The long awaited Ostenheim City Guide…

Ok, I had an email recently reminding me about the Ostenheim City Guide that I was planning to do a while back. I have to admit, with all the work that's been going into getting the entire Wolf of the North trilogy put together, I completely forgot about it! I've dug out the old file, and instead of putting it up as a complete booklet - at least initially - I'm going to post instalments of it here on the blog. I'll be getting on to that over the next week or so.

In other news, the first part of The Wolf of the North trilogy will be going off for line edit shortly, as soon as I've made a few slight changes, so things are well on track with that.

I hope everyone's well!

Overdue update!

Ok, long past time for an update, so here we go. I’d hoped to have more concrete news and more interesting posts coming up at this point, but things haven’t gone as quickly as I’d hoped. As you may already know, my next trilogy is called ‘The Wolf of the North’. My plan for this was to have the entire trilogy written before I released the first part. Right now I have a completed first draft of the second part, and am about 2/3 of the way through the final part, which is progressing at a good pace now.

The first part has been through some rounds of editing, but has a bit farther to go before it’s ready. I am hoping to release this summer, but I can’t be any more specific than that right now.

I hope everyone is well!

Updates…

Ok, time for some very long overdue updates!

Right now I’m working my way through developmental edits for the first part of my next trilogy, The Wolf of the North. It’s set in the same world as The Tattered Banner and the Society of the Sword trilogy, but moves the central location, and takes a look at some concepts that will be familiar to those that have read my earlier books from a different cultural perspective. As always, it’s been a lot of fun to breathe some life into a hitherto untouched part of the Middle Sea world.

I’m afraid I don’t have an ETA for its release yet, but I’ll be sure to keep you all updated!

I hope everyone is having a warmer and sunnier summer than I am (although that wouldn’t be difficult!)

Duncan

7 Thoughts on Writing and Publishing…

I’ve gotten a few mails asking me how I’ve approached publishing my work, so I thought I’d write up a post about it. I’ll preface by saying I’m certainly no expert, and anything that’s worked for me might not work for someone else, and vice versa. I’m not an outlier or one of the run away success stories, but I am now making my full-time living as a writer, so some of my experiences may be helpful. These are a few things that I do.

1. The Writers’ Cafe on the KBoards forum. Every day for me starts with a few minutes there. It has a vast amount of information relating to pretty much everything you could encounter as a writer. It’s up to date, with discussions on changes to the playing field usually starting up within minutes of the announcement being made. There’s also regularly updated information on what marketing methods are working, and those that aren’t.

2. Editing. It’s expensive, but in my opinion vital. Find a good editor and start building a relationship with them. It’s important to have an objective set of eyes look over your work. Find an editor who isn’t afraid to be mean to you. When you publish your work, readers will find any problems that exist. Better to know about them when you have the opportunity to fix them. For me, this point extends through the whole range: developmental edit, line edit, and proof reading. I also have some alpha and beta readers look over things before and after the developmental edit. I’ve told them to be as mean as possible too!

3. Covers. Probably best to outsource this one, unless you’ve artistic ability and training in the necessary software. With time and effort I could probably reach a point where I could put together reasonable covers—I love playing around with photoshop as my mapping efforts should show—but they’ll never be as good as those created by full time designers/artists. My time is better spent doing what I do, and leaving the artwork to experts.

4. Formatting. I’ve come to the opinion that ebook formatting (print is an entirely different matter) can be done by the writer. Learning the HTML coding and the process to format an ebook isn’t too difficult, and there is software now that will produce professional looking ebooks across the formats quite quickly. These make it far easier for me to react to any typos that have slipped through the net, and also update the front/back matter of the books when needed. I’ve learned how to manually code with HTML, and right now I’m experimenting with software called Vellum, which I’m hoping will speed and ease this process.

5. Distributing. Whether you choose to go exclusive with Amazon to take advantage of the benefits of Prime Borrowing (now also Kindle Unlimited, whatever it may mean for the future) and Countdown Deals, or make your book available everywhere you can is entirely up to you. I think there are good arguments on both sides, but I’ve chosen to make my books available in as many places as I can. The Writers’ Cafe is a good place to go to research people’s experiences of both options.

6. Advertising. As best I can tell, there’s no magic bullet on this one unfortunately. If you know of one, please tell me! I can keep a secret, honest! I’ve tried a few of the options here, and really can’t discount any even if I was disappointed with them at the time. They might not transfer into direct sales, but they may have a less visible effect on platform building and market exposure. It’s hard to say – a bit of a mystery to me really. Again, the Writers’ Cafe can educate on this, but trial and error will always be part of my approach, as what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. The genre you write in also comes into play heavily here.

7. Platform. I see my online presence as being a resource for people who read my books and want to know more, keep up to date, and get in touch. It’s a service for those who’ve already read them rather than a method of bringing more people in. Other people might approach this differently, which is perfectly valid, but this is the way I choose to position myself.

Finally, if you take your writing seriously, and want to make a career of it, the one piece of overarching advice I would give is professionalism. Create a professional product, and behave in a professional way. If you follow those two rules, I think you’re giving yourself the best possible start! (I hope!)

Addendum

On reflection, I really should have mentioned building a personal mailing list under point 7, or in a point all of its own (I was going for a Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven kind of vibe though!). This is important, and, I think, increasingly so. There are a number of services out there that you can use, many of which are free up to a certain number of subscribers. Conventional wisdom (see Kboards for more on this) suggests to get started building a list as early as possible – even before your first book is out. I use mine purely to notify subscribers when a new book is released.

From personal experience – when sending out a mail, make sure to double check the subject line has the correct title for the relevant book!

On craft and learning…

I came across a series of Youtube videos a few days ago that I want to share here, as I think they are a pretty incredible resource for anyone interested in writing.

https://www.youtube.com/user/WriteAboutDragons

It’s a series of lectures given by Brandon Sanderson on creative writing and the publishing business in general. Brandon wrote the Mistborn series, among other things, and was also chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. He’s easily one of the biggest (if not the biggest) name in modern fantasy writing, so anything he says is going to be worth listening to.

It would be a pretty big treat to get to see a one hour workshop with someone as talented and high profile as him so for them to have put an entire academic year’s worth of lectures (I think there’s 2 years there now) online for anyone to watch is unbelievably generous.

If you write and want to improve, watch ’em!

Updates…

I haven’t posted in a while, as I haven’t had a lot to say!

The final part of the Society of the Sword Trilogy is back from developmental editing, so I’m working on that at the moment. It’s still on track for a late spring/early summer release. As always, you can sign up to be notified of when it comes out here.

Otherwise, nothing else of interest to report. I hope the year is going well for everyone so far!

Updates…

Not a huge amount to report at the moment, I just wanted to post something as things have been rather quiet hereabouts lately.

My excuse for the silence is that I’m working hard on various things at the moment. Part 2 of the Society of the Sword trilogy is still away being edited, so I’m working on the second draft of what will be my next release after the trilogy is all done. It’s a stand alone story, and I have to admit I’m quite excited about it!

What I’m working on…

The sequel to The Tattered Banner is back from the editor, so most of my effort is going into working through the changes on that. Still on track for my intended release window (it’s a large one!) and I’m starting to think about cover design. Usually I have a pretty clear idea of what direction I want to go in, but not the case this time around! Not yet anyway!

I’m also spending a bit of time each day working on the final part of the Society of the Sword trilogy, which is between drafts 1 and 2, as there’s a subplot that I want to develop before I go back through the entire manuscript. I’m keeping time free to do this every day, as I like the continuity that I get by working on Book 2 at the same time. It’s only tidying up and polishing for Book 2 at this point, but I find it helps with keeping the tone consistent, rather than working on them in isolation.

That’s all for today. I hope everyone’s enjoying their summer!

What I’m working on.

I decided to remove the ‘What I’m working on’ tab from my menu bar, as deleting the old bits and updating it with new bits meant the updates were out of context, and the whole thing seemed more suited to a blog, so I just thought I’d start putting the posts in here and tagging them appropriately so they can be followed backward to make sense out of them!

So, on to what I am working on now! The sequel to The Tattered Banner (Society of the Sword Vol. 1) is still on track, but the exact release date is still a closely guarded secret. Those of you on my mailing list will be the first to hear about it, but I’m keeping my lips sealed for the time being to guard against any unforeseen delay!

Right now I’m working through the third, and final part of the Society of the Sword series. I also have a notebook full of ideas and titles for short stories that I want to work on. Every time I sit down to try to write some, something else crops up that needs my attention, or has a higher priority (such as getting the concluding two parts to The Tattered Banner finished!). I’m pretty keen to give these a look though, as they’ll give me a less involved way to explore some aspects of the Middle Sea world that I might not get the chance to look at otherwise.

Anyway, time to get back to work on the final part of the Society of the Sword trilogy!

Updates

The Tattered Banner has now been finalised and is off for ebook conversion, so is still on schedule for release by the end of the month!

IMG_0544

The view from 3200m

In other news, I’m just back from vacation and readjusting to the harsh reality of normal life!