Monday, July 30, 2012

Yo! Thanks

Most likely my last round of pencil edits is behind me.  I will spend the next week turning those margin notes into text and giving the book one last read.  After that, I have a "buy my book!" paragraph to drum up, and the Author Notes for the end of the book.  As I stretch my legs for this home stretch run, I just needed to say one thing:

Thank You!

There have been several people over the years that have motivated me to pursue this craft, either directly or indirectly.  On top of those people, there have been a handful more that have helped me take a rough draft to a (pardon my modesty) really good manuscript.

And then there is this social networking BS.  For those who know me personally, you know why I call it BS.  I am not exactly what one would refer to as a "people person".  I suppose it may be the fact that my mind lives in another world.  This whole social networking thing is really stretching my limits and has been an element leagues outside of my comfort zone, but for some off-the-wall reason it is working for me.

I look back at the history of this blog and can already see positive results.  The month of July alone has garnered more traffic than the last two years.  So, somebody actually reads what this old man has to say?  Seriously though, thank you to those of you that do read it.  And an even bigger thanks to those who refer this blog to other's.

Twitter.  Oy.  A place where I am compelled to come up with something to say on a regular basis.  I don't even talk to myself on a regular basis.  But, again, I have seen positive results come from my involvement in that area.  We will see if it translates into sales, but I doubt you will find me putting out the daily "Buy my book" tweet.  That's just not me.

Facebook.  Well my wife posted something on her Facebook account the other day about my upcoming novel.  Unlike myself, my wife is a popular person on Facebook.  That one post brought traffic to the World of Nilrus Facebook page, and I can only believe that more will follow.

Thank you to all of you who follow my progress and spread the word about my upcoming book.  Like I've mentioned previously, I'm not out to make it rich.  I just want to tell my stories.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Almost There

Currently, I am working on the (hopefully) final edit of my novel with only 37 days remaining until my self-imposed deadline.  This has been one heck of a ride, especially these last two months.

Many, many years ago this story took root in my imagination.  It took a few years more before I worked up the courage to put the story to paper, or computer screen.  On my way to that point I read several books about writing and even tossed in a class or two that helped me along the way.

I suppose what really kickstarted this journey was a creative writing class that I took in college.  I was encouraged by fellow students and the professor after a couple of short stories were critiqued in class.  The prologue to the book is actually based on a short I wrote for that class.

I began with several character sketches and shorts involving these characters.  It still amazes me how the characters took a life of their own as I wrote about them.  At the risk of sounding a bit off my rocker, the characters dictated to me how they responded to situations that I put them in.  Tarimot is one of those characters that I created who refused to fit the mold I had imagined.  He holds several of the traits that I gave him, but he refused to be the character that I wanted him to be.  He showed me who he was and though I didn't much care for it; he has become a better character than what I envisioned.

When I completed the second edit a couple of years ago, I began the search for a viable outlet.  In my research for agents, I found that my book was not likely going to get published in its current form.  You see, this story has always been a multiple book story.  It simply could not be compressed into a single novel, and believe me I tried.  After several failed attempts to end the story, yet leave it open for continuation, I gave up and began a stand alone book.

Condr is the main character of that book and the concept is another passion of mine.  I wanted to create a character that would return in other stand-alone novels in a serial type format.  The Adventures of sort of thing.  I suppose Indiana Jones would be the best example of the type of single story return characters.  As much as I wanted this to work out, my attention kept turning back to the original manuscript.

As documented in this blog, earlier this year I stumbled upon the catalyst for this new adventure.  Thus, in 37 days (or less) I will become an Independent Author.  In one sense, this is something that I never wanted to do.  I am, by default because of my age, of an old school frame of mind.  Self-publishing has always been the kiss of death for aspiring writers.  A lot has changed in the book world over the last few years.  The big six continue to charge too much for their e-books, which has opened the door wide for the independent author.  I know several Indie's who have been offered book deals after having pursued the independent route.  This was all but unheard of ten years ago.  So, no longer is the self-publishing route the kiss of death.  On the contrary, I believe it is fast becoming the norm and this belief, in my eyes, was substantiated by Terry Goodkind just a few weeks ago when he self-published his latest novel.

So, here I go.  In 37 days (or less), my writing career officially begins.  It has been a long ride of ups and downs, but I would buy a ticket for that ride again.  At this point, I am happy with manuscript's progress and I look forward to seeing what other's think of it.  But don't think that I will just sit back and wait; book two has already begun.

For now, I am almost there.

Monday, July 16, 2012

So, What Is It About?

So, what is this book about?  Sounds like a simple question in search of a simple answer.  Yeh, whatever.

I posted something on facebook a while back that actually sounded pretty darn good (if I say so myself), but it really wasn't a complete synopsis of the upcoming novel:
"Devon must help his mentor, the dwarf that raised him as his own, return to his fallen home, to die. Along the way Devon loses friends, finds out more about himself, and learns a surprising history behind his step-father. His life changes in unexpected ways, and in the end he braces for even more..."
I couldn't find the complete post (thank you Facebook), but you get the idea.  A young half-elf goes through the character arc, blah, blah, blah.
I suppose this is something that all authors have to face.  How do you write up a blurb that tells what the book is about and in turn, sells that book?  This portion of writing goes hand in hand with all the other aspects; it isn't as easy as it looks.  You have the idea, you know what you want to say, but you don't know how to say it.
So, again, what is this book about?
It is about a half-elf who faces some life-changing experiences.  It is about a dwarf who is going home to finish a job begun some forty years prior.  It is about an elf who comes face to face with his hatred.  It is about a prince who learns that his life has been built on a lie.  It is about another prince who has found that he has held himself back because of his inability to come to terms with a lost love.  It is about a princess who learns that people will lie to her to make her feel more secure.  It is about a kingdom built on hypocrisy.
It is about the ignorance of racism.
None of which will sell a book.  That initial facebook post may sell the book, but it also sells it short.  So, I basically have 45 days to drum up a paragraph that will sell the book AND give some idea about the many facets of this novel.  Again, nothing new.  All writers have to go through this.
I suppose the best practice is to know the answer to the question when somebody asks you what the book is about.  If you are writing a book; do you know the answer to that question?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Map of Dalth Valley

Map provided by Lucky Art.  Be sure to check him out on Facebook @

In the World of Nilrus there are many cartographers, but one stands above the rest; Lucious Dunbarien.

Nobody is sure of where Lucious actually hails, nor are they sure of his age.  It seems his maps date back several hundred years, though he doesn't always sign them, his work is unique, if somewhat inaccurate.  It is rumored that he once apprenticed under an alchemist, an herbalist, a blacksmith, and a tanner all at the same time when he was young.  Why he began the career of cartographer is often speculated.

Lucious travels the world with an apprentice.  He has invented several methods to help in his pursuit, including the Millstone wagon, which drops a stone every 5200 feet or so, the survey tripod and all of the tools that go along with it, and of course his greatest invention of them all, the Dunbarien Directional Location Device.

He and his apprentice will utilize the local population to determine names of geographical locations, which oftentimes leads to ambiguities.  An orc may name a mountain one thing, while an elf calls it by another name, and still the humans refer to it as another.  In some instances, Lucious will combine names when he labels the map, which, as you can imagine, can lead to confusion.  Unless, of course, the local population likes the new name, which is rare.

His accuracy sometimes comes into question, though not where he can hear.  One can rest assured though, if he places a mountain on the map, that mountain exists.  While his accuracy is occasionally skewed, the inhabitants of the world hold the man with a great deal of respect.  The village of Cantel moved its location 30 miles, just so travelers would be able to find them by following one of Lucious's maps.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Anxiety of Finality

I just completed this round of edits on my novel.  Honestly, as much as I have tried to track my progress and save the manuscript at various steps, I don't know how many times I have read and edited my own book.
As I approached the end of the novel I couldn't help but feel that a complete re-write was needed for the last few chapters, yet when I got there, I just basically doctored up a few paragraphs here and there.  Which leads me to the anxiety of the situation.
What will my wonderful crew of editors think of the ending?  I find myself a bit Charlie Brownish on this one.  One moment I feel like the ending is a bit anti-climatic, although it is book one of a couple, or a few.  The next moment I feel like the end is perfect, as it leaves the reader wanting more.  But, then, that is why I have the editing crew.  To this point they have been honest with me about the story and I have no reason to doubt that if they feel the ending sucks, they will tell me it sucks.

Waiting for the feedback sucks.

The next step in this process is go through the marked up manuscript that two of the editors have given me.  The most challenging aspect of this will be to re-write the prologue, which I admit is a bit lame.  Beyond that, at first glance, I have quite a few typos and I may need to insert a sentence here and there to clear up some confusion.  With 57 days to release, I have plenty of time to make this book right.

As anxious as I am for feedback on the last few chapters of the book, I can't even begin to imagine how anxious I will be when the novel goes up for sale.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Is It Greed?

I'm torn, and I know that part of my thinking is due to the fact that I really don't much care for this particular author as a person.  We have never met, but through his interviews and such there is this pompous air about him.  Who knows, if we met I would probably like the guy.

A very successful author (and I do mean very) recently released a book through self-publishing means.  This is a good thing for him, because now he will make the money that he has earned through his success by cutting out the major publishers take.  This also highlights the relevance of the young e-reader in the book world.  Overall this is a good thing for him, for myself and the countless other independents out there, and for the customer.

Through traditional channels, this book would have been north of $15 for an electronic copy.  By bypassing the publisher, this book is available for $8.99.  And this is where I am torn.

While the price point for most Indie's is between $.99 and $5.00, this $9 price seems a bit extreme.  Publishing an electronic book can cost nothing.  Granted, this author probably spent some decent coin on marketing and editing, because he can, in the grand scheme of things that cost is likely negligible.

This book will probably sell close to a million copies because of his track record.  With Amazon, the author pulls in up to 70% of sale.  This author stands to make close to 6 million on this one release.  Divide that in half and it is still a significant amount.  So, is he charging too much?  It is less than what the publisher would charge, so the customer is still getting a decent deal.

Maybe it is the perfect price.  The customer gets a decent deal and the author hits the lottery.

Maybe I'm just jealous?

I don't know that I could charge more than $5 for a book, I think especially if I sold millions.  For myself, $5 is a fair price to ask.  Anything more just seems greedy.  I could be wrong, maybe he has spent millions in promoting this new book.  I just don't know.  I tend to like the path of providing the customer with a quality product at a fair price that benefits both myself and the reader.  Nine bucks just doesn't do it for me.