Hello Story Reading Ape fans! Have a banana each!
Today the great ape has very kindly invited me back to tea. Or breakfast, depending what time you’re reading this. (see what happened last time HERE)
I’m Jemima Pett, and my full-time job is publishing and promoting books. In my spare time I write them. Well, that’s the way it seems, anyway, although I do allocate book-writing time very carefully. It all started because my first two guinea pigs, Fred and George, had such distinct personalities, and seemed to make an adventure out of everything we did, that I had to write the adventures down. I only thought of having a trilogy to start with. I wrote all three stories, and put them on my website, and my friends enjoyed them.
It’s a story that many people have: your friends enjoy your stories and then they say “you should get them published”. I knew that was how most people started. And just because your friends like something doesn’t mean anyone else will. My friends mostly liked guinea pigs, too, and thought Fred, George, Victor and Hugo were charming. Well, they are, they are wonderful pets, full of personality, and very good company.
I resisted. I wavered. I found out how to go about getting your books published, went to a conference on it, and started sending my manuscript to my long list of agents. Well, it wasn’t that long. Strike out agents who like children’s books but don’t like fantasy. Strike out agents who like fantasy but don’t like children’s books. And mine weren’t exactly either. They are time travel fantasy mystery adventures for about age ten upwards. Not exactly block-buster material. Just fun.
The agents who deigned to respond generally said something like “not commercial enough”. Well, I knew that.
By now it was 2011, and respectable papers were talking about ebooks as the coming thing. No longer was self-publishing the pits. Well, it was coming out of the pits. I discovered Kindle Publishing, and the rest is history. I discovered about two weeks after I got The Princelings of the East out on Kindle that there were other eReaders, so I got it out on Smashwords too, which means the books are distributed to all sorts of potentially useful outlets.
The next two books came out early in 2012. I got the bug, and wanted to write more about the characters and this world I’d invented. Book 4, The Traveler in Black and White (narrated mostly in US English; the rest are in UK English) came out towards the end of that year, telling the story of the ‘baddie’ from the first book. I couldn’t let him go! And he keeps cropping up – he’s in the sixth book in the series, Bravo Victor, which came out this year.
I expect there will be two more Princelings books. Meanwhile I’ve done a first draft of a new book, a space scifi one, starring the asteroid miners who first turned up in the Friday Flash Fiction feature on my blog. The Perihelix (Viridian Series #1) should be out some time towards the end of 2015.
Meanwhile I carry on promoting the books, writing my blog, and working on joint promotions, including a collection of works for children aged 8 up, that includes such wonderful writers as Rebecca Douglass, Julie Grasso, Ben Zackheim, Wendy Leighton-Porter. The BookElves Anthology Vol.1. We’re working on the basis we will want to do another one sometime!
It’s a bit like that, writing. Once you start you can’t stop – except to play with the guinea pigs.