What on Earth is the ‘StokeyLitFest’?

Stoke newington BusThe Stoke Newington Literary Festival, or as it’s more affectionately known, the StokeyLitFest, is quite possibly the coolest lit fest on the planet. And it’s getting bigger year by year. If you live in London, you’ve probably heard of it. But living Down Under, I hadn’t — until this big UK trip of mine.

It’s a short bus ride for me from my mind-boggingly ‘compact’ accommodation near King’s Cross Railway Station. I arrived in London a few days ago, and the Festival is my first, full-on writing event. It’s where I’ve been spending my day today. It’s a two-day festival, in its sixth year, and here’s what I chose to see…

Tracy Thorn

Tracey Thorn

Tracey Thorn

The wonderful Tracey Thorn, from Everything But the Girl fame, was a special highlight of the day. She was at the festival to promote her second memoir, Naked at the Albert Hall. Amongst many things, she talked in detail about her very real stage fright, leading her to make the decision not to perform live as a singer again.

She also recounted many funny anecdotes, such as the challenge — as a well known and highly regarded singer — of singing ‘Wheels on the bus’ in play groups. Would she somehow be expected to perform the song far better than the other parents? Should she try to? Or maybe she should be doing the opposite?

She also talked about her love of the X-Factor TV show, to everyone’s surprise!

Mark Ellen (Q mag, NME, Live Aid…)

Mark Ellen (right)

Mark Ellen (right) with Danny Kelly

Mark Ellen was at the festival to talk about his very exciting-looking book (well, to me), called Rock Stars Stole My Life! It’s all about his experiences working for some of the greatest UK music publications Q, NME and many others, and commentating for Live AID (which I watched the telecast of from start to finish on the other side of the world, while living in Canberra, Australia).

Both Mark and Danny spoke at breathless speed, trying to fit in as many of their amazing experiences as they could. It was both overwhelming and mind-blowing. My favourite quote: ‘But it wasn’t all laughs and drugs and stuff,’ — when talking about the screaming matches that could occur between different music staff.

While I attended numerous other sessions, I’ll tell you about one more, because — in truth, I only have the energy to tell you about one more (I’m keen to head off to bed!)…

Richard King

Richard King (left)

Richard King (left)

Richard King worked for years in Bristol’s notoriously ‘independent’ record store Revolver, and has written about his experiences in Original Rockers, especially about the store’s aloof manager who refused to sell customers records by bands he didn’t approve of, even if the store stocked them. Or, the reverse, treating his customers with great disdain for their lack of good taste and refusing to sell them albums by the likes of Tim Buckley if he didn’t believe the customer looked worthy enough. Classic independent record shop stuff taken to its absolute level.

As you can see, I chose to attend rather a lot of music-related events. Such is the person I am. I leave you with two more pictures from the day…

Tracey Thorn again (and why not?)

Mark Ellen and me

You can check out the festival’s website here.

 

 

 

 

 

My final manuscript is complete. So what now?

Beneath the Surface

My 60,000 word novel manuscript — Beneath the Surface — is now fully posted to Wattpad. It’s about a young boy who enters a fantasy world under his garden. While writing the fantasy story, I partly drew on my experiences working as an HIV/AIDS social worker in the 80s and 90s.

Publishing the book chapter by chapter to the social media site Wattpad as I reworked it has been quite an experience. There wasn’t a moment when I didn’t brace myself before opening an email with a new comment from a reader. What if this one blasts the hell out of my story? Yet, all of the readers’ comments have been positive — many confirming they were enjoying the story, and some special ones offering thoughtful, constructive advice.

Wattpad offers writers something very special. The chance to hear directly from readers what they think about your book. And my book has changed in certain ways because of the feedback. Often these changes were descriptive details — things that were not as clear as they could be. The one that comes most to mind is the description of the moment when Christopher first enters the fantasy world of The Underplane. The use of ‘micro-chapters’ also received plenty of support. This approach led to many ‘upbeats’ in the story’s rhythm, as I like to finish a chapter on an upbeat (with a sense of actively moving forward). I enjoyed writing in this style and plan to try it again, no matter what my next story may be.

Other aspects of my story may change as I now progress to the next stage of manuscript development. The title, for instance, may change. It used to be Under the Garden, and for one brief moment it was Christopher from the Middle Bit (only I seemed to like that one!). Who knows what it might be called in the future. And new feedback may lead me to alter key moments in the story. We shall see!

But where to now for me with this book? That’s what I have to decide. The idea of seeking out potential interest in the more traditional way does entice me. I thoroughly enjoyed the formal editing process that my first, traditionally published novel underwent. I am also looking forward to engaging others in professional consultation about the story.

I will give myself a little break and begin to explore the options for Beneath the Surface soon. And I’ll most certainly let you know when I have any news.

I also need to decide just how long I should keep the complete manuscript of Beneath the Surface posted to Wattpad. I have no idea how traditional publishers will respond to that — yet visibility on the internet is crucial in this new world of ours.

If you’re interested in checking out my story while it’s complete on Wattpad — some holiday reading of a brand new novel before it’s even published! — here’s where it starts: Beneath the Surface on Wattpad.

My MonuMental Book Tour

MonuMental: The Hack's Back by Steven O'Connor

I am having a book blog tour for MonuMental (and my first book, EleMental). This is my first go at such a thing and it’s already been a very interesting experience just setting it up with Orangeberry Book Tours. Below are the dates. I have something happening from this point on until the end of July. If you get a chance, I’d love you to drop in on one or two of my guest posts or interviews as I make my way around various blogs of the world. Feel free to leave a comment if you do!

Book Tour Schedule (UK times)

7th July – Twitter View with OB Book Tours

8th July – Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours

9th July – Book Review & Author Interview at Mommy Adventures

10th July  – Guest Post at The Bunny’s Review

11th July – Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours

12th July – Book Review & Author Interview at The Reading Cat

13th July – Guest Post at Blog-A-Licious Authors 

14th July – Book Review & Author Interview at Author’s Friend

15th July – Book Review at UK Book Club

16th July – Guest Post & Book Review at Me, You & Books

17th July – Book Review at Book Professor

18th July – Author Interview & Book Review at Brainy Reads

19th July – Guest Post at Paws on Books

20th July – Book Review at Gentleman Reads

21st July – Author Interview at My Life in Books

22nd July – Book Review at Journey’s thru Books

23rd July – Author Interview at Top Shelf Books

24th July – Book Review at A Novel Design

25th July – Guest Post at Non-Stop Reads

1st August – Excerpt at Quality Reads

1st to 31st August 2013 – Listing at OB Book Expo

8th August – Author Interview at Nobody Important

15th August – Guest Post & Book Feature at Book Connoisseur

22nd August – Excerpt at Next Big Book Thing

27th August – Author Interview & Book Feature at Just My Opinion

3rd September – Guest Post at Aspiring Books

17th September – Guest Post & Book Feature at High Class Books

I’m featured in Books Direct!

ElementalCampaign update

Before I get to Books Direct, I want to give you a quick round up on my current promotion. No doubt you know I’m bang in the middle of a promotional campaign? Goodness knows I have gone on about it enough. I am happy to say it is going very well. Better than I would have imagined. As I write this, EleMental is No. 1 on Amazon in two book categories:  ‘TV, Movie, Video Game Adaptations’ and ‘Hard Science Fiction’. The book has held those positions for two days, and also reached No.1 in ‘Hard Science Fiction’ in Canada. Needless to say, I don’t think EleMental is hard science fiction, and it certainly is NOT an adaptation of any film or video game. And hey! What do I care! I’m just happy the book has reached No.1 in some categories. It has also reached No. 50 in Amazon UK’s ‘Children’s Fiction’ (a very big, and therefore hard, category to rate in) and No. 5 in ‘High Tech Science Fiction’.

The book also rated very respectably in Germany’s and France’s Amazons.  You might be thinking, Wow, he must be making some nice pocket money. Nope! These are all free downloads, don’t forget. And the goal here is about telling the world about EleMental. Visibility! And I’m very happy with the results.

Come tomorrow, I fully expect the book to have dropped away. But right now, it’s king in its own little world. So mission more than accomplished.

Not once on Books Direct! But twice!

Many bloggers and websites have been terrific in their support of my promotion. And none more so than the classy Books Direct website. I recommend checking the site out. They have not only jumped in right behind my current promotion, they have also interviewed me about my new book MonuMental, featured excerpts from both books and are hosting a giveaway of my early print edition EleMental (make sure you enter –  instructions in both Books Direct posts). 

The first post, introducing my promotion and featuring an excerpt is here.

In the second post, they have gone out of there way to find a reference to the very first book I ever read as a child. I was amazed to find a link to it. I thought that book, from 1968, only remained as a memory in my head — but no, there are second hand library copies available through Amazon. (Read the interview to find out which book!). This second post has a rather extensive interview with me and features the first chapter from MonuMental (though note, in the book a short intro precedes the chapter).

You can access the second post here.

Well, back to my promoting… Seeyalater.

———————

Like to find out more about my books? You can check out my Amazon pages here …

———————

EleMental new cover. Help me pick!

Help me pick EleMental‘s new cover

EleMental is scheduled to be free next week (from Friday 7 June) and as a part of my the promotion I have decided to come up with a new cover. I’dd love your thoughts. You can let me know either in the comments below or tweet me at @StevenWriting here.

And of course you already know MotherCraft is free right now? You can get it here:

Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Here are my choices …

No.1

 

Pic 1

No.2


Pic 2

No.3

Pic 3

 

No.4

Pic 4

No.5

Pic 5

 

I know which way I’m leaning, but let me know your thoughts!

———————

Like to find out more about my books? You can check out my Amazon pages here …

———————

 

Free sci-fi short story: 31 May

Mothercraft: A short story by Steven O'Connor

Free ebook

I plan to offer my humble sci-fi short story free from 31 May 2013 for five days. I would love this story to be free all of the time, but – alas! – Amazon disagrees. They will only allow me to make it free for five days every three months. So here it is once more within that allotted time, free for all downloads. (Well, come Friday, 31 May.)

More free stuff coming

This small offering is my little build to the main event. EleMental, my young adult sci-fi novel, will be free a short while later (from 7 June). And that will be the last time Elemental will be free. But more about that in a later post. For now, simply note 31 May in your diary and prepare for this little entrée before the main course. (MotherCraft, by the way, is based on a deleted scene from EleMental – a scene deleted by my previous editor, but which yours truly continues to like. And others too – thank you to those who have sent me feedback in the past.)

A quick word about the above cover

I have always loved the cover for this short story, which was put together by a graphic designer who based it on a picture by my son. The picture depicts a table at ‘The Lunching Pad Restaurant’. A fictitious restaurant at the (obviously) equally fictitious ‘Little River Spacedocks’. The cover features one of the better tables at the restaurant. That is, by a window with a view. And what a view! Rockets launching into space, to dock with their MotherCraft waiting in orbit about the Earth.

I included my son’s original picture inside the book.

If you don’t want to wait, the short story is available for 99c right now from Amazon here. And from Amazon UK here.

———————

Like to find out more about my books? You can check out my Amazon pages here …

———————

Part 3 – Pushed into indie publishing. So I jumped!

This is the third of my guest posts written for Silk Screen Views about my journey as a writer. Here I chose to talk about my current  – and very new! – adventures in the land of indie publishing. Indie publishing is not easy. There is a lot of work involved in trying to be noticed among the many, many other highly active and very good indie writers. And you are responsible for every step of the way, which can sometimes be quite exhausting. However, there is reward in the sense of control, and it’s important to give things time to grow. You can check out the last of my three posts here.

———————

Like to find out more about my books? You can check out my Amazon pages here …

———————

MonuMentally worn out but EleMentally free!

Tired as Lemur

Tired as Larry the Lemur

I have been quiet haven’t I? In actual fact I’ve been tweeting like mad. And jumping around all over facebook. Telling everybody about how you can currently download EleMental, my first book, for free. This is all in support of my lovely new book, MonuMental.

The internet is a terribly big place and it’s easy to go a little unnoticed no matter all the hooha you’re trying to make.

And why have I been trying to make a hooha?

Because I just discovered that I was about to lose my current allotment of free days for EleMental if I didn’t hurry up and use them. And use them I of course do want to … for promotion.

Yes, EleMental: A First-person Shooter is currently free for download. It ends midnight Thursday, 14 March (US time).

It’s great bringing your book project to completion but it can also wear you out like a … lemur. Well, that lemur above, anyway. Having just come across its picture (and spontaneously named Larry). And that’s why this initial promotion has been rather quick!

Also note – this is absolutely the first time EleMental has been offered for free.

Here are the links for you to head over there right now and grab your copy …

If you’re reading this late and have missed out, don’t worry – this was a rushed affair. I will offer EleMental for free again in a much bigger campaign coming mid-year. (And MonuMental can always be read separately too.)

Yours monuMentally, eleMentally, everyTHINGally …

What can I say, producing a book is a slow business!

The cover of my MS after prof. editing - don't worry my actual won't be as plain as this!

The cover of my MS after prof. editing – don’t worry the actual book won’t be as plain as this!

MonuMentally slow

Sometimes I wonder if my own inner editor is more obstinate than the most hard-nosed New York publisher. Many writers say it’s hard to let go of your book – and I’m probably one of the worst. There’s always something else you need to do. ‘No, not yet. Just one more change!’

The final step for me these days, the creation of an ebook, presents a fabulous opportunity that no writer has experienced in the history of publishing until now. Until now, it has always been advisable to print off your final draft and work on it as a hard copy, often reading it out aloud as well, as your eyes can skip over things like missing words, but reading aloud adds another safeguard against that.

But now, with ebook publication, it is possible to view your book in exactly the state the reader will see it. It’s like seeing your baby in ultrasound. It’s fantastic. BUT! (That’s a big but, isn’t it?) It does give you one more reason not to publish just yet. It has become another layer of editing. One more reason not to publish … yet.

There are many ways to create an ebook, I do it chapter by chapter through something called Pressbooks software. Each time I add a chapter, I privately publish it and read through it as an ebook on my iPad’s kindle app. You would be amazed at the new things that jump out at you as you read. Subtle things, but, for me at least, still crucial . I did this with my previous book (EleMental). It had already been trade published, yet still more things jumped out at me. Things that I, the editor, the copyeditor, and the proofreader had all failed to spot.

So please wish me well as I work through the ebook creation of MonuMental . I am up to Chapter 6 – and I am maintaining a running tab of my progress on my home page here.

Well, back to it …

 

 

‘E-FPS’ for 99c & win a $100 Amazon card!

The Holiday Book Sale

I’m happy to let you know, EleMental: A First-person Shooter is a part of the Holiday eBook Sale.

Today’s hottest fiction ebooks are on sale for .99 from Dec 28-Dec 31 only.

Mystery, romance, young adult, sci-fi, fantasy – there’s something for everyone …

… including the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card!

Click here to check out the Indie Book Festival’s Holiday Ebook Sale!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway