Progress has been a bit slow on the next book, I am afraid. (I’m about 33,000 words in, or about half the length of Jade. That would put me at about a quarter of the way to my target length.) It has been a while since I gave you any updates, though, so I figured I would take this opportunity to get your thoughts on a thing or two. I’ve gotten a lot of reviews and comments since last I posted. Some were justifiably critical, but most were very positive. A handful have even remarked that it is a shame the books aren’t available in print. In the past I had looked briefly into what would be necessary to have some paperbacks made, but at that time it didn’t seem worth the effort, since I’d had a grand total of four sales. The time may have come to revisit the area.
Naturally if there were a print edition there would be some differences. Foremost, I wouldn’t be able to offer Book 1 for free. Considering the sheer number of pages in the book, in fact, the minimum price is going to be pretty darn high. A quick estimate puts it at $10+, which I personally think would be a tough sell. Since my readers wouldn’t have the ability to download corrected editions free of charge, I would want to wait until I had a professionally edited manuscript before shipping it off to be printed. (In all fairness, I should have done that for the ebook version, but it is doubly important for the print edition.) It would also be a good idea to get a snappy cover made. There would be decisions to be made regarding what form factor I should shoot for, what typeface, what font size, and no doubt a few dozen other things I’m not even aware of.
All of the considerations above boil down to a fair amount of money and a fair amount of time. Since both of those things are very valuable resources, I’d like to know what you folks think. Should I give the dead tree version of self-publishing a try? Most of you are reading this because you already own and have already read at least one of my books, so I wouldn’t expect you to buy a second version of the same story. The real question is, do you think that printing the book would be worth my while? What benefits do you think there would be? I’m interested in your opinions, so if you have a thought you’d like to share, please comment.
It has been almost a month since the Amazon Sales Anomaly began. I want to thank everyone who read the books and liked them (or hated them) enough to come to this site. I would also like to thank Pixel of Ink for sending so many people my way. If you need a good source for information about bargain ebooks, you really ought to check that site out.
There has been a tremendous amount of excellent feedback from my readers, and it is clear from both my positive and negative reviews that there is one obvious area for improvement: Editing. Well, pending a bit of paperwork, it looks like I’ve earned enough money to get a professional to smooth out the wrinkles in Book 1 of The Book of Deacon. It is a lengthy process, so don’t expect a new edition to drop tomorrow, but unless something unfortunate happens, the chances are good that an effectively typo-free revision should be available in the fall.
In the meantime, I’ll be rereading and touching up the other titles as best I can so that people nice enough to pick up the second book don’t run into a train wreck of typos after a clean first installment. I’m under no delusion that sales will remain strong enough for me to afford an edited edition of the rest of my books any time soon, but I’ll do my best. Until then, thanks again for reading.
Just a quick update to any folks on the east coast, particularly the NYC area. The New York Comic Con is October 13-16th this year, and is once again being held at the Jacob Javits Center. I will be attending! Professionally! However, the profession won’t be “author.” Instead, I’ll be there representing my other major side project, BrainLazy.com. Thus, I’ll be milling about with a press badge, taking notes, asking questions, and generally absorbing information. That said, if any of you good people will be there, feel free to drop me a line if you want to meet me and the rest of the BrainLazy crew. (Incidentally, these are the same people who proofread and critique my books before I publish them, and are basically responsible for the creation of the characters of Oriech and Desmeres.)
It is a little early for me to be planning what days and times I’ll be there, or whether or not I’ll be doing anything special, but as I nail down plans, I’ll spread the word.
My spare time has been in pretty short supply for the last few weeks, with a dense thicket of video game reviews for BrainLazy taking up a good amount of my leisure hours. The flow of games seems to have tapered off now, so it is back to work trying to get another novel done. I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback from some of my readers, and as I was thinking about how best to put it to use in my future projects, I thought it might be nice to let everyone know just what those future projects were.
The very next thing on the menu, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, is the followup to Bypass Gemini. (Still no name on that one. Naming the book is usually one of the last things I do.) After that, if all goes according to plan, will be a novel length Book of Deacon continuation which will take place well after the events of Jade – which should give readers of that story some idea of where it takes place in comparison to the original trilogy. Both of these books have got at least a few dozen pages written already, but neither is particularly near completion. They were also both planned out prior to any of my other books getting much serious attention or feedback.
Once those two books are finished, I can start working on putting together the first ideas to be developed since a substantial readership began to form, and it seems from some of the comments I’m getting that the character people most want to see more from is Lain. What you see of him in the books certainly suggests he’d have a tremendous amount of back story that would make for good reading, if I can assemble it. I’ll definitely have to start thinking about how best to revisit the character, but I’ll warn that a story about him might take some time to come out. He really was one of my favorite characters, and if I want to do him justice for a second outing, it will have to be done carefully.
There are also a few seeds of ideas knocking around my head for shorter stories based on individual characters, or what my friend has dubbed “Sidequests.” (Technically Jade is a Sidequest, as seen on the books page, but how exactly it ties in remains to be revealed.) Ivy will probably see a semi-solo outing in one of these. There are at least two more books in the Sci Fi series that I could envision writing, and it should be mentioned that that full length continuation to The Book of Deacon is currently being written in a document with the file name “Unnamed Second Trilogy.odt.”
Now that you’ve got a glimpse into just how crowded my head is right now, I’ll close with a few announcements. I pushed an updated version of The Book of Deacon (Book 1) that has corrected a handful of typos. Bypass Gemini is now officially available on Barnes & Noble, for you Nook holdouts. Also, depending on how things look in a month or two, I might (MIGHT) be reaching out to you fine people for advice regarding whether or not I should try to do something that would have been unthinkable to me a few months ago. In parting, I’ll share with you a screenshot I took a few days ago that made my jaw drop.
Good company to be in.
Thank you all.
So it seems that some of the mystery surrounding the inexplicable success of my free kindle book has been revealed. Michael Gallagher, the man behind the excellent and useful Free Kindle Books and Tips blog, saw fit to do a post on The Book of Deacon. You can find the specific post here. Thanks for the publicity, Michael! (And thanks to Irving for pointing it out in the comments for the milestone post.)
The first installment of The Book of Deacon Trilogy showed up in the very beginning of 2010, and it really got off to a slow start. I sold perhaps three copies, anywhere, in the first few months. As time passed I started to get the hang of what little marketing was available to me, and I started so see some interest, but still very little in the way of sales. Once the second book was up, since wasn’t earning any money anyway, I took the advice given by a number of indie success stories and decided to make the first title free. This was a breakthrough. I started to get interest, then purchases, and even reviews. And most of them were actually GOOD!
Sales on Amazon, on the other hand, continued to creep along, and I had no way to make it free. For a long time I figured there was no point, since surely the massive selection on the Kindle would make me nothing more than a needle in a needle stack. (A crooked, homemade needle at that!) But Barnes & Noble was treating me pretty well, so I kept poking Amazon, and finally, as you know, they started a free promotion.
At noon today, just under three days after it went free, I passed ten thousand downloads of the free book. TEN THOUSAND! If you are reading this because you decided to grab a free copy and liked what you saw, WELCOME! I cannot thank you people enough for the interest and support! And the same goes for those of you who became fans even before this windfall. You were the ones that motivated me to come this far.
This experiment in self-publishing has taught me a lot, and there is still a lot to learn. For one, it is time to start looking into a professional proofreader. (Sorry for the errors, everybody!) I look forward to any feedback anyone may have, good or bad, and I’ll try my best to answer any questions I receive, but bear with me, this is new territory. Most importantly, I’ll try to continue writing stuff that people will enjoy.
After a confusing sequence of emails with Amazon, I have finally managed to get them to price match The Book of Deacon on the Kindle. That’s right, book 1 of the trilogy is, for the time being, absolutely free! Because of a downright surreal comedy of errors surrounding the price of my book, there is no way for me to know how long this sale will last. Maybe a few hours, maybe a few days. Maybe forever! So if you were on the fence about my book because it wasn’t free in your chosen format, act now!
The Book of Deacon on Kindle
First, I’d like to let everyone know that Bypass Gemini has just been accepted for the Premium Distribution Channels at Smashwords, so in the next couple of weeks you should see it become available via Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Diesel, Kobo, and ScrollMotion. I also pushed a brand new update to all of my books that includes updated links to this site and my twitter and email contact info. Not terribly exciting, I know, but I figured I’d keep you informed.
I also started working on my next book. Because I was still in a Science Fiction frame of mind after polishing off Bypass Gemini, and because I wanted to quickly establish it as a series, this will be a followup novel, furthering the adventures of Lex. For fans of the Book of Deacon series (and presumably that describes most of you visiting this site, based on the url) I will be returning to that universe after As Yet Unnamed Second SciFi Book is complete. Since it is a long way off, I won’t go into details, but suffice to say the story of the world will be getting quite a bit bigger.
One last thing before I go. I’m new to the whole “interacting with readers” thing, since I never really expected to have very many of them, so I’m not entirely sure what sort of things you would like to see as a part of this site. If any of you out there would like to see a new feature added to BookOfDeacon.com, drop me a line, either as a comment or an email, and I’ll gather up the responses and see what I can do.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll post again soon.
After debating with myself about how best to time the release of my next book, I decided that I may as well release it now. So here it is! Bypass Gemini, the first science fiction addition to my roster of novels. Unlike the Book of Deacon series, this is not intended to be the first part of a multiple entry story. Though I have every intention of making more of these, I’m hoping to keep the plot of each one more or less self contained.
If you’ve read any of my other stuff, you’ll probably notice a few significant differences between this an my earlier works. Overall, the tone is a little less serious and a lot less dignified. It doesn’t take itself as seriously as a story, and here and there I tried for a little bit of satire. Obviously the degree to which I have succeeded is entirely up to the reader to judge. The language is also a bit harsher. I think I removed any full instances of the seven dirty words, but it definitely isn’t rated G.
You can find it at Amazon or Smashwords, and over the course of the next month or two it should be showing up at pretty much any other eBook retailer. Take a look, and if you’re skittish, Smashwords should let you read the first half or so before you buy. If you DO pick it up, be sure to let me know what you think.
Some time last year, after I’d finished proofreading one of the books in the Trilogy for the umpteenth time, I got sick of reading stuff I had already written and started thinking about what I would write next. You see, I go through phases of utterly obsessive writing, and I could feel one coming on. At the time, I had seen zero success on the Book of Deacon stuff – only Book 1 and Jade were out at that time – so I was asking my friends what I should write next. One of my buddies who goes by the handle Oriech (for people familiar with the books, the character is technically named after him, not the other way around) requested that I try to write something in the Science Fiction realm. I said sure.
Well, it’s done.
I still have some minor things to do, like coming up with a synopsis and making a cover. (Those are two of my least favorite parts of self publishing, by the way. Not my areas of expertise, as should be clearly indicated by the Jade cover.) Right now I’m going with the name Bypass Gemini. It is new territory for me in a few ways. First, it is the first thing I’ve written with actual chapters. I’ve been criticized for my tendency to forgo chapters, so I wanted to give them a try. It is also the first book I’ve written by conceptualizing the entire plot from beginning to end before I started writing. My usual method involves starting at the beginning with a general idea of how it should end, then writing until I get there. That’s a great way to end up with a book that’s two or three times longer than you’d intended, by the way. Ironically, making the shift from fantasy to scifi was very easy for me. Really it is just a shift from magic to sufficiently advanced technology, after all.
I have no idea when it will be coming out. Certainly this year. Probably some time next month. I’ll do another post when it is officially available. Until then, I find myself once again with no current writing project. If there is anyone reading this, what do you think should be next? More from Myranda and the Chosen? A Sidequest or two? More scifi? Let me hear your thoughts!