Here are the answers to some questions that I’ve either been asked, or seen people hit my site with as a result as searches. If you have any more questions that need answers, feel free to leave them in the comments.
Why didn’t you edit or proofread the books before publication?
The sad answer to this question is, I did. I read through each of my books at least once before publishing them. The problem is that at no point during the creation of these novels was I able to dedicate myself to them entirely. When you proofread in the fifteen minutes before going to bed, or during brief breaks between exam study sessions, or in the twenty minutes before you leave for work, mistakes will slip by you. Two of my friends read through my stuff as well, but I had a nasty habit of introducing new errors while correcting old, or adding new sections to the book after they had already read it. The amount of success I’ve had so far with the books was utterly unanticipated, or else I probably would have subjected them to somewhat more intense scrutiny.
Why didn’t you get the books traditionally published with <insert popular publisher>?
Short Answer: I tried.
Long Answer: Back in 2008 and 2009, traditional publishing had actually been my intention. I looked up a few articles explaining the steps one goes through to get published, and got to work. The first step is getting a literary agent, so I hit Agent Query and visited Preditors and Editors, made a list of a few dozen agents who represented the fantasy genre and did not appear to be part of a scam, and I went to work. About a year later, I had received rejections from about half of them, and the other half hadn’t gotten back to me.
I didn’t expect to get snapped up by the first person I contacted, but as I asked more and more, and received more and more rejections, I began to realize that I wasn’t being rejected on the strength or weakness of my book. I know this, because I was always politely turned down before they had ever seen my manuscript. Only one even got to see a few pages of it, and that was simply because her submission format requested five pages. More troubling still was the fact that most of the rejections I was getting were form letters, often not mentioning my name. Either I had written a really awful query letter, or even getting a second glance from a literary agent required far more luck than I had realized. (Those who know me will not be surprised to know that I assumed that 100% of the blame rested upon my query letter. I am an expert at figuring out how things are my fault.)
Now, the difference between a success and a failure, in publishing as with everything else, is persistence. I would like to think that if I kept at it, I would eventually have succeeded. Unfortunately, each rejection I received made me more certain that the mess of a novel I had thrown together was never going to go anywhere. I shifted gears and eventually found my way to Amazon digital text platform (now kindle direct publishing) and Smashwords. Now, at least, I am getting feedback and income, two things that will enable me to improve myself.
How do you pronounce Lallo?
I pronounce it “Lah-Low” (rhymes with follow). Other Lallos out there pronounce it “La-low” (rhymes with Hallow). I realize I’m probably the oddball on this one, but hey, I spell my nickname “Jo” instead of “Joe”, so I guess I’m just strange.
The Book of Deacon Trilogy
What is the appropriate age range for The Book of Deacon?
I’ve been asked this question rather frequently. I didn’t write it for a specific age, and I’m not a parent, so I may not be the best person to ask. However, I’ve asked my readers, and those who have children seem to agree that this is a Young Adult appropriate novel, with 12-13 years of age as a decent starting age. That said, I’ve received emails and reviews from readers of all ages indicating that they thoroughly enjoyed the story.
Why did you make the main character/so many central characters female?
This is a question that I wish I had a more deeply artistic answer for, but really it comes down to balance. The seed of an idea that would eventually become the Book of Deacon trilogy started when I was in second grade or so. I had envisioned this giant quest involving the standard generic “descendents of great warriors” cliche. As I sketched out the ideas, I realized two very important things. First, all but one of these descendents of great warriors was male. Second, it was probably a good idea to decide from whom these descendents descended. So I started to sketch out a second set of characters, and since the first set was mostly men, the second set would be mostly women. Since I had a few more years of mental development by the time this second set was developed, it ended up being the more interesting of the two, and thus became the set of novels I wrote.
Why no chapter breaks?
Another question that really ought to owe more of its answer to style than it does. Basically, I didn’t realize how important they were. I wrote the books as one continuous, meandering story. It was actually supposed to be one book, but it quickly grew wildly out of control. Since I didn’t write it with chapters in mind, I hadn’t taken the care to divide the action or events up into discrete chunks, so any cursory attempt to split it into chapters felt arbitrary to me. By the time the plot came to a close, I had read a few Terry Pratchett novels, and he has a tendency to forgo chapters as well. If he could do it, surely I could, right? Judging by the comments from my readers, the answer to that question is no. Generally speaking, future novels will probably have chapter splits. Bypass Gemini already does, in fact.
How do you pronounce that name?
There are a few characters with names that, let’s face it, are a little strange. Mostly I don’t care how you pronounce the names, but for the sake of clarity, here is the intended way:
- Epidime: Epi-dime. It rhymes with “tepid wine”
- Desmeres: Dez-merz.
- Myn: Min
- Myranda: Mir-and-uh
- Oriech: Oh-rike
Does <insert character here> die/come back/fall in love?
Why a Science Fiction book after so much Fantasy?
There are a few reasons for this. First, at the time I started writing Bypass Gemini, I had yet to see any success from the Book of Deacon Trilogy, so I was beginning to think that I wasn’t cut out for that genre. I’d asked my circle of friends what sort of book I should write next, and one of them suggested I try Sci Fi. It seemed like it was worth a try, particularly considering the fact that I got my degree in Computer Engineering. One would think that this would make me more qualified to write about high tech hocus-pocus, rather than the sword and sorcery type. Thus, Bypass Gemini was born.
What is the name of the sci-fi series?
I haven’t picked one yet. Any ideas?