It all started back in early 2019 when I rediscovered my old Fighting Fantasy books in a box full of my childhood keepsakes. My gamebook love affair was reignited. It was like bumping into an old flame in the grocery store at the exact moment you’re both single, remembering everything you adored about them, then they ask for your number. Jackpot.
As an author working on a Young Adult fantasy/sci-fi novel, with the added bonus of being super lucky to have a graphic designer and illustrator as a father, I couldn’t pass up on the chance to embark upon writing my own gamebook. It’d be rude not to.
So as I ventured down the path of no return and faced the many trials and tribulations of writing a gamebook — FYI it’s taken over a year so far to complete the first draft and I’m now knee-deep into the second — I realised that making a living as an author is, well, hard. To say the least.
Now that’s not to say it’s impossible to make a living as an author, heck, I’ve had a pretty decent career as a freelance writer over the years. But, as my gamebook is aimed at middle-grade readers and, in my opinion it has a strong commercial appeal, I’m heading down the traditionally published route. AKA I’m going big or going home. My ideal scenario is to be represented by a literary agent, get an amazing publishing deal for my series, then see my books on the shelves of chain and independent bookstores across the world. One can dream.
So I started an interactive story subscription-style service via Patreon, as a means to support myself as I embarked into the unknown territory of the publishing industry. The Walls Have Ears launched back in March of this year and started as an interactive story with one chapter being released per month, of which Patrons could vote upon what happened next.
However, even in the past couple of months, The Walls Have Ears has grown into something bigger than I dreamed. Following my muse, I started a behind-the-scenes Patreon-exclusive video log, where viewers can watch my progress of writing my novel and my gamebook, oftentimes while I slowly lose my mind. I’m hoping it’s an informative yet entertaining peek into the life of an author.
With the global pandemic causing so many real-life horrors in the world, I thought it only right to up the content for my loyal supporters. Especially seeing as they continued to stick around during such unprecedented times. They’re a really rad bunch. Thus, as my way of thanking these awesome folks I decided to release a new chapter of the current story every week, rather than once a month.
It then dawned on me that The Walls Have Ears could evolve into something big. And I mean, Godzilla kind of big. But with honesty at the forefront, in order to perform an evolution akin to a Pokémon’s final form, it first needs to expand.
Enter: The Walls Have Ears Recommend A Friend Competition!
Basically, get a friend to join our Adventurers’ Guild for a chance to win limited edition artwork and choose an upcoming character for the current tale. Oh, and did I mention that everyone who enters receives an exclusive piece of art based on the current story, It Waits In The Dark? Here are the deets…
Part 1/The GRAND PRIZE: You are entered into a draw to choose and name an upcoming character for It Waits In The Dark. You can create a new character entirely and you get to name them whatever you want. On top of this, you then get a one-off, totally unique piece of artwork of your chosen character which is signed by both the author and the artist. You gain an additional entry for every new Adventurer you get to sign up. There is no limit to the amount of times you can enter.
Part 2/EVERYONE’S A WINNER: You and your newbie Adventurer friend both receive an exclusive, limited edition piece of art from the current story It Waits In The Dark. These are only available for this competition and will not be used for any future competitions or otherwise.
The competition is open to existing patrons of The Walls Have Ears and also to newbies. So if you were thinking of signing up, now’s the perfect time to grab a pal, become an Adventurer and receive cool art too!
All you have to do is ensure both of you are signed up before midnight GMT/BST on 30th May and remain patrons until after the competition ends on 2nd June. Just send me a private message via Patreon so I know who your buddy is and you’re good to go.
There are a bunch of T&Cs over at The Walls Have Ears in the latest public post entitled: Competition Time! Be sure to check those out if you’re thinking of joining us.
The latest story, It Waits In The Dark, is a dark fantasy with a mysterious, eerie plot, involving an ominous evil that dwells in the darkness of your hamlet. No-one dares to venture outside once the sun goes down, for fear they will be slaughtered… or worse. Will you solve the mystery of what lurks in the darkness and free your home of its curse?
When you join The Walls Have Ears you’ll gain immediate access to all the chapters so far, along with all previous behind-the-scenes writing logs. Then, you get to vote in the upcoming poll (and all subsequent polls) to help decide what happens next. All for the cost of a takeout coffee or thereabouts. Pretty neat, right?
So if you want to join us and help The Walls Have Ears to level up, plus receive some awesome art and be in for the chance of choosing an upcoming character whose likeness will grace your walls for eternity, then sign up today!
Illustrations courtesy of Phoebe Avison by artist David Waller