March is over, and it was incredibly busy but rewarding. Work on Human Resources has continued at pace, with an important milestone being achieved.

Developmental Edit
I’ve been working with my developmental editor to turn the draft manuscript into something that will truly shine. It’s been hard work, but during the last month we reached an important milestone — we finished work on the change plan (completed the new outline) and I have now started the rewrite. I wrote a blog about the developmental edit process and reaching this milestone on my website. I’m now flat out writing every night, preparing a new version of the manuscript. There are numerous new scenes, a lot of changes to existing scenes, and writing them will progress at an uneven rate (as a general rule, new scenes will take much longer to write than updating an existing scene). However, I’ll keep you informed (and myself on the hook) by reporting progress as I go! The chart below shows the current status of the rewrite.

Cover design
Work is commencing on the new cover design! Inkshares have an amazing cover designer working on this for me. Right now he’s gathering information before producing concepts to work through. 

We don’t have a firm production schedule for the book — this stage of the editing process is just too fluid. What I can tell you is it should be sometime (early) in 2018. It is unlikely to be January at this stage, but I hope we’ll get everything in order to get the book out during the first quarter. I’ll keep everyone informed as we progress — the further along the process we get, the more reliable the predicted release date will become.

Say hello!
Don’t forget to jump on my Facebook page and hit like. I’m also on Twitter and Instagram.

March is winding up and significant work is progressing on Human Resources. During the past month, my developmental editor was assigned and read the manuscript. Since then, we’ve been working furiously on the planned edits to whip the book into shape. Matt, my editor, is brilliant. He’s been deconstructing the manuscript with insightful observations, making great suggestions, and generally keeping me working hard. With his support, a new outline for the novel is emerging, that trims away unnecessary distractions, crystallises the themes, and adds extra punch to the plot. The unfortunate outcome of this effort is more work, but I’m excited by the improvements. Human Resources will be dramatically improved by the time it reaches your hands. On a related note: feel free to send me all your caffeine, I’m going to need it :).

If you haven’t already done so, it would be great for everyone to follow my various online accounts — it feeds my ego, staving off the crushing self-doubt of a writer!

Finally, I wanted to point your attention towards two particular projects on Inkshares:

Sorcery for Beginners

A 13-year-old boy finds an easy-to-read, how-to manual for magic. Now he just has to prevent everyone else from stealing it.

Sorcery for Beginners is in production and written by my talented editor. It’s a fun premise and is going to be a great read.

Rule Britannia 

A female airship Captain and her crew work to prevent a despotic Queen Victoria expanding her empire.

This new project is by a fellow Tasmanian and now funding. There isn’t enough steampunk in my life, and Rule Britannia will fill that void in an epic manner. The excerpts have me bouncing up and down for more.   

February is almost over — I’m not quite sure how that happened. Human Resources is with the team at Inkshares, waiting for a developmental editor to tear it apart. I await the first structural edit notes with equal amounts excitement and trepidation. Having someone dissect my work will likely be challenging at times, but it will ensure the final product is the best it can be, and I’m confident I’ll learn a great deal from the experience. I don’t have a detailed production schedule yet, but the tentative release date remains Jan/Feb 2018. As soon as the schedule firms up I’ll let everyone know.

ISBNs, Goodreads and Stores
While waiting for my developmental edits, other activities have been progressing. The novel now has a registered ISBN (978-1942645788) and can be found on major sites such as GoodreadsAmazon, and Book Depository. I also now have recognised author profiles on both Goodreads and Amazon, which is an exciting development.

If you use Goodreads, it would be great if you hopped onto the book page here and added it to your "to-read" shelf. Doing so helps make the book more discoverable on the platform, adding it to feeds, improving search results, and highlighting interest in the book. If you feel inclined, you can also follow me as an author on Goodreads, or Amazon here.

The Jian
I’ve added a new bonus feature to my website — there’s now a new page looking at the Chinese Jian. This traditional short sword is the preferred weapon of my protagonist in Human Resources, and it’s a fitting weapon.

Event Update
AICon is Tasmania’s premier popular culture convention, celebrating TV, movies, anime, comics, and books. This year it will be held during the first weekend in March (4-5 March) at the Wrest Point Convention Centre. If you come along, you’ll find me in the Fan Trader area — I’ll have a table with some give-aways, and will be chatting to anyone who’s interested about my novel. If you’re in Hobart, come along and say hello!

It’s been almost a month since my last update on Human Resources, and I’m pleased to report that month has been productive. I have now completed the second draft of the novel and handed it over to Inkshares for editing.

Thanks to the support of my wife, I was able to take January off to focus on this process. There was a lot of work required to complete the second draft — every existing scene was re-written and thirty-one new scenes added, rounding out the story. The manuscript grew from approximately 58k words, to 70.3k words, then settled back to just under 70k.

This is a critical milestone. From here, the formal editing process begins. There are three stages of editing with Inkshares; developmental, copy, then proof-reading. 

The developmental edit is structural: 

  • Is the pacing right? 
  • Are there any plot holes? 
  • Does this character make sense? 
  • Does this sub-plot go anywhere interesting? 

The developmental edit should take about three months.

The copy edit is technical. It focuses primarily on grammar and spelling, helping make the writing as clean as possible. This edit takes about one month.

Proof reading is the final step, fresh eyes are given the completed manuscript to read cover to cover and provide feedback. When working on the previous two editing stages, you can lose perspective by spending so much time working on specific details. This stage helps make sure the novel "works." This stage takes about one month.

In parallel to the editing, the publisher will have designers working on cover designs etc. I’ve been told who will be working on Human Resources and I’m excited about it. I’m waiting for confirmation as to whether it is something I can announce — stay tuned...

If you would like more details about the publishing process with Inkshares, and what will happen at each stage, the company recently released a post about it here.

New Excerpts

The novel page on Inkshares has several excerpts available to read from the first part of the book. Their platform enables readers to highlight sections they like, and add comments to discuss with other readers and the author. Up until now, I’ve left these excerpts alone as much as possible. I’ve received some great engagement from the community, with a lot of comments and interactions on the excerpts. However, with the second draft finished, I needed to update these excerpts with newer versions. This is now done, so don’t be thrown if all the comments have disappeared. Hopefully, you’ll all agree the new versions are an improvement.

Mailing List

I’ve started an author mailing list and will be sending out a monthly newsletter to people who subscribe. There will be some overlap with my Human Resources updates, but the newsletter will be broader; it will include some of my short stories, blog articles on writing, and information on other projects I become involved in. You can sign up here (and obviously unsubscribe any time if you find it isn’t for you).

Other Projects

I wanted to take an opportunity to highlight some other interesting projects currently funding on Inkshares:  

  • Arcadia, Andre Brun: Peter Pan meets The King in Yellow. Ten strangers must band together and find a way to defeat Suelitta before they lose what is left of their sanity (Horror).
  • The Walls are Closing In, Jacqui Castle: Decades after The Seclusion, during which America constructed massive border walls and sealed itself off from the outside world, thirty-one year old Patricia Evans lives within the panoptic nightmare of a total surveillance state (Dystopian).
  • How to Kiss Like a Movie Star, Leslie Nipkow: What happens when a real-size girl decides to become a movie star? How to Kiss Like a Movie Star is a love story: tragic, funny, unrequited, and occasionally illegal, about death, acting, boxing, breast cancer, secrets, and soap opera (Memoire).
  • King’s Daughter, Julia Bobkoff: King’s Daughter brings to life the 10th century saga of the spirited Danish warrior princess Thyra Haraldsdatter and the man she loved and lost, Norway’s legendary maverick King Olaf Tryggvason—a tale of love, war, betrayal, and redemption (Historical Fiction).
  • The Phantom Forest, Liz Kerin: In a war-torn tribal city inhabited by mystical spirits, a young woman named Seicha is ritually sacrificed to a demon and must navigate the dangers of the Underworld to protect the family she left behind from beyond the grave (Fantasy).

Happy New Year!

I hope this update finds you all well and relaxed after the holidays. Now the competition / campaign has finished, I’ll be sending out reader updates for Human Resources less frequently. The competition was intense, but the publication process should be a more measured journey. I’ll aim to update you all roughly every month. If you would like to chat, or get some questions answered, I’m happy for you to reach out. You can get hold of me on Inkshares, on Facebook, or Twitter.

Before Inkshares can commence the publication process, there is some remaining work I need to do to tidy up the manuscript. To make sure I don’t hold this process up, I’ve taken the leap and will be writing full-time through January. I’m one week into this and it has been amazing — something I never thought I’d be able to do, and wouldn’t if it wasn’t for the support I’ve received from my wife.

I’ve included a simple table below to give you an idea on progress. The first draft of the manuscript has been completed and I’m now working on a rewrite to produce the second draft (which is what I will submit to Inkshares). As you can see, I’m a long way through the second draft, and expect to have it ready for Inkshares by the end of the month.

Once the manuscript is handed in, it will take about twelve months for the book to hit shelves. This includes approximately five months of editing, followed by the actual manufacture, distribution, and marketing efforts.

Thank you all for your support. For now, I’m going to get back to finishing the manuscript :)


Inkstache Dash McCallum · Author · added about 1 year ago
Here here!  Three cheers!  Did we do that already?  Four cheers!
098de134cf14fc66a9c66b4f51abf753 Ferd Crôtte · Author · added about 1 year ago

Just swinging by to congratulate you on this major life accomplishment! I am so very happy for you and wish you every success with the future of Human Resources. Inkshares Launch Pad Contest Winner. The Ridley Scott prize. wow, Wow, WOW!!!


Hello all, my apologies for keeping you all in suspence since my last minute plea  in the final moments of the competition. 

It was an unbelievably close competition in the end. Julia, Chase, and Leslie all campaigned incredibly hard over the last 24 hours, and in the end first place was separated by just one pre-order. One!

I am humbled to report that Human Resources managed to hold on to first place, if only by the slimmest of margins. You can read the official announcement here. My unending thanks to everyone who pre-ordered, tweeted, posted on facebook, sent out emails, cajoled, or otherwise helped us achieve this outcome. In particular, I owe my deepest thanks to my wife and my parents, who have been a constant source of encouragement through the campaign and who have also toiled away at driving sales for me.

I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the other winners. Now that the competition is over, I urge you all to have a look at their books, as they look great. In particular, check out King’s Daughter by my friend Julia Bobkoff - winner of Best Drama in the formal judging. This is the saga of a viking queen that will absolutely grip you. The other two on the podium are How to Kiss Like a Movie Star (Leslie Nipkow) and The Loving Wrath of Eldon Quint (Chess Pletts). Both very different styles of book and both worth checking out.

What happens now?

Now the real work begins. I need to get the manuscript ready for Inkshares to start editing. I have taken the month of January off from my job to focus on this task and plan to turn the manuscript in by the end of that month. After that, the entire editing and production process takes approximately 12 months to get books on shelves. This may sound like a long time, but there is a lot involved in producing a quality book - the Inkshares team have written a post explaining the details here.

I’ll continue to keep everyone informed of progress and time frames as the process progresses. During the competition my updates have been weekly - now that the competition is over I’ll drop that back to approximately monthly (unless there is an important announcement). However, I am always happy to engage with people - if you have questions or want to chat the novel page has links for different ways to reach me.

Thank you,


Only 10 minutes to go and only 4 orders in it! 

A short plea — there’s only 1 hour and 36 minutes left in the competition, and it is coming down to the wire. Only six readers separate me from the next competitor.

If you haven’t ordered yet, now would be an amazing time to do so! 

Can you help get us across the line?

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