Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Well, another few months have gone by, and I've failed to post updates as often as I promised.  Go figure.  I seem to be overextending myself.  Between community theater, my day job, my DJ business, writing, editing, and participating in writing workshops, I seem to find myself sorely lacking in that most valuable of commodities: time.  That's why I'm seriously considering curtailing my theater work after my current show, to focus more on my writing.  We shall see. It's either that or my day job, which isn't likely unless I start selling a lot more books!

My marketing strategy is starting to come into focus, and I want to spread the word.  Things are going well, albeit slowly, with my works in progress.  The Door to Justice is trucking along, but some of it is kind of a mess with all the re-writes and tweaks I've been making.  But it's still on track to be released this year.  The Codex Chronicles outline is finished, and I've written rough drafts of several important scenes, but no complete chapters as of yet.  I'm tilting this one more toward middle grade readers, and that's new territory for me, but I feel like it's coming along well.

And I'm finally ready, I think, to reveal the mysterious non-fiction project I've been working on.  I've been reluctant to do so, because, well, I felt (and still feel, sort of) that it's a bit egotistical to write. But many people, from fellow writers to peers to colleagues to close friends, have been suggesting I do this for quite some time now.  I'm working on a non-fiction book about writing and publishing your first novel, from the perspective of an experienced novice.  Basically, my participation in various writing groups and the advice I give, from critiquing to editing to how to find an agent to how to select a cover artist, have convinced many in my growing circle that I know what I'm talking about.  I like to think that I do... I have done all the research and been through the process myself, and I've been someone people seek out with their industry questions despite the fact that my experience really only amounts to one self-published book so far.  In the end, their urging won me over.  Before I ever published that first book, I researched, learned, and sought advice from many professionals, and I think the knowledge I gained is more than enough to fill up a book.  I'm writing from the perspective of someone who's been through the process, instructing people who are just starting on their path.  I think that from that perspective, I do have valuable insights that I can pass along, even if I do still feel somewhat unqualified for the task.  And of course, if I don't think the finished product is valuable or worthwhile, I certainly won't publish it.  But I'm kind of excited about the project, my first foray into non-fiction.

Rocket Girl is currently on the back burner, as usual.  Not because I've lost interest in the project, but because I feel that in order to give Codex and Justice the attention they deserve, I can't spread myself so thin.  If I get Codex, Justice, and the non-fiction book out soon enough, I may have time to get Rocket Girl going before the year ends, but I don't think I can count on that.

And finally, a little bit about my marketing strategy.  I'm planning a big launch for the release of The Door to Justice, including some paid advertising as well as mobilizing my fans for word of mouth.  One of the big things that I'll be trying (assuming they accept me) is BookBub.  It's a little expensive, but my research has shown that it more often than not pays for itself, and not just monetarily.  So, when Justice is ready to be released, I'm hoping to time that up with a BookBub feature and sale for Canellin.  The hope is, of course, that sales of Canellin alone pay for the BookBub feature, and the increased exposure gets Justice off the ground on a high note.  That's just part of the overall plan, of course... I hope to also have a blog tour planned and in place for the release, as well as some other advertising, and I'm really trying to time some advance reviews to hit on the same day as well.

So that's where we stand, Gatehouse fans.  Thanks for sticking with me after all this silence!  I hope to have fresh news for you very soon!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Well, folks, as most of you know, I've decided to forgo Kickstarter for fundraising for The Door to Justice.  Primarily because a lot of the things I needed to raise money for, I earned enough from the sales on The Door to Canellin to pay for.  So there's really not much that I have to do out of pocket this time around.

For those of you who aren't familiar with what I'm talking about, and are wondering about the costs I'm referring to (after all, self publishing is free), there is a lot that goes into putting out a book.  Cover art, cover layout and design, registering copyright, marketing, sending out advance review copies, and many other things.

But, as I said, this time around, most of that has been covered by sales of the first book.  There's only a tiny bit I still have to pay for, specifically, the cover layout and logo design.  I've got a decent mockup, but I'm no graphic artist, and I want the final product to be great.

But this time, instead of trying to raise a bunch of money through Kickstarter, I've decided to just offer some promotional merchandise for sale, since I don't need much.  This way, you get a cool product, and you get to support independent publishing!

So head on over to my TeeChip campaign, where you'll find promotional products with my mockup of the cover for The Door to Justice available for your purchase.  It's actually a very nice painting by Barnaby Bagenda (the same guy who did the dragon cover for The Door to Canellin).  One look, and you'll be able to tell where Wes heads off two in the upcoming sequel!  There are T-shirts available for men, ladies, and youth sizes, as well as hoodies and coffee mugs.

And after you receive your promotional merchandise, whichever you pick, if you post a pic of yourself proudly displaying it on the Door to Canellin Facebook page, I'll send you a free Kindle copy of The Door to Justice when it goes on sale!

Click Here to go to The Door to Canellin Facebook Page!

Don't miss out!  The campaign only lasts two weeks, and then they're gone!  Click here to go to my TeeChip campaign page!

 Head to TeeChip now!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Well, let's just have a status update, shall we?  I want to kind of change the focus of this blog from talking about the trials and tribulations of self-publishing, to talking about the projects I'm working on.

So for this update, I'll talk about where I am on my various projects.

The Door to Justice is rolling along.  I've got about 100 pages of 300 marked up for editing and revision.  None of the revisions are major, mainly just polishing and refining my words, although at least three scenes are being added.  Over the years, I believe my writing style has changed and matured.  That doesn't mean I'm gravitating toward writing for mature readers.  I love young adult fantasy.  I love keeping a somewhat lighter tone to my work, and gearing it toward younger readers.  But every writer grows and learns.  The way I might have phrased something when I wrote the first draft of The Door to Justice back in 2007 is very different than I would phrase it now.  Current events, other media, other things I've read, all these are things that influence style.  And a lot of things have changed in my life in the past almost 8 years.  All in all, I think The Door to Justice as a first draft was better than the first draft of The Door to Canellin, but Canellin got a lot of work in the 5 years between first draft and publication.  Justice needs at least as much loving care and attention to be a worthy sequel, although I'm not going to dawdle... it'll be out this year, guaranteed.

The Codex Chronicles, untitled book 1, is in outline stage and I'm very pleased with where it's going.  The characters are fresh and new to me, but I'm really getting to know them.  It'll take a bit of effort to be able to learn their voices well enough to start writing the prose, but I already know them well enough to be able to decide their reactions to the events.  The story follows a pair of eleven year old twin brothers, Timothy and Jameson Angel as they discover secrets in their hometown, and even in their own family, that rock their worlds.  Timothy is a genius who is going to be graduating high school at the age of twelve, and already far surpasses students more than twice his age.  Jameson is also extremely intelligent, but no match for his brother, however, he's a talented athlete.  While his passion is baseball, he also studies martial arts and gymnastics.  Through a mysterious new online friend of Jameson's, the young Cody, Timothy and Jameson are sucked into the sinister happenings at a local research facility.

Rocket Girl is currently being morphed from a half-finished comic book miniseries script to a fully fledged novel.  I'm expanding certain ideas, pulling back on some, and generally just trying to make a book out of the concept.  There are a lot of challenges in this.  There are scenes, particularly in the beginning, where the visuals really tell the story.  Turning those visuals into prose can be a daunting task.  Rocket Girl is set in a world in which super-heroes came onto the scene in 1938, and operated through the mid-1960s.  But two heroes, Big Brother and Lady Rocket, made a mistake while battling their arch villain, The Mad Mentalist, and there was a disaster that caused every super-powered human on Earth to lose their powers.  In addition, there were hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths as a result.  Super-heroes were blamed for the disaster, and the history books paint them as dangerous vigilantes.  Our story picks up in the present day, where young Bobbi Weyer has already discovered that she has super-powers and decided to follow in the footsteps of her hero, Lady Rocket.  Little does she know that her powers are a sign that the plague that devastated the heroes is wearing off, and soon more people will begin to develop super-powers.

So there you have it.  An update on where I stand in the three major projects I'm working on, and a bit of information about each.  Keep checking back for more information, and eventually some samples from the new projects!