As I have detailed elsewhere, before I got taken on by Macmillan I was working my way up the writing ladder with numerous setbacks along the way. I did not leap from zero to a big publisher as has been the case with some and I’m quite glad about that. I learned the craft from that zero, to small articles in local papers, to stories in small presses for which I was paid nothing, to a few quid for stories, to novellas and collections and on upwards. I’ve had an agent that went nowhere, numerous companies taking my stuff and going to the wall. I’ve made the error of sending a snotty letter to a publisher because of a delay and having my submitted piece kicked. And I’ve learned along the way. After 20+ years of effort I got to see my books published around the world. And now have been producing books for another 20+ years on top of that.
One upshot of this is that when Macmillan did take me on I had done hundreds of shorts stories, a number of novellas and various other bits and pieces either sitting unpublished in my computer or with small presses. Some of them came back to me as those small presses either went to the wall of shut up shop. I needed to decide what to do with all this stuff and, I gathered from fans, there was an appetite for it despite it being produced along my learning curve. Then along came Amazon Kindle, and latterly Print-on-Demand.
I didn’t expect much from this – just a way to make this work available to the few who might be interested – so I gave it a try. I put on there a novella called Mindgames: Fool’s Mate published by a company doing airport books and which fell foul of the net book agreement. I put another called The Parasite, published by Tanjen Books for a while until that closed down. Three short stories published in a magazine called Kimota and then distributed as a booklet at and SF convention went in – and those were Mason’s Rats. Another was a short collection called Runcible Tales published by a small press called Piper’s Ash, which closed down. And since then I’ve been throwing other stuff that way like a collection called Owner of Worlds, and a novella called The Bosch.
In every case I put these up with their old covers or something generic selected from the Amazon Kindle site. However, seeing that these constantly keep selling, I decided some time back that I should really give them some decent updated covers. How I got to the ones you see here involves something else I put out through Ian Whates’ company Newcon Press. Prior to and during lockdown I produced a few short stories but mainly novellas and published these as Lockdown Tales. I’ve since sent in Lockdown Tales II which you will see next year. I much liked the cover picture for the first book done by Vincent Sammy and so contacted him about doing covers for all my Kindle/POD stuff. I told him to take his time and see what he comes up with and here show you the results for The Parasite and The Bosch. More will be incoming, including a large collection of short stories which, not fitting any particular genre, I have titled Fantastical.