What 2013 holds for Tony

Posted by Tony James Slater 

Tony in Perth

Well ladies and gents, it’s 2013 already! The world didn’t end (though I’m told some believe it did end, but we just weren’t told about it) – but for the world of books and writing, a reckoning is certainly coming…

But enough of the doom and gloom! Because, to be quite honest, 2012 was a damn good year for me. A roller-coaster to be sure, but a happy and exhilarating one, rather than one where some kid in the seat behind throws up in your hair and you twist a bollock squashing into the car next to a fat bloke with bad BO.

Ugh! Flashback to Alton Towers, 2010. Shudder.


Anyway! As my fellow Nomads have already demonstrated, we’ve decided to answer a bunch of questions, chosen with no particular skill or care, in no particular order. Because that’s how we roll – like the many tiny stones that start an avalanche, and then end up buried beneath it… hang on, that wasn’t quite the analogy I was looking for. Um, well, I think my point is, ah… exactly!


So, without further ado – to the questions!


1) What were the high-and-low points of 2012 for you?

Well, this is an easy one! The high point came in July, when I celebrated a year since self-publishing my first book by making it available for free on Amazon! After almost 23,000 downloads, I got to see it sitting pretty at No.1 overall in the Amazon.co.uk free charts. I took a few screenshots of that, I can tell you! And the rest of the month was a bumper one, my best to date – I came within double digits of selling two and a half thousand copies that month! Ahhh…

And the low point came immediately afterwards, as I watched my book slide back down the charts, all the way to obscurity – and there was nothing I could do about it, because I was writing like fury trying to complete my second book before Christmas. To complete my roller-coaster simile, this is like the bit where a bolt falls into your lap as you fly around the loop-the-loop…

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 19.41.04

2) Have you ditched any Works-In-Progress?

Yes! I have. Alas. I had an idea to write a short book, novella-length, about a Grand Adventure I took with my wife just after we got married. I’d inherited £1,000 you see, and we decided to see how far around England it would get us.

Not very far, is the answer. But still, we had lots of fun and I thought a little book about it, offered for free on Amazon, might be a clever way to ‘hook’ people in and persuade them to fork out a couple of quid for one of my longer books. I spent almost two months bashing it out (the story, I’m talking about the story!) – before deciding that it was crap. And customer expectation is very high these days, even of free books – so putting out something crap, even if I wasn’t charging anything for it, would not be the wisest of PR moves. So it went where old writing goes to die, in the nether-regions of my Macbook Pro’s hard drive.

I mourn it still! But more than anything I mourn the lost time. Just think what you could do in two months! If I had it back, I’d build a… No, I’d write an incredible… or paint… ah, bugger it. Honestly, I think I’d spend it in bed. Sleeping. Mostly.

Tony at Christmas

3) Have your plans for getting published changed at all?

HELL YES!!! (And that phrase deserves every single one of those exclamation marks! Well, maybe two of them.) Yes, 2012 really opened my eyes to the possibilities of self-publishing. Previously, it had been a last resort – since no other bugger wanted to publish my work, I figured I might as well do it myself. But this year I saw it. People I know being scooped up into dream contracts, with Amazon themselves, no less! Celebrity authors walking away from life-changing amounts of money to self-publish. And little old me, at the bottom of the heap – somehow acquiring a handful of readers, and building up to the point where I have a real chance at the big time! Or at getting a few more readers, anyway.

But the best part is, I get to do it all myself! Which quadruples the work-load of course, and makes me a healthy target for anyone wishing to decry the rise of the indie movement – but you know what? It’s worth it. And will be even more when Amazon invite me in to their ivory tower lined with gold and diamonds, and sit me down on a sofa upholstered in out-of-work literary agents and publishers! Okay, maybe that will never happen. I’m fairly sure some bits of it are pure fantasy… but the point is, once you DIY, it’s hard to imagine going back. So unless it was a VERY lucrative deal – I’d be saying thanks, but no thanks, to the traditional publishing industry. And imagining them with cushions on.


4) And finally… What are your plans for 2013?

This is going to be an epic year. I can feel it in my water! No, not that water! I keep a jar on my desk purely for prophetic purposes. And my jar says… I’m going to Mongolia! For six months! Where I will meet a tall, dark stranger… (Okay, I’m lying about the jar.) But my wife and I are indeed taking a trip, all around Asia – and I plan to do a great many fun – and perhaps slightly dangerous – things. After all, I started writing my third book – about Australia – on Boxing Day, and by the time that’s done, I’m going to need some materiel for Book Four!

So my plans run like this:

  • Write third book.
  • Trek across Mongolia.
  • Visit Tibet. Climb mountains.
  • Visit China. Climb a big wall.
  • Visit Vietnam, jump off cliffs…
  • Oh, yes!
  • Oh, and get famous.
  • In no particular order.


But wait – one last thing!

Thought you were done with me, eh? Well I say NAY!

Because I just HAVE to share with you my favourite book of 2012. One of my favourite books of all-time, in fact:


WOOL by Hugh Howey

This amazing dystopian sci-fi story has gripped more than just me – it’s gripped the whole world, and is currently being released all over it like a giant vat of awesome-sauce! And how come I’ve already read it, when it’s only just coming out? Why, because WOOL was self-published first, of course! By Hugh Howey; a truly talented wordsmith, whose day has finally come. And there’s another reason for me to love WOOL – beyond it’s pacey, claustrophobic tension and the characters that I can’t wait to read more about – I just can’t help thinking that if Hugh can do this – then maybe, just maybe – I can too…



Thanks for reading folks! Have a fantastic 2013! I love you all.