I finished writing my middle-grade action adventure novel set in London and Duat – the land of the dead in ancient Egyptian religion. The title so far is Cleo Dalby and the curse of the Chaos Mummies. It had several other titles, but this one seems to suit the tone and genre of the book.
It has been beta tested, edited quite a bit. Beta read again, edited again and again and again… I think it is ready to be let out into the big, wide world.
So, what do I next?
Should I try traditional publishing, agent etc? Or, should I self-publish?
I know the pros and cons of both kinds of publishing having been published by a small publishing house and self-published. Both have their good points and bad. I have heard that it is very difficult to sell children’s or middle-grade books if you self-publish. I don’t know how true that is, but I have heard it said by quite a few authors.
Now that I am a self-published author, I like it. I have control over all aspects of marketing and editorial decisions. A thing I did not have when under contract. I am inclined towards self-publishing this book for those reasons.
However, I may just send it out to a few well-chosen agents that have enough authority and respect within the publishing world, to possibly get me signed to a major publishing house. Why? Because I am unsure of how my book will sell. Most books written for children under the age of fourteen are bought by parents for their children. After speaking to a lot of parents, they said they hardly ever, if ever, bought a book by a self-published author. This may not be true of every adult who buys books for young people.
Am I talking myself into traditional publishing here?
I’m somewhat confused.
Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, and advice would be gratefully received.
I have posted an extract from the book.
No cover as yet. This will have to do.
Cleo Dalby and the Curse of the Chaos Mummies
If you were twelve-years-old and possessed by evil, what would you do?
Curses, chaos, mummies, gods and the fight to save mankind.
We Are Not Alone
Darkness pushed against Cleo Dalby’s arms and legs as she struggled to make her way through the narrow chamber. Hands outstretched before her, she slid her feet forward, straining to hear something, anything. But every sound, even the skid-slap of her sandals on the stone floor, became lost in the gloom. On Cleo walked slow and tentative, deeper into the world of corpses.
A sigh, long and weary-filled drifted towards her. It seemed to gather friends as it neared, and soon the sad laments of dozens of disembodied voices surrounded her. The moans continued, drifting in and out of her ears like tired moths trapped inside a lampshade. She tried to struggle on, but the wails tugged at her ankles, forcing her to stop and listen to the muffled chatter that swirled and scuttled inside her head.
“We, the dead, abide here. Quietly resting, hands on chest, faces tilted up to catch a ray of sunlight.”
“A futile gesture. For this far below the ground, there is only blackness and the weight of stone.”
“We, the dead, lie still, poised in readiness for our resurrection.”
“What a wait we’ve had. So many years spent lying in a state of half-remembered promises and expectations, grown dull with the passing of each century.”
“We, the dead, no longer know who we are. Memories fade and melt into our hollow skulls.”
“We, the dead, sometimes whisper to each other.”
“Husks of words from dried up lips that stick to the cold walls, waiting for the living to listen.”
Cleo touched the limestone with her fingertips and thought she heard a murmuring of souls.
“We, the dead, can feel a presence.”
A breath of ancient brushed past her cheek. She shivered and rubbed her naked arms. The chill slapped onto her legs and spread upwards leaving pimples of stiff-haired unease on her sunburnt flesh. She gulped and said into the blackness, “Hello? Is anyone there? My name is Cleo.”
The voices ceased.
She called again, but no answer came. There was a smell of rot so strong that Cleo nearly vomited. It disappeared and she felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She stood tall, shrugged, and said, “The dark is just an absence of light,” then shook the torch that was gripped in her hand. “Stupid, froggin’ thing. Work.” She patted it against her palm. “Work.” Something touched her shoulder and Cleo jumped.
You can read a longer extract on my website under the heading Cleo Dalby: