Monday, 24 October 2016

Thought for the Day

Neil Gaiman on writers being asked where they get our ideas from:

"In the beginning, I used to tell people the not very funny answers, the flip ones: 'From the Idea-of-the-Month Club,' I'd say, or 'From a little ideas shop in Bognor Regis,' 'From a dusty old book full of ideas in my basement,' or even 'From Pete Atkins.' (The last is slightly esoteric, and may need a little explanation. Pete Atkins is a screenwriter and novelist friend of mine, and we decided a while ago that when asked, I would say that I got them from him, and he'd say he got them from me. It seemed to make sense at the time.)

Then I got tired of the not very funny answers, and these days I tell people the truth:

'I make them up,' I tell them. 'Out of my head.' 

People don't like this answer. I don't know why not. They look unhappy, as if I'm trying to slip a fast one past them. As if there's a huge secret, and, for reasons of my own, I'm not telling them how it's done."

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Sharkpunk Saturday: Just when you thought it was safe to listen to an audiobook...


SHARKPUNK - Edited by Jonathan Green

The audiobook of the successful anthology, edited by Jonathan Green, of stories with a shark theme. Think Sharknado in written form! You'll be surprised how many twists on a theme you can find in one anthology.

Featuring stories from established authors such as Andrew Lane (Young Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, Torchwood) and Jonathan Oliver (The Call of Kerberos) this title has been a lot of fun to voice and will be a lot of fun to listen to!

This audio is in the final stages of post production and will release in early November in both CD and audio download formats. You can register interest in advance and we will let you know when it is available to order - just drop a comment on the post here.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Gamebook Friday: Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland might not be as well know in the US as it is in the UK but it still has its fans. On all of the book's reviews are 5-star reviews. And here's an extract from the latest one:

"This book is awesome! I think the combat might be a little confusing for someone who has never played an adventure game. However, you can still have a lot of fun just reading and not playing. I have had a blast with this book. Every time I pick it up it is like reading a new story!... I highly recommend this book!"

You can picked up your copy of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland from or

In other gamebook-related news, I am now past the 400 section mark in the writing of The Wicked Wizard of Oz.

And in other Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland news, illustrator Kev Crossley is even now working on brand new illustrations for a follow-up to the Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland Colouring Book.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Thought for the Day

"The only advice I have - and it's rarely welcome because it involves a huge amount of hard work and guarantees no success - is that if you've never written before, you need to start. There are cases of people sitting down and writing a good book just like that, but there are also cases of people being born with two heads. It's overwhelmingly likely that you would need to write, solicit feedback, write more, write again, and keep doing it until you got good enough for people to demand your work rather than suffer it."

~ Mark Lawrence, author

Monday, 10 October 2016

Thought for the Day

"Essentially it's a labour of love. If you don't love writing - just for its own end - then you're probably better off doing something you do love."

~ Mark Lawrence, author

Friday, 7 October 2016

Gamebook Friday: The Wicked Wizard of Oz four days on...

Four days ago The Wicked Wizard of Oz finally funded on Kickstarter, but it was a close run thing at times.

So, what are my thoughts on my latest crowdfunding campaign, now that the dust has settled?

Well, despite having the best opening weekend of any of my projects, it was also the most stressful. There is a lot that is published on Kickstarter about being a good creator - communicating with your backers, abiding by the rules of good Internet etiquette and the like - but someone should publish some guidelines on how to be a good backer. (Like, not pulling out during the final few days of a Kickstarter's run, and not pledging for rewards you can't afford.)

So what worked and what didn't work?

Well, based on this particular project, paying for Kicktraq advertising is a waste of money. The Wicked Wizard of Oz campaign was also designed to tap into the adult colouring community, following on from the success of the Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland Colouring Book (particularly in the States) which is wholly failed to do.

Listing the project initially in Games didn't help it gain any traction and may also be the reason why it didn't become listed as one of the Kickstarter team's 'Projects We Love', which my other recent crowdfunding campaigns have. Having that tag also helps drive traffic to the project page which might have meant that The Wicked Wizard of Oz funded sooner rather than later, as it did (only actually reaching its funding goal a day before the end of its run).

However, trailing the project in advance really helped give it a strong opening and, given the right project, the right reward levels, and enough warning, I think it would be possible to plan a Kickstarter which funded within its first week. (I'm looking at you, YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2!)

And I have to say that I am loving writing The Wicked Wizard of Oz and subverting so many of L. Frank Baum's beloved characters. (My favourite so far probably has to be Princess Ozma.) Having reached the halfway point in my first draft a week before the end of the Kickstarter's run I stopped writing, fearing that the project might not actually fund and also so that I could dedicate myself wholly to the campaign*. However, now that it has funded (and most of the money pledged has actually been collected) I'm back into the flow of things again.

So, watch this space...

* There is an interesting piece here about why so many crowdfunding campaigns fail, but I draw it to your attention because of the point it makes about what the media doesn’t cover is how much work actually goes into running a successful campaign. Seriously, you should pay yourself a month's wage just to do that, but then if you did your funding goal would become even more unattainable!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

National Poetry Day 2016

In honour of National Poetry Day...

Seamus Heaney: "I saw a frog." 
Ted Hughes: "I saw a frog and it was dead."
Edgar Allen Poe: "I saw a frog and she was dead." 
Sylvia Plath: "I saw a frog and I am dead." 
Samuel Beckett: "I saw a frog and it was God." 
Siegfried Sassoon: "I've seen Hell and it's a frog." 
Spike Milligan: "Nig nag nog, I saw a frog." 
William Shakespeare: "Verily I saw a frog." 
T.S. Eliot: "Do I dare to see a frog?" 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: "I hallucinated a frog." 
Lord Byron: "I'm p****d as a newt!"