The path to indie and other musings

Hello all.  So today I’ve decided to talk about why I decided to publish indie and also why I wrote the  OTD series as novellas.  I’ll tackle the indie publishing first.  Here goes.


When I completed my first novel, Welcome To Carrion City, I thought it was awesome, and nobody could tell me different.  That is, until I sent it out to agents and publishers.  Don’t get me wrong, the story is good, and the writing was not too bad, but it needed a lot of polishing before it should really have been sent out.  I jumped the gun a little, excited to finally have a work of mine out seeking publication or representation.  So I stopped sending it out, and decided to put it through an extensive review and editing process.  Now, it’s something I can truly be proud of.  A novel that I think is well written and has an interesting story.


When Only The Dead (OTD) was finished I thought about sending it to editors and publishers, just like I did with Carrion City (CC).  This time, OTD had been thoroughly edited and was tight.  Then I remembered my previous experience.  Half of the publishers I sent CC to didn’t even reply.  The others I got the standard letter informing me that my work was not quite what they were looking for.  All well and good, and pretty much what I expected.  It was the length of time that each submission took to get a yes or no.  Over a year to reply.  I didn’t have that kind of time for OTD.  I want it out there for people to read.  The second reason is that when I searched for publishers that accepted novella submissions most of them turned out to be small independent publishing houses. These are well and fine if that’s what you’re looking for.  Sometimes it’s good to have a publishers name to your work.  For me, I didn’t really think they could offer much in the way of support for the OTD series.  So I decided to go it solo.  Thankfully, I had a good friend, and awesome writer Kirkus MacGowen  to help me through the process as he had gone through it all before (and become an Amazon bestseller).  I have an amazingly talented editor, Pauline, who brought my manuscript up to the standard expected for publication.  My awesome friend Stew provided the cover and helped setting up some on my online presence.  I still owe him a beer or two for this. 


Now all this is done, the only thing I really need to concentrate on is getting my name out there and encouraging people to read and review it.  I’ve just started using Twitter more for getting the word out on my blog and OTD.  The Facebook page is all fine and well for posting updates.  There’s a few other things in the pipeline which I’ll let you know about in future posts. 


Now, why did I decide to write novellas?  Well to be honest it was by accident, well more chance than design.  As I mentioned before, when I started writing OTD it wasn’t meant to be more than a short story, but as I wrote more ideas came, and more writing followed.  I could have continued writing after where OTD: An African War ended and made it into a single novel but to me, where I end An African War and start the next novella (A Familiar Oblivion) feel completely different.  The first is set in a warzone mostly.  The action frantic at times.  The next one will be set in Scotland, concentrating on the main character after coming home, Kyle and how he handles the footage and pictures he’s compiled, and how both their relationships have changed, and they themselves have changed.  I felt each was a separate entity and needed an individual title.  So as it happened An African War turned out to be 41,000 words.  Quite long for a novella but not long enough for a novel.  I’m quite happy writing novellas, though I do miss writing a full length effort.  Should the publisher who are considering CC offer me a contract, I’ll be more than happy to write the next novel alongside OTD. 


Some of the above will make more sense when you read OTD: An African War, I tried not to give any spoilers.  For the rest of today I need to come up with a short, around 100 word, synopsis for An African War. Something that sums up the feel and story of the novella.  It’s not as easy as I thought it would be.  I’ve been puzzling over this all weekend.  I did come up with an interesting opening sentence that I hope will hook some attention.


“When does someone else’s war become your own?”


What do you all think of that?  Thoughts are most welcome.  I may write a smaller blog again this week.  Hope you’ve all enjoyed the read.  Feel free to leave some comments or questions.  Until next time.    

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2 Responses to The path to indie and other musings

  1. Jessica says:

    When I read the hook “When does someone else’s war become your own?” it peaks my interest, but it leaves me wanting more detail (which I’m sure you will include in your synopsis).

    You might already visit this site, but for query/synopsis questions, I visit Query Shark. I think the site is awesome.

    Good job with the blog. It’s a good way to start getting your name out there to help with future book sales. A lot of writers want to avoid this step, but it can be helpful (I’m unpublished, but I have read a ton of agent blogs urging some form of networking).

    I’ll be back to read more!

    • mwduncan says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Jessica. I really appreciate you taking the time. I’m glad the single line peaks your interest. I think my short synopsis will give enough information to explain what the novella is about, without giving away the plot too much.

      You know someone suggested Query Shark to me today. I’ve yet to check it out, but I will for sure now.

      Thank you. I find it difficult to write about myself so it’s a big step for me. Even one or two new readers of my blog will hopefully help.

      Thanks so much again for reading and commenting 🙂

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