Status Update - May / June 2022
So...I'm a little late getting the status update out. If there are any of you who look forward to these, my apologies. Suffice to say that writing a new book, and getting another ready to publish, my plate is a little full.
Oh, and lots of stuff going on. This will be a fairly long update.
THE REVENANT AND THE TOMB
Well, THE REVENANT AND THE TOMB had two landmark (watershed?) events in May 2022. First - and most exciting - my last ad campaigns drove the book into the Christian Fantasy Top 100 list on Amazon. For roughly two weeks, my book was in and out of that list, daily. At one point, it managed to remain in there for a good 24+ hours.
Part of the problem, however, is that I didn't have consistent enough sales to keep it there. Plus, the other books in that list had at least 4 times the number of reviews I have, meaning that they have enough units sold over so many months and years, that they will stay in the list, while mine drops out. Still...it's a notable accomplishment.
And, sporadic sales of the Kindle book (the only format of it I can track) continue. I'm not sure how long this will last. My hope is that the sales are coming from word of mouth recommendations, which is what I'm looking to generate. Let's all pray this is true.
The second landmark: I broke 100 books sold. I actually think the number is sitting around 150 units sold. This means that I've sold over 100 eBooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks since March 3rd. My pie-in-the-sky target is 500 units by March 3rd 2023 which - I think - I can hit.
Most self-published books sell roughly 250 copies over their lifetime. I'm halfway there in a matter of a few months.
Likewise, the feedback has been pretty positive. Since the start of May, I've had 5 people ask me, out of the blue, when the next book comes out. These are just people who know how to get ahold of me. There's no telling how many, out of the 100+ who've bought my book, that are asking the same question.
To that end...
THE WIZARD ODO
Revisions are going slow. The book is roughly 28 chapters and I'm sitting on Chapter 15 at present. So, I'm over halfway done with the first "smoothing pass." The revisions get much easier once this initial pass is complete.
My writing process is pretty well-defined right now. I write a first - or "rough" - draft of the book, filling in over 80% of the material that needs to be in there. After that, I go into a "revision" process where I fill in the gaps, reword the story in certain spots, play with the prose, and so on, and so on. It's rather long and tedious. I'm under a time crunch because I want to get this book in the hands of my beta readers before July rolls around. So, I need to step things up a bit.
I think the story is solid. However, given the feedback I garnered from THE REVENANT AND THE TOMB, I'm a little nervous how this book will be received. I call it a "rollercoaster" book, because there is a bunch of action and tension in the beginning, a bunch of action and tension at the end (as an FYI, Chapter 14 is where this second run starts), with chapters in between that are (more or less) just informative. While it has a lot of the same pace, the story itself is not the slow tensioning of a rubber band before releasing it into the air like THE REVENANT AND THE TOMB. Plus, there is more depth to this story than just my debut offering which I termed "just a fun little book."
Hopefully, my fears will be dispelled and my approach will be well-received this time as well.
I'm hoping to have this released before the end of the year, however, I think that's an ambitious goal given the lessons learned from THE REVENANT AND THE TOMB. A more comfortable date, I think, is early March again. I will strive to get this out as soon as possible. There are many elements that just take time to complete and cannot be done in parallel with other tasks. It is what it is.
Given the nature of the story and the protagonist, this character may be "one and done," meaning that there will be no other stories where Odo is the main character. Then again, I believed that Halsedric was a "one and done character" too. Which then leads me to...
THE REVENANT AND THE CULT
You asked for another book with Halsedric. OK. You're getting one.
THE REVENANT AND THE CULT is the title of my next book after THE WIZARD ODO. It will feature Halsedric and Herodaini as well as introduce a new character named Roe. I have about four or five chapters written at this point, though I'm struggling with a few elements at present. I have a rough idea of how the story will end as well as a couple of odd twists. The most notable chapter, however, is the prologue where I set up a meeting between two "dark lords." Pay close attention to this chapter. It has ties into THE WIZARD ODO, as well as a bunch of books I have waiting to be revised and published. And, it introduces some overriding elements - namely a prophecy or two - that come into play as I release some of the stuff I have in waiting.
I have one more book planned for Halsedric, of which I have written a few pages and a couple of short stories.
Where is Drahm? I liked Drahm, but I decided that - given all that he had experienced - he converted to the worship of the One God of the West, and was sent to help missions in the south west of my world. This region is a dangerous place to be during this time period (even during the time period of THE WIZARD ODO).
I like to call Roe, "Drahm-Lite." He has similar characteristics to Drahm, is a skilled trapper, and is also a wilderness expert. I don't want to give away too much about the character but, suffice to say, he has an interesting backstory.
"What about Tulvgir?" you ask? Well...
My "Black Conan" Book
I know I've mentioned this elsewhere but I've had this idea of having a Conan-like character in my literary world. I struggled a bit to place them in my style of writing, but have come upon - what I believe to be - a good combination.
The next character is a Halsedric-like character, who is Cathar in origin. I introduce the Cathars and Oncathars in THE WIZARD ODO, as well as detail the differences and history between the two cultures. The Cathars - because they are bound to the religion of The Four - are the most "barbarian-like" people in my literary world, making them a prime candidate for the character I want to create: a Cathar prince who was crucified for breaking with his faith and following the Word of the Allfather.
Given that I don't want to go into spoilers about Halsedric or his origins, this is as much as I will reveal.
I wanted another Conan, as I am a huge fan of the original Robert E. Howard work. I wanted to create a serious, brooding, and highly intelligent character who is, more or less, a hunter of evil. I originally wanted to make him a follower of "older gods" worshipped by the Cathars before they adopted the practices of The Four. While an interesting premise, the story I had in my head just wasn't clear.
The story I have in my head for this version of this character is very clear. In fact, it may get released before THE REVENANT AND THE CULT if I start working on it now. The story itself is very much in the vein of THE REVENANT AND THE TOMB. Nonetheless, I'm dedicated to writing and publishing this in the near future.
And Tulvgir will be in it. The story will be set in the tropics and will have some Aztec-like flavor to it.
As a side note, I've always been fascinated with Native American culture, mainly because it has been so influential in my home state: Michigan. This also extends down into the Central American region, where the Maya, Olmec, Aztec, and Inca civilizations once existed. So, this book gives me a chance to add a little of that flavor to my stories.
Wrapping it all up
You might not get another status update until late July / early August. I've put off making videos because I have a lot of writing tasks going on, as well as a lot of new projects I'm developing. In addition to having a full-time gig I also have to promote a book, look into expanding my business, plan for the next release, as well as write. It's a lot of work. I'd rather put time and effort into producing books than videos and blog posts.
I'm also looking into maybe providing some writing and storytelling courses, but that's way, way out in the future. I want to have a bunch of successes under my belt before I go around acting like an expert.
Lastly, the wife and I have decided to remodel our spare bedroom - which was our combined work area - into an office dedicated to my work. She uses laptops now, hasn't used the desk dedicated to her for, literally, years now. I'm beginning to get requests for interviews and I do appear - from time to time - on various livestreams. We might as well make it a dedicated office for the writing business. Plus, the room is a mess. So...clear it out and organize it, so I don't have to make videos in the garage anymore.
Thus, I might be down for a bit as we're going to have a hardwood floor refinished (it's an older house).
So, that's it for now.