Tuesday, 17 February 2015

And now for...Red Plus Zone - the audiobook

Let us, dear friends, reflect for a moment on the life of my latest novel, the fabulous Red Plus Zone:
First there was an idea for a short story which soon became an idea for a novel.
And when that novel was finished and polished (thanks April) and clothed in its splendid garb (thanks Luke), Matt and the incredible people at Autharium helped it become an e-book.
But the journey didn't stop there!
There was the excellent review by Stranger Views and others, followed by the excitement and the rush of sales of the print-on-demand paperback...and soon there'll be the print run and a modest stack of books at Gardners, waiting to whisked off to bookshops around the UK at the touch of an order button.
And that, you might think, would be that...and satisfying enough that would be.
But wait.
What's this?

It's an order for a Rode NT1-A Microphone!
So why on earth would a committed patron of the written word like myself be investing his hard-earned cash in such a contraption (not to mention a Rode PSA1 microphone boom, a ProSonus audiobox, a pair of Sennheiser HD202 headphones and a copy of Audacity software for his MacBook (which is free, by the way!)) What madness is compelling me to set up a small recording studio in the vast, subterranean bowels of Chez Ritchie?
Well, you see folks, there's one other avenue in the life-cycle of Red Plus Zone available for me to explore...the world of the audiobook.
Yes, my friends, it's true. As well as working on the first of two sequels to Red Plus Zone (which I'm calling Black Plus Zone), I'm also going to spend some of my spare time this year embarking on the slow journey towards mastery of the spoken word, so that one day soon I'll be able to narrate Red Plus Zone (and its progeny) and share that narration with the rest of humankind through the wonders of Amazon's ACX.
And I'm not going to stop there, oh no.
There's also 'The Book That THEY...' which I believe is crying out to be brought to aural life by my dulcet Lancastrian tones.
And then there's 'Adventures in the Great Land of Rhyme'...oooh, the list goes on.

'But why not get a 'proper' narrator to do it?' I hear the doubters cry. 'They're the professionals! You'll just f**k it up!'
'Please,' I retort, 'watch your language. This is a family blog!' Then, after a moment's thought, I explain: 'It's simple, really. It'll be fun!'
And if I'm no good at it, (and I'm honest enough with myself, I think, to admit it if that's true) then at least I'll have given it a go...and I'll still have the option to convince a professional narrator to give voice to my words.
So, I ask, what is there to lose?

Friday, 6 February 2015

Monday, 2 February 2015

So what's next?

Let's have a look at that checklist:

  • Red Plus Zone written
  • Red Plus Zone edited 
  • Cover designed 
  • e-Book published 
  • Paperback published 
  • Family, friends and colleagues cajoled into buying copies 
  • Place on an Amazon bestseller* list achieved 
  • Impromptu book signing session today (hence the picture!) 
All done. Cue a pat on the back.

But what's next for Red Plus Zone?
Well, the next stage of the 'Grand Plan' is to organise (through fabulous publisher Matt) for a short print run of Red Plus Zone paperbacks to be done so that copies of the book are then available for local bookshops to stock; couple that with directly contacting independent booksellers in Lancashire and, hey presto, the vision of Red Plus Zone sitting on either the sci-fi shelf (next to something by Gary Gibson, perchance) or the 'local interest' shelf (next to a book about Lancashire Pub Walks)) is realised. Progress with contacting local booksellers so far...? Sadly, not as good as I'd hoped, but then I guess it's still early days. Patience, dear boy. Patience.
And what about drumming up some interest through the local newspaper? Well, I'm on with that as well :)  Fingers crossed that a story about someone doing something creative for once is given precedence over articles about illegal drivers and perverts. That would be refreshing.
And not forgetting reviews - oh yes, I'm afraid I'll need to keep pestering those who read Red Plus Zone to go onto Amazon (.co.uk and .com), as well as Goodreads, and wax lyrical about how much they enjoyed it, so that I can then tweet and blog about it and maybe get more people to download the e-Book or buy the paperback, so they can review it and wax lyrical about how much they enjoyed it, and so on...of, you get the picture.

And in the future...?
Well, I do hope that a couple of members of the British Science Fiction Association will come across RPZ, read it, be utterly blown away by it, recommend it to their friends, then nominate it for a Best Novel award, which it then wins, leading to fame, a massive publishing deal, an obscene advance on an eight book deal and, ultimately, sufficient sales to enable me to buy this:

Oh, and there's still the dream (and it is a dream) of seeing Red Plus Zone on the shelves at Waterstones in Bolton...though some may say that's a likely as me owning the camper van!!

A little more realistically,maybe, and perhaps more intriguing as well, is the recently discovered possibility of having Red Plus Zone available as an audiobook...yes, that's right folks, an audiobook!
You see, in much the same way as Amazon's Createspace print-on-demand mechanism has made it possible for my e-Book to take on a physical form, so Amazon's acx.com mechanism creates the potential for the aural form to be realised as well. Of course, there's countless questions to be asked and answered first, such as:
  • Should I do Red Plus Zone first, or maybe start off with The Book That THEY...?
  • Can I find a narrator who fits the bill (and lives up to my expectations), and who'll also go 50:50 on royalties (because there's no way I can afford to pay up front!!)
  • Or maybe I should I think about setting up a little home studio and doing the narration myself - now that would be fun!
Much to ponder on the audiobook front, methinks.

And finally, the last action in my Grand Plan?
Well, it's not exactly guaranteed to generate more sales of Red Plus Zone - in fact, it's very much dependant upon people having read RPZ:
Write a sequel.
Working title: BLACK PLUS ZONE
I've decided that this new detective mystery will take place only three weeks after the events of Red Plus Zone and it will be darker in tone than Red Plus Zone (deeper 'Nordic Noir', as Stranger Views called it). I already have the plot mapped out and the scene plan drafted.
All I need to do now is write it!

* #14 on Books > Fiction > Science Fiction > Post-Apocalyptic