Friday, December 19, 2014

Guardian of Isolation.

Hello mostly humans!

I thought I'd drop by today and give you an update on my next book to come out. This is the sequel to Wayward Guardian, called Guardian of Isolation. It'll be the second book in the series, following an all new cast of characters, with a couple of old faces still showing up. It'll take place 40 years after the events of the first book, and will hopefully help to set the stage for the last two books.

I feel as though Wayward Guardian is kind of like Star Wars Episode 4, A New Hope, in that it's written in such a way that it could just be its own stand alone thing and be just fine right there. Of course, observant readers will notice that unlike George Lucas, I have opted NOT to wait to see if it was a success before releasing the second one.

What can I say, I'm impatient.

I'll be posting the cover images on the Ravania Facebook page shortly, giving you all a real sneak peek. I'm really happy with how the images turned out .

Now I've just got to get cracking on book three, Guardian Elect. Very excited for that one too, I just hope I'm up to the story telling challenge.

I'll be doing a special promo on Wayward Guardian in anticipation for the launch of Guardian of Isolation, so keep your eyes open! I'll announce that on the facebook page too.

Until next time, keep on keeping on. Wizard say what? WHAT!


Friday, December 12, 2014

One more day.

What would you do if you had one more day?

Frequently I ask myself that question. The answer always changes based on the kind of things I'm going through in my life. It's never exactly the same thing. There's frequently similar themes in my answers to this question, but I find in my thoughts a realization. If I only had one more day, then I've run out of time.

That is exactly what it means, I know. What I mean by that is if I'm only down to my last day, then I've failed in my mission. I want to make beautiful things. Things that move people. Things that touch people on a special level. I want to tell stories, make movies, make songs, be creative. I want to spread that joy that I've managed to find in my own life. If I only had one more day, then I haven't done that enough.

I'm working hard that I can do that, and that I can do that whenever the inspiration strikes me. Right now I work to bring my life around to a point where there are no more obstacles between me and my acts of creative expression. One by one, I break down those barriers. And one day at a time, I manage to find a little more freedom for creation.

But maybe that's been the wrong approach really. Maybe I should worry about what I can make today. The long projects have a place, a very important place, but maybe there's smaller things I can do that will help people now. Does that mean I'll write a short story every day? Or a poem? Hum a song? Probably not. I think what it means is I'll look more earnestly for small things I can do for people now.

If I had one more day left, and I had to decide what to do, I want my answer to be 'nothing different'. It seems like a fools errand. Everyone's always going off looking for happiness, but seldom do they seem to find it. I'd like to put forward that if we're trying to find happiness for ourselves, we'll never find it, but if we seek to help cause it for others, we'll be able to enjoy the surplus overflow.

Till next time, Wizard out.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Captain Fullside, Unintentional Pirate.

So I was at a bit of a loss as to what I should write today. I decided I'd do a little primer for a story I'm working on.

Last week I mentioned a long list of projects I'm working on. I mentioned on that was kind of light hearted sci-fi with more details to come. Well here are the details to come!

The project in question will be following the adventures of Captain Horrace Fullside, unintentional pirate. Horrace is kinda this loveable clueless chap. He's always wanted to captain a starship, and working at his fathers interstellar courier company, he'd been allowed to on a few occasions. But he always had more paper work to do when he got back, and he never felt like he got to be out on a ship as much as he'd like.

Well when his father won an election as the sector government, Horrace and his brother were left in charge of the company. Unfortunately for Horrace, this meant yet more paper work, so when his brother suggested a special mission for him, he jumped at the chance to get in a captains chair, for what might be the last time.

From here, the first part of the story will show how that might not be true. The universe I'm making is one with so much red tap and legal clap trap as to make it impossible to do something without cheesing off someone, or some government somewhere. As a result, almost by accident, Horrace becomes a pirate.

But he realizes that being a pirate is the most freedom he's ever had, so he just kind of runs with it.

I've been writing the first bit, and I'm already immensely attached to Horrace Fullside. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this I can tell.

Unfortunately, I will need to ask hard question on how I want to tell story. I think it could be really good as a serial, but I'm also rather impartial to full books. That's what I'm thinking over right now.

Well, there you go, ta ta for now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An alliance of Minds

Napoleon Hill, in his books about success, has an concept which he coined a 'Master Mind'. The idea behind this is that one would assemble a group of people with a shared vision, and together, work to bring this vision to fruition. There is a lot more to the concept, and a lot more depth to it than will be offered by that paltry sentence. If you aren't familiar with Napoleon Hill's works, I suggest you become so.

It occurred to me that I and the boys at Ravania have done exactly that. We are a group with a shared vision, who are all working together for a common goal. While it is true that each of us has a different flavour to said vision, we each understand that by working together, we stand to gain more than by working alone.

It also occurred to me that we had done so before I myself was familiar with Hill's work.

I just consider that a point for us really.

I never quite realized just how much I appreciated working with a team such as the one I'm part of until recently. We've got a diverse set of talents, and, more importantly, a myriad of different story telling styles and voices. It helps us to keep each other on our toes. We can look at the each others work from different angles and see things that the creator may have missed.

Not only that, but we also support and cheer each other on, this is especially important in the early stages of this game when you don't really have a whole lot going on for you. I suspect it'll still be important when we've started picking up speed, except it might be more as a means of keeping each other grounded.

Another thing is our ability to approach the problems of building our entertainment empire from different angles as well. It opens a host of new ways of solving said problems, and spreads the responsibility more evenly around.

All in all, it's very good. I'd highly recommend being part of a team. Anything you can do solo, you can also do as a team, and then you've got someone to split the pizza bill with.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wizard's Writing Update.

You know, given the enormity of what we're doing over at Ravania, it's amazing we don't just all fall over and cry (well more than we do anyway). It's pretty dang ambitious. I mean, it's not every day you just go 'Hey, I want to make a entertainment company!'. Maybe it is for you, but it certainly wasn't an every day experience for me.

So what's on the horizon at the moment? I can't really speak for the rest of the lads, but I can speak for myself. I've got a lot I need to do. This is both a blessing and a curse.

First up, I've got the sequel to Wayward Guardian, called Guardian of Isolation which I'm putting the finishing touches on. The cover is looking great, and more colorful. There were a few complaints by some parties about the last one, but as I've come a long way as an author since then, so too has Austin come a long way as an artist. I think this new one looks super awesome, and I think I already addressed the issue of covers in a earlier post. I liked the first one, and I still like the first one. The image choice was ripped right out of the book. The new cover for the new book also comes right from the book, so it's really cool to see it in living colour.

Of course, it just means I want to see it as a movie now, but one step at a time.

There's going to be at least another two books in the series, and I've already started plotting and writing, they'll be called Guardian Elect, and Guardian of Desolation respectively. No spoilers from those titles, nope, none at all. I think you'll all be quite interested in the direction I take it. You might be expecting something a little more mainstream than you get. Ultimately, I know where this story is going now, and that's cool. Still some details and loose ends I need cleaning up. However, in the case of the loose ends, I may just leave a few of them loose for short story opportunities. Anyway, Guardian of Isolation should be out by the end of the year.

On the fantasy front, we're working on a new fantasy series set in the Genesis Project Universe, only really really really far back in the past. I get the opportunity to help shape some of the almost mythical villains in the GP universe, which as proven to be really awesome. Aaron Smith, the big cheese himself, has been working with me to make this all work, and I'm really excited for how this book is turning out. Got a lot of editing to do though, and it'll need a cover. I've got someone in mind for the cover, but of course, I need to see if she'd be up for it. I rather suspect she will be. The title of this book with be Azra of the Burning Sands. I've already got the second book plotted out, and it's called World Aflame. Haven't got much further than that. I know where the story needs to go, I just don't know how long it's going to take to get there.

I've got a more modern fantasy series I'm working on, which is plotted out, and about 1/3rd the way written, called Gateways: War for the Void. I'm still debating how I'm going to launch this one. I was playing with the idea of doing it as serial, so smaller e-books at a tiny cost. It's almost tailor made for that, and it could be an interesting experiment on my part.

And finally, I've got a more light-hearted sci-fi series I'm working on, but I'll have to let you know more about that later, as it's still very much in it's infancy.

Yeah. You can see why crying is always an option. In a situation like this, it's vitally important to that you maintain consistency, and remember to prioritize your items. You've got to keep getting something done, even if you don't feel like it.

Until next time, Wizard out!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Value of Experince.

Okay, so I've been pretty hard on all the pay up front services in the self publish industry. I see someone trying to charge 500 dollars for a book edit, and it just kinda makes me see red. And that's not just because that kind of price tag would make my budget have a massive deficit.Yeah, I've thought that it's just kinda... wrong to charge that kind of money to new authors. For the most part, new authors don't usually have that kind of money just hanging around, and there are far more services that a 'good' book needs other than just editing. As soon as you add up all the possible costs you could see in trying to publish a book and do it well, it wouldn't surprise me if you had a 2000 dollar price tag.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the traditional publishing industry tends to take care of all that, and then give the author an advance to boot. Granted, this is because they are somewhat willing to take a risk that the book might not be a success, and they may have to end up eating the difference. However, it's not so great for the author either, because if said book isn't successful, unless they have years of writing behind them, they'll find it that much harder to get that kind of help again.

To those who want to maintain their creative Independence though, they have to pay for all the services themselves, or if they are broke, do them themselves. The problem with doing it all themselves, is they usually have no idea what they're doing. I know I didn't. But the price of those professional services can drive the authors to desperation, and so we end up with many books which are poorly formatted, or poorly editing, or any number of other preventable things. Bad writing, on the other hand, isn't something you can really hire someone else to fix.

But there is of course hope. If you do something enough times, you get better at it. This is one reason why said experts charge so much, unfortunately, the authors don't know that. They don't yet know if that service offer is worth the 50-500 dollars asked. In the mean time, they must muddle through themselves, if they can't afford the bill. I found myself in that situation when it came to book promotion. I tried to promo my own book, and got about 180 downloads over a 5 day free e-book promotion. Now, taking what I learned from that, I have done a promotion for Jack Lantern, by Vance Smith, and at 8 AM on the first day, it had already got 172 downloads. In the first 6 hours of the day, I've almost smashed the download record of my last promo. I'd call that some experience.

So yeah, if you find yourself being your own agent, just remember, if you do enough of something (and actively try to learn how to do it better), you'll get better at it. Once you've hit a certain point, maybe you'll even be able to hire a pro like me. Then you'll be rocking!

Till next time, this is the part time Wizard signing off.

EDIT: As of 9PM today, a full 15 hours later, and the download count is at 804. The author and I are both quite shocked at this considerably more potent promo. I'm very excited to see what I can do with the next few books we've got coming up on promotion. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Taking it one step at a time.

So, last month saw me attempt a free promo on my book Wayward Guardian. My prep work leading up to it was about a 7 dollar face book ad, and submitting my book to about 10 e-book promo websites. Out of this rather paltry effort, I saw 144 downloads and one reader who left a glowing review (though he did take about a month and half to leave it). Considering up until that point, my book had been read by maybe 10 people, of which 6 had actually bought copies, I consider it a success.

Well I'm hoping to blow that success out of the water. Next up on our Ravania promo run is Jack Lantern. Jack Lantern is a book series written by Vance Smith, and it is amazingly good. It's targeted at a younger audience than my book was, but it is by no means beneath an adult reader. I for one loved it when I first laid my eyes on it, and I'm not just saying that cause I like Vance. It's writing is genuinely impressive, and the characters feel alive.

My plan for this one is to have some reviews already in place, courtesy of some book review sites out there, submit it to more sites, and have a big ad on Facebook. Where I submitted my promo to 10, I've submitted his to about 100. Where I had no reviews, I want him to have 2-4 (though time might be working against me on that one). Where I had a 7 dollar ad, I want him to have a 20 dollar ad. I want to do what I did, but I want to do it better, and I want to do it more.

When I did my promo, I didn't know what I was doing. But by doing the promo, I learned. Now that I learned, I'm apply that learning to this, to make this promo even better than mine. This story deserves readers, and I've let Vance know that too, much to his continued discomfort (poor boy doesn't take praise well).

I'll be going over the results of this promo, and seeing how much of a difference my far more ambitious plans do. With any luck, when I do a promo on my book again, I'll have much better results.

Until next time, Ta ta!