The Very Official Eren Blog Tour

My rather snazzy UK publisher has organised a blog tour to celebrate Eren coming out next week. This will be no small thing: It is a month-long, all expenses paid, fireworks and dragons, full-fat, go-on-have-another-piece-of-cake extravaganza, taking up thirty-two blogs, many words, and (hopefully) much fun. There will be some giveaways, some things that I have written, but mostly honest, real-world reviews. The bloggers who agreed to be part of the tour did so because they were asked and they want to - and that means that, I expect, some of them will point out problems with Eren, or have questions about how I wrote it, or think it's a bit silly. I hope some of them like the book as well - but it's still going to be a bit nerve-wracking seeing the posts go up.

To all the bloggers: Thank you. People who love books, who dedicate time to reading and writing and sharing and shining lights on debut writers like me make up an increasingly vital part of a complex industry. That you would read Eren, and share thoughts and critiques, is incredible, and I hope this never stops. The more people who talk about books, the better books will become.

So, here's the tour schedule. Over the next few weeks I might turn up in other places, too, but you can use this as a guide to the Very Official Eren Tour organised by Constable & Robinson. The first post goes up in a couple of days - argh! What will it say? Will they be nice?

Let's all sit back and find out.


Things Are Coming

Exciting things are happening - and everything's about to get a lot busier around here.

Eren - coming September 18th from Corsair (Little, Brown UK)


Two Weeks To Go / How Writing Works

Two weeks today my book, Eren, will be published in the UK. That's a scary and slightly overwhelming thought, but it's also the culmination of many years' work. From a simple story in my head, Eren has become a manuscript, and then a book, and soon you'll be able to buy that book, or get it from a library, or steal it from a friend. I don't really mind how people get the story, as long as some of them read it, and hopefully like it.

Since today is the two-weeks-till-publication-day, I've been thinking about time, and about writing, and how it all works. I wanted to write this post to offer advice to people who feel discouraged about their writing - people who feel like it's impossible to juggle 'real' life and writing life. I'm by no means an expert, but I got this far, and that has to be worth something, right?

So here are some thoughts on Making Time to Write, and Getting the Words Down on the Page, and other such noble things.

Act like a professional (and don't go bowling)

One of the hardest things about starting to write is that it often feels silly, inconsequential, self indulgent or downright daft. I know I felt guilty - actually guilty - about writing, as if I were tempting fate with my arrogance. Did I really think I could be a writer? Really? Why didn't I just give up and admit that it was a pipe dream? Why didn't I just put down the pen and go watch TV? I was being so stupid, the voice said. I was being so naive. It was embarrassing. It was comedic. It was so damn stupid.

Those thoughts are terrible, but they happen. I still, occasionally, feel like I'm fooling myself, and that the sheer amount of work it takes to finish a novel is too much. Imagine standing at the bottom of a cliff and looking up. There's always a little voice that says you couldn't possible get to the top - that you're not a bird, damn it, and we all know what happened last time you tried to climb that tree at Auntie Gladys' retirement party, and wasn't that so embarrassing? But there's another voice, too, and it's an odd one, and it's quiet at first, but it says the best thing of all: You know what? You might be able to. You probably could, actually. Why not do it? Why not try?

Trying isn't everything, but it's the start of everything. That's why I think acting as a professional matters. You have to look at writing as more than a hobby. Treat it like a second job. Friends want to go out? You can't - you have work to do. Tired at the end of the day and really want to watch endless reruns of FRIENDS? That'd be nice, but you have a deadline in the morning, and the boss will find out if you try to skip it.

Damn that boss, always looking back at you in the mirror.

So, yes. Sometimes writing it more important than bowling, even if it means you'll miss all the fun.

Remember you're just doing it for fun (and don't go mad)

Yeah, I know - contradictory, isn't it? Well, welcome to life. For everything I said above, you can't let writing become a chore. No one, after all, is making you do it, and for all you might need the money, most of us will have second jobs, or spouses, or other things that take up time. That's okay - in fact, it's crucial. How you can write if you're not out there, living life? What's more, how can you write if you come to dread the thing you used to love? Burnout happens, and no one loves a good despondent whine more than artists, but working too much - writing too much -  will leave you bitter at yourself, and no good comes from that. I work as writer at my day job and my author job, and sometimes I sense - deep down, where things can really hurt - that I need to step away from the words and breathe.

This is the paradox, I think - that you have to be a professional, you have to claw writing time away from everything else in your life, and then you have to watch out that you don't swing too far the other way, into madness and obsession and 'Here Lies Simon, A Writer Till The Tragic End' territory.

The big question, then, is this: How do you find the balance?

I have no idea.

I know that, for me, it means writing every week but not necessarily every day. I know it means having more than one story on the go at the same time, to give me a break, to work different creative muscles, and so I can huffily walk away from one story, if it isn't working out, without having to stop writing cold turkey.

Time is weird. Writing is also pretty weird. Finding out how they work together - how you write stories when other things have to happen, like tea and breakfast and buying clothes and finding out where the children went - is an adventure that begins at the start of every writers' journey. I hope anyone reading this manages to find their balance.

And also, maybe, that you'll read my book at some point.

Eren is Available to Pre-Order:

You can also add it on Goodreads by CLICKING HERE


Bridge - The Fifth Eren Tale

Happy to share that the fifth Eren Tale, Bridge, is now live. You can read it by clicking HERE or visiting www.erentales.com.

As always, Brandon's provided some fantastic art for the story. Behold!

We're five tales in now, with the sixth due to come out next month on the same say as Eren (September 18). It's immensely satisfying to see the whole project coming together and gathering pace - and we still have a good six months to go.

So, please do go check out the story, enjoy the art, and have a look around the Eren Tales site. I'm pretty proud of what we're doing, and can't wait to share more stories with you all.

They told you to climb the mountain, and to shout your story to the wind.


Many Confused Thoughts About Eren Being Published

I've been planning to write this post for a while, but every time I think about it I worry the words won't come out right. There's a lot of things I want to express but - despite being, y'know, a writer - it's difficult to capture certain things adequately. Maybe it's because I'm a writer, and I want to get it just right, and I know when the words are wrong, that I'm stumbling a bit.

Eren comes out next month, and although I've known this for a long time - that the book will be published, that it will be published on this particular day - the imminence has added an entirely new factor. It surprised me this week to realise that now, for the first time, I'm actually getting nervous - scared, even - about the whole thing.

The reality of Eren being a book has finally, actually hit me, and it all seems a bit insane. It's a book that's been with me - and only me, really - for so, so long. This thing, this idea of having a book published, has been my dream for all of my adult life so far (I am only 28, I know, but still...) and, honestly, so much of my childhood. I came to books late, but I latched upon the idea of sharing my books with the world pretty fast. I've spent years writing, dreaming, cursing and getting better. It's easy to look back; it was hard to look forward and see any future where Eren would be read. Now we're counting down to that future in days, not years, and ... I mean, what do you do with that?

This week, copies of Eren went out to book bloggers and reviewers, many of whom will be wonderful enough to write about it as part of a blog tour. I went shopping with my wife / sister-in-law (two people, not one. Come on, now) to buy things for the launch party. I signed the first actual copies of the book. I have an agent and and an editor (two, actually, thanks to a US deal) and a publicist and many other things that I always wanted but never really believed would happen. I'm so thankful for these people, who guide and support and challenge me.

And earlier this week, thinking about Eren and bookshops and readers, I was struck by a single thought:

What if they hate it? What if this doesn't work?

What if it's not very good?

I know it's normal to think all those things. I'm a pretty up-beat guy but still, as an author, it's usual to face doubts and fears about your work at some point. I know, also, that some people will hate the book. Some people will like it. That's how art works: it's a reflection of a world, but not the world, and that means people react differently. Putting something out in the world has to count for something, but Eren is an intensely personal thing - a part of me, I guess - and sharing that with strangers is ... odd.

I'm very, very happy that Eren will be read. I'm also somewhat unsure what that means. Is it my story, still? Am I over thinking things? (Probably). I've never done this before, and I never will again - not with a book like Eren.

So, these are my muddled, excited, nervous thoughts. I'm apprehensive and giddy. Maybe things like this are why writers get a bad name. Either way, the die is cast, and next month - 28 days' time! - Eren, my book, will be published, and from that point on I guess it won't be quite my book anymore.

It's going to be an interesting month.