2012 was my first year of epublishing.
I began it by sending an email to Linda Gillard, whose example had inspired me.
She kindly replied, offering me welcome advice, which included the suggestion that I might feel at home in a group called Authors Electric.
I’d seen the website in 2011, another example which had inspired, so I sent off an email to AE, giving the same account I had given to Linda Gillard, about my writing history and experiences with literary agents and publishers over a number of years.
I was invited to join AE and, at first, throughout February, I was convinced that this had happened by accident or misunderstanding.
Yes, I’d been published by Picador and Vintage, but only single short stories at a time, never a book.
Yes, I’d been represented by more than one literary agent over the years, but they had never succeeded in selling my work!
I was convinced throughout February, as I waited for my first March 11th blog slot, that Authors Electric only admitted traditionally published, even award-winning, authors.
I knew my March 11th blog would have to be about my novel, The Survival of Thomas Ford, NOT having been published, despite the support it had had, from literary agents and film consultants.

So I expected to be kicked out of Authors Electric on the 11th of March as soon as I stated publicly that I had never had a book published “the paper way”.
So I made sure that my one chance to tell my story must count, when I sat down to write (The Story of) The Survival of Thomas Ford.

But the response I received was overwhelming support, not expulsion.

Then, on April 11th, I published my 2nd blog for AE, A Note From Frankenstein’s Castle, describing how a 2-day free promotion of The Survival of Thomas Ford on Amazon Kindle Select had resulted in 17500 free downloads of the ebook, followed by a further £1000 worth of paid downloads in the next 7 days, with the book becoming a bestseller on Amazon.

On the strength of this, I was invited by Orna Ross to make the 600-mile journey south to appear on an author panel at London Book Fair on April 18th, speaking on How I Went Indie and Why, along with Linda Gillard, Dan Holloway, and Joni Rodgers.
This was the launch event for the Alliance of Independent Authors (and my first trip to London in 12 years!)
Also the first time in 10 years I had met anyone else who wrote, or been to any kind of event to do with writing (not since I’d been asked to read a story at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2002).
It was good to meet Linda, Dan, Joni, and Orna.

As the year went on, my work was featured in six articles in Scottish newspapers, and I was asked to do my first public reading in ten years, which I wrote about here:
The newspapers even provided me with my first “spooky” photo:

Meanwhile, The Survival of Thomas Ford won a Special Award in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBooks Awards 2012.
It was also an Alliance of Independent Authors Book of the Month.
And a Goodreads UK Amazon Kindle Forum Book of the Month.

Following this, I was invited to take part in a sale in the US, along with 7 other eFestival of Words award-winning authors (which included David Gaughran’s book, Let’s Get Digital, which had been another inspiration to me when starting), and this saw The Survival of Thomas Ford enter Amazon USA bestselling ranks.

In September, I released my second ebook, Storm Damage, which has recently been described by The Kindle Book Review as “10 magical modern short stories from a master of language”.

Perhaps the most magical thing of all was having the opportunity, through epub, of getting a short story collection out there in the first place in 2012, with traditional publishers and agents having turned their back on such books generally (as I wrote about here, in The Return of The Mighty Atom):

But now 2012 is almost over…
I still have my literary agent. He is currently approaching film producers with The Survival of Thomas Ford.
When I finish my 6th novel, he will send it out to those publishers in London and Scotland who had said they “loved” The Survival of Thomas Ford, and yet had not wished to publish it, but did say they would wish to read my next novel when it is ready.  

In 2013, I’ll also release my third ebook, Agency Woman.

So, it seems I have gotten away with the first year of epublishing without getting all my spots knocked off yet!

In May, I wrote a piece from the heart, published here on Authors Electric, called Fending Off the Next Dark Age:

It was about my old inspirations, Mikhail Bulgakov, John Kennedy Toole, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa…their broken dreams…their broken hearts…the redemption of their work after their deaths.

As the year went on, I found myself strangely drawn to film for inspiration, as though the epublishing somehow tapped in to that 20th century electric vision…first Kubrick:

And then last month a roaming across various inspirations from Polanski to Herzog:

Polanski’s Tenant still will not relinquish his occupation of my pre-frontal lobe, even a month later.
And I still have that feeling of some connection between the artistic freedom in international 1970s cinema, and this new wave of freedom in epublishing.

1970s films like: Deep End, The Tenant, Celine and Julie Go Boating, Barry Lyndon, Equus…Solaris…Aguirre: Wrath of God…

They seem to have in common the very personal working out of an artistic vision or  obsession…before the 1980s heralded in an era of iron corporatism which closed that door pretty firmly, at least publicly, along with so many other doors.

Time to open those doors again?

An epublishing of artistic obsession and unique, personal vision.

Wouldn’t be such a bad way to enter 2013!

                  (And a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone when they come!) 


Ingrid Ricks said…
Inspiring recap, John. It's powerful to take a look back and see all that's been accomplished (a good reminder to pause sometimes and be happy about the progress and journey.) Here's to an amazing 2013!!!!!

Margaret Tanner said…
Hi John,
Congratulations on a wonderful year. Just goes to show what talent, hard work and perseverence can do.
Hope 2013 is even better for you.

Best wishes

Dan Holloway said…
It's been fabulous meeting you and following your progress this year, John. And I am full of admiration for your excellent filmic taste. That is also one of the best author pics ever!
Pauline Fisk said…
I like the film taste too, especially Aguirre: Wrath of God, which I saw - and was shocked/riveted by - many years ago. Isn't Herzog amazing? And you too, John, what a year. Thanks for this post, pulling it all together. I'm sure next year will be good to you too.
Michael Diack said…
Congrats a great year for you. All the best for 2013. New blog follower:

Mark Chisnell said…
Great work, keep it up!
Linda Gillard said…
Congratulations, John. Very proud of you. You've had a fabulous year and you deserved it.
Enid Richemont said…
John - congratulations! You've done amazingly, but it's been well-deserved, and I really enjoyed your recent short story collection (reassuring to see there's a nice human face behind that sinister publicity image too...)

Have a fab Christmas, followed by yet ANOTHER successful year.
Hunter said…
So inspirational, John! I love reading about your pluck and skill, my friend. I've written several novels myself and have had more rejections than I care to count (even if I have). :)

I believe in your stories and in your writing and I feel similarly about my own. I'm getting very close to taking the e-plunge with you. Your post here proves that there is indeed some truth to the adage, "Leap and the net will appear."

John Kennedy Toole's birthday is next Tuesday (Dec 17th), which is appropriate. The traditional publishers miss some really good ones and I'm so glad that the world hasn't missed yours.

Here's to you and to a rollicking, publishing 2013! Cheers, my man.

Hunter said…
And I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed the "spooky" author pic. You should take that look into the publishing houses in 2013. :)

A Blythe Yule an a Guid Hogmanay!!!

glitter noir said…
Terrific, and inspiring, recap of Year One. Can hardly wait to see what Year Two will bring.
Áine said…
We are anxiously awaiting Agency Woman in 2013, as tweeted. Keep those typing fingers limbered up.

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