Good morning, fellow bookworms! I’m kicking off the week with a stop on the blog tour for The Edge of Sanity by Chris Thomas. My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the opportunity! Author Chris Thomas visits the blog today about what he’s learned since writing a book. But first, here is what The Edge of Sanity is all about.
Author : Chris Thomas
Title : The Edge of Sanity
Pages : 361
Publisher : Bloodhound Books
Publication date : August 20, 2018
In a derelict squat, the Smart Man watches as the new narcotic developed by his shadowy organisation wreaks havoc on its unsuspecting victims. The drug is now ready for sale on their exclusive darknet market place.
Elsewhere, DCI Robert Smith, the retired head of the Cyber Crimes Unit, seeks out crime boss Curtis Slater at his remote farm. He offers to provide Slater with information in exchange for money. But what information is he offering?
Meanwhile, former detective Pete Harris had started a new life, away from the Cyber Crimes Unit, with his daughter and begins to rekindle his relationship with old colleague Grace Brooks.
With his life seemingly complete, Pete’s world comes crashing down as he is drawn into Slater’s game with fatal consequences. He must join forces with his old enemies in a race against time. But can Pete save his daughter and Grace from the clutches of Slater, the Smart Man, and the sinister ring master, the Professor?
[The Edge of Sanity is out today!]
What I have learned since writing a book
From the minute I first typed ‘Chapter 1’ into my new Word document, it became quickly apparent that the actual writing of my first book The Red Room, later to become Enter The Dark, was the easy part. There was so much more to not only finishing a book and putting it out for people to read, but also in somehow making sure that people knew about it and wanted to read it. Amazon Kindle has made it exceptionally easy for anyone to have ‘a book on Amazon’. You write a story in Word, use their cover design tool, upload it to your Amazon Author account, et voila, you have a book on Amazon.
Some purists would argue that this is a terrible thing. That only traditionally published authors, whose work has been checked, verified and thus endorsed by the sages of the publishing world, should be allowed to grace the screens of the paying public’s e-readers. I whole-heartedly disagree and would say that anything which encourages people to get out there and do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do is a good thing. The paying public are smart enough to make their own mind up and the cream (whether that be writing talent or simply a story that grabs people) will naturally rise to the top.
But one thing that should be stressed is that, whilst it will be fun, on the whole, it’s not easy. Here are the main lessons I’ve learned since starting out on writing books.
- Making people read your work is hard.
The obvious way is through friends and family on Facebook. And generally, once they have got over the novelty that someone they knew had written a novel, bought it and shared the odd post, after a while you can no longer rely on them as your main source of publicity. And that’s when it gets really difficult. As a self-published author you don’t have access to the same people: bloggers, publicists, etc as those signed to even a small indie label. Before The Red Room was signed, we were at the point of my wife (i) approaching anyone in the book aisle in Tesco (ii) talking to whoever we happened to be sat next to in a theatre (iii) anyone showing the slightest interest in anything to do with books, and handing them some promotional business cards that I had printed. Which brings me neatly onto…
- Blog Tours!
Until I started joining book groups on Facebook and Twitter I never knew that blog tours were even a thing. Once I knew of their existence I figured that I would just send my book to the blog sites, they would read it and advertise it for me. But no. These people are inundated with submissions, and quite rightly so, because they offer a brilliant way of reaching way more readers than on one’s own. And that was probably the single biggest difference I noticed once I signed with Bloodhound; that I could now join this world. This world where people who read way more than me, whose love of books has led them to review online for fun, the sort of people who I would love to not only read my book but rave about it. My tour for Enter the Dark lasted seven days, with two bloggers a day posting reviews. And I loved it. Some of the reviews simply blew me away. But even the not-so-positive ones were of huge value. If everyone loves your work, you have no reason to try to be better.
- Not everyone will like your book.
Fact. Being an author really isn’t a job/pastime for anyone who is overly sensitive about what other people think. Overall, my Amazon reviews for Enter the Dark were wholly positive. But there were some real stinkers in there as well –the dreaded ‘One-Star Club’. Even worse is the ‘Would have given it no stars if I could’. No point getting upset about them, just accept it and move on.
- You will doubt you own quality.
My wife always moaned that I never believed that what I wrote was any good. During the first draft of The Red Room, I sent it periodically to a very good friend who is a proper book fiend (reads a novel in one sitting in the evening etc). Even when they came back saying it was good, you still assume they are being polite. When people come up to you who say they’ve read it and really enjoyed it, it’s difficult not to do the same. This must be better than the deluded belief that you have just written a Nobel Prize winning piece of literature, but it is important to take the praise as much as the criticism.
- You have to just start.
Everyone has a book in them, apparently. And lots of people say they want to write a book. But the only way to do it is simply to start. I read some sort of profound quote about water not flowing until you turn the tap on and you won’t write anything unless you sit down and just do it. Which is true, but writing a novel isn’t like putting up a shelf, it’s a much bigger emotional and physical investment of energy. My personal prompt was taking an evening course called “Kickstart Your Creativity” which mainly taught me that I could string words together and was pleasantly surprised when the people hearing them didn’t choke on their own vomit at how dreadful it was. Put simply, it won’t write itself and you’ll soon work out whether it’s for you.
- Don’t stop submitting it to publishers and agents.
Why stop? Just because some have rejected it is not a reason to give up. We’ve all heard stories of huge authors / novels being rejected by countless agents or publishers before eventually being taken on. It doesn’t take long to make a submission, so keep at it.
There’s almost certainly a whole bunch of others lessons that I have learned but don’t know I’ve learned, and a few lessons that I am still to learn. A bit like Donald Rumsfeld and his ‘known-knowns’ and ‘known-unknowns’.
What I do know is that having a published book, regardless of how it was received is something that no-one can ever take away. I have an actual job, so do not need to rely on making an income from writing to make a living. But I have huge admiration for those that do as it is not easy. And if you do chose to write a book, whether as a hobby or as a full-time occupation, the only thing you can do is to just go for it.
Chris Thomas was born near London in 1978 before moving to Buckinghamshire a few months later. He attended the University of Bristol, graduating with a degree in psychology in 1999. It was here that he developed his interest in criminal psychology and serial killers.
After a brief stint working at an investment bank in London, he left the City to work for his wife’s family business, a position he still holds.
Chris is an avid film fan, especially horror, thrillers and dark comedy- something that he tries to blend in his writing. He self-published his debut novel The Red Room in February 2017 before joining the Bloodhound Books stable and re-releasing the book as Enter The Dark. The follow up, “The Edge of Sanity”, will be released by Bloodhound Books in August 2018.
In his spare time, Chris enjoys karate (holding a black belt) and spending time with his wife and two young daughters.