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!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Consitency, and success.

It's a full moon again. That means the madness of writing one of these has taken me again. I know, there was a full moon in September that I missed. My will power was stronger then. Or it could be that I was simply defeated by the crushing weight of life at that time, so you know, the opposite of will power.

Which ever one of those it was, I have come back and am ready to do this thing, and kick it old school.

Or I would be if I had bothered to pick a topic. 

This day and age, it's pretty amazing to have an idea. Now is a good time to try and do something with an idea. The opportunities and resources available to people who want to make something out of their ideas are simply fantastic. There's fewer road blocks than ever before (and almost all of those remaining road blocks are governmental or personal in nature). All in all, its a good time to have an idea.

But of course, having an idea doesn't mean you'll have success, even with the beneficial nature of today's opportunities. Ultimately, the key to taking an idea and turning it into something tangible is the same it's always been. That key is action.

Not just halting and sporadic action, or a sudden powerful burst spurred on by the desire for fame, or fortune. No, the kind of action needed, is the same action that's always been needed for long term meaningful progress. The action needed is steady, consistent, and directed.

To take and idea and turn it into something requires a level of direction that seems harder and harder to come by these days. It also takes a level of consistency that's hard to maintain in our world of instant gratification. Though the landscape may have changed, those things remain the same.

Which, oddly, means my missing my last full moon blog post, reflects poorly on me. Granted, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't mean much, but my point of choosing to write a more personal blog post on every full moon was in part to drive that consistence. It was to give one more regular point around which to focus my efforts. It also had some direction to it by making sure that I would write at least one blog post a month. Right now the results of this effort don't seem immediately obvious, but I'm not just writing for the people who will read now, but I'm training my self to keep writing for when I do have readers.

And that's part of the consistency. Training myself to do something, when I don't yet need to, so I can keep at it when I do need to.

That seems like a pretty good idea.

Anyway, this has been the part time wizard writing a blog post. Tune in next time!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Write what you know.

Write what you know. While I was going school and learning how to write, I stumbled across that thought quite a bit.

Well that's all fine and dandy if you're a fisherman writing about fish, but it's rather limiting when you want to write about magic, dragons, or space ships and computers gone mad. There isn't a person on earth who could say they know what it means to battle a demon while riding a dragon into battle.

However, I do realize that it's an important thought. The problem is, there is a risk of taking it too literally, and thus requiring you to be intimately aware of all the minutiae in the things they're trying to write. Such as learning all the ins and outs of how to care for a horse if you have a horse in the story. It's my new opinion that that is missing the major thing of importance, unless of course the story in question is about raising a horse.

The thing of most importance, and the thing to focus most on when you try to write what you know, is living life. Every story good story is, when you boil right down to it, a human story. All the larger than life settings and awe inspiring settings only serve as containers for the stories of humanity, and of what it means to live.

A story about a fight for survival against all odds against a powerful magical foe is just a story about human tenacity. A story about crossing space and time in search of a lost lover, is just about the driving force of our relationships. The more real the emotions evoked, the stronger the story.

So now when I think of writing what I know, I think of writing what I know of emotion. I think of the need to tell a real story of humanity, of a story that moves us on a level that is understandable on a emotional level, even if we might not know what it's like to ride a dragon.

I think, if given the chance to tell younger me a nice word of advice, it would be to focus more on the heart of the story, and less on the fiddly bits. I am of course still learning what it means to be a story teller, but, God willing, I hope I will be able to keep working at it for years to come.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Switching gears, and the art of getting things done.

So I find myself in a bit of a situation. I have finished writing the sequel to my book 'Wayward Guardian' and I was rather looking forward to resuming work on my next project, which was a fantasy book which I had thought was only about half done. Turns out it was more than half done. So now I don't have a project on the go.

I discovered this while I was doing some quick edits on the new project in anticipation of writing in it again. While I was doing this, and looking at the rest of the plot that I had worked out, I realized that what I had written actually came very close to a story in and of itself, and that what was left to write, could very well stand as separate book as well, with a few modifications.

Now when I say separate, I mean in a physical sense. The stories are still one and the same, and the second book would be a continuation of the first, it's just that what was originally half a planned book actually has all the making of a full and good story in and off itself. So I decided I'd just split the book into two.

This had the advantage of meaning I now have two books waiting to be published, pending editing. However, as stated before, it means what I thought was going to be my next project for the foreseeable future, now isn't.

So what to do?

I could always write book three in the Guardian saga, but I want to let that wait a bit, let the juices flow. I've got a good idea where the story is going, but it needs some more details.

Instead, I decided I work on the scripts for the graphic novel/web comic series I will be doing with my good friend Austin Shurtliff. We've been wanting to do this for some time, but the timing hasn't been right, and we weren't sure how to go forward.

We had a nice long chat about it some weeks ago, and I think we're ready to get rocking. I'll be doing the writing, and he'll be taking care of the illustrations. Personally, I think he has the harder job, though the writing for this is proving a lot more challenging for me than I had anticipated. I'm hoping to fit the script writing into my schedule, while maintaining some book based writing.

So for the next few weeks, it will be editing, and script writing. Once the editing is done, then it'll switch to script writing, and book writing.

How exciting.

Remember, you can keep up today on all our projects over at the Ravania page. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Editing, and the art of quality.

Mmmm good day. It's been a busy one for me. I've gone to job orientation for a new job (Got to pay them bills!) to make up the difference while I kick everything else into high gear. I've done my first draft edit of about 5 chapters of my book. I've written a chapter in another book, and decided how to proceed with said book.

Of all of those things, I think I enjoyed the editing the least. I really don't like editing. If I could do without it, I would. However, I cannot do without it. Unedited, my writing is horrible, my grammar is weak, and my story telling is strained. My rough draft is always a mess. You may have even noticed some evidence of this on my blogs. I try to catch it all, but it's a big job.

Good editing can really set a story apart. I was browsing through the latest free kindle books on promotion by Amazon, and reading their reviews, and I was struck by the common thread in many of the reviews of these self published books. That thread was the thread of many obvious mistakes. One review mentioned that the writer had completely neglected to put quotations around his dialog. So the only way to tell the difference between between characters talking and descriptive paragraphs was the inclusion of the occasional he said, she said. I of course chose to download this, but I haven't had the chance to see for myself yet.

I suppose me downloading it suggests it may have just been a clever marketing ploy, but I find that unlikely.

It occurred to me, that it could well be that the only thing keeping these people from being really big would be the strength of their editing. For many of these stories, almost everyone would say 'It's a great story!' or 'It's full of engaging characters.' but then it would get to the rest and these same reviewers would say 'Full of typos.'. Of course, some reviewers never noticed at all, but the ones that that did were numerous enough to hurt their ratings.

I know how hard it is! I really do, if it wasn't for the lads at Ravania, I would be a sorry mess with my writing. We thankfully have something of a support group, we each bear the burden of editing. I find I can read my work as many times as I want and still won't see what I need to see, because I see what I meant to write, not what I actually write. Add a fresh set of eyes that weren't involved in the writing of the story, and all the missed typos start coming to life.

That said, there is a difference between a few missed words, and typos on every page. If you try to hit perfection every time, you'll never actually finish a book. Just be thorough, take the time and effort, and do the best you can. Remember, the keen eyed will find typos even in New York Times best sellers.

To any new authors, or even established indie authors, I'd recommend passing your works to as many people as you feel comfortable with. Try and priorities those who are willing to actually look and not just read. I pick my Father as one of my readers because if there is a misspelled word, he will find it. The man once found a typo in a crossword puzzle, much to his frustration. He doesn't do so good on story content, but I have other people in my reader group to look for those. Different eyes see different things. The more eyes that go over your work, the more they'll see, provided, again, there the kind of people who will look rather than just read.

Remember, if you don't try to set a standard for yourself, you'll never stand out above the crowd.

Till next time! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Testing what makes you tick.

So I just got back from a weekend camping trip on lovely Vancouver Island. All in all, it was a pretty rad time, but as the time came to a close, I was chomping at the bit to get back and jump back into my work.

On reflection, I realize this is the first time this has happened to me. Most of the time, when vacationing, I find that I dread going back and ending my adventure. Most of the time I would dread coming back and having to sink back into my old life.

Not so on this trip. I was excited to return, happy to resume what I was doing, and determined to make even more progress towards my goals and dreams. I realize that this is a good indication that I'm doing something I love. I was so interested in returning that whenever I heard talk of plans to make the vacation last a little longer, it actually made me unhappy. I decided to jump ship and get back home with one of the campers who had to return early.

I am one of the ones who very much agrees that it's important to take a step back every now and again. Doing this lets you see how far you've come, and lets you regain perspective which may have been lost in the hustle and bustle of everything. I came back from my vacation with a lovely piece of prose and a new short story to be revealed at a later date.

However, the stepping back also lets you see something else. It lets you see how much you're enjoying our life at that moment. If your vacation is marred by the dread of returning home, then there is room for improvement. If it's dampened by all the worries you brought with you, then it may be time to learn to let some things go. Time to step away gives us an opportunity to see what were stepping away from, and also gauge how much we want to step back into it. It's just a good way to see if you actually like what your doing.

I know I do. I hope you do too.

Till next time!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blogging about a Blog, Indies Unlimited

So I read a post from Indies Unlimited. You can find the post I am about to talk about, here. I'd also recommend checking out the blog in general, as it does seem interesting. I've been poking at it, and especially under their section about submissions, I was caught by their mission, stated, "We want to dispel the myth that Indie books aren’t as good as other books." Pretty good for a mission. I mean, it sounds like part of our mission over at Ravania.

So anyway, I was reading this post. The blogger, Becky Wicks, was talking about her switch from a traditional publisher to indie publishing, and her experience therewith.

I was struck by a few things, first, when she switched, she realized that indie authors need to be their own marketing team. Yes! Complete agreement there. As she said later in the post, no one will be as passionate about your story than you. Even if you have a great story with all the makings of a best seller, if no one knows it exists, it won't mater one bit. You have to get out there, you have to make your presence known.

This battle is a difficult one to fight, and an almost cyclical one, as I touched on in my last post, but it's one which can be fought, and one which you can make progress with. Thankfully, as she listed off all the outside help she had to get, I realized that between the five of us at Ravania, and our various circles of influence, we've got most of those jobs covered. For the most part though, we're all pretty inexperienced in our various responsibilities, but we will improve.

The other thing she mentioned was how the magic point for getting some traction and seeing good results was about 5 books. Under our banner, we've got about 3 right now, with another 3 set to release by years end (ish). Between us, we've got that number hit, but individually, we've got some time to go yet. I'm hoping to leverage our combined strength as a way to move our brand forward.

She also mentioned something about having a good mailing list. Still working on that.

Lots of work to do. Lots and lots.

That just makes it exciting.

Till next time people!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reviewing the Review system.

Good day readers. I regret to inform you that I am going to be away for week, so you'll have to be without the enjoyment of my words for at least that long, well unless I can find a moment it write, but I don't want that kind of pressure. Hopefully my co-conspirator Vance will pick up the slack in the mean time.

I got a little frustrated again this week. When you are a new author, it very hard to get traction. To get into any of the good book promotional circles, you need reviews, to get reviews, you need people who will read your book, to get readers, you need promotion, and reviews so they know it's worth their time. It is a viscous angry circle.

The most obvious thing to do then, is to pick one thing and try to break the cycle at that one point. Or rather, not break the cycle, but start a positive cycle where a negative one once read. The point that is usually chosen as the entry point is reviews. I'm no different in the this regard, I see that as the point to pick too.

The problem, however, is the whole 'getting a review' thing. The really prestigious ones usually charge money, and when you're a starving artist, with emphasis on starving, it's really hard to justify any kind of expense. The free review sites are usually so swamped by the hordes of other authors who just desperately want a chance to prove themselves. It's hard to have your submission seen when it's lost in a mountain of other books. There's only so many hours in a day, and the free sites, by virtue of being free, can't really afford to pay a reviewer.

Now the best kind of review, in my mind, is from readers themselves. The problem with that, is readers don't want to have their time or money wasted. If you leave a negative impression on them, it'll linger. To make matters worse, the level of quality between those hordes of authors and their works varies wildly. Some have the potential to be the next new york times best seller, whereas others, if writing were like American idol, would be sent home crying by Simon Cowell.

The thing they all share in common though is that no one knows about them. No one knows they exist. Their books languish with a ranking on amazon with entirely too many digits behind it. Not many people intentionally browse the lower levels of the book rankings looking for books, and this is in part because no one wants to waste time or money.

If a book has no reviews, it's essentially a gamble as to what you'll get, and if you have to spend money, then it's a gamble most people don't want to take. This is particularly true because there are plenty of books written by known authors that are quite a lot of fun to read. Why take a risk on a no body, when the somebody does what you want, and you know they do what you want?

The method I've decided to use to try and break the cycle is simple, and has been done before. The first thing I'm doing is offering a free promotion for my e-book. From september 4 to the 8 my e-book will be free on amazon. My hope for this is that as it will eliminate the money concerns when it comes to reader risk. Hopefully some people will be willing to take the time risk, and garner me some reviews. Once I have those under my belt, it'll be that much easier to promote, and should translate into more readers for my next book. We shall see if it works!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Of Moons and Madness

Good evening everyone, part time wizard Arlin here. So it's a full moon out tonight, and that means a blog post.

Since I've decided on writing a blog post every time there's a full moon, as well as when ever I feel like it, I've thought that it might be kind of nice to have the full moon posts have a sort of shared theme. I'm not sure what that's going to be, though I feel as though it may be more personal in nature than my usual posts.

So maybe for my first run at this, I will answer a question. Why?

Why's, as they stand, are very important to me. Why's are what makes the difference between doing something for the right reasons and doing something for the wrong reasons. Now that sort of thing, right and wrong, can be rather subjective to most people. I have very strong opinions about most things, and for the most part I know where my rights and wrongs lie, that said, everyone has a different set of beliefs, and such questions should be judged on a basis of current knowledge, and current beliefs, on a case by case basis.

But I digress. I wasn't going to talk about why's in general. I was going to talk about my why.

Before I get to that though, I should also answer, why what? What is an easy answer. What is 'everything I do in life'. What is Ravania Entertainment. What is my professional life. What is how I treat my fellow man. These are all the what's that are coloured and shaped by my why.

So what's my why?

I seem to be dancing around that question a lot.

So lets get right to it then. My why is love.

I know, I know, it's corny, it's cliche, and no one ever talks that way anymore. Well you'll be happy to know that there is a second why, and that's cause it makes me feel good, so it's a little selfish, but the first why is love.

I want to make Ravania Entertainment as big as I can because I love those who I am building it with. I want to make it as big as I can because I love the stories we tell, because I love the vision we share. I love what it has the potential to become, and I love the potential it has to help other people discover there own whys. We have massively insane plans for this thing, and I stick with them because of my why.

I want give the best service I can give in my professional life, for those who don't know, I work as a finical coach, because I feel so many people need help in that area of there life and I honestly feel that I can help them get a handle on it. I do it because I love helping people, and because I love the fact that I can get ahead in life doing something that helps others also get ahead in life.

I choose to treat people with respect, and when possible, genuine caring and attention, because I love people and believe everyone is deserving of care and love. I do it out of love for my fellow man, and out of love of my God, who would give me such gifts as I have in the way of talents, and who has done so so I may help my fellow man.

In short, my why is love. A love of people. A love of doing. A love of stories. That's my why. And it's important to have a why. A why keeps you focused when the world demands you become distracted, and if I get distracted, I'll get lost, and I'll loose sight of everything I'm doing. So until next full moon, you'll probably have to just listen to me prattle on about Ravania Entertainment, because I sure do love talking about that.

Till next time everyone!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The trouble with Covers, and some assorted ramblings.

So I was running the 'book review' circuit today. Oh boy what a treat that is. I mean, obviously the best way to get reviews is organically, but if you have no reviews then the quality of your book may come across as suspect.

This does have a negative impact on sales.

I decided that I needed to put my not inconsiderable stubborn determination towards solving. However, after about... three hours... or so, I have now grown bored of this pursuit. This unfortunately means that my stubborn determination is not what it used to be. That said, it was really an adventure and I have learned many valuable lessons.

First and foremost, there is a resource for almost everything you could think of. Everyone has a service to offer, and really I myself am no exception, what with my endless promotion of Ravania Entertainment. The problem you run into though is most services require something in exchange. Things are in rather short supply for me, as I am still in the 'starving artist' stage of my rise to fame. That's not to say I resent this state of being. Far from it, every adventure starts off small, and every journey will have it's challenges. More importantly than that, I am also a capitalist at heart, and I understand the value of ones time. These services don't do themselves!

The second thing I learned is that in the self-publishing world, cover services are ripe with options. It's easy to just pick a template and a picture from the cover design services and whip up a slick cover for your new book. I, unfortunately for them, find most of these such covers to be... well... without personality. Where is the love and care in template? Thankfully I have access to a few talented artists who have thus far been eager for the challenge of creating a cover.

Double thankfully, Ravania Entertainment itself has it's own very talented art guy who has made most of our covers and all of the art assets on our website here. We are truly blessed to have him under our banner. I mean he made our banner, he'd better jolly well be under it!

Anyway, back to the covers. As I was saying, I found most of the covers offered by these services to be lacking in personality. However, technically speaking, they do all look good, and the uniform styles do tend to draw a buyers eye. They see them as similar and it gives comfort. I myself suffer from this particular syndrome. You give me a planet and a spaceship on your cover, and BAM, I'm interested. So it's entirely possible that our lovely hand crafted covers might be doing us a disservice because they look so different from the average cover you find online. But just you wait, when we have 20+ books, we'll have the advantage, no longer will it be a detriment, it'll just be another reminder that it's a Ravania Entertainment book. It'll become a calling card!

Ultimately, everything we do is part of building our brand and making us unique and different. We don't want to be like the mainstream. We want to make our own dang stream!

This is part time wizard Arlin Fehr signing off. I'm outta here!

Friday, August 1, 2014

How to beat a venue mismatch, the Ravania way.

Good day children! And by children I mean (mostly) adults. And by good day, I mean hey look I've written a new post.

A long time ago, I thought to myself, hey you know what would be pretty sweet? Having some of my short stories appear in literary magazines, that would be pretty sweet.

Cue furious writing at that point.

I made up a few short stories, which was a bit of a shock to the boys at Ravania, as up until that point, it was happily assumed I was incapable of writing anything under forty thousand words.

A bit of an aside right now to explain that, the first ever story I finished start to finish was one I wrote for Aaron Smith's Genesis Project series, called 'Sons of an Empire.'. The instructions he gave me was to write a short story. But at the time, I had a tenuous grasp on the concept of short story. As I started writing it, and handing off page after page for his review, dear Aaron noticed that I may not have understood the instructions. Rather than stopping me and saying that I didn't understand the nature of the task, he let me continue, compelled by the strength of the story I was writing. It ended up clocking in at about half the size of one of his normal novels. Not a short story by any stretch. Later on, I decided to write another, to try and redeem myself, and it also ended up being about half the size of one of his novels again.

Happily this ended up not being a bad thing, as we will be slapping the two stories together and calling it a Genesis project book. Look for that at some point in the future.

Anyway, all of the above meant that I was then ridiculed for being incapable of writing a 'short' story. I never really thought it was much of a handicap, it just meant I had a lot of story to tell. However, when I decided that I want to try my hand at getting a story in a magazine, imagine my discomfort at seeing the rather limited word counts.

Rather than let this stop me, I learned how to write short stories. I wrote... about three I believe, and started submitting them around, however the result was almost without fail, 'We like your writing, but we don't think it matches our venue'. This happened with what I thought were clearly matching venues! Now that did frustrate me a little.

So what does one do when his writing doesn't match the venue he wants it in? Well if your part of Ravania Entertainment, which I am, you make your own venue.

Turns out the boy's have been cooking up the idea of doing our own literary magazine of sorts, now this will digital thing, as we are a rather small group, but it will be a way for us to show samples of our writing to potential readers and let them get a taste of us before they throw down some money on books or sweet merchandise. (both available here. :P) I for one am extra excited by this, and am also excited to be able to dust off my stories with no venue, and make new stories for it.

Now I'm not allowed to say anything about the date in which we plan to launch this, but let it suffice that I believe it will be worth the wait.

Thanks for reading dear children, and by children I mean (mostly) adults. Though if you are a child, that's good too.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My kingdom for an old dog.

Hello everybody, resident part time Wizard here. You know, from Ravania Entertainment? Never heard of it? Well check it out here then.

Other than bragging about my my newly crafted website, I've had a lot on my mind recently. Hopefully this might translate into some more regular posts on this here blog thingy, or at the very lest into some productive action and book related writing.

So I find myself today sitting in a living room that is not my own, listening to a dog bark in it's sleep, a dog that is also not my own, while watching a documentary on nutrition on a t.v. that is also not my own. That's an awful lot of things that are not my own. The reason for this is because I am house sitting for a friend. Thus far, it's a pretty easy gig, but the dog is a mixed bag. It's still a very young dog, and seems to have boundless energy... especially at night.

An example! Yesterday, we went for a nice long walk. As I am not it's normal master, it was a little more of a challenge than I would have liked, namely it was pulling on the leash more than I might have liked, which necessitated frequent stops for reminders of the command structure in this outfit. Anyway, eventually we finished this walk, and we got home, and the dog immediately went to it's cushion and fell asleep. I thought this was pretty rad, so I went off to bed myself, only to be woken frequently by said dog, who wished to be let in and out almost every hour through the night, though seemingly not to do it's business, but because it wanted to play. Needless to say I was not amused.

My body did not take well to this particular evening. I am a wreck today. My eyes are burning, my body hurts, and I've had more naps today than one could consider decent. To top things off, the thought of going on another walk makes me tired just thinking about, especially since it seemed to do jack all for the dogs energy level.

But I digress! My intent was not to complain about a dog which was not mine (though this reinforces my choice not to get a pet). Thinking on it though, I'm not sure what my purpose was, a fact which I may ascribe to my current lack of meaningful sleep.

Until next time, this is the part time wizard signing off. Man, I really thought I was going to say something about books or entertainment today...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

All's quiet on the northeren front

Some exciting progress to be had by I and the boys at Ravania Entertainment. We had a little ol' sit down the other day and talked about the things we wanted to do and see in the near future. One such item was the creation of a website.

Right now we've got a Facebook page, which you can find here if you haven't already found it, and you know, it works pretty good for what we use it for. We've been using it to post our regular comic updates, our book launch announcements, and generally anything we may feel like posting.

All in all, it's a pretty neat little facebook page, and I think we're using it pretty good. However, it's not every organized. After we post something, and a suitably long time passes, whatever we wanted to draw your attention to is quickly lost in the torrent of updates. So, you know, not ideal.

Thus we decided that a website would be pretty swish. We had one once before, but it was focused on Genesis Project. Genesis Project is a fantastic universe created by our glorious leader, Aaron Smith, but in the time since the old website to today, we've come up with many other intellectual properties and now need a little more than just the one site. Thus is born our soon to be launched new website.

The new site will serve as a central hub for all of our endeavors, the one stop shop if you will, which will whisk you away to which ever part of our tiny empire you may wish to visit. I'm very excited to show this thing off, as I made it myself.

Well that's a bit untrue, I had a little help, namely the Go Daddy web page builder. That thing is seriously slick. I made the page in a day. Granted, I can almost guarantee you I'll be making changes to it after it launches, but it was really easy all in all which was cool.

I just wish it was ready to go now, cause then I'd just link it right now. But alas, I am waiting on a single picture. Oh well.

Till next time!