As a writer, it's a scary thought when your debut novel racks up its tenth anniversary. A thousand questions surface in your mind at once, and you even use the old counting your fingers trick just to be sure you haven't missed a year. Yet indeed it has been 10 years since I signed my first publishing contract back in October 2006. The Long Way Home it seems is now a long way from home, and a lot has changed from those early days of dreaming I was going to be the next Bryce Courtenay, Stephen King or Matthew Reilly. Ten years later as it turns out, I'm not.
|The original cover of The Long Way Home. First published in 2006 with Trafford Publishing, then an independent self-publishing label based in Canada.|
A decade after the book was first released in February 2007, I can at least look back and admire the bravado I showed for even contemplating writing a novel, let alone the gusto at which I attacked trying to sell myself as an author for the six years that followed. If believing 1000% in your own work and ability can be attributed to success, then I should have been a millionaire years ago! For a thirty-something author with a young family and a mortgage, I didn't let a sea-change from the city lights of Brisbane to the laid-back charm of the Sunshine Coast slow me down. Not even when a bigger mortgage coincided with a reduction in salary after my wife and I walked away from two good paying jobs. I firmly believed that my next novel was going to land that big contract which would enable both of us to quit our jobs, pay off our mortgage and live the life of a full-time novelist. The reality couldn't be further from the truth.
|My debut appearance as an author at Riverbend Books & Teahouse in Brisbane back in April 17, 2007|
Combined with our annual family vacations, I book-toured the east coast of Australia at my own expense, speaking or setting up with a table to sell copies wherever I could secure some time and space; bookstores, shopping centres, libraries, schools, even arts & crafts markets from the Sunshine Coast to Tasmania. In between working full-time and writing part-time, I even made time to meet regularly with a paid mentor who helped sharpen and hone what would become my second novel. Yet the immediate years that followed The Long Way Home were full of ups and downs. After landing a contract for my third novel in 2011 with Last Wish of Summer, the book ultimately failed by industry standards and by 2013 had been pulled from sale despite a sequel being in the final stages of editing. A mad scramble on my part saw me recover the rights to all four of my novels, and successfully release them as eBooks that same year, with The Long Way Home getting a new cover in the process. The book went on to notch over 600 downloads in the following year. As an author, that's all you can really ask for. That a reader is kind enough to give of their time to read and appreciate your work.
|A meet the author morning at Capalaba Library, February 6, 2010|
Everyone loves something that is free, and thanks to the ease of downloading an eBook from Kobo or Apple's iTunes Store, readers are spoiled for choice when it comes to free books. The Long Way Home is a book I always wanted the world to read, and I feel that by making the title free I have extended it's shelf life indefinitely. Free books are also a powerful tool for gaining readership, just ask my wife. Usually she will download a free book by an author she's never heard of, and if she likes their work will then loyally buy and read the rest of their books.
So there you have it, ten years.... over just like that. For a 122,000 word novel that took two years to write and edit, the following ten years have disappeared in the blink of an eye, (and so it seems has my hair). If spending a decade of my life trying to 'make it' as a writer was a rush, then looking back on it is pretty damn cool. Not everyone gets to the top, not everyone gets a gold medal. Then again, not everyone can say they actually wrote a novel either. So to those who have supported me as a writer in the past, I once more say a heartfelt thank you. For those who are only discovering my work for the first time, I do hope you enjoy the read, and please by all means leave some feedback on the website you downloaded it from.
|My debut supernatural suspense thriller set in Australia.|
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See also; The Long Way Home - same book, new look