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Status Update - November, 2021

{Inhales deeply} maybe the book will be out in Spring 2022. (Nervous laughter)

The Revenant and the Tomb.

I'm learning many hard lessons with this book.

I had a book cover artist, and then he got busy with other work. He won't be able to touch anything until February.

The other cover artist I was eyeing? Booked through 2022.

Two other cover artists are telling me that they are already booking stuff well into 2022.

There are many things I am capable of doing, but cover art ain't one of them. I've done a fair bit of searching, finally settling on EBook Launch for the cover. I'm dropping roughly $600.00 for an ebook and print cover, pretty much sight unseen at this point. I have no idea what I'll get in the end.

I tried going through Reedsy, signed up on their system, and selected 5 artists to provide quotes. The next morning I find an e-mail from Reedsy informing me that I'm under the age of 18, and that I'm not legally able to enter into any contractual agreements. If I want to get a quote from an artist, I need to have my mother or father send Reedsy an e-mail allowing the transaction. Oh, and they want me to send a scanned image of my driver's license.

Mind you: for a quote. Not a binding contract, a quote.

Oh, and I'm over 18...well over 18 years of age.

I'm not sending them a scanned image of my driver's license. That'll be the last time I go to Reedsy.

For the cover, I have a number of concepts I'm mulling over. The LAST thing I want is a cover with the main character front-and-center in some heroic pose, with a neon-colored background. In fact, if I had my way, I'd rather it have a bunch of abstract stuff so as to stand out from the rest of the books out there.

Right now it feels like I'm doing a high-wire act without a net. I'm balancing precariously high above, trying to move forward without losing my balance and falling. What if I don't like the cover? What if the cover doesn't grab the reader's interest?

Or, worse yet, what if my book just plain sucks? I will have invested hundreds of dollars into a turd.

I'm not writing Lord of the Rings here, at least not in this book. It all seems like I'm pouring lot of time, effort, and resources into something I consider, "just a fun little adventure." The Revenant and the Tomb doesn't really have the weight that I consider a hallmark of some of my other works. I just wanted to produce something simple and fun that I could offer up for an e-mail address. By the time I'm done here, I'm looking at roughly $1000.00 sunk into this book, with no visible path to making that back.

Then again, I think about an adage that I always try to live up to: if you're going to do something, do it right. Granted, this is all new to me. I've come to the realization that I may be learning a few life lessons by taking a few lumps. I just sorta hope that, by the Grace of God, I break even on my investment in a couple of years.

In a way, the book is a light-weight introduction to my current literary world. You're introduced to Elanni, Wodemen, and Yerch. The Halsedric character is a forerunner of another character that I'm seeking to write (when the time comes). It takes place in a region that has always been rumored to contain dark things. And it has other connections to other properties I've already written (and have yet to publish). So it has it's purpose outside of just pure entertainment.

It's a little stressful taking the plunge. I just pray that all of the effort and money was worth it.

If there is an upside to all of this, it's that I've found a new technique to aid in the editing of my manuscript. It was made as a suggestion on a forum that I frequent. I started to read aloud my manuscript once edited, and boy does that make a difference. One acquaintance I interact with on the forum mentioned using a text-to-speech program instead. Doing that increased my throughput dynamically. Instead of listening to myself, I could listen to the computer and pick out stuff that didn't sound correct. So this will be a staple in my production process, from now on.

Update: I got the initial cover art concepts in the mail just before Thanksgiving (in the US). I was stunned by both the quality AND the speed. Likewise, I'm having a hard time figuring out which one I want to go with.

When everything is decided, I'll do a cover reveal. Stay tuned...

The "O" Book.

As of the initial writing of this post, I just polished off Chapter 19 and started into 20. Chapter 20 should be the end of the climax. I think I have 3 or 4 chapters after that to finish off the book in its entirety. Having the rough draft completed by the end of 2021 is looking pretty safe at this point.

This book has me a little conflicted. I want to love what I'm writing and - conceptually - I do. However, I feel like I'm really not connecting with the story as I write it. When I'm finished with a writing session and I start thinking about what I wrote, I like what I've done. Overall, I think the story is shaping up very well. I've totally embraced the flow of the book's climax and I feel that the end of that section is far better than the one I originally envisioned. I think the middle sags slightly, though I put in enough information to keep things interesting. There's lots of tension and action, which is good. Moreover, the spirit of the book - a young man learning hard lessons about a cruel world - is pretty solid. There are sayings that I weave in from a wizard that really sort of highlights his wisdom as the main character reflects on his words.

A lot of my angst is self-generated. As I point out in one of my previous entries, the only goal when writing a rough draft is to get the words out on a page. The magic really happens during the revision process. Still, I remember when I used to throw on the music and lose myself in an emotion or a feeling. That just isn't happening with this book. It didn't happen with The Revenant and the Tomb. Maybe because I'm forcing myself to write, as opposed to writing with a concept already in mind? I'm not sure. Right now, it feels like a long, hard slog to the end. I don't recall it starting out like that. I seem to remember there was a lot of excitement when I started out. The chapters just sort of rolled out of me.

I think part of the problem might be that I lost momentum after I put the project on ice to concentrate on The Revenant and the Tomb. Back then, I wasn't as deeply enmeshed in trying to build an author platform, getting my name out there, and trying to set up a video presence (see below). Now that I have all of these distractions, I think it's sapping a bit of that creative spark.

Nonetheless, the work continues. This will (hopefully) be book #2. This time, I'll make sure to secure the artwork early...

Other things.

As of this writing, I have narrated the first chapter of The Revenant and the Tomb, as well as post-processed the audio file. This I intend to use in the creation of a video that I will be posting to my various social media sites; mainly YouTube and Locals. After getting the latest version of Audacity, the production process wasn't that bad, and I was able to finish off the audio in the course of a couple of nights. I think it sounds...passable (he said, uncertain). I am no narrator, nor am I a voice actor. I don't have the kind of money to pay for a professional to do it, so I sort of have to do it myself.

At present I am also working on my #AuthorTube introductory video for YouTube. YouTube has an informal community of authors that post videos about writing books, promoting your books, and so on.

I really don't enjoy the sound of my own voice, so the process for me is fraught with difficulty. I really don't have the vocal chords for broadcasting or narration, and I really don't speak well. I just sort of mumble. I also hate cameras and looking at myself - I am NOT as selfie kinda guy. My work area is an absolute pig sty. I have certain limitations with verbal communications, which may be partly why I am a fair writer.

Anyone who knows me understands that I do not have the gift of gab. This is a limitation that has plagued me since (perhaps) birth. I believe that I may be autistic. My oldest son has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD. He and I share numerous traits.

While speaking in public - or even just in private - has gotten better as I've gotten older, it is still difficult. I do better in smaller groups involved in measured conversation and debate where I don't need to recall facts or go into great detail at a moment's notice. Still, when I try to describe complicated processes or intricate details, no one can really understand what in the h*** I'm talking about. It's frustrating. It's like trying to describe all the things torn up and scattered by a whirlwind.

I find that I am able to communicate more effectively using a script. Of course, using a script doesn't exactly have the same spontaneity as, say, doing a live stream. I also sound like I'm reading from a script. To be honest, I don't think I'm going to get a lot of viewers tuning in to watch me read something on camera. So, I'm thinking that narrated videos are probably best for now. At the very least, it'll get me comfortable with my own voice...I hope.

I have a bunch of ideas for some Locals content, as well as YouTube stuff. I have a short story or two that I'm writing, and those are coming along. I also have a few of the chapters in my abandoned first-attempt with the Halsedric character that might make for some interesting reading. I have a lot going on in this area, so keep a sharp eye out for upcoming content.

I'm close to a thousand followers in Twitter, which might mean a book sale or two. That's an accomplishment...I think(?).

We're entering the holiday season, so that means there will be a lot of disruption in the next couple of months. In some ways, it gives me more time to focus on my writing and publishing, not less.

In Conclusion (some good news).

When I started writing a blog, I had zero people reading them - nil, null, nada, nobody, none, fuggetabouttit.

One of my recent posts had over 25 views in less than 48 hours. In fact, over time, most of my posts generate a minimum of 10 views consistently; most being above 12. Yeah, that's not a lot, but it's far more than zero. This means that I'm making progress.

It's great to have overnight success. However, when you look closer, you'll discover that most "overnight success stories," usually have a prologue that spanned years. Long, untold years where the author was wandering desperate in the pitiless wilderness. In roughly a year, I've gone from no one looking, to a few people looking. The longer I keep at it, writing and promoting, the more people I'll draw.

And, the fact that people do show up on a regular basis means, I guess, I don't suck at this writing thing. Well...that's my hope.

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