About the Books

Concept vs Premise

I couldn’t understand why I struggled so badly to write a synopsis for book one. It’s still a work in progress, but honestly those first several tries were nothing short of painful. Everything I came up with sounded horrid. If it didn’t sound riddled with cliches, it sounded plain boring. In a word, it sucked. I don’t know how many times I re-wrote the thing and kept ending up with vanilla.

An author I connected to on LinkedIn, Joel D Canfield (Google him, he is an absolute wealth of information!), when I asked him about synopsis writing suggestions, he sent me this link:

Instead of trying to re-state everything and likely botching it, read the link for yourself and let the original author, Larry Brooks (you can Google this guy too…good stuff!), enlighten you.

I will admit I had to read this at least twice before it began to sink in (I never said I was a genius!). By the fourth or fifth read, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what I needed to do. Within a few minutes I had banged out the best synopsis I had yet been able to write. It still wasn’t perfect and needs some additional tweaks, but it was a vastly better start than what I had done previously.

So the goal of publishing is still getting closer every day. Just have a few more pieces of the puzzle to pull together then it will be time to pull the trigger and get this thing out there for readers.

About the Books

Indie publishing

Starting last year I began seriously looking into publishing book one. I did a tremendous amount of research and decided a couple of things…

– I wanted to find an agent

– I wanted to traditionally publish the book

I had wanted to go this route so I could have the agent, who gets paid off royalties, handle all the “stuff” such as finding a publisher, marketing, etc. I had read on numerous occasions where independent publishing meant more $ in your pocket off sales but it also meant a full time job doing your own marketing. I very quickly learned after numerous rejection letters (I’m told this is a normal part of the process), that finding an agent isn’t so simple. Even having an agent doesn’t guarantee you landing a publisher. And without an agent, you can pretty much forget traditional publishing altogether. Larger publishers will not accept unsolicited manuscripts or writers without agents.

After multiple strike outs on the agent front, I had decided I would still try the agent route again after I made major re-writes in the book to restructure the format. Once wrapping up the re-writes, I had heard more and more good things about indie publishing (you’ll also hear this called self-publishing and the argument between self-publishing vs indie-publishing….well there are oodles of websites and other blogs to hash out that topic…for the sake of simplicity, I’ll call it indie publishing) that didn’t just involve profits.

Most notably, indie publishing wasn’t the big bad bear I had thought it would be. YES, it is a major time sink for doing the leg work and marketing myself. But this is a good time sink that I find I enjoy. But finding a publisher doesn’t mean you have found a marketer too…unless you’re willing to pay for it. So you’re not really gaining anything unless you just want to spend bank to have someone else do the work. I had also understood that indie publishing would still cost a fortune, but this was not an accurate assessment either.

Thus far I have paid to set up the website and have paid the book cover artist. Both are well worth the expense and using I paid far less for the cover art than I would have using a publisher I found who offered to do it for me at a steep price. Plus by going the ebook route first, I can submit my book to Smashwords and Amazon independently and for FREE. The same publisher that offered to have me pay steeply for the cover art was going to charge a fee for this service too. Amazon distributes to Kindle, of course. Smashwords covers all other ebook formats (Sony, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, etc…and they will submit to Amazon after $2000 in sales…but I can submit directly to Amazon without the minimum sales requirement, so that’s what I’m going to do).

So if you are thinking of writing and possibly publishing, time spent researching options is never wasted! I will be posting more later on resources I have found helpful during this process that might help others opting to join the rest of us traveling the indie publishing road.

About the Books

Last week I stumbled upon when looking over info on indie publishing books. This site was mentioned as a place to find freelance folks that could do cover art for print books and ebooks. I poked around a bit and noticed all the animators on the site. This piqued my interest because of my own interest in animation. I signed up on the site to post a job for someone to do book cover art for me. I posted what I would pay for it and submitted the job. I had nothing to lose except time spent posting the job and waiting to see what happened. Within minutes I had offers, some bids coming in under the hourly rate I had posted. You could view the bidding artist’s portfolio and read the artist’s feedback, star rating, number of jobs hired for, and amount of money made through elance. I was highly impressed.

I found Steven J. Catizone there and he is simply amazing. Firstly, his response time was very fast to my questions. And he had a beautiful portfolio and only had the highest praise from former customers. I grabbed some screenshots off Google for what I had in mind and further described the setting and such. The original picture on the Home page (now posted below) was his first “draft” of the book cover art. For a first draft it’s pretty darn impressive. We are still working to tweak a few things here and there on it. And he’s doing a character mock up for me too. When they’re all done, I’ll get the final pics posted on this site.


About the Books

In the beginning..

In the beginning, the plan was to write a book from start to finish, which I had never done. My idea was to come up with a story that my niece, Helen, and nephew, Jed, (Faith and Michaela had not arrived yet) might enjoy as they got older. At the time, Helen was 5, and Jed was 3. That was over two years ago. Given their ages at the time, and planning for them to read the story when they were in the 12 to 13 year old range, I figured I had enough time to figure it out. I never expected the process to be easy, and it certainly was not. I didn’t even have an idea for a story. So I sat down and started typing…and typing..and deleting…and typing some more. What eventually evolved was a completely different animal than the first several attempts to get the story going. I would get stuck on parts and skip to write something else…like the ending. I would get unstuck and go back and write more in the middle, and that of course would ultimately change the ending which led to additional revisions. So there was a lot of back and forth writing/editing and numerous nights of being up at o’dark thirty jotting down ideas for story tweaks that only come at that time of night. I learned to keep a pen and paper handy after losing too many ideas by morning because I was too lazy to get up and scribble a note.

Almost three years later, the first book, Burnt Mountain: The Monster Within, is close to being ready for print. I plan to have it available as an ebook (that is if things go according to my plan) by October 2013, if not earlier. I have three months. I’m looking forward to having it as an ebook sooner. The print version might be closer to the October mark. Cover art is in progress so look for that to arrive on the website soon.

The follow up book, Burnt Mountain: One in the Chamber, will be ready to rock and roll in 2014.