella, featuring two comedy characters I’d had rattling around in my head for a while. They had started out as an idea for a TV series (yes, I categorise my ideas early on 🙂 ) but then when I realised I didn’t have the cash or production company contacts to make it, I left them on the shelf.

At the same time I had been finishing off a group of short stories I had been working on to keep myself motivated during the process of writing Killing Gods. Realising the comedy book was going to take a bit longer to finish than originally planned, I decided to publish another short story collection – a decent sized one this time. And so was born…

March 2015 – THE RESURRECTION TREE AND OTHER STORIES

The Resurrection Tree CoverI was much happier with The Resurrection Tree and Other Stories than I was with Making Gods. For a start I had more stories in there, but I also had nearly 4 years more experience of all the elements of self-publishing. The formatting was better, the editing was better, I didn’t make the cover myself (Thanks Jo), and it all came together really nicely.

Now, I was well aware that short story collections don’t really sell, and that turned out to be very true. But that wasn’t the point. I had some good stories to get out there, and I also needed to keep my profile up with at least something released this year.

Luckily, after a little bit more work and planning, the comedy book finally came together. And the same year I released…

AUGUST 2015 – HIGGS & SOAP: GALAXY DELIVERY

HSGD CoverI finally got these two daft idiots out of my head! Overall, I had good fun writing Higgs & Soap: Galaxy Delivery, having never written a completely humorous work before, and I have loads more ideas for possible sequels.

The only misstep I made was I went with making the cover myself again. This was after spending weeks trying to hunt down a suitable artist on all the major art and portfolio sites. I just couldn’t find someone with the style I was looking for. So, in the end, I went with someone who knew exactly the style I was looking for (me), however he was only fairly average as an artist.

Now, I have always drawn, and had been attending life drawing classes for a while, but I hadn’t tackled a full, finished piece of colour work in years. And it showed. If I do a sequel, I will either completely redo this myself, or get another artist to do both covers.

However, having done the cover, something clicked inside me. I suddenly got the urge to draw. Now, the plan had been to start work on the third superhero book after publishing this, but I got the crazy idea to polish up my art skills and try and do a comic book. It had been a vague notion for some years, but the cost of paying an artist was always prohibitive. But if I did the art myself, not only would I have full control over the writing, but also the visuals. This appealed to me, being the slight control freak I am 🙂

And so, in August 2015 I went for it. I knew some people were eagerly awaiting the third superhero book (Hello Tom! Hello David!) so I had the brilliant idea of turning what would have been a short story featuring characters from the books, into the comic. So I condensed the story down into 24 pages and started work on the art.

MARCH 2016 – POWERLESS: SOME KIND OF HERO

Some Kind of HeroNow, it shouldn’t need to be said, but drawing is a very different beast to writing. During the creation of Some Kind of Hero I did get frustrated at the slow speed of translating what had been a fairly rapid writing process into the finished article, even more so than with novels.

With a novel, there are multiple drafts, but I don’t mind doing these, as each one is hammering the rough core of the work into the final shape. Even the formatting, and sorting the cover out I find interesting. But with a comic, so … much … time … is spent with the story essentially finished. The transformation of that story into the final work left me wondering whether I had done the right thing.

Maybe I should have stumped up the cost and paid an artist to do it for me? I could have written dozens more comics, or even finished book #3 in the time it took to draw this! There were many doubts in my mind. But, when I held that first proof copy in my hand, all those months later (courtesy of Comic Printing UK), it finally felt worth it. Not to mention, I successfully got it listed on ComiXology, THE biggest digital comics platform.

Anyway, in the end, I resolved to finally get back to writing full time. After all, I was missing it after spending all these months just doing art.

But then, this little nugget of an idea of two murderous schoolkids lodged in my head. And then I thought I could always do a slightly longer comic work, but in black and white, so less art time. And then, against my better judgement, these two ideas coalesced, and now I find myself making…

??? 2017 – THE MURDER CLUB will be released!

So, yes. I didn’t learn.

The story for The Murder Club is finished and edited after several kind beta-readers helped me out. I am currently 30% of the way through the art, and on target for a release this August/September (probably). I will be doing a Kickstarter for printing costs – I did the same for Some Kind of Hero – and I will be slowly building up on getting the word out that this exists as the year goes on.

And once this is done I am definitely going to finish book #3. It is already outlined, having been cut down from an unwieldy 180k words to about 125k (the same as Powerless) and with almost 1/3rd of the first draft written already.

So, there it is. My self-published writing career laid out in full! Feels odd in a way. I’m proud of the work I’ve done, but I know I’ve made mistakes along the way. I’m glad I did it, but I can see now where I could have saved time and effort. But hopefully, I’ll use the knowledge I’ve gained to make things better for myself in the future.

Anyway, if you want more info on what I’m working on, you can follow me and donate on Patreon, where you can get exclusive WIP pages of The Murder Club, as well as other pieces of art and short stories.

So, let’s see what I can create in the next 5 years…

Tony.