Posts Tagged ‘The Black God’s War’

Earlier today I read a question on a message board for writers, the Writer’s Cafe at Kindleboards.com (one of my favorite online haunts). The name of the thread was “Personal Glory or Commercial Success?” and the first post asks this:

Ideally, we’d like to be able to write books that are both meaningful to us as well as popular in the consumer market.  Realistically though, it’s extremely uncommon to have both.  If you had to choose, would you rather write for personal fulfillment even if it doesn’t attract much in the way of sales or write what will more likely appeal to the masses and give you some amount of decent profit?

Definitely both.

But I’ve come to a soul-searching moment with my book. Mine is at a point now where I think it’s finally in good enough shape to publish it, after working on the book for 21 months. If my top goal was to make money, I’d probably release it now and get to work writing another one so that I could try to have a second release before the holidays.

But I’ve found I literally can’t do that. I’m still poring over the book, making every detail as good as I can possibly make it. I’m trying to root out every weak instance of ‘telling’ in the cases where telling isn’t the best choice, and trying to make every sentence concise and clear. I want every piece of dialogue to ring true, and every character to work and feel real. I want every part of the story to be logical and to function with maximum emotional impact. These are some of the goals, anyway. I’m doing the best I can with them.

By doing all this, instead of releasing my book in May like I’d hoped to, I might not be able to release the novel until June at the earliest and probably August at the latest (I’ll guess July). And I know this might cost me some money because it’s slowing down my current and future release schedule (or maybe make me more money in the long run–it’s hard to say).

But when I’ve looked really deeply at it, I’ve decided that if people are going to spend some money on my book and, more importantly, hours of their lives reading it, I can’t feel good about that unless I know that I’ve given everyone my very best effort. That’s what I want from any author I read, so that’s what I have to give.

I’ve realized that my #1 goal, literally, is to write the very best book that I can, however long that takes, still absolutely with an eye toward commercial success–but regardless of whether my release schedule helps or hurts me in terms of generating an income from writing. I’m living off some of my savings to do this, but in the end, I want to know that I gave everyone the very best I had to give, and I think that’s worth more to me than commercial success. Then again, maybe this is the best way to have longterm commercial success. But I’m okay with or without commercial success as long as I know that I didn’t cut any corners just to make more money. That’s not saying anything about anyone who has that goal–it’s just not my top goal.

I want some people who read my book to feel like it’s one of the best reading experiences they’ve ever had. I want my book to be one that stays with some people for years, one that they want to re-read some day. Even if it’s just a small percentage of people that feel that way, that’s what I value most, the qualitative experience that those readers might have, not the numbers in my bank account.

Writing this book (and then hopefully more, similar books) is literally my top personal (selfish) desire, for my life. After this, my top goals are to be the best dad and husband I can be and eventually to focus more on charitable projects. This is why the writing of the book is more important to me than the money. This is just how I feel. I’m not comparing or contrasting myself to anyone else, and I know I’m very lucky to be in a position that allows me to approach writing this way. Then again, I’ve worked hard at other things so that I could do this some day.

Thanks for asking a great question. Sorry if I gave you more than you bargained for  😉

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If you don’t subscribe to David Farland’s Daily Kick, a free email service that shares outstanding advice about the business and craft of writing, what are you waiting for? (look for the sign-up box on the right, through that link.)

Here’s today’s installment. I decided to mention it because, well, you’ll see. He mentioned me. This will give you an example of a wonderful free service Dave offers. I may write a blog post later this week to add to some of the points Dave made.

Everything below the following line is from David Farland’s Daily Kick, 2/14/11 (and not written by me):

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David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants—The Dangers of Self-Publishing

Friday I wrote about Amanda Hocking’s tremendous rise to becoming a bestseller through self-publishing her e-books. I’ve heard from a lot of fans lately who want to give that a try, and by all means, if you think that you’ve got the chops, give it a try.

But let me warn you of the danger first. Unfortunately, you are not your own best critic. Nor is your spouse or your mother or your neighbor your best critic. As a result, when you think that you’re ready to publish, in most cases you’re not.

Time and time again, I find writers who are almost delusional. They’re like the singers that tried out in Hollywood last week on American Idol. They were by far the worst that the country had seen. For some reason, Hollywood attracts delusional people.

Because writers aren’t their own best critics, we often hear stories like the one told by Raymond Feist recently. He got a knock on his door, and when he answered, the fellow at the door said, “I’ll be you’ve never talked to a real author before!” Ray, who has sold millions and millions of books, just laughed and said, “Buddy, I think you’ve got the wrong house.” But the fellow persisted and showed Ray his two self-published novels. They were printed to a high quality, which showed that the fellow had some taste, and so Raymond bought them and the fellow went off to schlep his works door-to-door. Raymond then read the first few pages of one and said that it was one of the worst novels that he’d ever seen.

I’ve done that same experience on more than one occasion, picked up a self-published novel only to see a dozen horrible mistakes—everything from typos to misspellings and just genuinely terrible prose—all within two pages.

So I’m worried that in the rush of self-published authors this year, we’re going to see a lot of people embarrass themselves. More importantly, you might actually hurt your career.

Let’s say that you put up a book that isn’t quite ready, and it gets twenty reviews on line, and most of them pan your book. How easy do you think it will be to sell your next book, or the one after that? Those negative reviews will never go away, and they’ll dog you. Indeed, they’ll destroy the name that you’re trying to create for yourself.

So don’t rush to publish in e-book format.

Please be aware that I’m not saying “Don’t publish.” I’m just urging you to be careful.

Last year I won the Whitney Award for Best Novel of the Year with a book that I self-published. When I won the award, Howard Tayler, the self-published author of the famous Schlock Mercenary cartoons, said, “You know, Dave, you’ve just done a world of damage. You self-published for all of the wrong reasons: your mother begged you to do it. You didn’t want to take your regular publisher’s advice. Then to top it off, you sold all of your stock, got great reviews, and won a major award. I keep telling people not to self-publish, even though I’m making my own living at it, and now you come along and just reinforce the wrong message.”

Howard is right of course. Both of us were publishing to small market shares, where self-publishing made a little more sense, and we both succeeded, just as Amanda Hocking is succeeding, and some of you are succeeding.

One of my friends and past students, Moses Siregar, I just found out, is at the top of Amazon’s sales charts with his epic fantasy THE BLACK GOD’S WAR. Moses is a fine writer and is deserving of success, and I think that it will follow. But Moses also knows the risks. I recently heard some other New York Times bestselling writers tell him, “Moses, don’t self-publish!” They pointed out the risks. I then told him, “You know, Moses, I hate to say this, but I think you’ll do it. You’re savvy enough to know what you need to do in order to self-publish well, and I think that you should go ahead.” Now, four weeks later, he’s doing great. So go check out his book at:

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Gods-War-Introducing-ebook/dp/B003Z0D2HK

It will only cost a dollar, and if Moses gets the velocity he needs, maybe his project will turn him into the next Amanda Hocking. Personally, I really enjoyed Moses’s work.

Oh, and don’t self-publish! For every one who succeeds, there will be hundreds who will destroy a potential career. Recognize that when you self-publish, you might just be gambling with your career.

Announcing:

Ken Scholes will be speaking to us next on the Farland’s Author’s Advisory Confernce Calls and you are invited to attend at no charge, as always. Mark your calendar, the date is Thursday, February 24th, 9:00 p.m. EST.

Ken is the author of LAMENTATION, and the topic will be “Self-Awareness: an author’s first best tool.”

To get on the call, dial 1-218-862-7200. When the line picks up, dial the calling code, which is 245657. The call is free, long distance charges apply.

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6
Sep

My Free Six-Chapter Excerpt on Kindle Nation Daily

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in My Work

Kindle Nation Daily is the biggest and best Kindle blog on the planet, and I feel blessed today to have a six-chapter excerpt from my novella up for free on KND.

Check out the excerpt here … if you dare. It includes my favorite battle scene from the novella, and also focuses on the relationship between Lucia and the black god.
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23
Aug

My Journey to Publishing on Amazon: How and Why?

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in Ebooks, My Work, Publishing

This is a copy of my latest column for GraspingForTheWind.com:

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Twelve days ago, I published my first work of fiction to Amazon and Smashwords. It’s called The Black God’s War: A Novella Introducing a New Epic Fantasy, and it serves as an introduction to my novel with the same title (The Black God’s War). Here’s how and why I dipped my toes into the indie waters.

The Black God's War by Moses Siregar III

Getting a Word document ready for Kindle and Smashwords took a little effort over the course of a day, but after you’ve done it, you realize how easy the process is. The free Smashwords Style Guide leads you through the process, and their guide works for Amazon as well as Smashwords. Once you’re in Smashwords, you can automatically get your ebook into BN.com, the iBookstore, Kobo, and Sony.

Some of the main things you have to do are the following: create universal paragraph indentation (you cannot use the TAB key and you have to delete all tabs); insert page breaks between chapters; single space the text with a common font (12-pt Times New Roman, for example); insert graphics directly in Word; and add a copyright page at the front. You’re ready to upload. It’s easy.

I uploaded my document, book cover, and book description on a Monday morning, and by the early a.m. on Wednesday it was available for sale on Amazon. Total cost to me: $0.00.

Why?

I’ll admit to being confused about the best way to approach publishing today. The world of Publishing is changing fast and there’s a new wave of indie writers extolling the virtues of 70% ebook royalties on Amazon, full control, and no delays. So I’m testing the waters as an experiment. In an average scenario, you can get free exposure and reach some new fans, read more reactions to your work, and make a little money (some indie writers even make a lot).

So far, my book has been read by a modest number of people, and already there’s at least one review on GoodReads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, a review blog, and Smashwords. The reviews have been encouraging, and it’s nice to hear from people that don’t know you that you aren’t crazy (always a possibility). I even got an unexpected email from an American in China who said he’s now “a fan,” and someone I don’t know on KindleBoards called it a “very good read.” Lastly, I had an excuse to be interviewed by the Kindle Author blog.

At this stage in the game, those little things are nice rewards. Additionally, I’ve used the coupon feature on Smashwords to give away free copies of my novella, and it’s nice to be able to link to my Amazon page from my blog. On the flip side, I now see that promoting your work can give you another excuse to procrastinate rather than write.

It’s too early for me to judge the results of this experiment, but if it only achieves what it has so far, it will have been worth it. If I publish the book independently, then this is all pre-release marketing to generate some buzz for the full novel. And if I seek out a publisher (I’m not sure if I want to submit it anywhere, because the indie route looks pretty good to me), then hopefully having some reviews and sales to show them would help my cause.

Well, if you’ve run out of things to read you’ll know where to find this one, and if you’re interested in an electronic review copy, just let me know. The novella is around 24,000 words long, and can be read through in just a few hours.

Moses Siregar III is the author of The Black God’s War, a dramatic epic fantasy novel inspired by Homer; you can sample it for 99 cents at Amazon or Smashwords. He lives with his family at high elevation in Prescott, AZ, and blogs about passion for the writing life at Moses and Dionysus Walk Into a Bar … Learn more about Moses: Facebook or More Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.
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7
Aug

I Can Haz Original Artwork. I Haz it! I Haz it!

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in My Work

I am a happy boy. A wonderfully talented artist captured the essence of my major character Lucia and revealed her to me anew. This drawing will appear in the ebook release of my novella for THE BLACK GOD’S WAR, coming to Amazon and other sites this week. Thanks Rich!

If you’re looking for an illustrator, Rich W. Ware is talented, reasonable, and fast.

Lucia, from THE BLACK GOD'S WAR, drawn by Rich W. Ware

Lucia, from THE BLACK GOD’S WAR, drawn by Rich W. Ware

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4
Aug

My Novella’s Amazon Description (Happy Birthday, Me). Any Feedback?

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in My Work

Today’s my birthday, and just yesterday I got perhaps a not-so-wild idea. As I was re-reading my work, I stumbled upon a dramatic section of the story that I hope will make a great novella. So I’ve decided to get it up and available on Amazon in the Kindle store soon. My goal is to have it up on August 11th (next Wednesday), after getting enough copyediting eyeballs on it (including a professional or two). It will be available for $0.99.

I’ve started working on a description for the novella on Amazon. The description doesn’t focus on both sides of the conflict in my story, since the novella only follows certain characters. Here’s what I’ve got so far, and feel free to offer any feedback or suggestions.

THE BLACK GOD’S WAR: A NOVELLA INTRODUCING A NEW EPIC FANTASY

HThe Black God's Warer father-king wants war. Her messianic brother wants peace. The black god wants his due. She suffers all the consequences.

King Vieri’s war against the lands of Pawelon rages into its tenth year, and with the kingdom’s holy savior, his son, en route to the fighting in the storied canyon, victory ought to come soon. Blocked after every effort and feeling abandoned by his god, King Vieri forces young Caio to lead his army to victory.

The Black One, Lord Danato, tortures Lucia with nightly visions, promising another ten years of bloodshed. Lucia aligns with her brother to bring about the surrender of Pawelon’s Rajah and his mystical sages, for the only alternative is to journey to Danato’s macabre underworld to beg for his mercy: A poisoned remedy guaranteeing heartbreak as compensation for the god’s assistance. Lucia knows the black god too well, ever since he entered her bed and dreams when she was ten.

Now Caio must command his father’s army and appeal to his own patron gods for their divine powers. Will the goddess of healing fulfill his martial prayers? And can someone who wants only to heal the world bring himself to kill another man?
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A novella-length story introducing a new epic fantasy novel by the same title, currently scheduled for release in May of 2011.
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My name is Moses Siregar III, and you can email me with comments at mosesmerlin@hotmail.com. My blog is called, “Moses and Dionysus Walk Into a Bar …” and you’ll find it at www.ScienceFictionFantasyBooks.net. I hope you’ll download the free sample of this work and go on to really enjoy it.

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1
Aug

I’ve Been Working on my Novel all the Live Long Year

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in My Work

One year ago today on August 1st, 2009, I decided to get serious about writing a novel. The basic plot and the major characters came to me back in January of 2009, but other than a few notes scribbled into a notebook and a truly bad first draft of a first chapter, that’s as far as I got. I put the whole project completely aside for seven months.

Here’s a little recap of my journey.

August: I did the 21 Days to a Novel exercises created by author Michael Stackpole. This got me in the habit of working on the project nearly every day and motivated me to create a full chapter outline. At this time, I began reading books on writing fiction at a voracious pace.

September: I started writing the first draft, and forced myself to write every single day for 21+ days to forge a new habit in me little brain.

October – December: I finished the first draft around the first week of December, and it clocked in around 115,000 words. I ‘won’ NaNo with 50K words in November. Then I took the rest of December off, until January 1st …

January: On the 1st, I made a renewed commitment and started rewriting and editing the work.

February: I put the early chapters of the novel up on Authonomy and started getting feedback from dozens (ultimately hundreds) of people. I realized that some things needed to be fixed about the novel, and started doing more intensive revision on the early chapters. Through all this, I grew a lot as a writer.

March: More revision, more Authonomy. My Authonomy feedback became consistently positive, giving me hope that I was on the right track. I also attended the wonderful and very inspiring Superstars Writing Seminar. By this point, I had the first ten chapters in pretty good shape.

April – July: Around this time, I got serious about rewriting the rest of the novel, and I rewrote everything through chapter 35, up to around 50,000 words. This is the end of “book 1” of my novel (it has three sections).

Now: I’m currently editing the first 35 chapters, and by the end of August, I expect to have these 35 ready for beta (early) readers.

The Future

I still need to rewrite and edit the next 50 chapters of the novel, around 75,000 more words. The final total should be around 125K words and 85 chapters. Unless something unexpected happens that prevents me from being able to do this, I fully expect to be able to have this done by January or February of next year. At that time, I hope to share the work with some more beta readers, then get some freelance editors to go over the manuscript.

If I decide not to submit the novel to publishers (I’m still undecided on that), then I intend to have the book ready as an ebook and print-on-demand book (either with CreateSpace or Lightning Source) in May of 2011. It’s good to feel like I can finally estimate where the finish line is. Now I just have to keep running the marathon every day. Or as my old friend Dennis Lindsey would have said, “Every day, every day, every day, every day.”

Thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way. There are too many people to mention!

And if you have any news about your own writing journey, please feel free to share it with me in the comments.

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15
Jul

Mock Cover, Take Three: THE BLACK GOD’S WAR

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in My Work

Changes in version 3.0:

1) The image blends together more, with part of her lip and chin continuing to the left, plus a subtle glimpse of her left eye. I flipped her image and make it 92% transparent. Huge thanks to David Kerschner for that idea!

2) Changed the title (still contemplating that).

3) Made room for a potential blurb (knock on wood).

The Black God's War

If I am able to get a good blurb, I think this could work. Another option would be to make the blurb’s font larger, and my name smaller. Do you think that’s a good idea, or no?

Any other thoughts?

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