Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All Profits...

We are just over a month out from the official release date of Eternal Knight. Things are getting really exciting. I have to say, preparing Eternal Knight for publication has been a blast.

One big question remains... what am I going to do with the truckloads of loot that I am about to haul in?

I know that's been at the top of your mind as well.

And here's your answer:

Until August 1st, 2011, all profits from Eternal Knight will be donated to charity. The money will be divided between Cure CMD and the Wissahickon Educational Opportunities Foundation.

Why these groups?

Cure CMD’s mission is to bring research, treatments and in the future, a cure for Congenital Muscular Dystrophies. Two of my closest friends have a son with CMD. Liam is a fantastic kid. Seriously, there's nothing not to like about this guy. (Scott and Susan might have something to say about this, but hey, I don't have to live with him.) Susan and Scott are the type of friends who will drop whatever they are doing and come to your aid if you need them. Over the years they have shown my family great friendship. It gives me great happiness to do this for Liam, his parents, and all the other families dealing with CMD.

The Wissahickon Educational Opportunities Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes innovative, educational experiences for students in the Wissahickon School District. I firmly believe that education is they key to building a better society. My family lives in the Wissahickon School District, my daughter attends school in the Wissahickon School District, and I teach in the Wissahickon School District. If you didn't get it yet, WSD means a lot to me. Through Eternal Knight I hope to give something back to my community.

How much will I be donating? I have no idea. Like many writers I daydream about bestseller lists and movie deals. Realistically, I understand that this is not going to happen. What I am hoping for is to sell 500 books. Each book will make $2-$4 for charity depending of format and place of purchase.

I started this blog two years ago. In my first post I wrote about my three goals as a writer. By self-publishing Eternal Knight I miss all three goals. I find myself at peace with that failure. I have loved every step in the process of writing and self-publishing.  I believe in Eternal Knight and am proud that it won't die a slow death on my computer. Eternal Knight will soon see the light of day and in doing so raise money for two great organizations.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Proofs are In

The proofs arrived today. Very cool to see Eternal Knight in print, even if it just has a temporary cover on it.

I immediately went to the post office and sent three copies off to my proof readers (THANK YOU!). Hopefully they'll come back with some nice feedback in the next week or so. The proof edits shouldn't take more than a day to knock out once I get the comments back.

My cover is in the oven. I am using CrowdSpring to create it. If you get a chance, check CS out. You offer a reward for the cover design and artists compete to design the best cover for you. It's a really cool concept.

The acknowledgments and about the author are done, so as soon as the cover, the map, and proof comments come back I am in business. May 1st still looks to be a good date for the official book release.

Now I need to focus on marketing. What's the best way to get the word out? That's the question I need to start finding answers to.

And there's another big announcement coming... but you'll have to wait for that one.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

To Do List

Forty days until release day. What still needs to be done?

1) Finalize cover.
2) Write acknowledgments. Proof acknowledgments.
3) Write "about the author".
4) Get map back from artist.
5) Finish back cover text.
6) Get two blurbs from (kind-hearted) authors.
7) Set up social media.
8) Format text for Kindle, Apple, and Nook.
9) Prepare for release party/event.
10) Contact local newspapers.
11) Learn more about marketing.
12) Upload final copy for printing.
13) Order books. How many?
14) Reveal secret big announcement.

The cool thing is that I am looking forward to every one of the above steps.

Am I missing anything? I'm certain I am.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back Cover

Getting a lot done this weekend. Two of the easier tasks were knocking out the "acknowledgments" and "about the author" notes.

The back cover text was a little more difficult. Back cover text is much more visible and plays a role in attracting readers. Here is my effort so far:

Hadde of Landomere is a huntress who has sworn to protect and provide for her people. But when the Wasting brings famine and destruction upon the peaceful forest, she must leave Landomere to seek aid in the distant Kingdom of Salador. 

Hadde's mission is fraught with peril. Strange silver-eyed warriors dog her path, brigands wait in ambush, and even the Saladorans pose their own dangers.

An unlikely alliance with a Saladoran Prince and unexpected news of an ancient evil transform Hadde's mission from one to save her village to one to save the world.

So, what do you think? Enticing? Lame? Riddled with errors? I'm not crazy about the prince and ancient evil sentence. All thoughts appreciated...

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's in the Proof

Just ordered five proof copies of Eternal Knight this morning. They should arrive in five days. Can't wait!

Anyone want to be a proof reader? You'll get a proof copy of the novel (temporary cover, no jacket info, no interior info--just formatted text) and will need to carefully read with a pen in hand.

This is what I'm looking for:

1) Spelling mistakes
2) Grammar errors
3) Formatting problems (especially underlines that should be italics).
4) Terrible word choice or repeated words on the same page.

This is not what I'm looking for:
1) Writing suggestions. This won't be a critique session, just proof reading.
2) Story advice (Hey, Matt, maybe Hadde should be a 45 year old man instead of a 21 year old woman. Oh, and she/he should carry a six-shooter).

If you are in the Philly area, all the better. However, if you can offer a fast turnaround and solid proof reading, I'll happily mail one off. (Unless you live in, say, Thailand.) I'm putting out the open call because I don't want the proof reading done by critique partners or anyone else who has already read the manuscript.

Thanks for the help!

Next post: the checklist of things still to be done.

Countdown to release date: 44 days.

Friday, March 11, 2011

On Joining the Great Unwashed

It is with great pleasure that I announce Eternal Knight will be officially released on May 1st of this year.

Who is the publisher?


Yes, you read that right. I am self-publishing my novel.

It was not an easy decision, but I ultimately decided that it was the right one for me. My original goal was to follow the traditional route. I would gain an agent, the agent would find a publisher, and all would be right with the universe. Things fell apart in stage one. I couldn't land an agent.

Why didn't I land an agent? It is impossible to know for sure. The majority of the agents I queried only wanted a query letter and five to ten pages of the manuscript. I think I had a good query letter, nothing spectacular, but no serious flaws.

Was it the pages I sent? I think this might be the case. The opening of Eternal Knight is a dramatic action sequence. Unfortunately there is nothing that screams this book is different! The dramatic twists and turns that set Eternal Knight apart from other fantasy novels don't occur for several chapters. The first chapters set you up for the twists that are to come. The agents, unlike a reader, never got that far.

Eternal Knight is also an epic fantasy. No elves, goblins, or dragons, but it is still epic fantasy. My query was competing with approximately a gazillion other epic fantasies. My agent queries failed to set it apart from my competitors.

Why do I think it will succeed as a self-published novel? I have great faith in Eternal Knight. I know that I have created an exciting, entertaining story. I am certain that many readers will gain great enjoyment from it.

Of course every delusional self-published author thinks the same. And their books are terrible and don't sell.* What gives me the right to claim that I am not one of the great unwashed?

Audacity, more audacity, always audacity. 

When it comes right down to it, I just couldn't bear the idea of Eternal Knight sitting on a shelf in my office until.... what? Until I die? I've poured too much of myself into the book to let it die with me. What do I have to lose by putting it out there for the world to see? I am proud of what I've created, and it will give me great pleasure to share it with others, as few--or as many--as that turns out to be.

I am incredibly excited by the entire process of preparing Eternal Knight for publication. In fact, I am more excited about writing than I've been in a very long time.

I have a lot more that I'll be sharing with you over the next month and a half. And a few surprises as well.

Off I go, more work to do.

*clearly they aren't ALL terrible and don't sell. Just most of them. Some are quite good. Some are best sellers.