Revisions on the death scene of a favourite character is like stapling through your fingernail. Again.
Tag Archives: Editing
The second book of my 10th Lunen Regiment trilogy is on its way for manuscript formatting and final read from the beta team before being sent to my lovely typist. To Drown in Ash will be the major project release for 2017 for me, and I can’t wait to see what happens when it hits.
So, I’m not.
Never have been much of a waiting type.
I started Book 3 halfway through writing To Drown in Sand, and now is the time to pull the trigger, click the dials, shove the shifter and stomp the gas. Tentatively titled To Drown in Fire, it has been almost 8 years in the making and will mark the conclusion of Kyris Issep’s journey.
(Yes, that is Burzum I’m listening to. Don’t judge; I need The Heavy. To Drown in Fire will be HEAVY. Heavy things that end epics make The Best Things).
That brings the total of writing projects for 2017 up to 4. Plus several new short stories I’m planning.
Let’s make 2017 the year we write! The year we produce! Your year to publish! Our year to crush this Indie thing!
What are you working on?
Three short stories in the can, three others ready for the editor, and six more in various stages. My next release, an anthology to introduce the world of my fantasy novel, is setting up nicely. Twelve stories so far, each set in this new medieval world of shadows and emerging war. Here’s the finished (but nothing’s ever really finished) prologue:
The Maw of War has opened.
After a century of peace, the world is being twisted and bent by the ruthless egos and dark ambitions of man.
Across the Eastern Sea, a horde of monstrous evil drives the brave Dwarven warriors of Wendthairne into the ocean in a desperate flight for refuge, hoping for solace from their former enemies, the long-silent Elves of Ahmrael.
The north of the Realm has frozen into a wasteland. Deep in the ice-encased mountains of North Elan, creatures stir that the world has never seen. Their hunger for ruin is absolute as they are borne from the shadows, seeking to bleed humanity. Enslaved by a new God, they exist only for his revenge and the destruction of mankind.
In the west, Archduke Lierdstiern schemes for the fall of a nation and the usurping of order. His swelling ambitions seduce him to concert with madness under the corrupting power of a new religion. His lies and merciless drive seduce him to new depths of unspeakable evil.
The kingdom of man, tethered together by the dream of peace in the Hall of Kings, is crumbling. Betrayal and deceit erode the carefully constructed foundations of a centuries’ serenity.
Darkness shrouds the evil work of deceit and murder. Horror and madness are creeping out from under the shadows of the night.
The Age of Peace is dying.
The door to ruin has opened. These are the stories of the destruction of hope. The seduction of sanity. The revenge of the forgotten. The wrath of bones.
The Wrath of Bones will be available this November.
Meanwhile, I’m approaching the halfway point (Chapter Nine, Scene One) of To Drown in Ash, the sequel to Sand. Issep and the Boddies are in desperate times, surrounded by imminent death and unrelenting evil. The sequel has a much darker tone. The central theme emerging is loss.
THAT sounded foreboding.
About a year ago, I stumbled over a title minnowing through my newsfeed. It was a free promo, and the description intrigued me, so I downloaded it. The book was called Sweet Violent Femmes by Holly M. Kothe, and it was one of the best Indie products I have ever, ever seen.
I ripped through the book in one night. The theme throughout was the violent revenge of several women scorned. The tone and the writing left me stunned. I love dark fiction that makes me uncomfortable. Holly’s setup for her characters, how vulnerable they were, how driven and intent they were, were the perfect recipe to keep me locked in her pages.
I remember thinking that I wanted my work to read like that. For my books to be packaged that professionally. I considered Holly’s collection of short stories my benchmark.
Holly recently sent another minnow down my newsfeed. She had started an independent editing business. I wondered if this would be the chance for me to climb the writer’s stairs and improve my work. To get it closer to my expectations. It was time for me to take that next step.
I scrounged my lunch money and emptied my writer’s account and borrowed change from my son. (Not really, but almost). I had no idea how much Holly would charge me for her work. I knew that editors are ridiculously expensive and meant only for the marble halls in New York and Who-do-you-think-you-are-anyway-having-real-writer-expectations-of-yourself?
I looked into Holly’s site. Read the reviews by other writers. Counted how many writers she had edited. I studied their covers and Amazon pages. I narrowed my eyes a lot. These were pro writers with solid covers and there were a lot of them.
I sent off the manuscript to Holly on May 6th . I received my contract and bill for half of her (VERY reasonable) price that afternoon. I signed the bill digitally, pressed send, and left the rest to the will of the Gods.
I had the edited manuscript back in my digital hands on May 13th, and the invoice for the rest of her fee.
Her work on the manuscript for my short story was exactly what I had hoped for. She was supportive, objective, clinical, and precise. I could not be happier with her work. With her edits and her suggestions for certain story flow mechanisms, Upon the Devil’s Shoulder reads like a polished, professional work.
And I’ve already finished anther short for the anthology to send to her.
See, because that’s what I’ve learned. How it works when you don’t self-edit, and leave that up to the pros.
You can just go write.
It’s a tough lesson to learn. I know not everyone is in the position to afford an editor. But, after spending 2 years rewriting To Drown in Sand (AFTER it’s been uploaded), when I could have used that time writing its sequel, I can no longer really afford not to. And I’m pretty confident, after seeing what this short story is becoming, that the result in quality will help me afford access to Espresso Editor a lot faster.
I did not for a moment experience the insecurity/protective instinct that I’ve had in the past. Having read Holly’s work, I knew THAT was what I wanted my work to look like. In a way, she is her own best promotion.
And I genuinely feel that I’ve stepped to another platform: from hobby writer to the real thing. Once you’ve read Upon the Devil’s Shoulder, you may agree with me.
If you’re an Indie writer, and are considering going to an editor, stop. Don’t consider it. Go do it. And one of the brightest young women you could ever hope to find will edit your work quickly and quietly at Espressoeditor.
Just don’t get her too busy. I would now be lost without her.
So. I conducted an experiment.
“You gotta have free stuff,” they said. “Folks love free stuff.”
The Traditional Publishers still gnash their teeth, flap their tiny arms, and growl that not anyone can do this; that they have special services that guarantee quality and success.
They’re right; they do. But I say anyone can make their own success, if you learn the game, and demand quality of yourself.
Juris Lunence took only about four months to finish from initial draft, to polished, packaged, buffed, price on the windshield, and out on the lot. Plus, it was a lot of fun to write. So overall, not a loss of time in any way. It’s a short story prequel to Book 1 of my Trilogy, To Drown in Sand.
Kobo went live with Juris Lunence first, and that was intentional. We loaded it to Amazon, didn’t announce it, and read the purchased copy while Kobo chewed on the upload. Since Kobo takes considerably more time to publish a title, we used that to proof the digital copy that went live on Amazon that was still priced at Amazon’s somewhat silly $.99 price. We caught our glitches, re-uploaded to Amazon, and the final copy was live before Kobo hit the market. Then we uploaded the corrected version to Kobo. Kobo’s copy of Juris went up for free (because they do that), and we reported Amazon being undersold by Kobo. The $.99 still appeared on the Amazon copy for first three days, but buyers received it free because of price-matching. At the end of the third day, Juris Lunence looked like this:
Then, the FB group blitz. My poor followers. Their feeds must look like I’m a megalomaniac. Over 40 groups in one night, then roughly 15 more over the next few evenings. They were kind not to appear on my lawn with rage and torches.
I purchased a small bottle of Goldschlager (one of those tiny airplane bottles, I’m not a drinker), my favourite Victory Juice. Parked it next to my laptop on the kitchen table, and waited. I was only going to open it if I hit 10 free downloads.
Then this happened:
Those little buggers are hard to open when you’re excited. I had to use my pliers.
3 days later, there wasn’t a bottle big enough to celebrate cracking an Amazon Top Ten list, and the Top 100 in Kindle Books:
10 days later, here’s what the 4 months of work did for my Author rankings:
And here’s the total snapshot of Juris Lunence downloads, and what it did for To Drown in Sand (the little red lines at the bottom).
Did I sell a lot of copies of To Drown in Sand? Not really, at least not yet.
Did I sell more than if I hadn’t written and promoted a free release? Yeh.
Did I climb through the Amazon algorithm and increase my Author ranking? You betcha.
Did I gain new readers, and get over 100,000 new people looking at my title? Yip!
Is Konrath and Truant and Platt right? Absolutely.
The conclusion is pretty much irrefutable, which is rare in this Grand Indie Game.
Free works as long as it’s quality. And anyone can make that happen.
Large things start small. Like seeds in the dark. I met Dylan Edwards in Grade Eight. He had hand-drawn comics spilling out of his saxophone case that I handed back to him. Talk about epic moments in time. We were the two biggest nerds consistently from then until we graduated. Nerd legends for our hobbies, interests, and isolation. We were instant brothers, kin in suffering the glacial pressures of growing through adolescence.
We started a comic company in grade nine; and we were the guys play-testing our Zombie Apocalypse role-playing game in study hall during exams. We rolled our eyes and ignored the jibes of the typical detractors through it all, with eyes locked on one another; that precious psychic bond of survival. He went on to become one of the best fathers I’ve ever been privileged to know, and the best friend a man could ever wish for.
He also became an incredible artist. Despite my constant, frantic texts, emails, mistakes, dysfunctional uploads, and endless problems, he remains, as always, stoically patient, and everwise. And waiting for his new cover drafts is better than Christmas. His idea for the cover for my new prequel short story, Juris Lunence, blew me away.
Here’s the first draft:
And the final version:
Once you’ve read the story, I think you’ll get just how awesome this image really is. At least, it flattens me pretty effectively. Crazy to think how small things like me grabbing a dropped piece of drawing can turn into such things. Reminds me to keep looking for them.
Juris Lunence is available for free on Kobo, and, as soon as enough people tell amazon they are being undersold, free on Kindle as well.
Just popping in to provide the means to acquire a professionally edited, reasonably well-written, and ABSOLUTELY FREE story about a fantastic character.
There. I’m done. Please return to your awesome day.