1000 Word Book Review: The Empty World

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Review of the First 1000 Words of “The Empty World” by Andrew Reeves

The story opens with Beth in a lifesuit with only one way to survive, by going to a nearby outpost. Usually I don’t like prologues, but this seemed fine to me because it was short and to the point. Then, part one opens with new characters: Danny, Bledge, Nelson, and Munnock. Danny is the son of Robert Ringrose, an inventor of sorts, who created a “Cloning of the Stone” process that produced inanimate objects, which is intriguing enough of a concept. It kind of reminded me of Project Genesis in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (the best Star Trek film to date) The science behind the technology in the book isn’t quite explained enough to wow me on how it works, and only provided some loose details on some examples of what can be produced. I would have liked to know more about this wild technology, and perhaps I will if I kept reading beyond Chapter 3.

The pro’s of the first 3 or so chapters is for an Indie book, grammar wise, it appears it was edited fairly well. No glaring errors really stood out to me. As for world building, I think it starts off on solid footing explaining how Danny is the son of Robert and the technology that was invented and the mysterious disappearance of his father. We get a little motivation. We are introduced to some characters around Danny.

The con’s of what I read would merely be describing a bunch of physical objects, but not really the central characters, which I think is necessary in a third person omniscient story.  Danny doesn’t really connect to anyone in the first 3 chapters. He seems to think about his younger sister quite a bit. There really isn’t much backstory to know what the dynamic is. Perhaps he dives into it more later on in the book. The closest I felt was to Beth, and she only seems to come in and out of the story in short bursts every few chapters.

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

Yes

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

Not really.

Do I like the world building?

Yes

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

Yes.

One thing I would have liked seeing:

Get rid of the prologue with Beth and show me what the Stone can do.

Overall Story Beginning Rating: 3/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas

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Q&A with the Author: Andrew Reeves

How long did the first draft take to write?

A.Reeves-I spent three months brainstorming the plot in every detail and making sure at every turn that whatever you would naturally expect to happen next… absolutely did not happen! It made for a very interesting and head-scratching three months but has definitely resulted in a book that never gets predictable. I then went on to write the manuscript which took about eighteen months all told. It was great because I was out of work for most of it, when the recession first hit, so I had all the time in the world!

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing?

A.Reeves-The ending was not changed in the middle of writing, mainly because although I knew the overall objective of the story (a boy searching for his mother on a world created by his Dad from effectively cloning stones, whilst an evil genius hatches a plan to use the very same cloning process to restart the Universe and make himself God!) [as you do…] I had no idea where I would get to with the concept before I felt that Book One should end. It ends on a total cliffhanger, but the first draft contained scenes that my agent convinced me I should delete from Book One and use as the beginning of Book Two – which I now see was very wise advice.

Did you submit traditionally?

A.Reeves-I did not directly submit it to the publishers. I was lucky enough to secure myself a literary agent in London very soon after sending out my ‘final draft’. Silly me thought all the hard work was over – I spent the next two and a half years under their guidance, redrafting a dozen times whilst fleshing out the plots for Books Two and Three. So they did all the submitting to the publishers for me. Of course I have been through the usual rejection process, but Harry Potter was rejected 12 times and the Mr. Men books were rejected by 24 publishers I believe, so I’m not phased that it hasn’t been traditionally published yet. A little deflated, I won’t lie, but I know the perfect publisher is still out there!

Where do you want to go with the series?

A.Reeves-Where do I want to go with the series? Well Book Two: The Big Bang Machine and Book Three: Space Time Zero are all planned, and Book Two is well on its way to being completed as a first draft manuscript. I have also recently completed work on a screenplay adaptation of Book One which is presently in the hands of a commissioning editor of a major London publishers of children’s fiction. It currently awaits his feedback and will soon be with several other agencies and production companies too.

Favorite author who has influenced your writing?

A.Reeves-I’ve lots of favourite authors. As a kid I used to love reading Douglas Hill’s sci fi books and my favourite book of all was the original Star Wars novel, supposedly written by George Lucas but ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster. I read it so many times when I was eight or nine that I was banned from borrowing it from the school library. I was told to ‘broaden my horizons’. Well I did, but I’ve never gotten past the thrill that that book still gives me. I also like Michael Cordy and James Rollins, but probably the most recent drama injection I would give myself to get in the writing zone was watching LOST. To my mind the greatest ever (and most intriguing) TV show of all time.

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Andrew gave me permission repost his insightful Goodreads post on his publishing journey. I believe it gives you more insight to give a better judgement on his story than I ever could with the first 1000 words:

Some of you will be familiar with my YA novel THE EMPTY WORLD (a barren Earth cloned from a stone). If you aren’t, no matter… (What am I saying?!) But this is not an exercise in self promotion. Whether you’re familiar with THE EMPTY WORLD or not, what you won’t know is how difficult it has been for me to get it off the ground. I’d like to explain to you a little bit about that, to try and give you some idea of the incredibly difficult journey my book’s creation has had me on.

Nevertheless, I have been lucky. A few years ago I totted up all the emails I had sent to agents, production companies, movie producers, actor’s agents, people in the business, about the many different projects I have penned. About ninety five per cent of those people either never replied or kindly replied to say they had no time to read my work. That number was between three and four thousand emails! The only consolation I take from all that was that at least I hadn’t paid for all the postage stamps!

It’s a long road to success, but it’s those blind corners that keep us trekking. After a lifetime of trying everything in the book (literally), I finally managed to find myself an agent, the one I had been searching for to help me build upon my work… but that was when the hardest work began. For those of you who haven’t read THE EMPTY WORLD… what’s it all about? I’ll start with the story of me and ease you in.

I’m 45 right now, but I sent my first manuscript off to America from the UK when I was just 14. That’s quite a long time to be writing and trying to get yourself in print! Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all I’ve done with my life, I’ve done lots of other things besides, most of them creative – I’m married, I have two kids, the obligatory job, I’ve bought the T-shirt, you name it, I’ve done it. I started writing stories when I was 7, when Star Wars first appeared in the world. Wide-eyed at the excitement it presented, I yearned to create something exciting of my own, even then.

I’m also an aspiring screenwriter, novelist, poet, cartoon illustrator, song-writer, musician, composer, computer game level designer by the name of Several Sided Sid (you may have heard of me), the list goes on. I’ve written several full-length movie screenplays and some shorter scripts too, including a couple of sitcom pilots. I’ve written lots of children’s stories, an absolute plethora of poetry and prose (both serious and nonsensical – I love nonsense!). A friend and I have been working on a tome of invented words for over twenty years now, texting each other silliness back and forth, and presently I’ve penned about fifteen hundred entries. (No, really!) Hopefully one day it will see the light off day. Plus I write songs and music; I used to play bass and keyboards in a few alternative rock bands once upon a time, I appeared on stage a few times back in the nineties – thought I was gonna be a rock star way back when, but I had to abandon that goal when it started to interfere with my being a dad. These days my composing is restricted to GarageBand. Long live GarageBand!

But writing has always been my greatest creative love, it’s what I do best, I believe. I’ve spent forever creating new worlds with a pen and a piece of paper. The worlds were always created in my mind, borne out of an over-excited imagination and thrust down on the page for all to see. Then they were peopled, given life, meaning and reason, and set in motion with plot and motivation. Let loose. Some time ago I discovered a whole new way of creating brand new worlds; I spent a handful of years mapping for the PC game Jedi Academy under the pseudonym of Several Sided Sid, building and releasing maps to be used as online skermishing arenas for the online gaming community. I really enjoyed it, got some great praise too – you can check my work out here:

https://www.facebook.com/SeveralSidedSid

Mapping is an incredible phenomenon. For those not familiar with the term, ‘mapping’, or ‘level designing’, or (my favourite) world-building, is basically the electronic creation of a whole new virtual world. But a world with limits. A world filled with event-triggers and carefully placed artificial lighting to give the false impression of real shadow. A world where nothing is as it seems. Seemingly solid objects that are, bizarrely, invisible from behind. Smoke that isn’t smoke. Sound that comes from nowhere and everywhere all at once. All within a box. Cleverly hidden behind a mask of programming so bafflingly lifelike as to defy belief – but a box all the same.

During the long months spent building my very first multiplayer map, The Mos Eisley Meanstreets, preparing an empty world for download by the online gaming community, I got to thinking: What would it be like to create a world for real? How could this be achieved? And what strange, unprecedented dangers might a new world present? Even as a straight clone of an already existing world? As far as we are told, cloning has only ever been achieved successfully on living matter. As far as we are told. Imagine if it were possible to clone an entire planet. Not the wildlife. But the planet itself. Imagine if it were possible to create another home for Mankind. It’s something we should think about, for sure.

Anyway, this all coincided very nicely with a delayed building site a few doors down the road from my house. The old disused car showroom had been torn down and a barren stretch of dirt replaced it for four long years, during which time all the workmen did was dig one pit and remove countless tonnes of dirt from its depths. Then, suspiciously, the row of houses at the back of the site, which had a great view into the pit, all had to be abandoned after drilling on the site unsettled the foundations (reportedly).

I managed to convince himself that something weird was happening right beneath my street. Perhaps it was a nuclear bunker they were building, perhaps it was something else. Then I had a flash of inspiration… this would make a great story, about a young boy who lived where I lived, but right next door to the site, and his bedroom window was the only remaining viewpoint into the mysterious pit mouth, and he had noticed all these goings on, and had started building theories about what might lie beneath the site…. beneath his house! A boy who would stop at nothing to investigate.

But it had to be worth the energy. It had to be more than simply, ‘I wonder what they’re doing down there…’

So I thought and thought about it, searching for a plot – and then the obvious struck me: my character Danny’s missing dad had managed to clone the world! He’d been laughed out of the military years before for claiming he was working on a process that would enable him to clone stones – which would in turn pave the way to a manufacturing revolution – but no one believed that ‘non biologic particle multiplicity’ was possible and so Danny’s father Robert Ringrose had been forced to relocate to the tiny unassuming fictional town of Sphagnum Moss, where he continued to work on his theories in total secret. And in the safety of a secret research facility hidden beneath the building site beside his house, he had finally cracked the process and got it right. But he didn’t stop at stones. He managed to clone the world, and he called it Segnimedia (the Empty World), a perfect carbon copy of Planet Earth (no people, no plants, no animals, just the world). Perhaps it could offer Mankind a second chance for survival once we’ve finally ruined the planet where we live.

So that’s the basic premise. The story is told from young Danny Ringrose’s point of view, as he investigates the building site and discovers the whereabouts of his missing parents and is amazed to find out what they have been up to. Danny has never known of Robert’s real work, but has seen the miniature machine prototypes and schematics in their house, never dreaming what his dad was working on. There’s danger, enemies and a whole load of abuse in the form of his wise-cracking little sister along the way!

Following years of struggle (detailed below) I self-published The Empty World through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing in June of 2014, and so far it’s had a really great response, racking up a handful of very positive reviews. If you haven’t read it yet, I would obviously urge you to do so by clicking here (it might really help you appreciate what I am about to explain next):

http://hyperurl.co/d8b0qo?IQid=qr

So I’d like to share with you the incredibly long and difficult journey I have been through to get the book to where it is, to impart as much of my experience and inspiration as I can to anyone who is contemplating setting off along the same path. If you have a book in you, write it! If you have a story to tell, tell it! It’s always worth the hard work you put in.

As I said, the journey to get the book to where it is has not been an easy one for me at all. But it has been absolutely worth it, and it still continues to be so… and it isn’t over yet. I first started work on the plot for THE EMPTY WORLD in September 2007, and since then the manuscript has been redrafted (and redrafted and redrafted) several times, under the guidance of my literary agents, who forced me to get rid of everything that wasn’t necessary and to add more things that were. They made me look at my created world as though it was completely real, and by its very nature it required a lot of explaining of some very tricky science, which is both based on accepted quantum physics but also borne of pure imagination.

It’s a big fun adventure with lots of scope for spin-off stories – I already have Books Two and Three, THE BIG BANG MACHINE and SPACE TIME ZERO, completely planned, and a handful of plots for what will happen next. I’ve been working on both sequels in tandem all this time. Once I’d finished the first draft of Book One – following three months of fleshing out notes and a further eighteen months spent working on the manuscript – I made the foolish error of believing all my hard work was finally over. I couldn’t have been more wrong! As soon as it was completed (literally that day) I emailed the synopsis to several hand-picked agents I had chosen to approach from the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, but I knew in my heart, as had happened with every other book or screenplay manuscript I had sent to so many people in the past, that it would meet the same fate… some interest if I was lucky, a few near misses, but in the end a big resounding NO.

Imagine my utter delight when a nice man at a London publishers (whose name I will respectfully not mention) who don’t make a usual living from publishing fiction, excitedly replied to my email about two hours later, requesting that I send it to no one else and give them a week’s exclusivity to make a decision on whether or not to publish my beloved book! I was ecstatic… and proud… and hopeful…

My contact there even emailed the manuscript to his MD who was currently at a meeting in America. The excitement grew and I waited about a week until the final decision had been made… that they wouldn’t be going ahead with publishing my book 😦

I was devastated, of course, but familiar with the feeling. This had been the closest I had ever come to a yes and I had allowed myself to dare to hope. Oh well, my contact there said it was not his decision, and if it was up to him he would have said yes – this did lift my spirits and convinced me it was worth sending the manuscript out to others – or rather a synopsis and covering letter to be precise.

An interesting thing came out of this encounter though – up until then I had been calling the book DANNY RINGROSE AND THE EMPTY WORLD, kind of following on the Harry Potter naming regimen I suppose, but this particular publisher felt the novel should simply be called THE EMPTY WORLD, as it was a far more ‘literary title’. So I took his advice and changed the title straight away… I’m still not sure if it was the right thing to do, I won’t say I lie awake worrying about it until the wee small hours, but half of me still wants to add the principal character’s name back in. (I have had other professionals, such as my agent, agree that the title is better off as it is. We shall see).

So I carried on submitting my covering letter to some of the agents I had chosen to approach, with a brief but exciting description of the book, expecting everyone to reply with a respectful refusal to read or to not reply at all. To my excitement the agent who became my agent emailed me back and said, ‘Why don’t you send over the first three chapters and I’ll take a look?’ This was really exciting! It was pretty much the most interest anyone had ever shown in all the many things I had been submitting, left, right and centre. So I sent him the first three chapters and sat and waited. Patiently? I tried.

By this time I had been let go by my employer, who had relocated the call centre I had been working in and made everyone unemployed, so THE EMPTY WORLD wasn’t just a hobby to me – more than ever before, my writing felt like my ticket to the future. The recession had just descended and work was very hard to find. I needed this to work for me. I needed it to.

So my agent replied a couple of weeks or so later, with frustrating, and potentially devastating news. He said that my writing was good, and everything that was necessary for a really good book was there, but I had made the classic mistake that every new writer makes: I had written too much. I once read that although every new writer wants to show how good they are and include every word they know, less is so much more and we should only put on the page what is absolutely necessary. This doesn’t just apply to overlong sentences or unnecessary character history or whatever, but right down to lines of dialogue, facial expressions, anything which detracts from the pertinent point. If it’s action, write what happens, if it’s dialogue, have them say only what we need to know. My agent said I had written about three times more than I needed to and that it would need a hefty redraft before it was okay.

Being unemployed, I had time on my side and enough enthusiasm to roll Planet Earth a little closer to the Moon, so I wrote straight back to him and said I would cut it by two thirds and send it back. My enthusiasm must have excited him because he said he’d show me what he meant and sent me a redline showing his corrections, so I could see exactly where he thought I had gone wrong. Fired up by this, I made the changes I could stomach making to my beloved first three chapters and sent them back, accompanied by the next little chunk.

And this is how work progressed for the next few months. It was frustrating but exciting… probably more excitement than I had ever known creatively before. Finally someone was actually taking me seriously. I’d never really asked anyone to read my work before, I pretty much wrote my stories in a bubble, so I wasn’t used to having my writing pored over, right down to the comma level. It was fun but it was exasperating too. At that point I just wanted to please, and I knew that he knew more than I did about how to make it right. But it wasn’t just an exercise in proper sentence structure and thinking about what isn’t necessary in a scene, he suggested I lose whole chunks where I had gone off on a tangent and followed the adventures of lesser characters than the hero. Not lesser, shall we say, just that I had to stick with my central driving force and follow that, to give the reader one focal point to follow. He advised this was especially important with a book that would be read by children as much as it would by adults.

It was akin to adapting a movie out of a TV series by the time we’d finished; the original manuscript stood at 728 pages, and by the time we had worked on chunks of manuscript emailed back and forth, losing bits here, adding bits there, me deciding to trust him entirely – because what he said was right – it was roughly half the size. But it was now definitely twice the book it had been!

Don’t get me wrong, it was all my decision-making in the end… he suggested where it went on too long or where I should treat the reader to further explanations of the incredible science I had created in my world, and the machines that made this weird science possible, and I was free to agree or disagree with everything he said, but he was on a mission to have my book read like it was written by a seasoned author and I trusted him implicitly. I think the first time I ever deleted a scene it almost killed me. All those words lost! But now I love identifying bits of extemporaneous story matter that doesn’t belong, absorbing the most important bits into their proper position in the story and axing the rest with a resounding plop. There’s no better feeling than getting rid of something that was making the pages crowded. Anything you decide to delete is because it is an improvement, I have learned.

So we went through this process, my agent and I, me sending him story chunks and him sending them back as he saw fit, and after the pain and frustration subsided I realised it was the most enjoyable part of the process. I’ve since had other people, close friends and family, read my work, and as long as you trust a person’s opinion, it doesn’t matter who it is – everyone has a valid viewpoint on a story and no suggestion for improvement is an insult, or a waste of time. (If you have suggestions at improving this article, by the way, I’ll gladly listen 😉

Nowadays I wouldn’t want to write without a trusty second pair of eyes. You can be sure you’ve sewn up every scrap of plot hole… but what if the absolutely obvious has eluded you all along? Don’t be an island as a writer. Reach out to those you know whose opinions you value.

So this process was long and painful and then enjoyable, and when we’d finally finished, when all the reworking and further explaining and waiting for replies was said and done, when I was preparing myself for submission of my far superior manuscript to the publishers… a second pair of eyes at the agency took a look. And said it couldn’t possibly be submitted to a publisher in its present state!

I felt the whole world yanked from underneath me like a carpet. I needed explanation. The explanation was simple: we’d done a great job of identifying all unnecessary junk and scenes and characters and descriptions, we’d shortened the plot and made it jump more easily off the page, we’d captured everything I was hoping to capture with my very first draft. And all in the name of keeping a steady pace. Timing everything correctly. But in agent number two’s opinion, one very simple rule (and probably the most important) had been slightly overlooked.

And that was suspension of disbelief. I can remember when I didn’t even know what that meant. No matter how far-fetched a great idea is, so long as you present it in a way in which it can be seen to make sense… at least enough for someone to say to themselves, ‘Okay, that would never be possible, but this is such a neat idea for a story, I’m totally prepared to overlook that and just enjoy it!’ then anything will work. Think Back To The Future. As if. (Three of my favourite films by the way).

And there was one scene in THE EMPTY WORLD that agent number two felt stretched suspension of disbelief a little too far. That’s okay, you might think, just change it. But that one scene was the springboard scene for EVERYTHING THAT CAME AFTER. Which meant a potential rewrite of the entire second half.

I was crushed. I was short of money and unemployed and desperate for a sale, thinking the past few months of blood sweat and tears spent slaving at a keyboard to meet the advice that would change everything for me was finally at an end, and I was given a new dilemma. The transitional part of the novel didn’t work. I could have given in right there and then, I don’t normally fight so strong, but this story and its sequels meant everything to me. I knew once they were published they would be a great success, so I buckled down and forced myself to fix it.

It turned out not to be so bad. Took a few weeks work to incorporate the changes, and if you’re familiar with my book it concerned how young Danny actually ends up being underground when he least expects it, in his father’s research facility that has been hiding beneath his garden all his life. I’d spent whole chapters just to get him there, whereas now it happens all at once, and to the story’s benefit. Once that was fixed, we were pretty much done. Everything – and I mean everything – was theoretically believable. Just another draft and all Easter weekend on the phone to agent number two, going through the manuscript word for word. Eventually we all agreed it was finally ready for submission to the hand picked publishers. This nicely coincided with me finding work so everything seemed on the up, as I waited for the offers of publication to come flooding in.

I was in for disappointment, in the form of some very nice rejections from some publishers. Silly me thinking getting an agent was a deal signed. I was learning the hard way that all my dreams were so much more elusive than I thought. The most annoying rejection letter, from a huge publisher indeed, informed me my book was well written and well plotted but their list was presently full in that particular genre, a comment which still has me tearing my hair out of an evening. (A metaphor. If that were true I would be bald. I’m not bald). Who hasn’t got space for something they believe will sell well??

After the rejections, my agent gave me the most tortuous six weeks of my creative life. Here’s how she did it:
She said, ‘Make the book better.’
‘Better how?’ I asked her.
‘I don’t know. Just better.’

I couldn’t believe it. I’d been through so many redrafts and such a lot of tears and frustration, and here I was faced with yet another setback. And this time I had to sort it out completely by myself. No one was going to be giving me any input. I had to turn a failing manuscript around, one which I couldn’t understand why no one would buy, and make it something no one could refuse. So I sat and stared and thought and stared and sat… then stared and sat and thought and sat and stared. It took so much out of me, those six weeks. If I hadn’t been so DETERMINED my book would be loved by anyone who read it, I probably would have given up there and then. Again. I’m not famed amongst my loved ones for perseverance. Except where my writing is concerned.

Eventually, after drawing a total blank as to what the story needed, I was able to get some distance from the story and look at it again – yet again – from someone else’s point of view. I tell myself so many times that the most important part of the writing process is the time spent away from the page, in those moments when inspiration just kind of floats into your brain. (I’ve a whole theory on where inspiration comes from, by the way, but that’s fodder for another article).

And then the answer hit me as to how to improve the story, and once it did, I had to incorporate the changes it caused throughout the entire manuscript, which meant knowing every sentence I had written and how everything would be affected by the change. Staying on top of that was mind-numbing… basically rewriting an entire book but by hardly changing anything at all, just being aware of all the things that had to change, even down to inner thoughts of characters at any point in the story.

Basically the young hero Danny had previously never known anything about his father being a ridiculed scientist, or any of his work, but it struck me the only feasible improvement I could make to the manuscript would be to have Danny well aware of his father’s past from the outset, and in fact give Danny moments of inexplainable strength, where he worries his father’s old work on the Human Enhancement Program for the military may have been performed on him at birth. This leaves Danny an unwitting superhuman, and far more able to deal with the truth of what his father has created when he eventually finds out.

This actually makes Danny a far more interesting and important character from the outset, and has gone a long way I think to involving the reader more deeply right away. I’m so glad my agent told me to ‘make it better’. I never would have chosen to at the time… but I’m very thankful that she did.

Not that it got me published by a publisher. It went out again but still the same response. What was most infuriating was that I had no idea which publishers it had been sent out to and how soon these publishers normally responded, so I had to play the waiting game yet again, working on the plots for Books Two and Three while I tried to be patient. When the rejections did come back, still the same replies – everybody thought my book was well written, well plotted and well edited, some simply didn’t feel it was in their genre (that’s their prerogative) and nobody offered me a deal. It was so disheartening.

I personally think the major reason no publisher said yes at the time was down to timing, and unlucky timing at that. This was around 2010-11 and Twilight was all the rage, all you ever found on shelves was vampire stories; my agent even said, ‘Wouldn’t you like to write a vampire story?’ but I think it was a joke. I actually have a great plot for a vampire story… but THE EMPTY WORLD is where I’m headed!

Eventually the agent who had discovered me unfortunately moved on from the agency and my relationship with the agency soon after ended, though on great terms, and after I’d pitched various other ideas to them for my next book and written the first draft of a second novel (soon to be ready) and a psychological thriller screenplay (which is currently doing the rounds of the pertinent agencies and production companies). Both of these projects received a full critique before he left, which has really helped me on my mission to produce a final draft of each.

I wrote that second novel whilst in between jobs again, and it was as important to me for this to succeed as well, but when I returned to work, a writer I know there suggested I self-published THE EMPTY WORLD to Amazon. I hadn’t heard of the concept, it had never been mentioned to me by my agent, as it was still a relatively new phenomenon for us independent authors. I dragged my heels and took my time, whilst completing the plot for Book Three: SPACE TIME ZERO and redrafting my thriller screenplay at least two times (the third draft under the excellent guidance of an independent movie producer).

Eventually I got myself in gear and researched what I had to do… and finally put THE EMPTY WORLD on Amazon for all the world to read. The response was delightful. People were finally reading and reviewing it – after all my hard work – and although it wasn’t quite the outcome I had been chasing, ie. not traditional publishing, what mattered to me more than anything was the great support from the readers, and as long as they encourage me to continue writing… well, I’ve always said that even if I knew no one would ever read a book that I was writing, I’d still make sure it was the best thing I could write, because ultimately, I write for my own enjoyment, and I think an author always should. I think that passion shows in a person’s writing… so there’s no chance of me stopping writing yet!

As soon as THE EMPTY WORLD was on Amazon, my ex-agent was kind enough to put me in touch with the commissioning editor of a major children’s publisher, who was so behind the novel and its planned sequels that he championed it to his International Office. This was all very exciting… yet again. However their ultimate decision was unfortunately not to publish, against mine and the commissioning editor’s wishes, who had big plans for where to take the story. Once again I’d hit a brick wall, and now I’d learned that finding an interested publisher was still not a deal signed!

Since then I have submitted the book to a gamut of literary agents in the hope that it will land on the right desk. I’m still hoping that it will. The manuscript for Book Two: THE BIG BANG MACHINE is well underway and I hope to have it out on Amazon soon enough (please encourage me to get a move on!) It’s been a long hard journey and I know it isn’t nearly over yet – the challenge that faces all self-published authors is the quagmire of self-promotion. (I’m still trying to get my head round that little hurdle). But I’m glad I’ve been able to share my experiences with you today. Hopefully it will help you prepare for your own epic struggle.

But like all battles, you’re fighting for an outcome – or an income. That said, the possibility of making money from writing should never be your driving force. It’s getting read that has always driven my resolve. It feels great to know that people can finally share in my excitement for my story. I have now adapted THE EMPTY WORLD into a movie screenplay and potential episodic TV series too. I’ve no idea what the future holds, but knowing I’ve done my all to make it better makes me smile every day. So the upshot of this article is… never give up!

If you have a book in you, write it! If you have a story to tell, tell it to the world!

It’s always worth the hard work you put in.

Find me on Twitter at:
@AndrewReeves_
and:
@SeveralSidedSid

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