Busy, busy, busy...
Ironically, I went to go create this update and I noticed that I never sent out the August update. So, I guess they'll be combined.
The Next Book
Done, done, done.
Now it's a matter of doing a couple of passes of revisions and it's off to the beta readers. Thus far, the feedback from the first beta reader - my wife - has been good. As I type this, she's going to read some additions I made to the first half of the book. I added a new chapter with a rare POV from Herodiani. While I usually follow Halsedric throughout the entire book, having a Herodiani chapter adds a lot to the overall story and links a bunch of plot elements that weren't fully fleshed out in the original manuscript. The more I think about it, the more I like the addition. So, it's staying in.
There is a later chapter that I will be pulling out as it really adds nothing to the story. So, technically, the book hasn't grown much. Including the prologue, the book is 35 chapters long, and is, at present, over 96,000 words in length. Removing a later chapter will probably drop that count to about 93,000 words. By contrast, THE REVENANT AND THE TOMB is over 39,500 words in length, and THE WIZARD'S STONE is over 82,000 words long (including the Foreword). I expect the final word count to shrink some after my revisions, as I'm pulling a LOT of redundant stuff out of the story. But, I'm fairly sure, adding another 1,500 words with a Foreword, the next book will be bigger than THE WIZARD'S STONE.
So much so that I'm contemplating splitting it in half. I'd release the first half in May, and then the second half in July or August. Not sure if I'll do that yet.
Why split it up? One reason is the cost of printing. I haven't run the numbers yet, but my gut tells me that smaller paperbacks are less expensive to produce and sell than larger ones. Again, I haven't looked into it yet. Smaller books sell better in many areas than bigger books, especially with unknown authors like me. Plus, if I produce the books in smaller chunks, I can get through the beta reading, editing, and audiobook production processes faster. Two passes with an editor takes a lot of time.
The decision, however, has not been made yet.
The tentative release date for the next book is May 21st, 2024. And - special bonus - this book will include a map. I can't say I'm pleased with the story at this point. The fact is, at this point with both THE REVENANT AND THE TOMB and THE WIZARD'S STONE, I felt that both of them sucked. It took months of revisions and editing before I felt that I had a book I could be proud of. In fact, with both books, there was a distinct moment when it "felt" like a good book.
This story contains a lot of complex stuff that I hope I successfully pull off. And realize, if I miss my May release date, it's because I'm trying to put out the best story I can. But, let's hope I don't miss my release date. It is a date of special significance for me.
I got to meet Blaine Lee Pardoe and a few other bigger names than me. I also sold quite a few books as well. However, what was most satisfying was hearing how much people, who were at the last BasedCon, enjoyed the book. Unsolicited praise is always a good thing! Given the feedback I received at BasedCon 2023, I signed up for BasedCon 2024 almost the minute I got back home.
While I am not that much of a social butterfly, it was nice to interact with everyone there. I got to meet up with a lot of the WriterDojo people (a writing group on Facebook) and talk about my writing and books. And now...I have to replenish my stock of paperbacks.
The Book After the Next Book
I've started writing another book, though I'm not sure which direction I'll take. I have two options at present, one of them being the resurrection of the first Halsedric book that I eventually abandoned. I put down about 900 words thus far for the other idea. My priority is getting the current book out to the beta readers. But, production is underway for another book.
I also have my Merrith books lying around, waiting to be revised and published. If you remember, Merrith was the king mentioned in THE WIZARD'S STONE. I have 2 books written about him (actually, it's one story broken up into two parts). I'm drawing near to the time when these can come out of the freezer.
What's in Store for 2024?
I'm getting to the point where I think I'm going to update my website to have a calendar of events. I've signed up for 2 different conventions and might be signing up for a couple more in the next few months. I registered for a comic convention in Midland Michigan in early March. I also want to attend another smaller comic convention in West Branch, Michigan, organized by the same people who put on the one at Houghton Lake (that I attended this year). I'm also eyeing Rise Up Convention 2024 in Tennessee, which will occur sometime in late May. It's an 8 to 10-hour drive down there making it a big commitment, so that's up in the air.
I rather like going to smaller cons. My strategy was always to start small and work my way up. And, I'm kinda enjoying being small right now. So, finding these smaller venues in and around where I live is going to be where I'm going to focus my efforts next year.
I'm still debating about starting up an online store in 2024. I'd have to register as a business and apply for a sales tax license in Michigan. That's a lot of paperwork for an author who is operating at a loss from year to year. So, right now, I'm just exploring the idea.
I'm also working on some legal stuff, which is not cheap. But, it's important that I do it. I'll provide more details later when everything is done.
And that's all for now. I gotta get back to work.