@Archaeolibrary, @GoddessFish, @DarbyHarn,
"One of the most beautiful books I've ever read" - Sunyi Dean, author of The Book Eaters
A rogue black hole tears apart the solar system. Mairead’s life is already in pieces.
The Earth has less than a year to survive.
Asteroids rain hell; earthquakes rattle cities; manic tides swamp coasts. Mairead intends to give herself to the erratic waves that erode her remote Irish island, the same that claimed her child. When Gavin, an American, arrives to scatter his father’s ashes, she becomes torn between wanting for life and death.
Despite the tides, fuel shortages, and closing borders that threaten to trap him on the island, Gavin can’t seem to scatter the ashes. He doesn’t know how to let go any more than Mairead does and they find a strange comfort in their confusion.
Their affair draws Mairead back to the world of the living, but the longer Gavin stays, the more it seems there might be a future for them. There is no future.
Life closes down around them. The world they know shreds. Life drains into an inescapable abyss. And yet Mairead fights, both the gravity of her grief and the restless, dissonant desire to find some kind of peace no matter how brief.
Ma shuffles into the kitchen, coat on like she’s going somewhere. She sees the radio and remembers.
“Not today,” I say, but she switches it on anyway.
Six past and now time for today’s obituaries. Katie Burke, Kilmurvey, Co. Galway, 14th October, suddenly, sadly missed. Iranian quake toll rises. Russian oil fields under water. The Pope condemns American abortion initiative for all remaining pregnancies. Scientists hold vigil over Saturn, her rings scattered like a snowdrift across a country road. All her moons buckshot. Jupiter suffers the most, swollen and bruised like an aging prizefighter, determined to die in the ring.
The government handed out these little LED tickers. Alarm clocks, like, to put on the refrigerator. Counts down the seconds until the rogue black hole intersects the orbit of earth. A year from now. That’s all we have left.
The tides will drown us first. One of the comets will hit us. A planet or a moon will, or comes close enough to yank the earth from its orbit. What difference does it make? What difference is cancer? Parkinson’s. A heart attack. A bullet. A car. A black hole. All our deaths are projectiles, hurtling through blood streams or interstellar space or dark coastal roads at targets with no proper sense of the size of the barrel they’re swimming in.
I switch the radio off. “I don’t want to hear this.”
5 Things you’ve learned about self-publishing
1. You’re going to make mistakes.
Even if you had the support of a literary agency or traditional publishing house, not everything is going to be perfect when it comes to rolling out your book. There will be typos – oh, there will be typos. The cover may not be what you expect and you have to start over. You may forget to include the relevant buy link in an email to your newsletter subscribers. These are all mistakes I’ve made and they come with the territory. Mistakes happen, and you learn from them.
2. Don’t rush.
There is no incentive whatsoever to rush into any part of the process. A lot of advice out there steer people toward quantity over quality when it comes to self publishing, emphasizing back lists and revenue streams. Literally none of that matters if that work isn’t there. If the writing is poor and rushed, the cover the same, if you haven’t taken care with every part of the process, it won’t matter how many books you post.
Being an indie author is a little like screaming into the void. No one is listening. You need to listen. There is a lot of advice and how-to’s out there and some of it is very good. But listen to the experience of authors who are doing it, both successfully and otherwise. How did they accomplish their goals? What are they frustrated with? What have they learned to avoid, having gone through the process?
4. Build slowly.
Don’t try and do everything all at once. There is so much to do and you are very likely doing it on your own. You need a book. You need to format it, edit it, list it, etc. You need a website. You need to have some kind of way to reach your audience – newsletter, social media, all of the above. All of these are big endeavours and like the book, don’t benefit from being rushed. Take your time. Do one thing at a time. Give everything your full attention.
5. Be yourself.
There are tens of thousands of books published every year. What’s special about yours? The only difference is you. There is no value in trying to write to market, or chase trends. Everything has been done and will be done again, but there will never be another you, so be you. Write your book. Follow your voice. Invest yourself in the work. It may not make you famous or rich, but you’ll be in good company as 99% of writers are neither. But you’ll be the author of a book no one else could have written. You’ll be the architect of something singular and true.
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Darby Harn studied at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, as part of the Irish Writing Program. He is the author of the sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, The Coffin Bell and other venues.
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/darbyharn
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Darby-Harn-255976537767428