On the 31st of May 2015 I launched my brand new serial novel series ‘Schism’, and the first book, Entropis: Reality Unravels. This post will go into my personal experiences, the challenges both expected and unexpected, and look back at how it went. I’ve also covered the theory behind releasing my writing in the way that I have in a sister blog post that covers it in far more detail than I do here, so check that out too!
I’ve been preparing Schism for six months prior to launch, writing a fair chunk of the story and making sure I’m happy with how it’s progressing, creating the plot plan and adjusting it until I’ve got a clear way to continue writing even after launch, designing the element symbols, commissioning the cover art from my good friend Vick Heavenly (do check out his other work!), and fine tuning my plan for
literary world domination building a fanbase.
But keeping everything in the realm of potential is easy. While I’m working towards something I’m not actually having to do the thing! No responsibility. No time limits or deadlines. But also? No reward. After all, nothing can happen ’til you swing the bat.
But my life had settled down (after moving house, getting another job, and finding some sort of vague writing routine) and I had no reason not to launch. The time the prophecies had spoken of was upon us!
Countdown to launch…
Launching is scary as hell, but having done it, I can say that it’s the idea of it that’s the scariest. Once you push that big red imaginary button, your writing is thrown out to the public and, in your mind, will be cheered and paraded as a paragon of literary genius, fanfares and streamers and money flying through the air or kicked down into the gutters of forgotten books along with your hopes and dreams and ego. Or maybe I’m just melodramatic? Probably. But writers tend to be, I find. It’s the side effects of an overactive imagination. But before I could launch, I needed to set up everything on the internet in preparation. ‘That’ll take, what, a day?’ I foolishly thought to myself. ‘I’ll get it done the day before launch so I’m ahead of schedule. It’ll be easy!’ Hah. Hah. Hah… No.
First I needed to put my first chapter up on all the sites I’m contributing to, which ended up taking far longer than expected. Adjusting five thousand words of text to different formatting restrictions, lengthy submission procedures and making sure all the About information linked through to each other as I set up more accounts all took hours. In fact, while I’d expected it to be a brief two/three hour long job, it’d be more realistic to say it took an entire day.
Next were the social media site adjustments, redesigning each of them to reflect both Schism and myself. I needed to redesign the book cover for *deep breath* the Facebook banner, the Twitter banner, the G+ background, the Patreon image, the Soundcloud page, the bandcamp banner, the different cover resolutions required by each serial novel site, and created a thumbnail version of just the Entropis sigil for various uses. That’s roughly eleven image designs! Again, this all took roughly a day to sort out, except it was spread across multiple days as and when I needed them.
Then I needed to write the promotional material. Most of it was written pretty ad hoc (get it?) but I can see how it would’ve been far more useful to have written some first. I hate writing copy, and social media to me has always been a black hole for productivity and social interaction, so the thought of using it and how to do that was one I’d been dreading. As a result, writing advertising copy for a system of communication I didn’t like and had to force myself to understand meant that I had quite the mental block against it. This meant it took far longer than it was supposed to as I faffed about worrying about the tone or the right use of words for the audience. I’m used to writing or speaking in a way that adjusts to suit its purpose. Social media seemed purposeless to me, so there was no appropriate tone, no correct way of approaching it. Writing posts and updates only got easier once I learnt one simple lesson: Nobody cares! Find a way to make it fun for yourself and people will respond to that.
So everything took far longer than I expected. I probably wouldn’t have launched on time if it hadn’t been for my girlfriend Rhianna, who spent the whole Sunday doing all the small but time consuming jobs while I got on with things that needed my direct attention. If it hadn’t been for that I would’ve been still going at it long into the night!
But we hit that big red button. At around 3pm we sent out all the emails, posted all the posts, and officially announced the launch of Schism Series book 1! Entropis: Reality Unravels. And yes, it was scary. In the moment it felt like there’d be some great judgement and everything would either go right immediately, or die a strangled death as the world looked on, uncaring.
It Has Begun
It doesn’t work like a movie. For all my tale spinning and narrative savviness, I still expected things to happen instantly. We all expect instant gratification, don’t we? Our media, our food, our entertainment all give us what we want when we want it. But this isn’t so simple. The plan was never meant to be quick. There was never meant to be instant success or failure, but in the moment I forgot.
The first day was a fantastic success, with 40 Facebook Likes, around 70 people going through the wordpress website and a whole host of shares. Considering I had no previously built up fanbase, I was very happy with that turn out!
Most of all, though, it was family and friends who got the number so high. Some extra views came in through imgur and tumblr and other places, but primarily it was the sharing from those close to me that got it the attention that it received! So thank you to all of them for sharing it and making the launch the success it was!
My next month from there was spent on getting to grips with social media, getting posts and reviews to draw more attention to it as the next update draws closer, and creating the next launch – one for the second chapter!
Tune in again for an update on how all that went in a few weeks, and in the meantime, why not go and read a book?