I’ve spoken a lot over the last few months about how I want to take this blog and website in a real fiction oriented direction. I’ve talked about it, but it’s taken me a while to work out what exactly that direction should be.
However, after months of deliberation, I think I’ve just about got there.
A bit of background, because if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know how much of a sucker for background I am: I started this blog in June 2012 when I was just finishing up my first novel. I decided to blog about writing because, well, that’s what I was being told to do by other writers.
I fast realised that blogging standard writing tips was a bit of a strange thing to do on a fiction blog because my primary intended audience were fiction readers and not writers. So I cut down on the standard “Five Ways to…” posts that the internet is already abundant with and balanced my fiction talk with more serious and investigative articles for my non-fiction readers.
Still with me? Good. I stuck with this investigative non-fiction and occasional fiction balance for the majority of 2013, but I soon realised a new problem. My non-fiction blogging was getting outdated. In an age of independent publishing where yesterday’s good advice is tomorrow’s non-advice, I couldn’t keep up with the daily changes–and I mean it when I say daily changes–while continuing my true passion of fiction writing.
So at the start of 2014, I made a big decision. I was retiring from non-fiction advice related blogging. My send-off, of sorts, was a 6,000 word beast of a post called How To Make A Living Writing Fiction. In that post, there’s timeless advice. Advice that will still be relevant in years and decades regardless of how many changes indie publishing sees. It’s a post I’ll revisit in the future. And while I’ll never say never, I struggle to see what else I can add on the topic of writing advice. If I do, though, I’ll visit it.
RIGHT. You’d better still be with me! Because I needed to get the background out of the way in order for the next part to make sense. After many months of deliberation, I have a new NEW direction for this blog, and I think it’s one my readers are going to be delighted with. And believe it or not, I’ve found a way to get this to work for my existing non-fiction readers, too. I hope.
Okay, so it all starts on a Friday. Like today! I decided it was about time I brought a bit of structure back to the blog, so here’s how it’s going to work.
Every Friday, I’ll quite simply summarise my writing process for the week. Words written, projects worked on, struggles I’ve had and challenges I’ve overcome. I’ll share upcoming project teasers, thought splurges–all that sort of thing. The idea is that Friday Fiction Update (snazzy name) will be like a reality TV show. Of my life. Every week. Sounds boring, but some of my favourite author blogs are those where they just talk about their writing process for the week, as well as offer teasers of upcoming projects and such.
See how this works for both fiction and non-fiction readers? For you wonderful fiction fans, you get an insight into my life and what new books I’m working on for you. For you loyal non-fiction readers, you get a real-time (well, weekly) insight into the life of somebody who puts words on the page every day for a living. So there’ll be plenty to learn from. Hopefully.
This could bomb, but I don’t see how. I just think it would be a good way to show how to stay focused, recover from distractions, all that sort of thing. It won’t be quite as minute-by-minute as Dean Wesley Smith’s excellent Writing in Public posts, but the idea is I’ll write a diary every day and choose the highlights every week to share. Kind of like Match of the Day, only no way near as entertaining.
However, THAT’S NOT ALL! Nope. And caps were definitely warranted there. There’s something else I have planned. Something really exciting to me, readers and non-fiction followers too (hopefully).
The new feature is called Fiction First. Here’s the idea: on the first day of every month, I put a completely free short story on this blog for you to read. It’ll remain there for the duration of the month, before being replaced by a new story on the first of the next month.
These stories will be completely original. See what I did there?! Fiction FIRST on the FIRST of every month and the FIRST chance to read it. Ahem. They’ll be written and logged during my Friday Fiction Updates. Why is this a good thing? Well, it means more original and free fiction for my readers, proof to non-fiction readers that I am actually getting the promised words from the Friday Fiction blogs down. But importantly, it’s hopefully a way to attract some more new readers. Free is a powerful tool in this new world. If I can offer a short story a month for free, then readers can decide whether they want to try out some more of my fiction or not.
And I know, I know. Some people will just visit the blog for the free stories with no intention of buying anything else. But that’s fine. It means new readers, and I love writing stories, so that’s completely fine.
I’ll continue to write full lengths and novels and serials (see the Upcoming tab above for a crazy-long list of new releases scheduled for the year) so don’t worry about that.
Yes, it means more work for me. Yes, I probably am crazy. But I like challenges, in case you hadn’t noticed already.
I like challenges and I love writing.
So I hope you’ll join me on this new weekly journey, starting next Friday.
PS: I’ve made a few aesthetic changes to this website. The Books page now looks a lot nicer and neater, and the sidebar has been sorted out too. Take a look around and let me know what you think–it took a while to make some of the more subtle changes, but I love the freshness of the place!