After test firing the system early this week, I pushed the big red button on the mailing list today. Everyone who signed up for it should be getting their first letter with a link to a free copy of Here be Monsters over the next day or so. The release is staggered because Mailchimp's software decides when you are most vulnerable to my approach.
It's nice to see the book out in the wild, even though the story has been published before. It's not just a tease for the mailing list. Monsters was a test run for me, to shake out the process of releasing titles without a major publisher behind them. I learned something at every stage.
The next big step is to release Cairo. I'm looking at mid-March for that and then monthly releases of the other Stalin's Hammer titles and the new Dave Hooper books through until September.
I do have some real anxiety about this.
Not so much about the whole scheme failing. I have readers. They buy my books. I love them with a deep, physical intensity for this. But I also have trade publishers who are important, and I hope they can see the sense in me walking this path. By building the list I build a marketing machine to sell their books. By publishing new works in the original trilogies, they'll sell more of their backlist too.
And bottom line, I just couldn't make ebooks work across multiple contending publishers. The slot machine only pays out when you have one title released by one publisher, globally, simultaneously, at the same price. It really wasn't fair to my local ebook publishers either. Momentum, the Pan Mac imprint, would do all the work on a manuscript, take all the risks and then find themsevles locked out of 97% of the English language market.
I felt guilty even sending them manuscripts.
So, bottom line, there are new books coming in all the old storyworlds – Axis of Time, the Disappearance, Hooper – but I'm doing them myself, to industry standard, while still working on mass market trade published fiction.
Anyone who hasn't signed up to the list and would like to, can do so here: http://eepurl.com/bxdqjP
And anybody who feels like writing a review of Monsters has somewhere to go now.