Becoming a Quality Quantity Author

A post just went up in a group I am a part of, and the question was, are you a Quality or Quantity Author? After my disaster at the beginning of the year for my debut novel, Lake Merrin (and many weeks of depression) I realised that you need to become more than just a four-novel a year author, you have to produce four books but at high quality as well. Hence, becoming a Quality Quantity Author.

There were two articles for each argument to this, one by Lorraine Devon Wilke and the other by Dean Wesley Smith. Each has good points (links below), but being a fantasy writer and also talking to successful published authors like Kimberley Clark and Nick Earls, I came up with a different approach.

Producing four full-length novels (around 100k) would be hard, and yes the quality will drop but what about short stories or novellas?

By the end of this year, I will have published seven ebooks and three paperbacks, two of which are novellas. These short stories/novellas range between four thousand to 21 k each, some taking a week to write and others a couple of months. What this does is create a reputation as an author.

Each short story ebook cost me around $200, that is a cover artist and editor.  The novella cost me another $150 for formatting and my new cover for the book $120. So three months of releases, 200 a month (600 in total) and in the fourth month a paperback another 270. The grand total (excluding printing) $870!

How much will it cost me to produce a novel, that could fluctuate between people? So far (minus my lousy choice of editor at the beginning of the year) it has cost me 4 to 5 thousand dollars.

I am not a rich man, but I do have an imagination that can think and produce many different story arcs, so if I produce one novel and at least twelve short read ebooks which will make around 4 novellas a year, why not?

At Oz Comic-Con, an author of four books commented on my novella; FableLands: Interrogation Part One, as breaking all the rules. It because in one book, I have three short serial reads in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person and the first three chapters of my book Lake Merrin coming out in December. I responded ‘I became a writer, so I didn’t have to follow any rules except for the ones I deem important to my own creativity.’

The argument with taking your time with your writing will produce a good book, that is determined by your readers. I have raving reviews for my short reads, but if it all was based on one novel, I am not sure that I would have a similar following.

The more you write, the better you become. The more you push your boundaries, the more you can be creative. In the end, do what you want to do, not what the creative industry dictates you should do.

 

Links:

FableLands: Interrogation Part One, Website or Amazon

Dear Self-Published Author: Do NOT Write Four Books a Year by Lorraine Devon Wilke.

Don’t Be a Wuss, Write Four Novels a Year by Dean Wesley Smith.

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The World of Lake Merrin.

As I am coming up to my first stage of pre-sales, I thought it was time to journey into my creation. Here is a brief description of the world my book is set in.

Lake Merrin is the first book of five, called Journal of an Adventurer. It shall be established in a country which is on the brink of an industrial revolution. The nation is called Favinonia and is home to 100 million people. Dwarves, gnomes, halflings, humans, elves and the half -breeds (mix races between elves and other races) make up this vast sea of individuals. The country itself is about the size of Russia.
It is an Imperial Bureaucratic Society ruled by King Otto Favinon the IX, with a State Religion that controls the law of the land, heart and souls of all it people as well.


The book is set in the Western Duchy, also known as Iron Dukedom. Duke Trahern Isenhart III is the ruler of Iron Dukedom, and his third cousin Count Darel Isenhart is the ruler of Lake Merrin, and it’s county.


Lake Merrin is home to twenty thousand people, and it has the second oldest Adventuring Hall in Favinonia; nearly nine hundred years old.

 

The Protagonist is a half-human, average guy looking for work and a roof over his head and food on the table. And of course, something happens that could rock the Duchy. As there are Adventurers/heroes everywhere, he has to ask ‘should he stand up to be a hero? And would it matter?’

My Year as a Writer.

The year is nearly over, and reflecting on the achievements that I accomplished this year. The trials and triumphs, the ups and downs. Looking back I would never realise that this would happen. 2016 will go down as my breakthrough year.

The blogs I have written on my journey, each summarising what is happening in my life; how could I rehash this? Depression, anxiety, love lost, self-sabotage, the death of a sister and isolation from friends and family. Finishing my manuscript, meeting fellow writers, book launches, learning, Writers Activation, Gold Coast Novel Writers, Ocean Reeve, being published, my mother and all the people who have been there for me.

Juggling being a full-time author and full-time carer has been hard. There have been times that I failed at both of them over the year. Sometimes it is, me coping with my mother’s extreme pain or discomfort or the self-sabotage of my writing. Staying positive on every front can be tiring, you have many goals to accomplish and it feels like a massive wall that you can never overcome. Sometimes it is easier to break through the wall than to climb it. Like my friend and mentor, Ocean Reeve says ‘It’s time to think outside the box.’ That is what this year was about, not living in that box but breaking through to my future.

When I started this journey, I never thought I would be here. Everything I have begun, I have failed or given up. We have so many reasons to give up, and it takes strength to say No! I want this! I can do this! I am a f’ing author!

The writers I have met have been a great influence on me, Joan, Russell, Claire, Angela, Colleen, Ricky, Helen, Richard, Livia, Karen, Jennifer and many more who have touch my creativity. Each has imparted some wisdom on my writing path. One of the first advice I received was ‘Do you write? Then you are a writer.’ This statement is so true and has motivated me into supporting and encouraging other authors, writers, artists, musicians and poets to becoming what they want to be.

As I am writing this, on the television there is a morning show talking about depression. My mother and I both suffer from depression. As we discuss this, it is hard to describe what it is like, but one thing the people of tv, my mother and myself can say; sometimes you just don’t want to get out of bed. For everyone who suffers from this horrible condition, just take each day and work through that day. Find help, find support. Create small, achievable weekly goals for yourself, and you can make it.

2017 will be a year of reckoning for me, I will have a book published, I will be doing book tours at Supanova and Oz comic con. I will meet new people, in and out of the fantasy genre. Even saying this, the fight will continue, that wall will be broken down, the sky is the limit, and I am an author!

My Book: The Wait!

A couple of weeks ago, I finished my first manuscript, Lake Merrin. Promising myself that I will wait one month before editing it; so fresh eyes. I didn’t know how hard it was until last night, and this is why I am writing to distract myself from going back on my plans.

Over the last two weeks, the things I have done many things to distract myself. Watch series after series on Netflix, reading, going to the movies, friending a lot of people, spending time with friends, commenting on posts and doing anything that is not related to my book.

One of those things was starting planning for my second Bloody Coin, and realising that planning it will not be like my first book. Being one-third in before I even thought of doing any planning, that will not be the same with the second. I have the overall plot, but I had to ask; how does it open? It was a lot simpler with Lake Merrin; it was only my protagonist. Now there are returning characters from the first book, and some new ones. How am I going to fit all these characters? I know my second will be bigger than my first, damn I have fallen into the fantasy trap. Book steadily increase in size.

But my second main plot line involves a criminal group that are all females. Now I have a good reason for it, but I look at it and think am I being sexist? I know I am not, as the reasons for them being who they are is a long journey and will be relieved in the book (I hope). And what cause them to become the ‘bad guys’ girls as it didn’t happen overnight. Then I started to think of a second villainous plot line, with will only effect one main character but will impact the rest. Is it too much having too many subplots? I’m not sure, if it fits and doesn’t distract from the main plot line, then no/maybe. Being vague here so I don’t drop too many hints on my second book, even if I want to. Just too excited!

I look over such a beautiful day and think why am I not editing my book? Breath in and out, in and out. It will happen, I just have to wait

 

 

The Authors that have Inspired me: Part Four.

It has been a while since I have written about my top 15ish number one authors, and with my finding of a publisher for my first book ‘Lake Merrin’ I thought it was time to finish this blog.

Last time I was here I went over my twenties and early thirties, I’m not a hundred percent sure when some of these authors came about, but they change my scope a bit over the years. The first one was Brent Weeks author of the Night Angel trilogy, now they say you can’t tell a book by its cover. The cover was excellent and the book..wow! Cannot recommend this to the faint of heart as there are some disturbing scenes in this book but wow it was great! It has some similarities with my own book, but I don’t know if I would go that far as Brett. The world was rich and full, the characters were complex and relatable, most of all human with all the pros and cons being such. Allowing this level of realism within a rich fantasy world, made me realise another way writing up characters. I do love these books.

The next two authors, work as writers for a particular tabletop gaming company; Games Workshop. There are William King and Dan Abnett. Each has a huge following and series. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you the combined worlds that these two have helped to improve on. King, wrote about a duo, human and dwarf, about finding the dwarf’s death; Gotrek and Felix. These books are set in Warhammer fantasy, which seeped in lore and history and, these two are famous anti-heroes of this world. I love these book, I have everyone except for the last one. Such great popcorn books, which again is what I want my books to be, just some fun reading.

Now Abnett, as he was mainly in the other reality Warhammer 40k, this was set in the distance future where humanity has taken to the stars and found war! Endless war! His main series is about a regiment from the war engine of the Imperium of Man, Gaunt’s Ghosts. The 40k universe sometimes is referred as the Daniverse because of his influence on the overall scope of the story lines of 40k.

I love to read his books on the Ghosts as he shows what it would be like to be a constant state of war. How this will effect, relationships, personalities, moral codes and the weariness of war on the psyche of the main characters. He doesn’t hold back on killing off favourite characters; as I have lost too many to count. This shows a dedicated author to the plot, and I hope I’m not scared off to do something like this in my books.

Giving a shout out to my honourable mentions, this isn’t one or two authors but a device that allowed me to experience whole new worlds. That device is Kindle. I was given a Kindle, and I thought ‘I’m not going to read on this!’ I was wrong. With books ranging from two to eight dollars, it was a why the heck not moment. Having so many books at a touch of a button is marvellous.

A few authors from this fantastic device, Matt Archer by Kendra C, Highley, Blackjack by Ben Bequer, The Hellequin Chronicles by Steve McHugh, Mageborn by Michael G. Manning, The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu and Wearing the Cape by Marion G. Harmon. Each of these authors created such a great series, and I have read them many times. Most are self-published, and it showed me that just because you are not traditional published doesn’t mean that you are creating a bad book.

I would like someone to by my e-book and think ‘Wow, I have a story inside and I could write my first novel!’

My Book: Finished!

As you can tell by the title, I have finished my book. Is it complete; no but it is finished. Looking back over the last year and even the last ten, it surprises me on the emotions I felt to accomplish finishing my book.

First book.jpg

To tell the truth, I have never in my life finished any project; except books and games but do they count. Never finished year 12, tried three times, even was begged by a teacher to stay, the second time around because I had a fantastic mathematical brain. Yes, I am good at maths, and I did go to university to study mathematics. Again, I didn’t complete it. I tried my hand at another career after high school, as academia doesn’t seem to be my path. Starting training as a chef, when through an intensive six-month course (which I didn’t complete) and began working as an apprentice chef. Then was fired three times in a row; so I quit. I did finally find a job in hospitality, and I work in it for seventeen years, but I was no chef; just a trumped up the cook.

If you have been following my blog, I usually start off with something negative and spin it to positive. Not one of those blogs, as I don’t see completing these things as a fail, I lived; I lost; I laughed; I cried; I never want to take any of these experiences away.

Over a year ago, I quit my current job (as the boss was a dick) and I didn’t know what to do. I was a full-time carer for my mother, and I knew that it would get more intensive as time goes on. But what would I do? I have told this story a few time, but I like to tell you what I overcome to complete this mammoth task.

Kicked out, where I was living. My girlfriend broke up with me. I suffered deep depression. My mother as admitted to hospital. I had a best seller author tell me that my idea for a book was unpublishable. More depression. Close family member was telling me to give up as I was shit! Financial problems. More financial problems. Girlfriend broke up with me again ( the same one, I got back with her). Health issues. My friend’s depression and trying to help him. And finally my sister dying. Each one of these could have been an ‘it’s all over, Jane’ moment but it wasn’t as I completed my book!

How did I do it? Well a solid foundation of people that believed in me. My mother, Karen; my sister, my cherished friends, Writers Activation and Gold Coast Novel Writers and everyone I meet there. And finally my publisher, Ocean Reeve at Inhouse Publishing.

Each time I had a down, I had people there to help me again. In the end, it was me who did it. I completed my book, all the support in the world will not realise your dreams; you have to grab them and finish what you started. Believe in yourself, and as you can accomplish anything.

Writers Activation: http://www.writersactivation.com/

Gold Coast Novel: http://www.goldcoastnovelwriters.com/

Inhouse Publishing: http://inhousepublishing.com.au/

Why Do I Write?

I have been thinking about this for a while, why I write. For such a simple question has huge ramifications to becoming aware of why I am a writer.

Going back to when I was quite young, six years old, I used to tell stories about fantastical places and things. Why did I tell these stories? I was trying to live past some hurtful things of my past. As a teenager I wrote and told stories, these came out as role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).

It helped me through the bullying and abuse I was receiving at school and home. The pain was a catalyst of my stories, pain and hurt and then it reflected my being the big hero that stood up to the evil and save the damsel/innocents.

That reflects my personality, being the knight in shining armour, not to stop people hurting me but for me to save others from suffering.

Most of my storylines came from my pastime of role-playing, so I stayed in the fantasy-type world, creating characters with a detailed background, so I act them out better. It helps me escape from my dull and stressful workplace; this was a place that uses my muscles but not my brain. Playing in the games kept up like this for a while, until I was thrown out of my gaming group,

This allowed me to create the country and world of my first novel, Favinonia of Amsul.

Favinonia’s creation came from rejection, and it wasn’t until a few years later that I found a new group of friends who asked for me to run a game in D&D. I thought heck why not use this.Then my writing changed, it wasn’t just for my escapism but for the entertainment of others, which started to drove me to think up new storylines and scenarios for my group’s characters.

I think the running theme behind my efforts at writing is escapism but isn’t that why most people dream about better things. Some think about cars or houses; some reflect on their sports teams winning the final, some think about winning the lotto, and so on. I don’t consider having things, or money neither drives my soul. I use my writing to escape too, but I like to go back to my scrappy young self and say,  this is my path to becoming an author, so others can read and have enjoyed my writing.