What’s next?

The excitement is over – the beast has been released. I’ve done my short promotional tour of Scotland (and Newcastle), and now there’s nothing left to do.

Except stop looking at the Amazon rankings, because that way lies madness! So far it’s safe to say that The Beast on the Broch hasn’t set the world alight – we’ve sorted out the availability problems on Amazon that made it unavailable for the first couple of weeks after the launch day, but other sites like Waterstone’s and Foyles estimate weeks to fulfil an order, and sales have been sporadic. Much like with The Wreck of the Argyll, this isn’t enormously surprising – I remember the first couple of months after Argyll‘s release when I could put a name to every spike in the Amazon ranking charts because I knew the buyer personally!

But the whole point of signing with Cranachan was to tap into the schools market, so as far as that’s concerned, we’ll just have to wait and see. As a small startup publisher, we’re unlikely to get much (any) shelf space and definitely no table space in physical bookshops, so it’s going to be the direct sales effort that makes a difference. That definitely calls for sitting tight and seeing how things shake out.

So with The Beast on the Broch safely in the hands of Cranachan, what’s next for me?

I’ve got a few projects on the go!

First, Far Galactic North, my middle-grade science fiction adventure. The first draft is complete, and I’ve run it past Sandra who’s come up with some suggestions for improvement. There’s no enormous rush for this (I really don’t fancy getting back into the submit/reject cycle with literary agencies at the moment) so I might leave it to age like fine wine (or smelly cheese) for a while before having a stab at a major revision.

Next, Under the Mountain and Other Stories, a collection of nine science fiction short stories. I’m working with Anh Diep, an artist friend, to see if we can put together a package that we can stick on Kindle. It’s unknown territory for both of us, and is really just a fun side project, completely unrelated to my writing for children.

Finally, Untitled Roman Scotland Adventure, with its catchy title. I’m deep into research and planning for another Scottish historical children’s novel, this time even further back in time than The Beast on the Broch – all the way back to 83 AD, and the aftermath of the battle of Mons Graupius, when the Roman governor Agricola defeated the last stand of the Caledonian natives. At some point I’m going to have to stop buying books for research and actually start writing – but those Osprey Publishing military history books are just so addictive! How can you resist titles like Imperial Roman Warships 27 BC-193 AD? They’re my guilty research pleasure – I know I should be sticking to primary sources like Tacitus and the more scholarly books in my library, but the Osprey books have such lovely colour pictures…

And speaking of reading, I need to get stuck into my fiction TBR pile, too, which is starting to be a hazard to navigation on my bedside table. So many books, so little time. If I can squeeze them in, I might even find time to write a review or two – but again, it’s time!

So there we have it. Plenty of writing projects to keep me busy, plenty of books to read, both for research and for pleasure, plenty of books to review. I don’t think I’m going to run out of things to do any time soon…


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