My new radio show starts tonight.
And other huge news. I don't plan on emailing you this often, but this week is a big one for me
I should have really included it in yesterday’s email, but I didn’t want to distract from Sejul’s spot. I also didn’t know if it would happen, as temperature changes in the UK meant it got cancelled last week. I am going to work on scheduling these posts from now on, putting more content into them and releasing them less frequently.
This email is from the NEWS AND UPDATES subsection, meaning you can unsubcribe if you’re not interested in the business side of things and you should still get all the free stories.
Anyway, 7pm UK time I am doing a sciencey, comedy thing on live radio. I pitched it, my cohost Stephen said yes, and the rest is history. The goal for the show is to bring in local talent in publishing, writing, comedy, science, and to get them to chat until funny stories happen. We’ll also eventually open up a 10 minute open mic section for listeners to call in. It’s going to be weird.
Tune in at 7pm UK time.
I also had a radio interview last night too with Allfm. Ruth brought me back into the show, and I brought my ComicCon cutout with me. Ruth is solely responsible for my realising I actually wanted to work in radio. She messaged me on twitter about Who Built The Humans? many eons ago, and was so enthusiastic about the book that I didn’t believe she was legit. I have known her for two years now and have yet to have my organs harvested.
My first interview on live radio was with Ruth. We did a pre recorded one once where I had sawdust in my phone mic, but the real deal was the live one. I wasn’t nervous at all. I loved it. And I very quickly realised that I would continue to love it even if I had to do it 12 hours a day. The same cannot be said for working in retail, which brought out a murderous impulse in me that I now have to suppress with tablets and curry.
So I guess the moral of the story is to respond to all the DMs you get, no matter how much your imposter syndrome makes you believe that you will never get such nice DMs from real people in radio. Because Ruth is real. I’ve seen her outside. All my organs are still in approximately the right place.
Tune in whenever. It was great.
An extended rant about all the stuff I am doing with improper sentence structure so as to upset my friend who is an editor.
This is all tying together wonderfully. This, my radio show, my Strange Stories podcast, and my books are all creating a community of unusual creative minds. For example, my Story Machine (a pod dispensing machine filled with weird microfiction) has absorbed a cyberpunk author friend of mine, and I hope to find more in the future. The goal being to help promote weird authors using tactile, physical objects in the real world, rather than boring old facebook ads. Each microfiction comes with a custom QR code leading to that author’s website or social media. My ones lead to a top secret page on my own website, only accessible through the specific code on those stories. The page is filled with spoilers for future projects. It’s all very fun.
I have booked myself into a few more conventions in advance, and after ComicCon, will be applying for a business loan to open a bookstore either in Liverpool or Manchester, which will be autism friendly and look more like the set of THE CRYSTAL MAZE than a bookstore. And I’m getting into comedy, mainly with my radio stuff, but sometimes on a stage. I don’t ever expect to be a full-time comedian, but I enjoy the hard work of working with a crowd to produce something genuinely funny that is repeatable. Maybe I’m better interacting with a small crowd, or another radio host? I guess we’ll see. People always told me to get into comedy, but again, imposter syndrome.
I think in my life, I’ve been held back by this belief that you must “Choose a path” as my careers guidance tutor said. I never wanted to choose. Sure, when I was younger, pursuing comedy and fiction and publishing and marketing felt like splitting myself into many pieces, being “inconsistent” and financially knackering myself, but as I am rapidly approaching being 30 years old I realise that, if I had the choice to relive it, I would simply do the same things more intensely. I taught myself cover design for my first book because I wanted one day to be able to do it for other authors. I am now learning how to do complex stuff in Excel spreadsheets so I can keep track of Halfplanet’s business expenses. It’s a lot of fun, and it makes for a varied newsletter (if you’re still subscribed to this updates bit).
I find that Science Fiction and Comedy are philosophically quite similar. They both probe the fringes of reality. They both ask weird and fantastic questions whilst relating them back to the real world. And they both twist reality in a logical, constructed way, forming themselves into a lens through which to see the world anew. It is this philosophy that makes it very hard for me to split Science Fiction and Comedy, and which probably made my past adverts quite confusing for the passer by. I know my readers keep telling me to advertise the interactive nature of Who Built The Humans? but I think artistically, it is better to surprise a reader with that rather than bashing them over the head with it.
That said, I will be mentioning it at ComicCon, because the crowd there will enjoy the concept more than people on online ads. It’s one of those facets of the book that is only really properly explainable in person, where I will be able to have a sample copy of the book to wave at people, post-it notes included.
My next few posts
As this week is a big one, I have a few things to post about. That’s why this post was so long and varied.
If you’re here Friday night, I’ll be posting links to four free eBooks. There’s no catch. I am simply making four Halfplanet Press books free for ComicCon weekend. Two Bowie-inspired sci-fi poetry books (by me), a book of 52 horror writing prompts, and a YA horror novella by my friend Maria Mavridou.
You don’t have to pick a book either. They are all free simultaneously. You can download all of them this weekend. Anyone can download them, and you can lend the eBooks to friends too.
Also, if all goes according to plan, I should be posting part 2 of the whale story next Monday, right after ComicCon.
Improving the newsletter
At the moment, new subscribers get immediate access to the Free Stories, the Strange Stories podcast update, the Writing Advice, and the News and Updates subsections on an opt-out basis.
I have structured it this way because bringing readers in from conventions and live events and bookfunnel freebies means I am not 100% sure what type of content you would like. Subscribers from ComicCon are typically younger, aspiring writers, who would benefit from learning a bit about my process (though the writing advice posts often become full essays which might work better elsewhere). Bookfunnel people are typically just here for stories. But of course, like myself, I imagine most of my readers exist outside of these vague categories.
So you get all 4 subsections at once. I don’t post on the Strange Stories podcast any more than once a month. I only post Short Stories when I have one worth reading. It sort of all comes together into a coherent whole, but as there’s a lot of new faces here, I’d like to get to know you and find out what you want.
One idea I have had is to migrate some posts over to Patreon (specifically the writing advice and any behind-the-scenes for published stories). That would enable me to spend more time on the writing advice posts as they are incredibly time consuming, and it would leave this newsletter to being just updates and short stories. But I’m not sure. A lot is changing.
What do you think? And will you be here on Friday for the 4 free books?