This has been a strange week for me. Microsoft Word has only been open as required for my day job. I have not used it at night all week. I have done zero writing or editing. It feels weird. I keep thinking about this big thing missing from my life. I’m not having to devote hours of my life to it.
And then it hit me.
The hard work is done.
In December last year my Indiegogo campaign looked on the rocks. I feel that I had a lot of support but Elite:Dangerous was on kickstarter and I was on a different platform and this different platform asked for money up front. Too many risks for a lot of people. Still, through the extreme generosity of some Elite supporters I got my funding.
Then I thought ‘oh, now I have to actually write this thing’. So in January I started planning the novel down to as fine a detail as I could. I wrote a two page synopsis for Frontier. I developed this into a thirty page document. I created a beat sheet, breaking my story down into sections. I put up the pillars of the basic story structure, the first and second plot points and the mid point contextural shift. I edited my thirty page document. Frontier got back to me and told me I had to change my plans. The back half the story got completely reworked. I even hired a consultant to run through my beat sheet and together we made some minor but important improvements to the plot.
I started writing the novel itself in February. I completed the first draft in three months. I re-read the novel making notes of any howlers or just things I wanted to change, even things that I just wanted to flag for later thought. I then went through and addressed these areas. I then ran the story through another edit.
I sent the alpha readers the story in August this year. I took a few weeks off as I waited for feedback. I got a lot of positive feedback – everyone who responded loved it. Those who didn’t respond I can’t comment further on. Some people just haven’t been able to finish it yet, which is also feedback of a sort.
I took the feedback and completed another highly detailed edit of the novel. In some parts this was just tightening. In other parts this was a complete rewrite. A whole chapter was cut out and a replacement written. Point of views were altered. A lot happened.
During that edit I contacted Fantastic Books with what I thought was a pretty rock solid submission. I was told I would hear back within the month. Six days later I had a contract to sign.
Just over a week ago I completed this titanic edit and sent the manuscript through to my beta readers and my publisher.
I haven’t really stopped since January. I’ve been plugging away night after night, working on this project, because its a dream. It’s a dream come true to be an official Elite novelist. My youth as an Elite fan fic writer could never have imagined this opportunity. (Its still hard to fathom some times!)
But now I have stopped (for now) and the realisation hit me: The Hard Part Is Over.
The job isn’t done. Not even close. I have the publisher’s edit to complete. There will be another one to two edits after that. Frontier Developments have changed a few parts of the ‘history of things to come’ which means I’ll have to change some parts of the story. There is the marketing. There is the social media. There is the local media and marketing angles. There is still so much more to do before March next year. Maybe overall I’m only half way there.
But for me, right now, I’m sitting in the sun in the country* drinking a wine, thinking ‘F*ck Yeah. I’ve accomplished something.’
It feels good.
*I live in the country now. That’s not just a random place I stopped for a wine.
My publisher has been pretty busy over the last wee while. Firstly (And unfortunately) their Indiegogo campaign failed to meet its funding. I spent a lot of time talking to Dan, the CEO of Fantastic Publishing, about crowd funding. Now Dan is coming out with a bigger and badder and more awesome crowd funding campaign. You can read more about it on their latest update here.
To summarise: instead of funding on indiegogo with a widespread selection of books and fans, Fantastic Books have tuned it down to focusing on bringing their four Elite novels to audio, And Here The Wheel included! This will be a focused and professional crowd funding campaign and this time run on kickstarter, where Elite:Dangerous raised its funding.
Fantastic Books has already started looking at doing a book trailer for And Here The Wheel. Dan and I discussed what would make an appropriate scene to bring to life in the book trailer. I came up with something that I think is a little bit special. It gives you a sense of WHO the character is, WHAT he is about, HOW the story will go and WHY he does what he does, all wrapped up in one little package. Powerful stuff. I’ll keep you updated on how that progresses.
Dan has also had a bit of a hand in what is happening below . . .
Look around this website. The dark colours. The muted title header. The narrow page focus. All of this? Gone, or at least it will be soon.
That’s right, www.andherethewheel.co.nz is being rebooted. A whole new look, a whole new focus, a whole new BRAND, coming at you soon.
This site serves as a good enough blog, a place to update you on my progress, a place to act as a repository for the podcast among other things.
But going forward, into the marketing of the novel, I need something more, I need something driven from the novel, for the readers, to combine the two experiences into something, well, Fantastic.
I’m currently making a new site from the ground up, because I want to connect with you, I want this website to be a visceral experience for you, a reader of And Here The Wheel. I’ll be doing that through new fiction orientated content. You’ll still be getting the same news as before, you’ll just be getting more . . .
Well, I’ve been a bit quiet on the podcast front. Its been ‘heads down, bum up’ time for me getting the Beta draft done. Now I’m catching up. New website, new podcast episode, new newsletter, they are all in the works. And I have a lot of ground to cover. the DDF has been busy, the community has been going crazy and the alpha testing version of Elite:Dangerous is almost here.
So the Commander’s Log will be coming back to life sometime in November.
Thanks for stopping by. Have a nice week and I’ll catch you next Monday.