Thursday, 31 October 2013

A New Beginning

In my previous post, I had mentioned that I was going to give self publishing a try. I spent some time thinking about what I could do to put out there on a website like Amazon to finally see my work in print. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.

I was certainly feeling hesitant to put my main novel series, "Legends of Galria", out there before giving the industry a shot. I have concerns that self publishing may shoot a writer in the foot and bar them from getting professionally published. I've read plenty from established authors who say that once a book has been self published, agents have no interest in the work from that point on unless it does insanely well.

That pretty much leaves out any story from my main series, as I would like to see all seven books in one place. That means needing something new. Something fresh. Something that doesn't overlap with the Legends series and helps flesh out the world a bit more.

That's where the "Stories of Galria" comes in, which serve as side stories that may or may not accompany the main series of novels. I want them to be stand alone books so that they can function within their own self contained areas of the world without feeling committed to doing a full series or sequels.

The first of these books I want to do doesn't have anything more than a tentative title that I'm calling "Servant of Darkness". Here's the draft of the back of the book blurb:

"Stealing is easy for Dougal McMannus. Its death that's hard.

The young dwarf seeks fame and fortune. After turning his back on his homeland, he looks to the Trade Union's metropolis, Altair, where some of the richest nobles on the continent live. Dougal quickly makes a name for himself, but it doesn't last long.

Death stalks the halls of the nobles' homes, yet Dougal always seems one step ahead of it until one fateful night forces him to witness the slaughter of an entire noble line.

Together with his companion, a gnoll named Jinn, and some unlikely allies, Dougal must find the real murderer before the authorities catch him.

His moment of glory has become a whole lot more terrifying."

I know it sounds a little cheesy but honestly I struggle with this sort of thing until after 10 or 20 drafts. Let me know what you think about the idea and comment below. I'll have a preview up in the coming days as I settle into a routine to prepare for NaNoWriMo this year. I've got ~9,100 words penned and I'm shooting for 100,000. So I have plenty of writing to do. Especially if I want to be ready to publish for the new year. :)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Yesterday I received a letter from an agent I had queried about a month and a have ago. I won't give a name of the agent or the organization he worked for, but I do want to take a moment to mention what was said and my reaction to it.

This agent's response began very positively, stating that my first novel, "The Legends of Galria: The Shadows of War", was a solid entry into the high fantasy genre. I was also complimented on the "novelty" of having a side of the story that focused on the growth of the antagonist. (Hurrah for small victories huh?)

For a little perspective, "The Shadows of War" focuses on the growth of the protagonist, Dane Trueshot, as he deals with the aftermath of his hometown's destruction. The other side of the story follows an orc child named Xellik Fleshgorger as he grows into a powerful antagonizing force. Both stories set the stage for the next two books in the series, and the novel is no where near as interesting when it lacks one or the other perspective.

That was the strength that this agent felt I had. However, he declined my manuscript in the end. Why would you think that is?

Its because I lack a social media presence. I don't have an active Facebook, Twitter, or tumblr account designed solely to sell my book. And why would I? I honestly believe that having social media connections before having a product is putting the cart before the horse. No one I know is going to search or read about an author or his book when there is no book to read. Writing is not an art like video game development where there's tons of hype over 2 to 3 minutes of unfinished gameplay. I think the idea that someone needs a social media presence before they can be considered for publication is flawed.

And I'm not the only one who thinks that. My literacy professor at the University of Manitoba agreed with my sentiments, and encouraged tat I simply self publish to show that there is a market for my work and to build a social media presence that way.

We're living in a time where self publishing is taking off and authors are taking power away from agents and publishers. These folks should be willing to take a risk with a new author if the writing is sufficiently strong enough. At this point, the response has pushed me more towards self publishing my works. I would have more agency over my works and I won't need to deal with agents or publishers.

Maybe self publishing is my generations road to professional publication. Back in the day, many writers would need to submit to magazines and gain a viewer ship before getting published. Who's to say? All I know is, I've got a new book I'm writing to give self publishing a try and to build my reader base. I'll show people that my books will be successful.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sheldon Oberman Award 2013

It's so strange to think that a writer could ever become an award winning author without having been published before. It's not like writing is an industry like video games where you can be awarded with "Best of Show" or "Most Anticipated Game of 2013". But maybe I'm wrong. Sometimes it feels like I live under a rock.

That's why it caught me off guard when my novel was selected to receive the Sheldon Oberman Award from the Manitoba Association of Teachers of English. I don't exactly make it a secret that I'm a student-teacher or that I'm a writer, but to be awarded just for being exactly that and showing excellence in writing in amazingly exciting.

Here's a video of my acceptance speech for those who want to see it:

I still can't believe that I was given the award, but I'm not about to complain. Hopefully this will be able to propel my books towards publication so that I can finally get out there and be heard.