Just a quick pic of my favorite writing haunt at the cafe in the B&N. Venti chai tea latte is integral to proper character development. 😀
Two weeks ago, I revealed the cover for Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon. Today, I get to show off the paperback version. I really can’t wait to see how this turns out from Createspace. I’m going with cream paper for the interior and trying out the matte finish on the cover for the first time. I’m really hoping that the details don’t wash out on the matte. I don’t think a glossy cover would do this justice.
Hope you like it. I think Jason (jasongurley.com) did a phenomenal job.
Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. It launches September 1st. The ebook is just $2.99. The paperback will list for $10.49, which isn’t too bad. It was honestly the lowest I could go without having to pay them every time someone bought a copy! 😉
We filmed this week and it was everything I expected it to be! Well, ok. That’s a total lie. I had no idea what to expect and when it was over, it was nothing like what I had imagined.
So, Princeton Community Television is just like every other local TV station. It’s run out of some municipal building’s basement. I walked in at my prescribed time to find some of my writer’s group friends along with some folks I didn’t know. We were all there to talk on different topics. I was scheduled to talk about Kindle Direct Publishing. Friends of mine were there to talk about NaNoWriMo. Another lady was there to talk about anthologies. You get the picture. Trick was, they were all there… and it was well beyond the time they were supposed to start. Needless to say, I had a wait ahead of me.
It was an entertaining wait though. I met a few more people. A traditionally published author who had once worked for Plume as their Art Director. She was there to discuss cover art creation. Another guest was a therapist who worked specifically with authors and writers (I should have gotten her card). We all chatted and talked about what we did, waiting through the technical difficulties the filming had experienced early on. I even got makeup. Being a pasty pale redhead, I was afraid I’d just wash out on camera.
Mind you, I wasn’t particularly nervous. It’s been a while since I’ve sat in front of a camera, but I did musicals back in college and high school, so I’ve stood in the spotlight before. However, there was the added pressure of filming live to tape. This meant that they were going to shoot the entire segment in one shot and, if someone screwed up badly enough, they’d have to reshoot the entire thing. Meh! No pressure, right? Just chat for five minutes without screwing up too badly. 😉
Finally, about an hour and fifteen minutes after my scheduled time, I was called in. I sat down at a high table across from the co-hosts, Keith and Jennifer. Keith and I had met previously, both through the writer’s group we belong to and during the lead-up to the show. He’s also a self-published writer with several dystopian suspense novels under his belt. It was nice to see a familiar face across the table and, to be honest, he looked a little more nervous than I felt. I was only their 4th interview and this was the first night of filming. We had a little chat to break the ice and chuckled over wearing makeup. The setting was very basic. We had a monitor behind us with the name of the show on it; Writers2Writers. There were three cameras, but nothing like the cameras you see in movies and such. These were remotely controlled and looked a bit like fence posts! They gave me a clip-on microphone and I was ready to go before I could even think about what I was going to say. They did a five count and we were off.
Now, if you know even a little bit about self publishing, you know that it’s a myriad topic. As I mentioned before, the topic for my segment was Kindle Direct Publishing. We had 5 minutes. So, yeah… you can image how detailed it got. It was essentially over before I knew it. And that was it. A half dozen questions on the fly and it was over. One take. Boom. Done. Next!
It was fun. It was quick and dirty and we probably made some mistakes. But, it was still fun. I’m hoping to be able to help them market the series as I think it’ll be a helpful guide for people just starting out with self publishing. The small segments might just give you enough confidence to move forward in a particular area. The series is supposed to be 10 to 11 episodes long, with 3 to 5 segments per episode. It premiers in late September/early October. I’m looking forward to seeing the end result and sharing it with my fellow writers. Stay tuned!
Alright, so after allowing myself a moment to break down yesterday, I’m back. I can’t change what has happened. I just have to move on. I was made to feel much better after watching a very inspiring TED talk. I highly recommend it, if you have 20 minutes. It’s all about figuring out your “Why?” Why do you do what you do? Mainly, because the answer to that question often means more to people than the end result (eg, the books you write, the widget you produce).
So, why do I write?
I first started writing because my mother told me I was good at it. No lie. I also had fallen in love with the idea of being a writer. That was a long time ago. Since then, I’ve realized that I enjoy the process of telling a good story. I enjoy the end result of a pleased, smiling audience, whether it’s a verbal story or one in print. I enjoy communicating my views on life through fictional characters. Sometimes it’s easier to speak the truth when it’s a fabrication. I love knowing that, perhaps, I’ve touched someone with my writing. I love to think that, through my words, I’ve managed to communicate on the same wavelength with someone I don’t even know. I’m driven by having had that feeling myself when reading a good book. I want someone who reads my stories to think, this is someone who has thought about life in a way that I hadn’t considered before and it’s made me think about it too. I write because I’m afraid that this is the only way I’ll be heard. I write to leave something of signficance behind, even if it is only one brilliantly written line. I write about normal people who have extraordinary things happen to them because I am that normal person who craves the extraordinary, but who will never seek it out. I write because it gives me unlimited control over the world when the one I live in is often so out of control. I write because I feel like, in a world that gives out few gifts, it would be a damn shame for me to waste this one.
This is why I write.
I hope you figure out your why. I think you’ll be glad you did.
With a new book about to launch, I should be riding pretty high right now. But I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this low in my writing career.
So, you know how, when you’re writing your book, you get super paranoid that someone else has or will do it better than you? Yeah, we all get that. I’ve brushed it off in the past. I’ve seen similar books to mine, with similar plot points. Nothing enough to shake me. That is, until last night. It’s official. I’m shaken. Almost to a point of nausea, and I’m not normally that kind of guy.
For those of you who know, my upcoming YA fantasy, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon, is about dragons living among us. There is an ancient pact between man and dragons threatened by rebel dragons. There is also a love interest between the main character and the girl who lives next door, who turns out to be a dragon. It’s also a twist on the Arthurian legend. Don’t worry, I’m not revealing anything I haven’t revealed in the blurb. It’s not an original concept, but I thought it had enough to separate it from a lot of the YA fantasy that was currently out there. Silly me.
Enter Talon, by New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa. Here is the blurb:
The series revolves around dragons with the ability to disguise themselves as humans and an order of warriors sworn to eradicate them. The dragons of TALON and the Order of St. George have been at war with each other for centuries. The fabled creatures, whose existence is unknown by the general public, are determined to rule the world. Their foes, a legendary society of dragon slayers, are equally bent on driving the fabled beasts into extinction. However, when a young dragon and a hardened slayer unknowingly befriend each other, it has severe repercussions for both organizations.
Yeah. It’s different, but damn it’s about as similar as I’d ever want to get to another book. Plus, she has a huge following, a 7-figure book deal, and to top it all off, THEY’RE ALREADY IN PRODUCTION ON THE MOVIE!
I know. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I can’t help but feel a bit sick. I sat on this book for four years before deciding to self publish. I wanted it to get the best treatment, which it has. And now, at the point I should feel most triumphant, I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me. Maybe I have it completely wrong. Maybe my book will gain traction because of hers, especially if its theme is popular. Heck, maybe we’re setting a trend of dragons-among-us stories. I sure hope so. It’d make me feel a lot better than I do right now.
I’ve been so excited about this cover for so long. I’m really happy I can finally reveal it to the world. Created by the extremely talented Jason Gurley, I think it really captures the essence I was going for.
Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon is a full-length young adult fantasy novel set in the modern day #1 in a trilogy. The book has been beta read, professionally edited, and professionally formatted. It’s now available for pre-order over at Amazon for $2.99, two weeks prior to its official launch on September 1st. I hope you’ll do me the honor of reserving a copy. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. As mentioned previously, I’m still looking for reviewers, so let me know if you’re interested getting a freebie. Also, any help spreading the word would be greatly appreciated. 😀
Update: The paperback artwork can be seen here.
As I’ve documented in the past, I’m a large proponent of having your work professionally edited. The level of quality it can bring to your work is invaluable. That being said, it’s not as simple as handing off your work, getting it back, and then uploading to Kindle and clicking publish.
My revisions after receiving my second read back from my editor took over a week. My editor used track changes and I had to assess each and every one. Most were simple for me to accept. Some, I understood her change, but didn’t wholeheartedly agree (it’s ok to disagree with your editor… sometimes). Plus, she had called out instances that required changes to the story (nothing major on the second read, but still requiring some work).
When I was done, I sent the file off to be formatted. When the mobi file came back from the formatter, they requested I review it in the free Kindle reader app. This way I could see what it would look like on various Kindle readers. I read through it and found an error in Chapter 2. And error? After sending it to an editor? Inconcievable, you say? Nah. I edited for 12+ years. Everyone misses something. Everyone. And, taking a look at the error, it could very well have been due to me accepting one change and not another. I later found a place where two words had run together. Again, probably something that was introduced with Track Changes. Mistakes happen.
I guess the point of all this is that, even after an editor has gone through your book, it’s still up to you to input the corrections and make sure it’s clean before moving on. Whether you decide to proofread the book again yourself, pay to have someone do it, or trick a close friend into reading the finalized version in a short period of time and get back to you with any errors they find… it’s important to put eyes on it before it goes live. You’ll be happy you did.
P.S. If you’re looking for a professional editor, I can highly recommend Kim Sheard over at Another View Editing. She does great work at a reasonable rate.
How’s that for alliteration? If you haven’t noticed, or didn’t think to look like the rest of us, there’s a new button on your KDP Direct Reports Dashboard…
You may have to log out first and log back in, in order to see the change. At least that’s what I had to do. Here’s a path to Amazon’s description of the new feature: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A3P7F81795P0RA&ref_=kdp_EB_PREORDER_phl
And another screenshot of where you actually choose when the book will release…
These images were not so sneakily stolen from the thread over at kboards.com where heated discussion has erupted as it often does with new Amazon initiatives. 😀 You can check out the conversation here.
I know I’ll be using it in the near future for my upcoming release. I’m always willing to give a new tool a shot. I’m hearing both good and bad and the thing has only been live for about three hours. We’ll see how it all pans out though.