August 20, 2018, 12:01:17 AM

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Messages - WilliamRay

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For this year's SPFBO we are kicking things off with a sale.  Over 120 titles (including my The Great Restoration) have been marked down to 99-cents/pence until August 5th.  Some of indie writing's hottest new stars are competing, and this is your chance to play the home game and judge over a third of this year's entries for yourself without breaking the bank.

You can see a list of participating titles here:

Nearly every sub-genre is represented, so scroll through and I'm sure you'll find something you're interested in.  Check it out!  :)

Writers' Corner / Re: Adventures in Writing
« on: August 01, 2018, 01:59:44 PM »
Because we mentioned it here, without getting too spammy I thought I'd toss up a quick link to the SPBFO sale going on the first five days of August -- over 120 SPFBO titles are up marked down to 99c/p.

Writers' Corner / Re: SPFBO 4 has started
« on: July 26, 2018, 05:06:31 PM »
Following Mark and other judges on Twitter can help too... that's where I first saw it this year.

If you follow Esme Weatherwax, she is also pretty good about posting/retweeting SPFBO updates.  Actually, if you're selfpublishing fantasy you should be following her regardless, just for TBRINDR if nothing else.

Writers' Corner / Re: SPFBO 4 has started
« on: July 23, 2018, 07:07:25 PM »
Wow, they really did change up! None of my least-favorites won, but aside from Benedict Patrick's, none of my front-runners really placed either.  Mark said the voting on public choices was really close though, with a single vote making the difference for the covers in the top 3.  Apparently there were 12k views of that blog-post though!

Writers' Corner / Re: SPFBO 4 has started
« on: July 14, 2018, 05:04:55 PM »
Well, maybe, but the part that bugs me about it is that it doesn't look like boring fantasy.  There's nothing that strikes me as anything but mundane and terrestrial.  It seems like you could do a pastoral scene with, I don't know, a dragon flying in the distance or something, but a pastoral scene without any elaboration doesn't really sell the genre aspect.  From the cover, I'd have assumed Balam was just someplace in Tuscany.

Writers' Corner / Re: The Enemy's POV?
« on: July 14, 2018, 03:44:36 PM »
It definitely depends on the type of story you're telling... some structures really benefit from it, and others don't.

I think Columbo was a fascinating study in this, because many of the stories were told primarily from the antagonist's perspective.  Unlike most murder mysteries, Columbo episodes usually told you the murderer's identity from the beginning, and it was all about seeing how Columbo could unravel their perfect plan.  You'd see him poking and prodding, but many of the stories' action would center around the coverup, rather than the detection, and that was an interesting approach to an often-stale genre.

On the other hand, Lord of the Rings from Sauron's perspective?  Who cares about Sauron's perspective?  That's not really what the story is about, and seeing him being annoyed at not finding the ring right away wouldn't have added much depth to the plot, and would have undermined his status as the unknowable, implacable adversary.

It depends on the sort of villain, and the sort of tale being told.  Sometimes it can upsell the villain's menace, but other times it just undercuts.  Sometimes the villain isn't the real problem, and it's helpful to illustrate that, but other times that just undoes a twist at the end.  It's definitely not something that has a clear-cut answer that applies to all stories!  When considering it you just have to make a list of what it adds, and what it takes away, and just do the math.

Writers' Corner / Re: SPFBO 4 has started
« on: July 14, 2018, 03:32:37 PM »
I am also in this contest, so wish me luck too!
And my book (The Great Restoration) is up against @NedMarcus (Blue Prometheus) in the very first round!  Drama!  :D

The covers contest has been interesting.  I definitely have very different tastes from some of the judges, apparently.  Balam, Spring is really crushing the public vote on the covers... it's a really pretty image, but doesn't seem like a fantasy cover to me.  I'm told it's a slice-of-life sort of story though, and that the pastoral image really makes sense in that context.

Writers' Corner / Re: Adventures in Writing
« on: July 14, 2018, 03:14:16 PM »
Many writers in the SPBO 2018, including me, are putting their books up for sale for 99c, from 1-5th August. I'd like to put up a link somewhere here, not sure where, nearer the time. There should be 100+ fantasy novels on sale then. @WilliamRay is there, too.

We're not supposed to tell people that yet, so... shhh!  ;)
I haven't read Blue Prometheus yet, but it looks frightfully good, considering that our books are squared off against each other in the very first round of SPFBO!  Yikes. :D

But yes, for those wishing to play the SPFBO home game, there may or may not be a sale so you can more easily afford read along with the epic conflict of SPFBO 2018... a sale which I definitely gave you no hint would be happening, if it did happen, which maybe it won't, I'm certainly not saying.

If it were to happen, maybe Ned will come back and post a link to it later, if such a thing existed, which it might, but I'm certainly not saying it will or that he would, or that either of us are involved, if it is happening, because I can neither confirm nor deny it.

Carnivores of Light and Darkness!  Alan Dean Foster.
No idea why I couldn't remember it, or how I suddenly remembered it now, but there it is.  There were three books in that series, all pretty fun, as I recall... although it's been twenty years.  ;D

Ok, another mystery that came to mind recently... I'm so bad with names!

There was a fantasy series (maybe three books?) that came out in the '90s about an African themed hero who journeyed into foreign lands.  He was a very mythic figure stomping around less magical Europe-ish kingdoms.  There was a chapter about ants going to war as he slept, and another where he stomped through a field of flowers that were at war with each other.

I seem to recall the author did mostly sci-fi apart from that, and may also have written an anthology of western themed short stories.

Does that ring any bells?

I'm in the same position—still working on recovering the outlay on editors and cover designer. Intrigued by your cover and the 'look inside' on Amazon, I bought a copy of your first novel. Probably be a month before I read it with all the other books I'm reading.

How did you get a copy of your cover in your signature? Perhaps I should do the same.

My mantra has become, "I am not the thunderbolt; I am the unrelenting sea. My tides will rise and fall, but mountains are not worn away in an instant."
Whenever self-publishing feels utterly Sisyphean, I just repeat it to myself.  Sometimes just getting to 'thunderbolt' is enough to remind me that I have a plan, and that the plan is workable, and is working, but just slow.

And thank you for giving my book a try!  If it catches your fancy, there's a second novel in the same setting out now as well, which is more of a mystery story.  I'm actually quite proud of having swapped story style and structure within the series to create a second book very different from the first.  :)

tebakutis gives good instructions on putting stuff in your signature, so I won't bother to repeat them, but I will say you totally should get a signature banner.  I had my cover artist design some for me, and I use them on Facebook, Twitter and various other forums I visit.  It feels far more professional to me than just a picture of a book, or mis-fitting vertical rectangle.  The big thing with self-publishing will always be that credibility gap, so anything you can do to overcome that is going to help.

Also, I should say more enthusiastically that I absolutely love the wide-open market of self-publishing.  I'm not competing with anyone.  If someone only reads one book a year, they're going to read GoT or something else they see on TV.  If they read just a few books, I might have an entry-point, but really it's not a sure enough thing to scramble after.  The literati who buy the most books read them far faster than I can write them and therefore, as a marketer, everyone else's rising tide raises my boat too.  If Bancroft does well, then it draws in more fantasy readers, and more readers means more who are likely to read my work too.

As a modern self-publisher, I don't have to worry that someone else gets better awards, and thus better shelf-space, or whatever; I can just do my best work and I get to cheer enthusiastically when I come across someone else whose work I like.  Sure we're paid peanuts, but we don't really have to fight each other over those peanuts, which is a rarity in any business, and one I greatly appreciate.  I get to go on Twitter and wish other authors well, and mean it, and openly celebrate work I admire because the other people who like things I like will probably also like the things I write, and celebrating helps us find each other.  It can be a great, positive world.

Writers' Corner / Re: Do you need to know how to use a crossbow?
« on: January 18, 2018, 08:32:24 PM »
You Tube's good for this. I watched videos there when I decided on a sling as a weapon.

YouTube has an amazing array of videos on exactly this sort of thing.
Additionally, find some reenactors.  Even if they just dress up as Romans or cowboys or something.  I guarantee they'll know a guy, or a guy who knows a guy, who knows everything you might possibly need to know, and then you just need to email that guy, tell him what you're thinking about doing, and you'll get plenty of detail.

Exactly.  Josiah Bancroft is a great example.  Self-publishing success can, and has been made.  I mean, it's work, and it takes time, and as near as I can tell the key is mostly just to find bloggers who will actually give indie books a shot, but once you've bridged that credibility gap, there's no longer an issue of sales capacity... the old thunderdome has fallen silent now that writers don't need to contest with each other in B.D. Dalton's various bloodsports for shelf-space.  It's a wide open market.

It's always been a low-paying job for most, and for the vast majority it was an entirely non-paying job.  My debut was named one of the best books of the year in '16, and yet I'm still out of pocket for my editors and cover designer... but even selling one book means I'm making more than nothing, which was the traditional model.

I think the traditional model is a dinosaur.  It'll still stomp on a lot of us little mammals before it lumbers off into the tar pits, but I think in the future indie is the way most stuff will begin.

THAT'S IT!  Thank you so much guys, that was bothering me for weeks.

(then I forgot it entirely and didn't check back until just now, but it had been really bugging me)

I'm trying to remember the name of a book and series that I read maybe 15, possibly just 10 years ago.  The first book was classic medieval fantasy centered around a siege, and there was an aging adventurer named D... Drudge? Durk? I think it was a D name, who was this legendary bad-ass hero, but not the main character of the novel.  Then the series went back and did a some prequels where that guy's wife was captured and he went on an epic quest to save her, and I think the same author did a bunch of generational leaps forward too, all in the same setting.

Any ideas what that might have been?

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