Finger on the Trigger
I got Cerberus back from the editor and he approved of the changes that I made to improve the flow and cut down on the clutter. All I have left to do is review the 2nd pass of edits, send it back for formatting and then it’s ready to go to Amazon.
Having just released the three accompanying short stories (you can check them out at the Products page) the initial nervousness of releasing isn’t as prevalent. I am slightly nervous in that once Cerberus is released, I’m going to go into full time promo-mode. For the short stories, I’ve limited myself to a twitter blast here and there and a couple of facebook posts. Other than that, I’ve let them sit. And it shows: their ranking is abysmal.
They were never meant to be leaders, and they didn’t cost much to produce, so if they do pick up sales off of Cerberus’ coattails, all the better.
Additionally, 10 other Authors and I recently launched the Guild of Dreams. It’s a joint-blog where we’ll be posting on themes (sometimes) and generally doing cross-promotions.
You can click the link to take a look and follow our twitter hashtag #guildofdreams.
Killing Your Characters
With The Cerberus Rebellion in the hands of my beta-readers and 3/4 short stories finished, I’ve been working on plotting out the character arcs for my main characters over the rest of the series (right now, 5 more novels).
When I first developed the general idea for where I wanted this series to go, I had a pretty solid idea for how I wanted each character to end up. As the first novel developed, however, my long term goal for person shifted.
My plot, as it stands now, is radically different from what it was. First off, I had to kill an important secondary character in order to nudge one of the main characters down a certain path. As I’ve developed the arcs for the series, I’ve realized that at least one of my POV characters needs to die at some point toward the end of the series to bring closure.
This is really the first time that I’ve considered killing off a main character. In all of my other works, the main character comes through at the end.
I think the catalyst for this change of perspective was reading the Song of Ice and Fire books by George RR Martin. I won’t spoil it further than saying that he doesn’t mind killing off fairly important people.
I think that the multiple POV approach to writing provides the backup necessary to be able to kill off main characters because new ones can slide right into place and the other POV characters can continue the story.
When I initially killed off this secondary character, I went back through and read all of the chapters that he/she were involved in and realized that there wasn’t much to attach the read to him/her. So I went back through and beefed up this characters involvement in the story and the interactions with MC(s).
I haven’t received any feedback yet, but I’m hoping that my re-work of the character provided enough substance to make their death felt.
So what’s your opinion on killing off primary or important secondary characters?
Logline and Blurb
Getting your novel to sell is a complicated process. I would think that the biggest part of having a successful novel is have a good novel. Well written and well edited. I think I’ve got half of that equation out of the way and I’m working on the editing now.
Another part of selling your novel is having a good cover; from the sketches that I’ve been sent by the cover artist I’m working with, I think it’s going to be a stellar piece that conveys the feeling of The Cerberus Rebellion perfectly.
Finally, there is the log line and blurb. I think I’ve got my log line down:
As the nation of Ansgar prepares to celebrate a century of peace and prosperity, a war thousands of miles away begins a chain of events that will lead to rebellion, treachery and betrayal.
It’s my blurb that needs work. This was the first draft:
The nation of Kerberos has suffered under the subjugation of the Ansgari throne for one hundred years. Now, after a century of scheming and decades of preparation, Magnus Jarmann is ready to launch a war of independence that will free his people and return his country to its rightful place among the nations of Zaria.
Eadric Garrard was raised to believe that he was the rightful King of Ansgar and that his fearful subjects, even his loyal nobles, answered to his every whim.
He has spent most of his life looking over his shoulder for assassins with one eye and looking for ways to increase his prestige in the eyes of his allies with the other.
So when an opportunity arises to seal two alliances by sending his armies across the Vast Sea, Eadric sees the chance to further his standing with two powerful nations and remind his nobles who rules Ansgar with one action.
Little does he know that his actions will bring about events that will change his nation forever. He will discover that his subjects are not as fearful as he thinks, and that his nobles are far from loyal.
Raedan Clyve was an ordinary boy until an Elven ritual involving a griffin’s heart turned him into something more. Fifteen years later, Raedan still struggles with the magics that he gained and the consequences that come with them.
His problems were compounded when he was thrust into a nobility that he was not raised to have. Now he struggles to rule over a territory in the middle of rebuilding while facing pressure to find a suitable wife and father an heir.
When the King orders levies raised, Raedan fears the loss of men will cripple his wounded Barony and he must wrestle with obeying his sworn King or doing what is right for his people.
While his brother struggles with his newly-granted nobility, Hadrian Clyve has picked up where their father left off and works to expand his family’s influence.
His aggressive negotiation of alliances and shrewd choice of marriage agreements has earned him respect, and resentment.
Hadrian’s loyalty to his Duke has put him in a unique position to shape both the destiny of his family and the future of his nation.
The Cerberus Rebellion is set on the World of Zaria, where Elves, magic and mythical beasts coexist beside rifles and railroads. The futures of two nations hang in the balance as rebels and traitors trade gunfire with loyalists, mercenaries and pirates.
It was definitely too long by about 200 words so I had to trim some of that down.
The Cerberus Rebellion is set on the world of Zaria, where Elves, magic and mythical beasts coexist beside rifles and railroads. The futures of two nations hang in the balance as rebels and revolutionaries trade gunfire with loyalists and tyrants.
Magnus was born to rule a nation that has been subjugated for a century fights. His fight to free his people will bring him face to face with a king that will not let him succeed.
Raedan been thrust into his role as a noble of Ansgar by fate and clever politics. He struggles with the responsibilities of his title and the magics that were granted to him through an ancient Elven ritual.
His brother, Hadrian, has made it his goal to make his family a political and economic powerhouse in the nation of Ansgar. He will see his family’s name raised to heights of power through political maneuvering, clever marriage agreements and pure force of will.
King Eadric’s grip on sanity is tenuous at best and he sees assassins in every shadow. The fracture of his nation is an affront to his authority and he leads his armies to bring hislost sheep back into the fold.
So, what do you think?
Today, I signed up with Goddess Fish Promotions (interesting name, no doubt) for a series of Blog Tour stops.
I decided to go with the more economical route of a “Book Blurb Blitz” in which my book and a blurb will be posted on 5 blogs in the middle of August. That will be followed up by a Review Tour where I’ll be featured and a review will be posted on 5 blogs during the last week of August.
That will be followed up with an interview blog tour of 2 weeks (10 stops, each weekday) across the first and second weeks of September, which will run into the two promotions I’ve signed up for with two of the larger e-book promotional sites.
Hopefully, combined with a LibraryThing giveaway I hope that this will provide enough buzz for a bump in sales to get the ball rolling.
After 8 months, 2 days, 93k words (not including excised chapters and snippets), The Cerberus Rebellion is ready to go into Alpha-stage 1, a full read in Scrivener.
I have 5 weeks to get it through 3 Alpha-Reads and 1 Round of Beta along with all of the revisions to go with them. I’m shooting for a July release at this point so I can get some momentum going into the promotions I have planned for September 14!
I’m still looking for a couple of beta readers. I’m just looking for plot, pacing and structure feedback. I’ve got an editor lined up for the more detailed stuff.
Things I Did Last Week
Week in Review:
The last week has been a flurry of activity as I near the completion of The Cerberus Rebellion and prepare to move it into the Alpha/Beta Read stage.
In preparation for that, and knowing how busy a lot of the editors and cover artists are, I contacted a couple of editors and cover artists.
I decided to go with heavycatweb.net for my cover. They sent over the initial sketches for the cover and I have to say that it is very impressive and I am looking forward to the finished product. They offered to add the title and artist name to it for an additional fee but why do that when my lovely wife is prefectly capable?
After getting some quotes, I decided to schedule Nick at everything-indie.comfor the beginning of June. That gives me approximately six weeks to finish the last 5 chapters of The Cerberus Rebellion, get it through 2 or 3 rounds of reading by myself and then a round with beta readers.
Speaking of beta-readers, my uncle agreed to beta-read for me and I’m very excited about that because he’s a great writer and will definitely give me great feedback.
Finally I secured a map artist (Jared @ The Red Epic) to create a map for both the world of Zaria and a more detailed map of Ansgar.
If you’re reading this post then you’ll have realized that I’ve moved to a new site. Gunpowderfantasy.com is official and the home of my new blog. On top of that, today I started a wiki that I’m going to spend some time filling in to provide background information and to keep all of the character bios straight for readers.
Warning Spoilers will abound: Gunpowder Fantasy Wiki
What’s On Tap:
Right now, I’m working on getting The Cerberus Rebellion finished. I’m going to spend as much time this weekend working on the last five chapters.
I’m going to go through 1 read-through with Scrivener (the software I use to write) so that I can make on the fly changes.
Second read will be on paper and I think the third will be using a text-to-speech program.
I’m also working on securely long-term arrangements with my editor and artist to try and reduce the cost of production.
If all goes well, I should be releasing The Cerberus Rebellion at the beginning of July, which gives me some time to get a head of steam before my planned promotions on 9/14!
The Home Stretch
Last night I clawed my way over the 80,000 word mark for The Cerberus Rebellion.
Before the weekend, as I was walkung into my night job, I had a flash of inspiration and used Evernote to plot out the last 8 chapters.
Well, one of those chapters turned into 3 chapters but if the last 8 end up between 2-3k words I’ll end up just above 105k.
It’s a little higher than I wanted to end up but I figure with rewrites and edits I’ll cut a few thousand words out.
I’m still hoping to make my self-imposed deadline at the end of April but if I’m over by a week it won’t hurt
I’m still looking for Beta Readers and expect to be through my own first draft editing by the end of May and would like to get it to an editor by the middle of June.
If you’re interested, please post a comment.