Joshua C Cook

Author, Husband, Father, IT Manager

Book Blurb – Blood of a Fallen God

So in between rewrites, edits and trying to figure out what I’m going to do about a cover, I have been working on the book ‘blurb’ for the back of the book, and for it’s Kindle Scout listing, etc.  I always find this hard for some reason, so I’m putting this out and hoping to get some feedback…Book Blurbs are hard!

 

 

“Two Gods went to war with each other, and both fell in that war. The death of two Gods changed the world, and allowed for power to be seized, and fate to be changed. Now hundreds of years later, the post Godsfall order is under threat. Forces and people have started down a path that will change the world again, for one simple reason…Gods don’t stay dead forever.

William and Duncan Reis are cousins, and the last two members of the Reis family line. A family line descended from the last Forgemaster, the blessed of Amder, God of the Forge and Creation. A family line that has been watched and kept ignorant of its place, and what it could do by those who crave power more than piety.

Zalkiniv is the near immortal High Priest of Valnijz, the God of Blood and Rage who fell in battle with Amder so many years ago. Seeking only the return of the Blood God, Zalkiniv has worked for centuries to make that one thing happen. A chance discovery has accelerated his plans, and set into motion the possible return of Amder as well.”

 

I always find doing a  book blurb kind of hard because it’s such a fine line between giving the book away, and yet trying to entice readers to have interest. This is an ‘epic fantasy’ book, long, multiple characters, multiple settings, and several intertwined story lines. Multiple POVs.. all of it.

 

So, feedback?

One book, or Three books

One book, or three smaller books?

Recently I did a full read through of what I’ve done so far on ‘Blood of a Fallen God‘ this epic fantasy story I’m working on. And realized I had some really good break points in the story, which meant if I wanted, I could break it up into three books. There’s advantages and disadvantages to that however, and so I went on some social media to ask. What was interesting to me was the while the voting actually clearly favored breaking it up (78 to 12) the comments were mostly in favor of keeping it as one large book. Note, the people I was asking were, for the most part other self-publishing authors, and if there’s one thing a group of authors will do, is come up with 1001 different ways of doing the same thing and being 100% sure they are in the right.

Some of the comments were somewhat amusing.. the idea that for something to be an “epic fantasy” requires a certain word length I found rather funny.  But I guess if you think length of story means it’s epic, sure.. though that’s not where I go. Epic fantasy to me means a grand story, covering multiple locations with multiple characters. Now this usually means a larger story, but that doesn’t really mean a minimum word count.

But I digress.

Advantages to breaking it up:

More $. Fact is, three books will, traditionally make you more $$ than one. Assuming the price points are good.

More reviews (hopefully)

Lets me say I’ve written 10 books instead of saying 7 *heh*

 

Disadvantages

Costs are higher.. instead of one cover, I have to provide for three.

Usually a single book that large costs a fair amount more to buy.

If you don’t publish all three at once, it becomes a pain for readers to wait.

 

The other side is break it up into three, but publish them all at once as both separately, and as a ‘box set’. Nice idea.. but…

I want to put this out over kindle scout. I don’t think that strategy will work there.

 

I think I’m leaning towards putting it on Kindle Scout as one book. If it doesn’t end up getting ‘picked’ then I’ll break it up into three and sell it as three seperate books and a ‘box set’ that way I’ll get the best of both worlds, so to speak.

A Prologue…

A prologue to Blood of a Fallen God…

 

 


Age of the Forge

1237 ADR

 

Simon Reis walked across the already muddy ground carefully. The stink of battle already hung in the air from the earlier skirmishes, but he knew this was all coming to a head soon. He carefully picked his way through the camp, keeping his head down and covered, his leather cloak and hood keeping his face from being seen but still giving him the authority to not be stopped. His cloak, the day to day wear of a ForgeMaster of Amder meant he was not to be bothered.

He was glad for the large hood however, he didn’t want the soldiers to see his face. Simon wasn’t just a ForgeMaster, he was the recognized chosen Maker of Amder. The living Avatar of Amder made flesh so to speak. He could feel the god in his head, even now. Amder didn’t always make sense to Simon, but he was a God after all. Simon had always thought of it as being a noisy room, and only if someone starts to talk directly to you do you pay attention.

Simon continued through the camp, heading towards the prime forge. The Tavalian army being the seat of Amder always traveled with a nearly full foundry. Thanks to the ForgeMasters it was a marvel of engineering. Collapsible, and easy to store, but yet full featured enough that with enough raw materials, they could pretty much guarantee that they could make anything the army needed. As a result the Tavalian army was considered one of the most well equipped and well armored military forces the world had ever seen.

Simon finally reached the foundry, his boots muddy and stinking of the accumulated debris of horse, man, and blood. The guards at the foundry passed to let him in, as he passed by and headed towards the command tent. General Ashton stood arguing with Gerald DelFarn, High Priest of Amder. Simon grimaced upon seeing DelFarn. The ForgeMasters had always been at odds with Amders priesthood to varying degrees. DelFarn was simply the most recent High Priest who felt that the ForgeMasters should be part of and subservient to the Priesthood.

The Priests had always chaffed at the powers that Amder gave his ForgeMasters. The ability to forge weapons that never needed sharpening, to make items that never seemed to tarnish, to make new and wondrous machines. The Priesthood in contrast could fix things, by virtue of the Heart. The gem, known only as the Heart of Amder had been part of the Priesthood for as long as anyone knew.

The legend of the gem stated that in the very distant past Amder only had the ForgeMasters. 8 men and women, dedicated to him and the forge. One would be the chosen Maker of Amder, and have the secrets of Amder entrusted to him. But as the worship of the Forge God spread throughout Taval, the ForgeMasters had no desire to run churches and the like. They beseeched Amder to create a Priesthood, separate but equal from the ForgeMasters to run his church. Amder agreed, and created the Heart himself, out of his own blood, to give the Priests a source of Power.

And Simon thought with a grimace, setup a power struggle that has lasted for over a thousand years. General Ashton noticed him first and raised a fist in salute. Simon liked Ashton. He was a solid military man, and appreciated the edge the ForgeMasters gave his army. He also unlike other officers Simon had worked with didn’t come up with unreasonable demands for the Foundry.

“Hail Chosen!” General Ashton said with a grin. Simon glanced at DelFarn, rewarded with a tiny glower that flitted across DelFarn’s face. Simon knew that General Ashton has done it on purpose, yet another reason to like him. “General Ashton, High Priest DelFarn.” Simon replied, giving each a small bow as he approached them. “ForgeMaster Reis.” DelFarn replied, purposefully not mentioning his status as Chosen. Simon let it go, knowing DelFarn had only done so strictly to get under his skin.

“Looks like the main force of the Chalzik Horde will be here today, and we can end this in one fell strike.” General Ashton said “The scouts report a large force to be sure, but as they are coming out of the Eastern Scrublands, they will hopefully be a less than fully rested and fed force.” Simon nodded, the Horde had crossed the scrublands after rampaging through two of the Eastern kingdoms and utterly running them. Driven by their bloodthirsty God, Valzinj, the horde, while not a proper army, were a large and unruly force.

But now they came against the Skyreach and the Tavalian army. The Skyreach Mountains, rising high into the air behind Simon were the Eastern border of Taval, and one of the largest and most diverse mineral and metal mining areas in the known world. It was the primary reason Amder based his worship here in Taval.

“The ForgeMaster and his associates I’m sure will be ready for their part in the fight.” DelFarn added, with a tight smile. “The Priesthood of Amder will stand ready to heal, and bless those who fall in Amders name.” Simon resisted the urge to sigh. He was sure the Priesthood would of course, but he knew DelFarn would not. He wished Amder paid more attention to the Priesthood, but their leadership was strictly a political one, which is why he got saddled with dealing with people like DelFarn. For his part he was sure DelFarn thought of the ForgeMasters and him the Chosen as usurpers to the power of the Priesthood, and fools for how they used their gifts from Amder.

The ForgeMasters, all ten of them, were granted a tiny portion of Amders power. They used that power in service to not only the crown of Taval, but the common people of Taval. They freely made items as they were needed for the common folk, with no charge. A ForgeMaster made item may last for years, even generations with no sign of any wear. Oh to be sure, sometimes ForgeMaster made items did break, usually when taken to far from Taval. But the ForgeMasters wanted it that way. It kept them safe in Taval, and kept Taval strong, and protected.

“Yes, we will ALL do our parts” Simon said, with a bland smile. “Do you need anything from the Foundry for today’s battle General Ashton?” he continued, pointedly ignoring DelFarn’s attempt to make another comment. “The ForgeMasters stand ready to provide anything you need.” General Ashton, sensing that the sooner this meeting ended the better, not wanting to get in-between the two factions of Amder worship, provided Simon with a list of some additional weaponry and catapult changes. “Very good General, this will be ready in under two hours.” Simon replied, and turned on his heal and left. General Ashton turned to DelFarn and watched as DelFarn started after Simon Reis.

“He’s a good man DelFarn, I don’t understand why you fight like this.” General Ashton said as he went back to his maps. “A man? Maybe. Good? Maybe.” DelFarn replied, with a right smile and slight bow, DelFarn took his leave of the General and went to make his own preparations for the coming battle.

Simon felt the horde before he saw them, the very ground shook with their steps. Simon wasn’t sure if it was part of being the Chosen of Amder or just that there were so MANY of the horde. They darkened the land, swarming towards the Tavalian lines like suicidal ants. Simon and the other ForgeMasters had completed the work General Ashton had asked them to only 20 minutes before, and had been pacing, waiting for the coming fight. While ForgeMasters didn’t normally get involved in the thick of battle, each was armed with their hammers. A ForgeMaster upon being raised was gifted the insight to make his or her own Hammer of Amder. Magical items, they were both Forge Hammers and weapons. They would resize to whatever was needed when creating, but in the case of battle, they became large two handed hammers, each with its own look, based on the desire of the creator on the hammer.

Simons hammer was worked into the bearded face of Amder in a silvery metal. He had rarely used it to fight with, but he knew today he would probably have to.  Simon surveyed the rapidly approaching horde, by Amders brass ones, there were a lot of them. He steadied himself, he was the Chosen of Amder, with the well trained and best equipped army in the world.  A Horde of Eastern blood lusting ragtag fighters and bezerkers were no match for the Tavalian army, though while surveying the roiling mass of enemy fighters, he wasn’t totally sure that he was correct.

Simon noticed the change in the air before the silence fell across the battlefield. Anticipation seemed to fill the space between the two armies, one a carefully laid out force, gleaming steel and iron, discipline and confidence given form. The other, a mass of ragtag fighters, armed with any random assortment of equipment, some clean, some not. Though he could not see their faces from this distance, Simon pictured them as crazed zealots, their prayers to their Blood lusting God being the wholesale pillaging and destruction of everything and everyone who stood in their way.

With no word or sound, the Horde surged forward, again reminding Simon of nothing more than a carpet of ants, eating everything in their path. If the Tavalians did not stop them here, the horde could go through all of Western Dorus. The stand had to be here and now. The mountains would help funnel the horde into the Tavalian army, they just had to stand and kill.

The clash of the two forces was near deafening. Simon was used to the sound of metal on metal, but this dwarfed the sound of the forge. Add the screaming and howling of the attackers and defenders, the moans of pain and death, and the noise was almost unbearable. Simon stood and watched the battle from the Foundry site for now. He could see General Ashton watching the battle from the command pavilion, shouting orders and sending pages running to each brigade. High Priest DelFarn stood next to General Ashton, looking somewhat surprised and pale for once. Simon shook his head with derision, DelFarn had probably expected this to be a simple fight. Truthfully Simon was somewhat surprised at the size of the Horde that had made it through the scrublands. But it didn’t matter, they had to stand here.

Hours passed, and Simon and the other ForgeMasters watched. Slowly but surely, the tide was turning towards the Tavalian force. The Horde had the numbers, but the Tavalians better equipment, and far better strategy was slowly forcing the Horde into the main body of the Tavalian army, where they were being wiped out. Simon was starting to relax somewhat, though he knew that he and the other ForgeMasters would be busy after the fight reforging weapons and fixing damaged catapults and other gear. Simon had just about decided to stand down, when the roar came.

Rage incarnate. That was all Simon could think when he heard it. Raw unbridled rage and destruction. Simon turned to the battlefield once more and went pale. Behind the Horde, stood a blood red scaled figure. Valzinj, the God of Bloodlust and Rage, had come to the battlefield personally. Simon knew instantly, that this was not supposed to happen. The Gods did not interact personally with the world, it was forbidden. But there stood Valzinj, regardless of whatever rules were supposed to deny it. The Horde surged forth, renewed in their rage. The Tavalians stunned at the sight of an actual God on the battle field quickly fell back, you could feel the panic start to surge through the Army. Simon looked at the command tent, General Ashton stood pale faced, and unsure. High Priest DelFarn was nowhere to be seen, Simon wondered if he had simply fled.

Simon Reis, ForgeMaster and Chosen of Amder, was at a loss of what to do himself. But at that moment, instructions from Amder filled his head. Simon went down to both knees, both wonder and despair filled him. He knew that that moment his life was gone. But if Amder’s plan worked, Taval and the rest of the world might still know peace. He despaired of never seeing his family again, but if the Horde got through, they wouldn’t have a life themselves. Quickly Simon turned to the assembled ForgeMasters and explained Amders plan. Their eyes widened but they as one nodded their agreement.

Simon steeled himself, he imaged this was going to hurt, a lot. Simon stripped down, but for his hammer, he walked towards the main reservoir of molten metal and stood in front of it, looking into its red roiling depths. With a deep sigh, he nodded to the assembled ForgeMasters and one at a time, they threw their hammers into the pool. Each hammer seemed to alight in the pool and melt slowly. The metal changed colors with each hammer, getting progressively lighter, from a deep angry red, to by the last hammer other than Simons, had progressed to a bright silver, with gold and copper highlights. Simon turned to each ForgeMaster, and nodded, as one by one they touched his hammer, and collapsed. The Hammer glowed with each transfer, removing the spark of power that Amder had given each ForgeMaster.

Finally Simon Reis, ForgeMaster and Chosen of Amder turned to the now glowing white pool of metal and stepped on to it. He did no sink, he did not burn. The metal flowed over him, and he grew. He grew in size, and shape until, Simon Reis was no more. All that stood there now, was the Avatar of Amder, God of the Forge.

Twenty feet high, glowing metal and holding a large Glowing Hammer, the form of Amder stood, looking across the already blood-soaked valley. Valnijz looked back, scaled, reptilian spirit, but upright as a man. Neither form spoke, but those who survived that day swore that some communication passed between the two forms, some way of talking that only the Gods could know of. A scream rent the air as the Blood God leaped forward, only to be met with a blow from the Hammer that Amder carried.

The two titans joined battle as their followers ran. Not even the Horde in its lust for blood and battle dared to stay where the Gods themselves fought. Valzinj leaping and clawing at Amders metal form, his red scaled skin glinting in the afternoon sun. And giant metal Amder, swinging his hammer, each blow shaking the very earth if he missed, or a bruising scale breaking hit when it connected. Amders form was not without damage either, the claws of Valnijz scraping long furrows in a metal form that would normally be impervious to harm.

The fight went on for hours, with a handful of mortals on each side watching. The Blood Chiefs of the Horde on one side, and General Ashton and High Prelist DelFarn on the other. Finally the two forms parted and started at each other. Amders form was more scratches and gouges than metal, and occasionally liquid metal would flow from a crack. Where it touched ground, a slivery crystal would sprout, glowing with its own inner light. Valzinj was bleeding from half a dozen wounds now, and where his blood fell, a red mist erupted, and corrupting everything it touched to crave blood.

Without a sound the two Gods rushed at one another, Valzinj claws finally piercing the Chest of Amder, and Amders hammer finally bursting the head of Valzinj. Both forms fell to the ground with an earth shaking thud, and slowly began to dissolve, filling the surrounding earth with  a mix of pure silver crystals and a noxious red mist.

And so, at the Battle of Skyreach did fall the ForgeMasters and Chosen of Amder, leaving only the Priesthood behind.

 


 

 

A taste of what’s coming….

I actually wrote this quite a while ago, over a year ago. Originally to help me get into the ‘world’ I was creating. I’ve cleaned it up some, and have decided to make it the start of the new book.

 

–Josh

Getting it done.. or Why I have more patience with big name authors

So..

As anyone who reads this knows (all 3 of you haha) I’ve been working on Blood of a Fallen God or #BOAFG (Hashtag powa!) since the beginning of the year. The last book I actually finished was Bridgebreaker back in September of LAST year. Now part of me feels like a bit of a failure in terms of not getting the book I’m working on out yet.  Guilt even.

As I’ve alluded to in the past, this book is a different animal, it’s far larger, and that’s putting it mildly. The first draft is shaping up to be three times the size of the first draft of Bridgefinders. This is also a far more complex book in terms of world building, characters, and plots and subplots. Being my first full stab at epic fantasy, set in a fantasy world that’s very different than our own, I don’t think I fully understood how much more detail I needed to interweave into the story, without delving into the trap of doing four or five pages of description, which no one really likes. Now I have all those descriptions but for me, as notes.

However all of this has done something that has made me rethink some of my past thoughts and criticisms of some of my favorite authors.

I love Game of Thrones. Both the books and the TV show. I enjoy both and don’t take ‘sides’ on the which is better drama. Both are enjoyable for me for what they are, full stop.

But…

I’ll be honest, before tackling this book I had gotten impatient with George RR Martin, really impatient. He’d been working on this next book for years now, how can it take so long?? I mean I’m a less than tiny fish in the book world, but I can push out two books a year! (Self satisfaction is bad stuff.)

Yeah.. Epic or High Fantasy, is.. complicated to write. When you’ve got that many characters, with that much going on, just cross checking to make sure what’s going on over here, makes sense based on what happened six chapters ago with totally different characters gets complex. Then that short conversation two characters had back at the beginning of the book needs to work with something that happens at the end, etc etc.

 

It’s a web. And as a beginning/struggling/wanna be writer, I’ve already learned the hard way that if you make ANY mistakes there, a reader will find it, and use it to bash you over the head 1001 times, just because they can.

I had the same thoughts back when the late Robert Jordan was writing the Wheel of Time series. Loved the books and was impatient to read the next one.

But here’s my mea culpa, it’s complicated, and can really take up a lot of thought and mental power to keep it all straight even WITH copious notes.

 

As for the sign above…

I’m still working on the first draft.. I’m VERY close to done, but not there yet. Finishing does mean just getting it written.. finishing means rewrites, editing, clean up, proofreading, beta reading, another round of clean up and rewrites, cover art, etc. etc.

And THEN I can finally submit to Kindle Scout (Click the link to see what I mean by that..) and hope for the best.

I’m proud of this story.  I think it shows my growth as a writer, and not because of length. But because I think the characters are more alive, the plot is better, and there’s more.. emotional impact peppered through the story to keep the readers interested. I’m really looking forward to the first time someone gives me feedback on it.

But first..

 

I need to finish the damned book!

 

–Josh

Social Media, I’m not good at it.

So… it’s been a while oh Blog of Mine. I’ve also been sparse on Facebook page updates, Tweeting, and forget my never used Instagram account. Here’s why…

I’m bad at social media in terms of my writing. I just am. I have a few ideas as to why however.

 

  1. Age. I’m 43. While not ‘old’ at least in my head not old, I grew up in a different time. The idea of constantly broadcasting my thoughts, hopes, irritations of writing holds no appeal to me. I find myself having to FORCE myself to do updates. For personal stuff I do updates a lot, but that’s personal. Those are family, and good friends. It is, to me, ‘different’.
  2. Not having anything overly interesting to say. While I’m working on a book (or books) I don’t have anything other to say than ‘Hey, still writing.’
  3. I’m not a conversation starter. One of the things I know about myself is I’m not a person who likes to start a conversation. I’ll gladly join in, adding anything I can that’s relevant, and somethings that aren’t if I get to rambling. But I starting that off isn’t my thing. It works this way in face to face stuff as well. I’ll smile and nod, but very rarely actually talk first.

All of this makes social media ‘outreach’ hard for me. I know other people who are trying the writing game who can post 25-30 times a day and seem to have no issue with it. Me? I usually rewrite a tweet 40 times if I’m starting it, and half the time delete and send nothing thinking ‘That’s stupid.’

I’m not anti-social, though I am an introvert. But I have always found that aspect of the writing game hard. It’s probably why I find marketing hard. I simply think that anything I might write about when I’m not doing a release or a cover reveal, or anything like that to be kind of pointless. I know it’s not ACTUALLY pointless, but my built in reaction is “No one wants to hear this.”

I wish I was better at it. Maybe I’d sell more books, or have a better platform when I DO a release.

I’m going to attempt to do better.. but I’ve said that before.

I’ve tried various software tools to automate it more before. Auto twitter posts, Facebook page posts, something, anything… but it boils down to me just not being.. excited by it. Interested in it.

So..anyone got any advice?

 

–Josh

 

Blood of a Fallen God. News, and bits of Information.

Blood of a Fallen God has somehow become my ‘fantasy magnum opus’ in terms of both size and detail. I literally have 33 pages of notes about the world, character relations, and timelines so I can keep everything both clear to me, and much more importantly, clear to the reader. The last thing I want is to fall into what I call the ‘War and Peace’ model of fantasy writing where the reader can never figure out who a character is or why it’s important.

Because of this #BOAFG (My self made Blood of a Fallen God hashtag..) will have a glossary, if only to help make things clear to the reader.  Which of course brings forth a whole new set of thought questions about what do I make sure is in the glossary and what can I safely leave out. Gah!

Anyways, besides the actual story, I should be getting the maps finalized soon. I’ve decided to share ONE of the three maps when that happens. Also, mostly because I want to, I will be doing a daily tweet about a single god in this fantasy world I’ve created. I started today May 11, 2017 with the big bad himself, Valnijz.

But JUST in case someone see’s this and didn’t see that..

Valnijz: The Scaled One, God of Blood and Rage. The Destroyer. One of the two ‘dead’ gods, Valnijz still has a very large cult like religion utterly devoted to him. More like a death-cult than anything else, they seek more than anything to return Valnijz to life for the sole purpose of killing all of those who do not follow him.

 

Blood of a Fallen God has in many ways stretched me as a writer.  It also has made me realize I owe a thought of apology to writers like George RR Martin and the late Robert Jordan. Epic fantasy takes, more than anything, TIME. And lots of it.  Next post, will cover Amder, the God of Craft and Creation. Maybe the map reveal as well, if it’s ready.

Keep reading, writing and enjoying life!

 

–Josh

 

P.S. If you are looking for something to read… don’t forget the Bridgefinders books!

Where have I been?

So where have I been? I’ve not updated the blog in over a month, Facebook as well. There’s been a couple of things going on, and though there’s not a lot of people who visit this tiny corner of the web, hey it’s my tiny corner, and I’ll share!

  1. Work – I currently have a great job, and I mean that. I work as one of two IT support people at a Tax/Bookkeeping/Auditing group here in Florida. However,  until last week it was ‘Tax Season’ which is usually the most busy part of the year.  I wanted to keep up with things, and I did at first. Tax season runs from January through to Mid April. Sadly for me, the closer we got to the tax deadline day, things got busier, so no blog updates, and very little social media items done.
  2. Allergies/illness – So as I mentioned I live in Florida. Seasonal allergies aren’t anything new here, but this year was a beast. Much worse than normal, and I spent two  plus weeks coughing up a lung and blowing my nose every 10 minutes to breathe. Not fun, not pleasant, and not overly conducive for writing, or again social media. All better now, thanks to the end of ‘Pollen Hell 2017’
  3. The Wall – This was the final reason. I hit a wall. Meaning a combination of poor book sales and writers block made me so profoundly unmotivated to do anything with my writing for a bit. I simply did not care, nor did I have the energy to move through it at the time. The good news is that I’m past that now. I had some sales (unexpected and happily.) and I got through my writers block.

 

Blood of a Fallen God is back on track, and I’m working to get this first draft done and put away. I’ve some cover stuff to look into, maps to finish off, and a few other things. I’ve also got Book THREE ( I like saying that, hence the caps) in the Echo Worlds series to finish, and then that stand alone book called ‘Timetable 93’

So I’m back, I’ll update the blog at least twice a month moving forward, and try to be more active on twitter and my Facebook page.

Here’s to taking that next step!

So that’s where I’ve been.

Epic Fantasy

Epic Fantasy is a bit different animal than what I’ve written before, and maybe that’s why the current book is slowing growing into a beast. The current main book I’m working on (interspersed with working on Book three of The Echo Worlds.) is now called “Blood of a Fallen God.” It’s an idea that’s morphed and changed a bit from my initial thoughts, when it was going to be called Forgemaster.

I actually have an old post about that name, as I was going to write this a while back. However I hit writers block, and wasn’t sure where I wanted to take the story, so as with other things, it got shelved for a time. But now it’s back, but changed. I’ve only used a tiny bit of what I wrote before so far, I may incorporate other parts later I’m not sure. But the main thrust is somewhat the same. I think that one of the reasons Epic Fantasy is a bit of a bear in terms of length is the world building. Even in the Echo World series, I’m building an ‘add-on’ to our world, not creating a whole new thing. I’m finding that giving background without throwing a huge multiple page explanation of what is what and why it’s there to be a different sort of challenge. I’m enjoying it, but trying to figure out how to explain what the Mistlands are, who Amder is, who Valnijz is, all of that and doing it by weaving it in and out of the dialogue and action to be mentally taxing at times.

As a result, this thing is being a beast. It’s looking like the first draft will be in the 150-165 thousand words range. Which is by far larger than what I’ve done in the past. I’m sure edits will change those numbers, but still, it’s a beast. The current target is to have the first draft of this done by the end of March, and the first draft of book three of the series done by the end of April. I’m actually shooting to get three books out this year, which is doable, though editing this thing is going to kill me.

To help with all this I’ve finally started doing ‘writing sprints’ Free flow writing for a set amount of time twice a day. I always resisted doing do for reasons I’m not clear on now, and I’ve found it very helpful with getting things down on the paper. It’s also helped me not do the ‘editing while writing’ habit I was finding myself falling into. If for that reason alone I’m happy with the new method (for me.) of getting it done.

I’ve got some good cover ideas for this book (Blood of a Fallen God, aka BOAFG.) but not sure how to realize them yet. But since I don’t even have the first draft done yet, I’m ok with not knowing.  Sales have still been stinky on the books that are out there, they fell off in September and have yet to recover. I’ve tried various things to tweak them, but nothing doing. The dream of course is that this book gets selected for Kindle Scout, get’s published by Amazon’s fantasy imprint, and ALL the books start selling better. That’s the dream at least. All I can do is try to create the best stories I can, and get them out there.

 

 

Updates For February

So February has rolled around, and it’s as good as time as any to see where I am for this years goals so far, and what has been getting in the way of making more progress, if anything.

  1. Blood of a Fallen God – This is moving forward, though not quite as fast as I’ve hoped. The main issue though is just day to day life has been a bit busier than I thought it would be. But I AM making progress on the first draft.
  2. Bridgemaker – The third book in the Echo Worlds series. I’ve really fallen behind on this one. I’m not good at working on more than one book at a time I’ve discovered, so I think I’ll pause on this one until I get the first draft of BOAFG done.
  3. Outline for other book. – I’ve worked out a short outline for a story called ‘Timetable 93’ I’m really not sure if this will be a short story, or something longer, but we will see.

 

On top of working on the first draft of BOAFG, I’ve been brainstorming cover ideas. I THINK I’ll need to work with an artist to get what I want for the actual art though, so looking into that. If anyone reading this has any suggestions please (like really, please!) reach out to me.

Other news:

  1. The scammers I mentioned so many times before had another run in with a different person, and lo and behold I got mentioned and had a huge spike in blog attendance, though it was short lived.
  2. Unsure if what happened after was related, but I found it amusing. I got a message via email, through the blog from someone claiming to be another author. This person said they had read some of what I’ve done and had a suggestion. The suggestion was to give up. Stop writing, pull what I had written off Amazon, and stop pushing ‘total crap’ so ‘better authors than you can get attention.’ They also proceeded to say that people like me were what was causing them to sell less by flooding the market with junk, and it was making it harder for ‘True talent’ like theirs to get noticed.

 

I have no idea if I’m talented as a writer. I don’t think in those terms, and never have. I write for me. I write because I enjoy the act of it. I write because I like sharing the stories. Sure, I’d love it if they sold better, who wouldn’t want another income stream? But that’s not WHY I write. So no, I won’t give up and go away.

That’s all for now, and I need to go work on BOAFG, I’m behind for the  word count for the week. 😉

Kindle Scout

Kindle Scout. I’ve said it before, but this is one of my main goals this year, to not only put a book up for consideration, but to get selected and publish through it.

But what IS Kindle Scout? And why do I want to pursue that route? What good is it?

So unless your a writer (or like me, a writer-wannabe) you may not quite grasp how large Amazon’s hold on the Indie publishing game is. While there are other players, Amazon hold a HUGE market share advantage. It’s kind of just the way it is. That being said, with the sheer massive volume of eBooks being published now via the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) being an indie author is not something to hang a lot of hopes on in terms of monetary rewards. I’ve read that nearly 1.1 million eBooks come out every year on Amazon. There’s a TON of competition. And since your ‘ranking’ on Amazon depends on sales, if your book doesn’t sell, your ranking drops, which means your books become effectively invisible. People don’t tend to scroll past the first 2 pages at most, and truthfully most stop at one.

So self-publishing is an uphill climb, at least if your looking or exploring for monetary gains. I write because I enjoy it, and telling stories is something I do to feed a more creative part of me, monetary rewards are in fact nice to have. After the rather dismal launch of Bridgebreaker (ZERO pre-sales regardless of advertising, worst books sales period, of any book I’ve done, mixed with what in fact are the best reviews I’ve gotten…) all my sales have kind of flat lined.

So what does this all have to do with Kindle Scout?

Kindle Scout is a different path. See Amazon has a book publishing arm! And I don’t mean KDP. Amazon has their own line of book imprints. Publishing groups that publish books, and promote them. And how they ‘choose’ books is a bit different.

See if I wanted to go the traditional route of publishing, I’d need to write letters, synopsis’s, have to pitch my book to someone, send full or partial manuscripts, all that. The thought of doing that, any of that, makes my stomach churn. And truthfully, I dislike the ‘single gatekeeper’ idea, that one person can make or break a book form being published, or at least getting a foot in the door.

Kindle Scout however allows an author to:

  1. Take a completed story and cover, and upload it to the Scout website. There READERS can read a section, and vote up or down a book. Get enough votes, and then the Amazon team will look at it, and decide if they want to publish the story. If they do, that’s it, your chosen! Note: They will do some editing work, or book cover changes with the author from what I understand and what others have told me.
  2. One chosen and changes (if any) are made and approved, the book is published under an Amazon imprint. This is NOT self-publishing.
  3. Advantages
    1. – Guaranteed advance & competitive royalties: Kindle Press offers a $1,500 advance and 50% eBook royalty rate. Royalties will be paid monthly.– Focused formats: Kindle Press acquires worldwide publication rights for eBook and audio formats in all languages. Authors retain all other rights, including print.

      – 5-year renewable terms, $25,000 in royalties: If a book doesn’t earn $25,000 in royalties during an author’s initial 5-year contract term, or any 5-year renewal term after that, the author can choose to stop publishing with us.

      – Easy rights reversions: After two years, rights for any format or language that remains unpublished, or all rights to any book that earns less than $500 in total royalties in the preceding 12-month period, can be reverted upon request — no questions asked.

      – Early downloads & reviews: One week prior to release date, everyone who nominated a book that is published by Kindle Press will receive a free copy and be invited to leave reviews.

      – Featured Amazon marketing: Kindle Press books will be enrolled and earn royalties for participation in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited as well as be eligible for targeted email campaigns and promotions.

Those are some nice perks!

So coming soon I’ll be trying to get ‘Blood of a Fall God’ accepted on Kindle Scout. I’ll let everyone know when.

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