Recently an ‘internet friend’ – a guy I’ve met only once in person—made a genuine offer of assistance at a time when I needed it and that got me thinking.
As always I’m going to ramble around the topic and hopefully get there in the end.
Many years ago I had a conversation with my father about friendship and what it was to have real friends. I think I was in my early twenties. I said something along the lines of My friends will help me bury bodies and go to war with me should the need arise. His response was that this was juvenile and romantic and that real life wasn’t like that.
And I realized he was correct.
But I too was correct.
I lived in London, Ontario at that time with several friends from high-school who were there attending university while I tried to figure out what the fuck I was going to do with my life. At one point there were five of us: Two friends from high-school, two others my friends had met while in university, and myself. My high-school friends were the same dudes I’d been role-playing with for years. One of the other two didn’t role-play and (gently) mocked us as nerds when we did. We’ll call that guy Pete.
One day three of us—myself, Pete, and Rich—were standing around the kitchen making fun of Pete’s habit of eating cereal from a pot when his car alarm suddenly began screaming. Pete was in love with his shitty late-eighties VW Golf and took off after whoever was messing with his baby. Rich and I shared a look (Should we? Yeah.) and followed after him.
Pete caught the culprits first and had launched into a tirade of dire threats when he realized there were three of them and they were no longer running away. In fact, realizing they vastly outnumbered their pursuer, they’d turned to face him.
Oh shit, thought Pete, his stream of profanity dying a quick death.
And then Rich and I arrived on the scene to flank our friend. There was some silly posturing but (thankfully) no one really wanted a fight and they soon fucked off. I might add that I had hair hanging to my ass which I’d died black, a month of stubble, and looked like a sleep-deprived psychotic. Truth is I was and am a teddy-bear; looks can be deceiving.
That day changed our relationship with Pete. Never before had he had friends who would stand at his side for no reason other than he needed us. Prior to that day he had no idea we were that kind of people.
Why did we do it, why did we rush to back up our friend?
Legend. David Gemmell. If you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, go read it.
Twenty years later Pete joins us every Monday to role-play. His understanding of what friends are changed that day. In recent years Pete has saved my bacon in more ways than I’d care to share.
My understanding of friendship may be juvenile and romantic but I’ll take that over reality any day.
I spent two months promoting Beyond Redemption to the best of my meagre abilities. Even though it didn’t result in Harper Voyager picking up the sequel, I’m curious to see the results of my efforts. In truth, no matter what happens, it was worth it. I met a lot of amazing people in the SF/F world, bloggers and reviewers and readers. I got to interact with them, chat about books and writing and SF/F in general, and I still interact with most on twitter and facebook and even make the occasional appearance at r/Fantasy.
The only numbers I have easy access to are the GoodReads stats. A while back Mark Lawrence did a post about equating the number of GoodReads ratings to sales. The magic number, based on the data Mark collected was 7.7. Multiply the number of GoodReads ratings by 7.7 and you’d have a pretty accurate idea how many copies the book has sold. It sounded off to me and I hoped that the number didn’t work for folks who had sold less than 10,000 copies, but each time I got real numbers from Harper Voyager the math worked out.
In late October I was told the book had sold ~750 copies (print and ebook). At that time Beyond redemption had ~100 ratings. If you’re curious what they’d hoped for, I was also informed they’d expected the book to have moved 2,500 copies by that point. Keeping in mind that the book was published June 16th, that’s 625 copies a month. Clearly sales were well short of that.
When I reconnected with HV in early January I was told the book had sold ~1600 copies. It was also sitting at around 200 ratings on GoodReads at the time. That 7.7 thing is still looking pretty solid.
Today (Feb 2nd, 2016)–almost eight months after the book’s release–there are 295 GoodReads ratings which should, in theory, mean the book has sold ~2,270 copies. While this shows a massive spike in sales since my mad publicity push in November, you’ll note it’s still shy of where HV wanted the book to be back in October.
Backing up a bit…
In the month of November (NaNoWriMo for most) I wrote well over 50,000 words of blog posts and interviews and not a single word of fiction. When I started, I was fine with that. I’d written and edited two novels in the last year totalling over 275,000 words and I needed a break. But now I’m jonesing to get back to my fiction. I have a new world to explore with new gods and a whole new reality. I have new characters who want me to tell their tale and they aren’t going to take no for an answer.
These new gods are dark. They’ve imprisoned their worshippers for millennium, making them insular and dependant. It’s a breeding experiment overseen by gods drunk on blood and fear, rats in a cage designed to cause strife.
There will be blood.
But it won’t be easy. It’s going to be interesting finding a new life balance. My job search continues and at some point I shall experience the joy of holding down full-time employment while still writing. My wife has basically supported us for the last two years and it’s long past time I brought in some cheddar. We’ve tried being poor and decided we’re just not good at it. We like wine and cheese and whiskey and expensive grass-fed meat. Also, the holes in my boxers have holes in them.
Truth be told I’m kinda looking forward to working again, though I know that will change pretty damned fast. I need something to get me out of my office before those Reflections claw their way out of the mirror. Also, it might be interesting to have a reason to change outa my jammies. I wonder if I can still withstand direct sunlight.
I think real bloggers are supposed to write about nice vague topics like how to avoid passive sentences and POV errors but…fuck that.
This is my little corner of madness.