First try at publishing a double-header

As my self-publishing empire lags and stutters along, I’ll keep trying new things. What a learning curve. Following ideas from Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch with their publishing arm WMG Publishing I’ve published two stories – Pipe Dive and Skinny Joe together, as one package, but as two separate units one with each story as the lead title. The content of each is the same, just in reversed order. They are linked stories – both set on the same world, with the same group of researchers (though in these two stories there’s no character crossover, there are, and will be, in other stories).

As you can see, I’m also working with covers – one is self-designed, the other is a commercial/professional illustration. I’ve bumped up the font size and word layout while trying to retain the general Triple V Publishing look. I noticed on some covers (like Xuento), the author name almost vanishes. Spreading “Monaghan” across the width, then tucking “Sean” in above, nestled between the “M” and the “h” risers makes the name visible at even thumnail size. I’ve simplified the covers too – no tagline, not even the Tripe V logo (perhaps that’s a mistake, we’ll see).

I’ve worked on my blurbs too – trying to be active and succinct. I think next year I’ll look at taking Dean Wesley Smith’s course on writing pitches and blurbs. This is how they look at the moment:

Skinny Joe
A Daron story. Skinny Joe’s on a deadline. And he can’t wait to get home to see Paula. But when he triggers something in the depths of the structure, it looks like he’ll be lucky to get out alive. A short story by Sean Monaghan, author of The Tunnel and Rotations. Includes bonus story “Pipe Dive”.

Pipe Dive
A Daron story. Pieter thought divorcing Mel would have been the end of it. Now he’s trapped in an artificial cavern deep in the structure. With Mel. And there’s no way to get back. A short story by Sean Monaghan, author of The Tunnel and Rotations. Includes bonus story “Skinny Joe”.

Buy them here: Skinny Joe and Pipe Dive. Soon on Kindle, B&N and so on.

Skinny Joe was originally published in Infinite Windows, and this is the first publication of Pipe Dive. That’s a new experiment – most of the Sean Monaghan fiction I’ve self-published has been of previously published works.

Rotations – cover

My novel should be published by the end of the year. At the moment the manuscript is with the editors – Lucky Bat books. Whew, getting to this point has been huge.

In the meantime I’ve got other stuff to do. Like picking a cover. This is my current rough, after ditching a few other ideas…

What do you think? What needs to change? Font size? The font itself? The angle of the words? Does it need to be busier? Quieter? Does it make you want to buy the book? Click on the picture for a bigger version.

Things will probably change when the artist (Peter Parkinson) gets hold of it. I’m hoping he has time before publication, otherwise I’ll run with something like this one.

Rotations is a near-future thriller. Or is that techno-thriller? I’m still figuring it out. Perhaps it’s sci-fi. Doubtless we’ll work out how to market it best.

As we get closer to publication date, I’ll post some snippets. Parts of it, some might recall, have been previously published online at the now defunct Infinite Windows site. It’s great to take it on again, get it professionally edited and ready to go.

I’m publishing under my Triple V Publishing imprint, where I also had my short story collection Eddie’s on Fire a couple of years back (you can still buy it at CafePress – P.O.D. for $13.95, plus shipping). Triple V is a quiet little thing, but we’ll see how it develops as things go.

Infinite Windows on hiatus

Infinite Windows is on Indefinite Hiatus. Infinite Windows was the publisher of my serialized novel The Rotated. The serialization hasn’t finished yet: it’s only about a third of the way through. This means that I’ll be looking for a new publisher.

Infinite Windows has been a cool site, though not without some glitches and problems over the years. What I enjoyed about the publication was the longer stories that Dan took on – especially, of course, some of my own – so that as well a flash fiction, there were some more immersive stories published on the site.

It was at Dan’s encouragement that I pursued The Rotated as a novel. He published the original flash fiction version of The Rotated in June of 2009, but then asked me what else was there to the story, to the concept and suggesting (quite rightly as it turned out) that it felt like there could well be a novel.

So I set to and wrote the novel. It grew and changed, remaining aligned to the original story, but naturally different in scope and development. Initially, as I drafted the novel, I thought that the flash fiction story would play out as a scene within. It didn’t work out that way, but the scene is still a microcosm of several chapters, and perhaps is a sense of how things might have gone differently.

I feel a little sad at the hiatus, which could well be an end, but pleased with my stories, and the novel, that appeared on the site. I’m working on a query letter – which is proving harder than writing the novel itself – to send to agents as I try to find a new publisher for The Rotated.

The Rotated part five, and a new short story – on Infinite Windows

Part five of my serialized novel The Rotated is now up in the November issue of Infinite Windows. Car chases, flashbacks, even a little more explanation of ‘rotating’. It’s all very fiery and fast.

This month’s issue also includes my story Pipes and Bones – a hard sci-fi adventure set in the same world, with some of the same characters, as my story Skinny Joe, which came out in the June 2009 issue. I have more stories to come in the same location – gradually I hope it unfolds and more about the world – Daron – is revealed over time.

Final note – keep an eye out for part 3 of The Rotated

While I’m on hiatus the third part of The Rotated, my novel, should appear in the September issue of Infinite Windows – probably around September 1st. Check it out – if you haven’t read any yet, start with part one in the July issue.

There is probably a way to make this post on or around the day, but I’m staying simple and lean for the moment. For the briefest second I thought about writing twenty-four posts ahead of time and letting them out a day at a time, but you know, I just don’t have that much interesting stuff to say – I’ll stick to the fiction.

Catcha later in September

Writing on … love to be busy

Well, with the excitement of the publication of the first part of my novel still hovering, I found loads of energy over the weekend to write.

I got busy with my dieselpunk serial. I completed the tidied up the ending of the first draft last night. I will work on a couple of other stories over the next few days, then tear into revisions on the dieselpunk piece. Somehow in the midst of that I managed a rough cover for my Lame Goat Press chapbook – more on that later this week.

I’m having another quick retreat in a couple of weeks – heading away for three nights in a cabin: just me and the laptop. I’ve got a bunch of outlines and beginning drafts for flash stories I’ll be working on.

And I’m prepping for another Pecha Kucha night – doing some creepy slides to go with Zombie-Eyed Girl which I’ll be reading aloud.

And then, of course, there is tutoring prep – reading and re-familiarising myself with the lectures and readings. Must make some time to create some new music too. Love to be busy.

The Rotated – Novel serialization begins

The serialization of my science fiction novel The Rotated has begun at Infinite Windows. The novel is a near-future thriller – probably best described by Infinite Windows editor D. Tannenbaum:

“What if you had a device that would let you rotate out of our world into alternate dimensions? What if an organization, shrouded in darkness and conspiracy, wanted to control you and your travels? What would you do? How far would you go to protect yourself and your loved ones?”

The novel is based on my flash fiction piece The Rotated which first appeared in the June 2009 issue of Infinite Windows.

The current issue also includes my flash fiction story “Apollo 19” – a very different tone and feel, and pace, to The Rotated, but it still probably has my “voice”.

Thanks to Dan – who has been a great supporter of the work, encouraging me to develop that original story – and Shane for taking the novel on, and to Peter Parkinson who read and gave me feedback on drafts.