This comes up occasionally, based mainly on David Eddings admonition to “Write a million words…then throw it all away…”. His quote is at the beginning of this article, and oft quoted elsewhere (like by Draft2Digital, the self publication site). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I don’t think there’s a magic number. With Against the Tide Imperial complete, I’m easily closing in one million published, someone actually is paying me for this, words and I still make face palming gaffes. Gaffes that make me want to just light it all on fire and never write again. Clearly there’s no magic number where the stupid switch gets a safety cover. Yet, I can also tell you that I’ve improved as a writer. Remarkably. As in I see things I’ve written from high school and got ‘A’s on and wonder what the teacher was smoking. I’ve always dragged things out, dusted them off, and said, “That’s not bad at all…” with intent to maybe eventually publish it at some point. (This is the joy of indie–you can carry out a lot of “attrition warfare” at $.99/pop rather than have it sitting on your hard drive.) Thus, if we’re being honest, I guess I’d say “Never throw a story away.” One, that’s like throwing away a piece of your soul. Second, just because they’re words 6,000-6,500 does not mean they lack worth someday. Finally, part of the growth process of a writer is getting external critique. If no one ever sees your work, how can they tell you what you do well?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to throw some more logs on the fire.
Against the Tide Imperial is complete! As my editors have been working concurrently, I’ll start updating with their revisions this week, with hopes to get the book up within the next 60 days. Of course, this is dependent on Murphy, who has been working overtime here in Casa de Young…but that’s a story for another time. In any case, it’s clocked in at 374 pages right now–we’ll see what editing does to it.
Got a friend you want to get hooked on the series? On Seas So Crimsonwill be on a $.99 sale starting next Sunday, the 18th of October. That’s two complete books for under a buck, which is absolute freakin’ madness…but I’m all about “first hit is [almost] free.” Once Against the Tide Imperial is up and running, I’ll have more news about what the publishing plan is going forward.
So, you know how sometimes you figure out you’re going to do something in a few months, set all the conditions, and then think “Of course I’ll remember that!”?
Come to find out, when there’s a pandemic, cancer scare, and various other issues, you don’t remember to do that things because you’re busy doing something else.
At least, that’s my explanation for why I inexplicably forgot to take Barren SEAD “wide” after taking it off Kindle Unlimited exclusive. Realized that as I was seeing to another matter. Namely updating Pandora’s Memories after I realized a continuity error that was occurring in Against the Tide Imperial. As my rule is novels > short stories, I’m modifying Pandora‘s while also fixing some formatting errors. This is one of the advantages of being indie–you can quickly fix things like this.
I’m basically going to talk about how to do historical research and also chase down various things about writing. There’s going to also be a lot of Q&A, so if you’re wanting to pop in to ask me random questions there will be a chat available at that blog link. No, I will not be debating “What is the best fighter of World War II?”
In celebration of the presentation Saturday and Against the Tide Imperial‘s imminent release (I swear, it’s almost done), I will be placing On Seas So Crimson on sale for $.99 / £ .99 from 11 – 18 July on both the US Amazon and UK Amazon sites. (Sorry for any other Amazon sites, but those are the only two it will let me do a countdown for.)
Last but not least, my novellas A Midwinter’s Ski and Pandora’s Memories will likely become audiobooks by the end of the year. I look forward to hearing them “brought to life” by a crackerjack narrator who sounds awesome, but more on that once things are closer to getting finished.
I will expound on many of the above things in my newsletter, but wanted to give people a quick heads up on some of the things going on. If you’re not a member of the newsletter, you can join it here.
So, as those of you who have heard me give a talk before can attest, I usually state that the first two and likely largest outlays an author should have are the editor and cover artist. Note that some self-assessment has led me to realize which I place first is dependent on what phase of the book I’m in / recent issues I may have had in one department or the other. But bottom line, if you have $500 for marketing, editing, and cover, I’d say that it should be $225 editing, $225 cover, and $50 for marketing. Why? Because if your cover is crap and your editing subpar, odds are a marketing budget under six figures isn’t going to do you any good.
A good “one stop shop” for indies is Reedsy, and an article on the service is here. I know a few authors who have found their editor on Reedsy, and generally the reviews have been good (although check out the comments for the article). From the editor side, I’ve heard of the stringent requirements to gain a listing. This is a good thing, as it means that odds are you’ll be happy with what you’re paying for. While I seem to keep running into my editors through “word of mouth,” “friends of friend” (and have been really lucky with both), or through folks finding me on Twitter people do point out that I’m the rare “extrovert author.” Reedsy seems to be a good resource for those who are less “Hi random person, I’d like to talk to you!” (Full disclosure–haven’t tried Book Angel yet, but I appreciate someone who reaches out to independent authors to help.)
Illustrators are a bit harder to wrangle. As I’ve mentioned before in a blog post or two, the first part is figuring out what you want out of the illustration. In this case, I was primarily concerned with ad copy (as some of the Usurper’s War imagery is getting repetitive after five years). This desire was followed closely by the possibility of images getting used again for novella / short story covers set in the Usurper’s War universe but not part of the main plotline. Thankfully, I recently discovered a Twitter page that features aviation artists (@theaviationart). There were also artists I had found on FB through several aviation artwork pages I’m part of. Through various means, I winnowed things down to the following:
For various reasons things didn’t work out with anyone in the list above. In some cases, it was a matter of timing. Others it was subject matter, as “alternate history” could potential cause other clients to call into question their attention to detail or accuracy. (Which, as you can see in every case, is most excellent.) Finally, there was that bugbear of price point, as I couldn’t quite justify spending four figures on art that was first and foremost going to be ad copy. All that being said, almost everyone was a professional, and I heartily encourage A. going to buy their art and B. seeing if your needs would mesh with their timing / ability more than mine did.
Ultimately, Itifonhom 3D Models was who I went with. We’d previously worked together before for the piece commemorating “Fate of the Falklands” out of Those In Peril. I knew from perusal of his site that World War II was his area of expertise, and he jumped at the opportunity. I think you’ll enjoy the two pieces below, both of which depict scenes from Against the Tide Imperial.
As for the book in question, things have moved along well. There’s going to be some parts that end up on the cutting room floor (see possible novella cover), but with a little bit of wrap up it’s getting close to time for it to go out to beta readers. I’ve been debating doing preorder, but after the algorithms screwed up with Aries Red Sky, that’s probably not going to happen.
I agree with what the original poster said on most counts. As an indie, I assure you, fair reader, that you will be doing a lot of hustling if you wish to be successful. To paraphrase a certain superhero, “With great independence comes great responsibility.” Being independent means much of your life is like being a shark, i.e., if you’re not swimming, you’re drowning. It also makes you subject to the vagaries of your given outlet, with Amazon’s algorithm shifts being the most well-known (and complained about) example.
Having just completed a certain trilogy ( with the conclusion hopefully more Wookies than Ewoks), I can now say that there are advantages and disadvantages to the small press route as well. As with any joint endeavor, there were vehement disagreements with regards to direction, participation, and marketing. However, I can say with 100% certainty, that “James Young, Slinger of Tales” does not land all the names you see on that last cover. To hint at my “year in review,” I’ll merely say that this was a fun exercise, but it came at the cost of me being behind in my own projects. Ergo, while I’m not saying I won’t be in or run another alternate anthology ever again, I am confident in saying it’s coming on the back side of my next two books.
Ultimately, no matter what your choices are, remember no one will manage your career as well as you do. Keep your head on a swivel, and make choices that look out for your interests.
This mirrors what a lot of other vendors have said about the 2019 season and concerns about 2020. While I will be potentially doing as many shows, I’m definitely leaning towards new markets with proven performers.
This is also something to consider for the larger author community. One may have to take a deep breath when looking at overall sales numbers and also pay strict attention to marketing. Things may get bumpy for a bit.