17 June 2015

On Writing, the 2015 AKH edition

I gotta say, I just love my writing situation.

I love writing, of course.  Making up worlds, putting people in them, adding unfortunate circumstances and then spinning out the consequences.  So. Much. Fun.

And I love being read.

I love that other people can walk into worlds that I have created.  I get a huge kick out of watching readers react to certain twists, or seeing which characters they fall for, or whether they spotted the clever thing.  Fan mail is awesome, and I'm an inveterate ego-searcher on Google, and really enjoy the discussions about my books.  Even the negative ones can be enlightening, though I often read them with a raised eyebrow or a 'well, all that went over your head didn't it?' expression.

I'm more mindful of probable reader response now, when I write, though I usually write the things I want to write anyway.

For that reason (among others), I love self-publishing.

I particularly love being able to write whatever the fuck I want, even YA including swear words.  I'll take the occasional one star review for swearing if I think it's character-appropriate. :D

Being able to write non-commercial stories (which, frankly, most of mine are when you look at what is popular and what I choose to write) is a big bonus for me.  I'm happy not to have to fret about not being able to sell the next book in a series, even if it has, say,  a...subdued critical response like Pyramids, or really low sales numbers like Stained Glass Monsters.  I can still happily work on The Sleeping Life, which is the kind of 'quiet' novel without a big hook that would struggle to get accepted at any publisher.

And I can embark on something off-the-wall, like Snug Ship (first in the Singularity Game series), which has a ton of wish fulfilment and a complete over-indulgence in my addiction to MMOs (and, uh, an ending that will make readers want to strangle me, if only for the pun in the final sentence), and choose exactly how much explanation of gaming terms I stick in.  Readers who are gamers will find it effortless, and there's a glossary for everyone else.  I get to make that call.

Self-pub isn't without its down sides (I'll have to get around to writing up my most negative self-pub experience one day), and I've got plenty of ground to cover before I can hope to be a full-time writer - in part because I choose to always prioritise the fun over tedious things like marketing, but also because I live in Sydney.  But every so often I look at how my life is going because of self-publishing, and can only stop and appreciate the moment.

I'm getting paid to have fun, and people randomly email me compliments.



  1. Oh just so you know, this was posted on a forum: http://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/391ks8/why_you_should_read_andrea_k_h%C3%B6st_a_guide/

    1. Hi Britneyspearow. Thanks for the link! [I had seen it, and thoroughly enjoyed the huge compliment. :) ]

  2. RANDOM COMPLIMENT: I am about a third of the way through Bones of the Fair and it is just delightful. I think Darest may be my favourite of your worlds, which I would for various reasons not have expected.

    (Oh, and ONE DAY EVENTUALLY I will review Pyramids, but I think I have a complicated response to it that will probably require a reread. But I found it immensely impressive).

    1. It's one of the more numinous worlds - the Fair are rather ponderously alien and it was interesting trying to capture that.

      Pyramids has evoked a whole range of responses. A lot of people have bounced off the depth of the worldbuilding (and others have found it perfectly straightforward), and others have been disappointed that the romantic plotline isn't foregrounded. For me, part of it was a really interesting exercise in characterisation, since Rian is both strong-minded and (lack of money aside) was happy with herself and her life. And then I kept hitting her with blow after blow - some violent, like the vampire attack )that substantially left her with mild PTSD, and some unnerving and some pleasant but with big consequences. I really enjoyed contrasting Rian's internal viewpoint of who she was with Ned's viewpoint of how her aunt felt.


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