Entering The Weave

Sales figures

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My current progress compared with JK Rowling - 17th February 2015
My current progress compared with JK Rowling – 17th February 2015

I sold an e-book last night. For actual money. Someone, possibly someone I have never met, actually paid hard earned cash for one of my novels. I have now sold a grand total of 1 book. It is currently ranked at 59,298 in the Paid Kindle Store rankings.

According to Wikipedia J. K. Rowling has sold an estimated 450 million copies of her books. If you assume an average thickness of two inches for each book and you stacked them on top of each other you could make 4752 columns each the height of Mont Blanc (the tallest mountain in the Alps)

Obviously this means you could then construct a staircase out of these books to reach the summit of the mountain. The height of each step would be 1.66 feet which is quite large, especially considering that it would only be 4 inches deep and 6 inches wide. I also tend to think the taller columns might be a bit wobbly, so it wouldn’t necessarily be the best way to conquer the mountain.

However it would look quite striking and it’s certainly a testament to the gigantic amount of books Jo has sold.

The other side of this statistical illustration is that my virtual sale would be of absolutely no use to anyone. I am, however, terrifically pleased and would like to thank this nameless somebody for brightening my day.

Never wanting to shy away from a challenge I have drawn two useful diagrams highlighting the difference between our sales figures.

Sales Figures - Me v JKR - Pie Chart
Market share – Shows the current market split for Simon Yates and JK Rowling


I’m being taken advantage of

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Oh how cunning people are!

In the last post I said that I was addicted to checking how many pre-orders “Entering the Weave” has got. It not a very fun game, but it’s compelling and I’ve almost managed to wean myself of it by restricting my viewing to between 7 and 8 o’clock in the evening.

I am not being helped by my nearest and dearest.

My daughter insists that I should tuck her in to bed every night. Some people might say this is cute, but she is quite capable of tucking herself in. And if you had to haul yourself off the sofa, drag yourself all the way upstairs, tiptoe over the mess that she’s made and then give her numerous cuddles and kisses, you’d know how annoying it is in reality.

The other annoying thing about it is that she’s never quite ready for me when I get there. She’s still pottering about in her room, or organising her teddies or rooting around for some pyjamas. This is literally minutes after she’s been sent to bed and then called out that she’s ready to be tucked in.

I usually shout at her for her lack of organisational skills. Or berate her for not being in bed quickly enough and if she’s not ready for her cuddle in two seconds then she can’t have one for that day. And it’s her own fault for being so selfish.

So, last night we went through the usual rigmarole which ended up with me shouting at her because she couldn’t find her stuffed rabbit.

She looked at me and said, “Dad. Why don’t you go into the study and see how many pre-orders you’ve had for your book. And when you come back I’ll be ready for my cuddle.”

Obviously, that’s just what I did. And an hour later she was ready.

Diversionary Tactics

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I feel like an addict.

I’ll just have a quick look to see how many pre-orders there are for “Entering the Weave”. And I’ll refresh the page a couple of seconds after I’ve arrived just in case someone has ordered one in the few seconds it took me to read the number.

At home, on my way to the bedroom or the bathroom or sometimes for no reason at all, I’ll detour into the study and have a quick look. At work, sitting in front of the computer all day, it’s hard to keep the checking down to once every ten minutes.

I have determined that this must stop. But it’s hard. And it’s made harder by the fact that I should be actively trying to promote it. With one half of my brain I’m dreaming up schemes to fool people into buying it. With the other I’m now trying to not think about it.

So, I need something to divert my attention. Some thing or things that will use my entire brain and be just as exciting as checking my progress of pre-orders…

Here is my plan. This month, October, I’m going to finish “Charlie’s Worries”. Then in November I’m going to try and break my record in NaNoWriMo. (I wrote 661 words out of the required 50,000 so it shouldn’t be hard) I’ll write “The Book of Lies”. Then in December and January I’ll get as much of “The Motley Life of Edison Swift” onto paper as possible.

During this time I shall only allow myself one hour of social media promotion and pre-order checking of “Entering the Weave” at 7pm every day.

The diet starts tomorrow… wish me luck.

Pre-order Launch Day

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I have moaned before, and at length, about how distracting it is when you’re waiting for news about a submission. To recap: it’s horrible. Every email is a potential dagger through the heart, or, less likely, the news you’ve been waiting for since before you can remember.

Now, I have discovered a new torture – a new way to waste my time.

Britain’s Next Bestseller launched the pre-order page for “Entering the Weave” today. This is undoubtedly a good thing for me. Excited does not come close to describing how I feel. You’d have thought that being an almost published writer I’d be able to think of exactly the right word, but today, and probably every day for the next sixteen weeks, I can’t think about anything other than whether someone else has pre-ordered it.

Kind, clever people have currently pre-ordered 10 copies. Hang on. No. It’s still 10. And this is brilliant! But until that number edges over 250 my life of fulfilment and active enlightenment is over. I’m going to be spending every waking hour counting. Really, really slowly.

Another unbelievably exciting thing happened today regarding the book. I discussed the possibility of going to a local school and talking to the kids about it. The headmaster was incredibly positive about it and said there were many facets of the process that the children would find interesting. Not just the obvious literacy angle, but also the real life process of someone actually writing a novel, and the various routes to publication. Hopefully this will happen during the week beginning 10th November.

This, as much as seeing “Entering the Weave” available for pre-order, has made me feel like a real writer.

Day one almost over, and do declare it to be a success.

What inspired me to write “Entering the Weave”

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For my thirteenth birthday I got a typewriter. I loved its clunky mechanics and the artful complexity required to load it with interlacing sheets of foolscap and carbon paper. I wrote dreadful stories on it based almost entirely around a hero who was always too good to be true.

In my teens I read voraciously. And I’ll never forget the bittersweet pleasure of realising that there were only twenty or so pages of Diana Wynne Jones’s “The Power of Three” – the mixed emotions of feeling the width of the remaining pages dwindle to nothing. On one hand I wanted to finish the book – to devour all of its secrets, on the other I knew that once the final page had been turned reality would once more intrude and the magic of another first read would disappear forever. There was a wealth of children’s writing that furnished me with a more mature view of fiction. The hero was never perfect, the villain never entirely evil. So with my trusty typewriter I developed more realistic, although still fantastical words and worlds.

As adulthood approached I learned how to make a living. I wrote computer programs during the day which paid the bills, and wrote nonsense at night which fed my spirit. I sent some short stories off to Interzone and gained quite a rapport with the editors, especially Lee Montgomerie who was always very encouraging about what I sent, but never so encouraging as to publish anything. Looking back at my competition I can understand why.

In my thirties children took up most my time. But the rare moment of quiet would always be spent dreaming – conjuring words together to please myself and perhaps an avid fan of mine at bedtime.

And then I turned forty and the words began to explode onto the page. I had more time, and more focus and almost before I knew it I’d finished “Entering the Weave” A decades long process of idle thought and frantic life mashed together with my ever present desire to emulate the heroes of my childhood. So thank you Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and every other hero of mine.

The inspiration for “Entering the Weave” is a study in how a finished product can be entirely different from its initial conception.

I had two ideas. One was complicated and I eventually discarded it because it was too difficult. The other was simple and it gave rise to all of the concepts and ideas in the book.

The complicated idea was that the book would contain clues which could be deciphered and followed online which would open up an extra dimension to the story told on the physical pages. I had a few ideas for this but they always ended up getting in the way of the story…

The simple idea was that I liked the name Trinity Vale. It sounded quite mystical. A place where the dreams of all the living things on Earth might coalesce to form a natural virtual reality of memories. And this place, this Trinity Vale, would be an accessible heaven, a place where all our loved ones could reside forever.

Entering the Weave – Promotional Video

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Finally, after many, many changes of direction I’ve finished the promotional video. It’s much more light hearted than I had originally thought, but hopefully it’ll do the job…

Thanks to the people at GoAnimate for this. It’s so simple even an idiot can use it. Obviously…

Teaser Trailer

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Another of my jobs is to put a video together that will sell the book. This is not what I’m going to use, but it was a useful exercise, practising how to use video editing software.

I know, I know… it’s a loving homily to HG Wells and Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. I hope it doesn’t offend anyone


Cover for “Entering the Weave”

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As of yesterday I started my quest to sell 250 pre-order copies of Entering the Weave. And here is the cover that will hopefully help…

Any thoughts or suggestions will be gratefully received in the comment section below…

Signing my life away?

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After a week of fretting the contract for BNBS finally came through. It’s now official…

I’ve got loads to do. Create a promotional video, write various blurbs, somehow construct an author’s photo that looks vaguely presentable, write an author’s bio and inspiration for the book. Plus, find some favourable reviews for the book. This last one is going to be hard because not many people who aren’t close friends or family have read it. And apparently none of them carry much weight in the literary world. Some friends they are…

Anyway, the contract was pages and pages long. It wouldn’t really have mattered how many children I’d have had to sell, I still think I’d have signed it. I fully understand now how guitarists might go down to the crossroads and make a pact with the devil for something they want so badly.

One step closer… perhaps

Someone has accepted me…

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I received an email from Britain’s Next Bestseller today accepting my proposal to promote “Entering the Weave” on their website.

I was at the cinema and I just happened to check my emails. Reading it the first time I thought it was yet another standard rejection. So I turned my phone off and enjoyed the film. It wasn’t until later that I read it properly…

Dear Simon,

I trust this email finds you well.

Thank you for submitting your manuscript, Entering the Weave, to Britain’s Next Bestseller.

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you – we have been inundated with submissions. We have finally had a chance to review your manuscript. We think it has potential, fantasy books have been popular on BNBS and would love for you to promote your book on our site with a view of landing a publishing contract.

I have attached some more information about how Britain’s Next Bestseller works and what we offer.


Makes me feel like a professional writer at last… Now I’ll start to worry that I’ve misinterpreted the email.