The Official Blog of Iain Rob Wright

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Gates is finally on sale. This is a novel that I put a lot of time and effort into, and at 100k words long, it's got plenty to get your teeth into. Lots of characters, locations, and horror. Check out the description below:

A world ending thrill ride of epic proportions. With so many characters and so many twists, it's like the horror equivalent of Game of Thrones.


Iain Rob Wright is sick and twisted. - David Moody, author of the Autumn series. 

What will you do when the world ends? That’s a question that needs answering quickly when the gates to Hell open up all over Earth. Taking place across the globe is an apocalypse like no other, and humanity will find itself at war against a smart and merciless foe. Follow the struggles to survive with several characters as things go from bad to worse. Humanity is dwindling. 

Guy Granger is a Coast Guard captain in search of his kids. Mina Magar is a photojournalist taking pictures of horror she could never have imagined. Rick Bastion is a fading pop star with his head in a bottle and no hope for his future. Tony Cross is a soldier stuck on the Iraq-Syria border, but fighting insurgents is no longer a priority as a new threat emerges. Follow them all as they fight to stay alive. 

When the gates open, all Hell will break loose! 

Get it on Amazon from the links below:

US - http://www.iainrobwright.com/TheGatesUSA

UK - http://www.iainrobwright.com/TheGatesUK

CA - http://www.amazon.ca/Gates-Apocalyptic-Horror-Novel-ebook/dp/B014LB61Z6

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

"The Gates" Prologue (Work in Progress)...

Elizabeth Creasy froze.

The mother duck and her fluffy grey ducklings marched single file in front of her, crossing from the hedges on one side of the road to the embankment on the other. When the mother duck noticed Elizabeth standing nearby with her Springer Spaniel, Fenton, she nervously picked up speed. Her brood, in turn, also picked up speed. Within a few hurried moments, the feathery advance was finished and both the mother and her babies had disappeared into the deep grass of the embankment.

Elizabeth took a huge breath of fresh air and grinned. “What a wonderful day,” she informed Fenton, who merely stood by her side, ready to get going again.

It was indeed a wonderful day. Two years retired and she was yet to get bored with her lack of responsibilities. Her walks across the fields and woods next to her home were always exhilarating. After years of working in an office, she had forgotten the benefits of so much fresh air. She felt younger each passing year, not older, and at sixty-seven she was as able-bodied as when she was forty — loving life more than she had at twenty. Of course it would’ve been all the better if her beloved , Dennis, had still been with her. A heart attack at fifty-eight had taken him while he was driving his bus route. The crash had injured nobody, but Elizabeth had been left a heart-broken widow. Oh, how she would have enjoyed retirement with Dennis.

Since Elizabeth had retired and acquired herself a canine companion in Fenton, she had seen the value in enjoying what was left of her life. Dennis had loved her, and she him, so there was no reason to mourn the wonderful life they had spent together. She now looked upon her past fondly and allowed it to fuel her smile for the rest of the day.

Up ahead, Elizabeth saw the little knoll she enjoyed climbing. A year ago the act of hiking up the small hill had assaulted her knees, but now she often made it up in a brisk and sprightly fashion. From atop the modest incline, she could usually see right across the rolling fields and farmland all the way to the village of Crapstone.

“Come on, Fenton, up we go!”

Always obedient, Fenton started up the hill at a pace matching his owner’s. Together they trampled the thick, green grass and headed for the top. The backdrop to the hike was one of natural beauty: birds chirping, trees swaying, and sunshine so warm it seemed to have hands, massaging her shoulders. It was a perfect day.

She started singing. “All things bright and beautiful…”

At the top of the hill, Fenton barked. Unlike him.

Elizabeth leaned down and patted her companion on the head. “Okay, Fenton, settle down.”

Fenton barked again.

“Now, now, Fenton. Settle down.”

Fenton shuffled from paw to paw; floppy black ears twitching. Elizabeth was just about to scold him when she saw what had got him so worked up.

“Hmm, that wasn’t there yesterday, was it?”

The smooth black stone was about the size of a football and completely out of place up there on the hill. There were no other rocks or boulders and certainly none that were jet-black. The stone would have resembled a bowling ball if not for the fine grey veins running all along its surface. The closer Elizabeth got to it, though, the less smooth and black it appeared — like how a television picture degraded when you went right up to the screen.

Fenton began to tug on his lead, almost yanked it free of her grasp. She gave the lead a yank and brought the dog back to her side, ignoring the throaty growl coming from him. “Heel, Fenton.”

Elizabeth reached out a hand to the stone, without knowing why other than something inside of her seemed to require it of her. Her fingertips were just about to touch the veiny grey surface of the strange rock when Fenton bit her hand.

She recoiled and dropped the lead, which led to her dog sprinting away, full pelt, down the hill.

“Fenton!” she bellowed after him. “Fenton!”

No way to catch up with a speeding dog; she would just have to hope that he came to his senses and returned on his own. But why had Fenton bitten her? He was such a good dog, a gentle dog.

Her hand throbbed, a purplish-blue blotch where one of Fenton’s long canines had crushed her skin against bone. It already hurt to touch and was beginning to throb mercilessly. The throbbing was so bad that it seemed to travel all the way to her head, and resounded in her ribcage.

She turned and glanced back down at the strange stone.

The throbbing inside her body was not caused by the bite on her hand, Elizabeth realised. It was coming from the strange black stone in front of her. As she knelt closer she saw that the delicate grey veins had begun vibrating, almost pulsing, as something seemed to bubble and flow beneath the surface.

Elizabeth couldn’t help herself but to reach out again.

Her fingertips moved slowly through the vibrating air, partly because she was afraid, but partly because she was excited. There was something about this strange stone that spoke to her, aroused her love for beauty and nature. However this thing had arrived at the top of the hill, it was a hidden treasure. A hidden treasure that she alone had discovered — like the mother duck and her babies. You never could predict what nature would show you. That was what had made her feel so young again these last few years: she had surrounded herself with the innocent, natural beauty of the earth.
Elizabeth’s fingertips pressed down against the strange black stone and she was surprised to find that the surface was ice cold, despite the warm sun beating down on it. 

It felt like running her hand down the inside of a fridge.

Then something seized Elizabeth. 

She tried to pull her hand away but was unable to move. Her fingertips were glued to the cold black surface of the stone. Starting to burn. Her eyes went wide and her mouth dropped open as something took a hold on her mind and showed her the most incredible things — so incredible that she felt the images sear themselves onto her soul and boil the blood in her veins. She saw horror, suffering, and torture of the worst kind. And she saw an army of monstrous creatures beyond her understanding. 

She saw Hell.

The images in her mind were so wondrous and terrifying that her eyeballs melted inside her skull and her heart burst like a pinpricked balloon. She remained standing for some time, mind trapped in agony, soul burning in flames. When her sixty-seven year old body finally fell down, it was no more than a husk.


In the distance, Fenton chased a deer.

Monday, 20 April 2015

The business of writing...

I was recently asked to participate in a project being run by TheLadders where they are reaching out to writers and asking them what advice they would give for new graduates attempting to break into the field. TheLadders are a career resource for professionals across all vocations and at at any stage of their careers. You should check them out. www.theladders.com.

So here is my advice:

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Most authors nowadays understand that things are different to how they used to be. Being a storyteller is no longer like being a rockstar. It isn't about crossing your fingers and hoping for a big break - a big break that brings millions of dollars and power lunches in New York and book signings in London. It's about good business. No more literary rock stars, just businessmen and women.

Are things better now? I think so. There is still the odd rockstar out there, like James Patterson, Lee Child, J K Rowling, and the rest. Like Paul McCartney and Madonna, these writers will remain rich and successful until they eventually die out. And rightly so, for these people were the hard workers of the previous generation. But once they are gone, things will carry on without them. In their place is a new and improved free market where anyone can sink or swim. Everyone gets handed the same pair of speedos and it's up to them to keep themselves in shape and stay afloat. There are no more sharks in the water, deciding who lives and who dies, but the water has become chock-full of swimmers fighting for room. The weakest swimmers are going to drown.

Business is hard. Doesn't matter whether you are selling sandwiches or writing books. Most businesses fail. Now that writing has become a free enterprise, most writers will unfortunately fail. But that's always been true. The positive changes we have seen recently mean that at least now more writers will SUCCEED, and that is why today is a better time than ever to be an aspiring writer.

Now that writing is a business, the only person in control of whether or not you fail or succeed is you. Your books are your products and you need to sell them. You will do this in the same way as any other business sells its wares. Common sense and entrepreneurialism.

0. Understand that writing is a craft
Before we start, I just want to make one thing very clear. You can't just decide one day to be a writer;  no more than you can just sit at a piano and decide you want to become your generation's Beethoven. Writing is a passion and an innate skill, but it is also a craft and a trade that needs to be learned. An author should be well read, not just in their chosen genre but in the study of writing itself. Fill your bookshelf with texts on plotting, grammar, novel-writing, description, and anything else that a writer needs to know. Understand that writing a book takes as much education as it does innate talent. Learn the purpose of a sentence before you start tossing them around like some sort of word-hooker.

It would also serve you well to learn as much as you can about Word Processors, Photoshop, website design, eCommerce, accounting, blogging, twitter, newsletters, and anything else that the business of writing will entail. The more you know, the better. Always learn whatever you can.

1. Start small, grow big
Now that the self-publishing environment is bedded in, there is little chance of a becoming a 1 book millionaire. Instead, your first book is likely to make you peanuts, but that's okay. It's really okay. Every new business starts small. The first step is only to get a hook in the mountain; after that you can start climbing and planting flags. Write your first book and make it the very best you can - spend as long as you can on it. If you are serious about making writing your living, then use some of your savings to hire a good editor and purchase some professional artwork. You may balk at spending $1000 on what seems like a self-indulgent hobby, but remember that you are trying to start a business here. Most businesses lose money in year 1 (and 2 and 3). It's an investment and you need to spend money to make money. Your intention is to make that money back with interest.

Once you get that first book published on Amazon, itunes, or some place else, sit back for a moment and enjoy the excitement, but then get back to work. Like any business, you now need feedback on your product. Offer free copies for review, give it away for nothing on Amazon in a promotion, swap with another writer and help each other. Don't be overly proud by demanding that people must pay for your hard and valuable work, because that will be your downfall. As a new business, your sole goal at this point is to get your brand in front of people. When a new chocolate company starts up, what do they do? They give away free samples at the supermarket to get their milky goodness in people's mouths. You need to do the same. Fill people's mouths with your milky goodness. Get those reviews coming in, good or bad. Take note of what they are saying and accept them as market research. Your ending sucked? Well, remember that for you next product (or book 1 version 2). Listen, improve, and pay attention to your customers. Once you get some reviews racking up, you may be able to approach larger book review sites or promoters like Bookbub. Everything you do should be geared towards disseminating your book into the world. At the same time, you also need to be working on book 2.

2. Develop your brand.
Make your name synonymous with your genre. When people say Stephen King they think horror. You now need to start living and breathing your genre. Tweet about your favourite films and books, try to get interviewed by websites that cover your genre. Join Facebook groups that enjoy the kind of books your write. Get yourself embedded in the culture of the people you are selling to.

Build yourself a website, nothing fancy, but let people know you're around to stay. Make sure that if people google your name they find you. When people visit your website you have control over the information they see about you, so don't undersell yourself. You may be small, but never admit to that. You may lack confidence at this point, but never let it show. You are the Boss, the greatest writer in the whole frikkin' world and anyone who has discovered you is damn lucky. If you visit a website looking for a new sofa and are met with a bunch of childish nonsense and amateur web design, you will look elsewhere, right? So even with 1 book and no sales, your website needs to make it seem like you are rubbing shoulders with Anne Rice and Thomas Harris on a daily basis. If you want to compete with bestselling authors, your brand needs to be as good as theirs. Copy their layouts and designs if you have to. See what a professional website should look like and make yours the same. Established authors may look at you like some impudent upstart, but fuck them. This is business. Let all the big name authors know that you're coming for them!

Your brand should always be a key focus from now on and will continue to evolve as you do so as a writer. Create a reusable font for your name so that all your books share a familiar style. Apply the designs to your website, too. Pick a colour and make it your own (mine is purple). Work out a catchphrase for your promotional material (mine is: Fear on every page). Get yourself signed up to every single social media site in existence, old and new. You can always unsubscribe to the ones that suck later.

Find the fans that enjoy your work and be good to them. They are your family now and will be with you for a long time. Give them freebies whenever you can or even meet up with them if you are a social butterfly. Your cheerleaders will always be the first to review your books, point out typos, inform you of opportunities, and they are the most important asset your business has. You have attracted fans and now you need to maintain brand loyalty by never letting them down (the hardest part of the job). Don't be a schmuck. Don't make everything about you. Share the work of other aspiring writers. Show an interest in the lives of your fans. Post about things other than your work and share what you know. Give a piece of yourself to those supporting you and be a nice guy. ALWAYS BE A NICE GUY. Or gal.

3. Grow
Once you have built your platform and started your brand, you need to grow. That chocolate company has gotten people hooked on its candy bar, but now it needs to release a new product to keep the business flowing and growing. A healthy business is a growing business. Never stand still. You need to write a second book. You can write a sequel, or something completely new - doesn't matter. What does matter is that you use what you learned from book 1. Address any concerns raised in your bad reviews or via feedback. Remember the mistakes your editor picked up in book 1 and try to avoid them. Do everything you can to make book 2 better and yourself a better writer. Then, when book 2 is done, sink all of your profits from book 1 into hiring an editor again and getting more artwork. It may feel like a lot of work for no reward, but remember that you are growing. You now have 2 books instead of 1.

When book 2 is released, let all of your followers know. Don't shove it in people's faces, but make it easy to find. You can even run a promotion on the first book to promote the second (make sure you link to the 2nd book at the end of the 1st). You can give away your new book for free, just to get some momentum going, or you can sit back and wait. There's not a massive amount you can do at this point, because you are still in the growing phase of your business. What you really need to do is write book 3.

You now have a healthy platform established and hopefully a trickle of sales coming through. Hopefully you also get periodic reviews appearing on their own and maybe even a nice email or two coming from a fan. Once this is happening, your business is organic. It's breathing on its own. People are talking about it, Amazon is ranking and promoting it, google is linking to it. A total stranger could fall upon your book and buy it. You don't have a massive presence yet, but you exist. The best thing you can do now is create more products to sell to your existing customer base and to increase your odds of attracting new business. Every new reader is a building block in your empire.

You should also look towards expanding your existing products to as many platforms as you can. Do you have audiobook, paperback, and ebook versions all available? If not, then get it done. Maximise your income streams for every title, because this is the time where you either sink or swim.

4. Be the business
Hopefully, when you have 3 or 4 books out, you'll be earning enough money to cover the cost of editing and releasing your next book while also leaving you a small profit. Keep writing new books while looking for ways to promote your catalogue of existing products. Promote 'yourself' wherever possible rather than a single book. Direct people to your website whenever you can. Sign them up to your newsletter (Mailchimp). Offer a book or two cheaply or even permanently free to keep on dragging in new customers. Keep momentum going in anyway you can. Now that your have some experience, do some blog posts and share what you know. Start selling signed copies of your paperbacks to fans. Contact some of your role models and see if they reply. Start acting like you're a successful writer, because you are. Writing a book is hard, and you now have several, so in that you are already a success. Well done. You are making money from your books. Well done. People are enjoying your books. Well done. (If people are not enjoying your books at this point, then maybe it's time to face harsh facts).

This is your life now, you should take what you are earning and scale it up to the point where you can quit whatever other jobs you have and write fulltime. Do you have 5 books earning you half of what you need? Then you know you probably need to write 5 or 6 more to go fulltime. Maybe you need to write 20. At least now you should have some idea. That's your business plan. Write as many books as it takes to be a fulltime writer. Once you achieve that, it's all gravy.

5. Go with the flow
In the four years I have been doing this, things have changed a dozen times. I have been up and down and sideways. Now that writing is an enterprise, it is extremely volatile. Successful businesses can and do go bankrupt. You can make it big one minute and lose it all the next. The only way to curb the risks is by forever being on the cusp of the industry's waves. Always pay attention to what is going on now and what appears likely to happen next. Never let anything take you by surprise. Always plan for the worst and always look for ways to climb above your rivals. If you see an opportunity, take it. Have an idea that no one else has thought of? Then put it into play. In business, it is innovators who last longest.