May 2020 Updates
I hope this newsletter finds you well. COVID-19 has remained the predominant factor in most people’s lives, not just in the US, but around the world. Despite the weeks-long stay-at-home orders, we have continued witnessing kindness, cooperation, and compassion since the beginning of the crisis. As Fred Rogers said, “Look for the helpers.”
The last month has helped me to examine my own life a bit more closely. For example, I closely follow one of the ancient tenets of Socrates: the unexamined life is not worth living. Even with everything going on, examination can be done through numerous methods: meditation, exercising, reading, writing, working on a hobby, and enjoying time with one’s family.
A few thoughts on writing progress in April:
Work on The Blighter’s Shadow (book two of The Rune Cycle) continued, but not at the pace I had hoped to reach for several reasons. I am approximately half-finished with the first full draft and have completed several drafts of the initial chapters. Delays to this project occurred for personal reasons that consumed a great deal of time, but it was time that was well-spent and necessary.
The book’s cover art remains in the draft stage, and the illustrator, Jessica Sommerkamp, continues work on the interior art: additional chapter symbols and a map (or three) of the towns and cities.
As for my sci-fi book, Adalaj, you may have seen a portion of the initial chapter on my website. Click here to check out the sample. The whole book will not be placed online as I work on it, but this piece will give you a change to get an idea of the story.
The audiobook for The Alterator’s Light is in the production stage. It’ll be a few months before the whole project is complete, but I am glad to share a sample with you. Click here to access the sample. Enjoy!
Finally, I spent a great portion of the month on a short story/novella related to The Rune Cycle. I have that over halfway completed. It will offer a glimpse of some characters from The Alterator’s Light two years prior to the novel’s timeline. This story focuses on Einar, Ellia, and Kylia on a journey of their own.
The reader question for this month:
What is the most difficult part, in your opinion, regarding the book publishing process?
This question is tough, as it depends on how a book is published. Traditional publishing has its own set of complications, while independent publishing is its own beast, so to speak. For The Alterator’s Light, I chose to independently (indie) publish simply because I have great deal more control over my work.
With more control, though, comes more work. Basically, I find the artwork for the cover and interior artwork. I also control the final product in terms of editing, beta reading, formatting, marketing, and advertising.
While it is not always the case, a traditionally-published author will submit the text of their work through an agent or directly to a publisher. The publisher has a great deal of control over the cover art, book title, and marketing. Also, sadly, there is also never any guarantee of a book being traditionally-published; I imagine we’ve all heard the stories of authors getting hundreds of rejection letters before finally finding a publishing company that accepts their work.
A critical feature of an indie book is to ensure it looks as close to a traditionally-published book as possible. While the old phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” seems true, it is far from accurate. If you don’t agree, then think about the last time you looked at a book cover and decided against reading the book simply because of its title or the artwork itself.
So, from the consideration of the indie publishing method, I think advertising is the most difficult part. As a new author, I am solely responsible for getting my name and work out there. (Fortunately, I do get a great deal of help from readers who post reviews and share information via social media platforms.) I also have to keep up on publishing trends within the field of fantasy and science fiction so I can ensure I know what is working well, how to adjust my own advertising, and research additional methods in order to reach a wider audience. Advertising and marketing also take time away from the actual writing portion, which can seem time-consuming.
Nevertheless, I enjoy the entire processing of publishing. Writing the stories is only a part of the whole picture!
Next month’s questions:
Is it hard to switch back and forth between genres or projects? Does it affect your concentration?
If you have questions for future newsletters, please be sure to shoot them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Twitter at @brigmanauthor and on Facebook at Dan Brigman, Author, or on my website, www.danbrigman.com.
Thanks again for your support! Besides taking the time to read my newsletters, you can visit the following links to create a review of The Alterator’s Light or The Point of Woes. Creating a review is quick and offers potential readers insight into what you thought about the book.
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A place to ponder the world of writing, among other things.