Here is the cover for Warrior Mage. It was my second attempt. I learned quite a bit more about Photoshop painting doing the first one. I’ll have to improve my composition for Bereaved and Panix.
I’ve got three major initiatives that will consume March and beyond.
- Finish the last draft volume of Warstones. I’m at 20K words. that’s 20%
- Publish Warrior Mage. I redid the cover so I’m about ready to design the inside.
- Redo Covers and Blurbs.
Covers & Blurbs
If someone looks at the other two Sara Featherstone novels, something is happening that matches the tone of the books that readers are looking for – spying in Disinherited and a sword and a gun in Betrayed. I’m happy with those, but I need a better cover for the entry book, Bereaved. She’s got to be doing something in the book. Perhaps holding a smoking firearm. Those aren’t really developed until Disinherited, but I will see what I can pull out of the book. More drama.
I like the Panix cover, but again, it doesn’t present the tone I need to show. Panix rowing a boat twelve inches off of the ground is subtle, but I’m afraid it’s lost on potential readers. So he’s got to be doing something. Maybe the explosion at the tractor factory or throwing a light globe in the cave.
Blurbs need more work… every one. There’s not enough sell in them. I’ve got to get more. When Warrior Mage comes out, I should get a few more hits and everything has got to be just right, so more sell in the blurbs at Amazon and everywhere else.
I’ve drafted three out of the four volumes of The Warstone Quartet and I’ve got a start on the last novel. Why am I drafting all of these books at once… before I publish the first one? I finished writing Sunstone, book two and found that I wanted to put the Sunstone character in Moonstone, my first volume.
Originally, these were going to be standalone books with the characters all showing up in the last novel. As I wrote, I realized I wanted them in all of the stories, even if it was a walk-on part. So I decided to draft all of the books, since the times basically overlap, to align with each other. It’s easier to shift things around in draft mode than it is after I’m about ready to publish or even after publishing one of the novels. I’ve added a couple of new characters and changed the motivations for others. I think this technique is working for me.
I did outline all of the novels after I drafted Moonstone. The outlines act as guides to keep the plot firmly in my mind, but the muse sometimes takes hold and I depart from the script. The end remains pretty much the same.
How is it going? I think it’s going just fine, but perhaps I’m not the best judge, so I’ll write it that way and have an alpha reader tell me how much I have to modify. I’ll have something around 400,000 words in the quartet. That’s 1,200 pages, folks.
When I have this much invested in the entire sweep of the story, I get a bit anxious. The last book, Darkstone, is more than a continuation of the three books. The first half is a biographical story of the principal antagonist, who is just a name in the other books. Then it folds (hopefully seamlessly) into the events leading up to the big conclusion. Perhaps my alpha and beta readers will reject it all.
In any event, it’s quite an adventure.
IndieReCon is an online writer’s conference for independent published authors. There are three approaches to getting your novels published: Traditional, Independent and Hybrid. Hybrid, as you might imagine, is an author that does both traditional and independent publishing.
Independent publishing has two further classifications, Self and Independent. In this case, independent encompasses using small publishing companies with an imprint. I am a self publisher who has a close relationship with a small publisher so I use the CasiePress, but I do most of my own work, so I would probably be considered more of a self publisher.
The major takeaway from IndieReCon was that I need to do a better job at marketing my books. Since I don’t write full time, I’ve neglected a number of promotional aspects of writing, so you’ll see a twitter presence (you can follow me at @guyantibes) and more facebook content… but not a lot.
My website was recently hacked, so I’ve redesigned it with all new content including links for visitors to buy my books. I’ll be redoing some of my covers along with blurbs. Lots of work.
One thing that was consistent throughout is write, write, write. If you think you’d make better use of your time writing, then write rather than go off and do something else.
Last year was pretty much a disaster for my production. No publications, but this year will be different. More short stories in anthologies and at least two novels. Warrior-Mage is written and I’m finalizing the cover. Moonstone is in rewrites. So I learned that I have to do things differently this year, including posting videos on my blog and setting up a YouTube channel. I’m looking forward to that.
One thing that I will do is create a marketing plan. What I need to do for each book and what I need to do to promote my writing career (not much of one to date.) I consider the three days that I stuffed with articles, vlogs and online chats to have been worthwhile.
If you’ve visited Guy Antibes in the past, you’ll notice something different. I was hacked and my virus-and-malware-laden site had to be destroyed. I haven’t been able to find my old template so the new look. It may change a bit until I settle in on the right look.
I haven’t blogged for quite a while on a regular basis, but that’s about to change. Warrior-Mage is about to come out and I’ve got three drafts under my belt of my four novel series Warstones. Lots coming up in 2014. Stay tuned.