Monday, August 24, 2020

Awakened in the Future Vol.1 -- The Rise of Isabel Bella Monte is out

Back in 2016, I set out to write a sci-fi novel about the venture capital industry and the disruptive technological breakthroughs it is fostering -- even though I had no prior experience as a novelist.

Doing a short story or a novella wouldn't have sufficed. No, I had to go straight to the novel to satisfy my ego.

To add to the hubris, over the course of figuring out how to actually be a writer, I decided to dispense altogether with any and all professional services which might help me produce a more polished finished product. As a consequence, I did all the research, writing and editing on my own, and self-published through an online service. I've even designed the cover myself.

As you can imagine, the odds of producing a quality book weren't all that high, given my lack of credentials in every aspect of the task. My list of items to get right included: a good story written well-enough within reason, compelling characters, a killer social commentary, and an insider's look at the VC industry that tended to elicit various conclusions on the part of the reader.

In order to prevent spending many thousands of hours writing a book without knowing what the reception would be, I broke down the story into parts and only wrote the first volume, reducing the workload to a more manageable 45,700 words. That still took well over 1,000 hours.

Although I completed the final draft some months ago, I let it simmer for a while as I waited for a trusted friend of mine who enjoys prominence within the venture capital industry to give me his unvarnished opinion. In the meanwhile, I've read and re-read my work so as to try and catch as many typos as I could before commissioning the printing a very small run of softcover copies.

Today, I have finally received the feedback I had been coveting for what seemed to be so long. It's one thing to have an opinion about one's work, but getting an external assessment from the right individual(s) is crucial in order to achieve a sense of perspective, as I have discovered for myself.

So what's the verdict?

Well, based on that single piece of feedback from my venture capitalist and avid reader friend (which I give much weight to), although there are rough edges in my writing -- which was graciously attributed to the fact that it's my first book after all -- it would appear that I have checked out all the boxes on my list of what I had largely hoped to achieve.

Apparently, the book "is dynamite" and I have produced "spectacular near term sci-fi with a 500-year jump!" My friend goes on to say that "The characters are fun, the plot is strong and the social commentary is right on the money for this moment in time." He mentions also having enjoyed the boatload of Easter eggs I have sprinkled throughout the story.

If you have somehow stumbled upon this blog and are interested in checking my novel out, here is the link to buy the e-book version from your favorite store (Apple, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, etc.):

You can also read it for free if you'd be so kind as to take the time to send me your impressions after you've finished it. It doesn't have to be a long deal, just the key points such as the bits that are the most jarring to you, as well as what you think are the gems, if any.  If that interests you, please DM me on Twitter: @mariocantin

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