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UK freelance journalist and author Sean McManus

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My new book: University of Death

07 August 2007

Book cover: University of DeathI've written a novel. For the last way-too-many months, I've been putting my free time into making up a story and hammering it out on my keyboard. It needs proofing and probably needs some nips and tucks, but it's already a novel and it's nearly final. It comes to 106,410 words and 372 pages, although I might well trim it in the final edit.

I'm planning to self-publish it via Lulu because I want to get it out there quickly and I don't really have the time or energy to chase publishers to take an interest in it. I'd probably have to change a few things I don't want to if I was to get it conventionally published, as well. Since I've been a professional writer for over ten years and had several non-fiction books published, I don't really feel a need to work with a conventional publisher to validate my book, in the way that some authors do.

Two perfect-bound copies of the book arrived from Lulu today, so I can proof it. It feels good to see all those word processor files finally transformed into a reasonably chunky book. I hope that I enjoy it when I read it for the first time from start to finish. As I've thumbed through it, I've already spotted a few typos to fix and a few nice ideas I'd forgotten I'd had. It's been through several revisions along the way, so most of it is in good shape.

What's it about? It's a satire of the music industry, centred on a major record label and those who invest their hopes and dreams in it. It brings together my passions for listening to music, concerts, songwriting, technology and, er..., retrogaming. The book is called 'University of Death', after the heavy rock band at the centre of much of the action.

I plan to self-publish it in the autumn (which is a particularly vague term given our current climate). I'll put a free chapter or two online then.

There are people much better qualified to talk about how to plot and write a novel, but I'll probably blog something about the logistics of writing a novel later on. Now that I've broken my silence on the project (both online and in real life), I'll be happy to take any questions about it if you've got any.


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Blimey, congratulations! You kept that quiet. I'll be first in the queue to buy a copy when it's ready!
Thank you! I'll be delighted to have you as my first reader!

I did keep it quiet. Only Karen knew about it while I was writing it. The ideas shifted around so much during development, that I didn't want to talk about it until everything was in its right place. The project took a long time as well, and it would have been impossible for outsiders to sustain interest in the conversation over the whole project's length, especially since I didn't want to release any content prematurely.
I shall be second in that queue!
Crikey Sean, that's hugely impressive!
Hey, Sean! Congrats on writing the book - it looks like something I'd really enjoy. (I've started writing about the music industry, too. It's fun to write songs about writing songs, for example, which I had a go at on my new record.) Anyway, when and where can we buy it?.. Do they ship to Australia?
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