Random browsing through the net got me thinking about self-promotion. It's an unfortunate truth that publishers most often don't spend that much (if any) money on promoting authors, so when I stumbled across this essay by sf writer Robert Sawyer, it started wheels turning in my head. Mind you, I can't see Tor doing anything but completely spazzing out at me if I did actually go ahead and make up my own advance copies of my books. But that's not to say it isn't tempting.

It's a minor example, but when Angel Stations came out, I asked Tor to send a review copy to a Scottish magazine called The List. It's the same kind of publication as London's Time Out - local listings, reviews of bars, events and gigs, interviews with writers, politicians and artists of all kinds. A general local entertainment guide. I didn't really expect a review - but not only did I get one, it was one of the best reviews I ever got (see the bar to your right). That quote turned up on the back of the mass market publication of Angel Stations. So there you go.


So anyway, I got an offer from Tor UK for 'Stealing Light', which means I'll have to get nailed down and get to serious work on the thing over the next several months. The nice thing about a new book deal is this time, large chunks of it won't be going on a deposit on a house. This time, I get to spend it all on ME.

For a start, I can actually afford to take a proper holiday for the first time in a very, very long time. Where and when is hard to say, but sometime in the summer next year seems like a good time, ie whenever I finish Stealing Light. But I've had it in mind that it might be nice to take up to several weeks off the day job and go to some places I've never been before, and certainly going to an American con has entered my mind.

First, time to spend a little money on ME. Therefore, in the words of Max Bialystock: I'm going to buy a toy. I worked very, very hard, and I think I deserve a toy. But the type you find in Dixons electric stores.


Hokay, that's one minor mystery solved: when it comes to the missing Interzone review, the pixies got to it. Or as near as damn to. Turns out since it went so thoroughly awol in the system, they're going to hold the review back until the paperback issue of Against Gravity, which should be sometime in the late summer of 2006. Which means so far I've had precisely one - one! - print review of Against Gravity.


Paul Raven - the book's reviewer, who let me know of what happened in the first place - let me know he'll be taking his review back down soon, since it will in fact be published at some point: not quite absolute victory, but at least I gain the sense of snatching one tiny morsel of success from the slavering jaws of defeat.


Got an email from a bloke called Paul Raven, who writes some reviews for Interzone: turns out he wrote a very nice review for Against Gravity, except it hasn't actually appeared in the magazine's new issue. Which is, to put it mildly, a bummer: given that the only print review of the book I can recall seeing so far was in SFX, it does rather lend to the paranoia that people don't realise the book even exists.

You can, however, read the unpublished review at the reviewer's blog, which can be found here. Thanks again, Paul.

I've worked on magazines myself in the past, and I know how hard it can be to fit in all the available material, and how easily reviews or articles can be cut, chopped or dropped altogether in the last-minute frenzy of getting everything ready for the printing presses: so I'll be the last person to complain. But I'm hoping the review might yet appear in a later issue Interzone - it's like a direct tap into the hardcore sf audience in the UK.

Other bits and pieces - the short ten minute script didn't get any farther with the BBC, and I find myself not that bothered, partly because I've been keeping busy. Apart from the ten k outline for a new novel which is already with my agent and editor, the first thirteen thousand words of 'Stealing Light' went off in the post on Friday. Now it's a case of wait and see.

The day after that, I started writing an hour-long tv script, partly for the practice, and partly because I know a local production company is looking for material for one of the shows they produce (inside contacts). Even if it doesn't get anywhere, it might make for a kind of calling card. The same for the ten minute script: this will also get another, brief shine, then sent out elsewhere.

I think one of the things that attracts me to the whole notion of screenwriting (as if you could have failed to notice) is that you can get an entire story down in a fraction of the time it takes to write it to novel length. It's even occurred to me that a convenient way of working out the plot of a novel might be to write it in screenplay format first, and iron out the plot. We'll see.