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30 Days of Fika Books: One

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

So it's nearly one o'clock. I have an exciting meeting in just over an hour, I haven't had any lunch and so far I've mostly faffed about and scribbled in notebooks about how excited I am. It is an excellent first day as a CEO.

I did suspect this; I have met myself before. I've blocked out this entire week under the headline banner "get started," so as long as I more or less achieve that, then I'll have had a productive week! After being at this game for many years, I have come to accept that sometimes faffing and panicking and scribbling are crucial steps that cannot be avoided.

So what is it I'm starting?

I'm glad you asked.

Strangely -- and by pure coincidence -- it is five years to the week since I started sending Dark of Night: Episode One out into the world. It was published in November of that year, but I did a pre-release free campaign first, sending it out to friends and family and asking them to pass it on if they liked it. I remember well the terror waiting for the first few responses - who did I think I was, just up and publishing my own novel?!

As some of you know, the response still has me in a bit of shock. By the following summer when the first trilogy was released, Dark of Night hit the Scottish crime fiction charts several times, once memorably sitting right in between Val McDermid and Ian Rankin for a whole day! I was selected for Crime in the Spotlight at that year's Bloody Scotland, and got to spend months meeting readers at coffee shops, libraries and pubs all over Scotland.

It was absolutely incredible and thrilling, yet bizarrely enough, I still thought of myself as a screenwriter who dabbled in writing novels. I write and publish books purely for the love of it, not really giving a monkey's about whether they hit genre expectations or what tropes are commercially hot this season (not that there's anything wrong with that at all; we've all got to make a living and I absolutely think that way about the stuff I write to sell, just not my 'own' stuff). But here is the strange thing:

They've all done quite well for themselves anyway.

My marketing is rubbish. Hit or miss at best. My covers are beautiful and I love them, but they don't really speak to genre. And as many of you know all too well, I am the absolute worst at sticking to a publishing schedule or consistently letting you know what I'm up to.

Yet somehow, lots of lovely people somehow stumble across my stories, and a few of you wonderful lot have stuck by me through thick and thin for five whole years. You are glorious and I adore you all!

And I'm going to do things a bit differently from now on.

As of today, I'm going all in. I've finished my last contracted project for a publisher, and I am all yours!

In some ways, it's daft. I'm leaving my day job of writing for my dream job of writing. But it is different, at least in my own mind. From now on, I am officially an Indie Author Who Dabbles in Screenwriting.

(The dabbling in screenwriting bit only came back this weekend -- I will get to that story this week!)

More than that, I am an indie author with my very own story empire.

This is how it's going to go:

Every Friday, starting in a couple of weeks, I will send out the Fika Books Newsletter. In it, you'll find loads of book chat, recommendations and deals, AND

Your weekly chapter of THREE stories I'm working on right now.

As some of you know, I found my way into fiction through blogging, and it is my favourite way to write. Letting the story unfold alongside all of you is exciting creatively, but also it focusses my brain to know that I must publish every single week. Sometimes I have a tendency to get a bit lost in drafts and move my own deadlines about --- if nothing else, this will keep me accountable!

While they aren't totally raw first drafts, they are works in progress and might change a little bit by the time they are published. This isn't to replace publishing full books, but about letting you in to follow the entire process as it happens. I will set up some chat threads where you can ask questions and let me know what you think as we go.

If you prefer to binge your books in a oner, you will absolutely still be able to do that, everything will be published as normal when it's done. Also, while the weekly newsletter will always be free and accessible to everyone, I will be (eventually!) introducing subscriptions which will allow you to access chapters faster, and even get hold of entire books long before anyone else. In the meantime, there will be lots of bookish chat in the newsletter even if you're not reading the series!

The other thing about the series is that they could not be more different! Another reason for my stopping and starting is that I love too many stories and too many genres to be loyal to just one! I drive myself MAD chopping and changing my plans to somehow magically write everything I want to all at the same time.

So over the next few months, I'll be writing a crime fiction, a chicklit/women's fiction and an urban fantasy.

Now, the eagle eyed amongst you will notice that you've read one of them already.


This post is half-a-novel already, so I will explain all about Before Again tomorrow...

(Oh yes! I'm going to blog daily, for the first 30 days to keep me accountable and record all the ups and downs as they happen!!)

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