So, you want to teach your class (or small group) of Key Stage Two (or Three) pupils how to write choice-based fiction? You want to motivate them, allow them to identify as authors and to have ownership of their own stories? Well of course you do – that’s what all great teachers of English do!
Now a handy teacher’s book including over fifty pages of photocopiable resources, plans and schemes can help you do it. And I wrote it for you.
I’ll have a few copies at each of my Steam Highwayman events in the next month if you’re meeting me in person, but you can also order a copy through Amazon. I have had reports of strange delivery times, but don’t be worried by these – this is usual with new print-on-demand publications for the first few sales. None are actually printed until an order is made, but it usually takes 5 days for my printer and distributor to print and ship, and then they’re in the post on their way towards you.
You can find out more about the project, and the workshops I offer to Primary Schools in the London Area, here.
Steam Highwayman I has now been live on Amazon for around 3 months and I’m very pleased to find that it is continually being discovered by new readers from around the world. My intention with distributing through Amazon was that potential readers would experience the minimum of clicks between hearing a recommendation and being able to order the book: it’s something like a minimum of 3 clicks if you’re already signed in and a regular customer.
But on top of that, Amazon is also a great place for me to make my own brand. I’m very happy to see the excellent company in which my book finds itself – ie Messrs Thomson, Morris, Gresty and Green. I’ve seen my book on shelves alongside these writers – now I’m seeing it on sale alongside them.
Because of Amazon’s special recipe, I won’t be paid for any of the sales for some time yet, but once the first few pounds a month begin trickling in, I am convinced that this will be a stream of interest and income that will last a very long time.
In other news, I’ve been editing and formatting SH2 this week: yesterday I corrected all the dice-rolls and today I logged and fixed all the codewords. A few more stages like this and I’ll be able to send it to proofing. Ben has some more work to do on a provisional cover and then I’ll be able to start the buildup to Kickstarter 2: SH2.
Writing this is a watershed moment for me. The process of writing and self-publishing a book has changed my self-perception significantly. I love to try new things, to start projects and to come up with ideas – but pushing on through the delivery of long projects has always tested me. Today I can say that I have brought an entirely self-supported project to completion: from an idea I had in 2010, through refining my intention in 2016, writing the book in early 2017, finding and collaborating with an excellent illustrator in Ben May, managing and completing a Kickstarter campaign in September 2017, marketing and promoting the project through the autumn and winter, editing and proofing and finally to organising the printing and worldwide distribution of my book, I have had to motivate and organise myself as never before. Nobody has given me a deadline and no-one else has stood between me and my mistakes: I have learnt to persist in pressing on to achieve my own intention.
Of course I’ve had a lot of help. The Lord, first of all, has answered every prayer – sometimes quite miraculously. My wife Cheryl has constantly encouraged me to continue and to believe in myself as she believes in me. The generous and trusting attitude of almost two hundred Kickstarter backers gave me the capital I needed to produce a high-quality gamebook. The interest and support of many in the online and real-world gamebook and steampunk communities has kept me motivated and allowed the project to grow.
So now I go to work on the next part of the journey: a book which will develop and respond to the best things and the difficulties of writing Smog and Ambuscade. I’m tweaking my writing method, the mechanics of the gamebook and my marketing strategies. I’m investing time and energy in face-to-face meetings and maintaining a strong online presence. And I’m allowing my imagination to take wings… Or rather, to build pressure. Steam Highwayman II: Highways and Holloways will be a new challenge, but I know this for sure: the heavy machine has begun to move. I am no longer stationary and I am picking up speed!