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Tomorrow is the big day

Tomorrow is the big day and I am STOKED.

I’ve spent the past week and a half on overdrive and I’ll finally get to see the fruits of my labor.

OR WILL I?

Tomorrow is the first day of MANY years that Communion will be available to the world.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be a stellar first day that proves to everyone I’m going to be a successful writer.  In fact, most people who buy Communion tomorrow will be you faithful readers of this blog and friends I’ve met since becoming more active on the internet.

More readers and fans won’t come until later, some of them much later than tomorrow.  Despite all my blogging and tweeting and commenting, the internet is a big place.  It’ll be a LONG time before even a fraction of the internet knows Communion even exists, let alone considers buying it.

TOMORROW IS THE FIRST STEP

At this point, I’m getting tired of first steps.  I thought planning the novel was it, then writing the first page, then revising it.  But no, all of that was just the warm-up.  Tomorrow, I cross the line from being unpublished to published.  I’m out there.  There’s a chance that strangers I’ve never met before will find me and come to know who I am (or what I say of in my ABOUT section).

But just like novel-writing is a marathon that took a great deal of time to complete, so is a successful writing career.  Regardless of how well or how terrible Communion does tomorrow or even this month, I have to keep pushing on.  I have many more books to write.  Maybe I’ll see a return on my time and money invested with this first book.  Maybe not until the third.  Either way, I have to keep writing.

SOMEONE IS GOING TO DISLIKE THIS BOOK

Actually, I can think of at least 3 people who told me Communion wasn’t their cup of tea.  All three were older (30+) women, which is completely outside of my target audience.  Two of these three said they liked my writing style and want to see more work for me, but Communion wasn’t it for them.

There are going to be others who aren’t so nice.  All of the greatest books I’ve ever read have 1-star reviews.  Sometimes I read those reviews and think, “there’s no way this guy read the same book I did.”  Regardless, it is what it is.  You can’t please everyone.

 

So, I’ve spent the past two weeks going over Communion in my head, scene by scene, trying to predict what people will dislike.  I’ve done calculations in my head to come up with how much I need to sale to become a full-time writer.

But enough is enough.  The world gets its first taste of my dhampir tomorrow.  I won’t sit back and wait.  Instead I begin a month of aggressive marketing (release day party, blog tour, tweets, etc.).  I’ve been watching the book market for over a year now, waiting for my chance to compete.  Tomorrow, I enter the fray.

Administrative Announcement: Reverse Course

Remember when I said I was going to release Communion in two parts?

Yeeaahh.  Not really.

After talking to several other authors and giving it some more thought, I realized it’s better to publish the whole thing at this.

As a first time author, I need to wow people.  And I need to give them more than they were expecting.  The first half would have ended on a cliffhanger (a huge turn off to some readers).  But now I’ll be selling the full-novel at a steal for $2.99.  And those who read it WILL.  BE.  AMAZED.

One of my reservations was waiting until late next year before having another book available.  As I mentioned in the previous post, Independent Authors are advised to publish a book AT LEAST every 6 months to stay relevant.  I have a book I can use for April 2014.  It won’t be a full novel, but somewhere between 20-30K words.  Still, said project has been very popular with the Wattpad crowd.  After I fix up, I’ll have a shorter piece that will get be a lot of attention.

But the biggest reason of all, this is my debut.  I only get to debut ONCE!  I want to give the world my best with this debut, not just half my best.  I was worried that the second half of the novel would need some additional scenes and sprucing up, but my editor loved the whole thing as it is.

I’ve also gotten responses from my last few beta readers since the time of the previous post.  They also agree:  it’s time to share my baby with the world!

I’m going to a Writer’s Conference!

I’ll be attending Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity in Baltimore, MD in September.

No, this isn’t to promote my debut novel Communion.  Maybe one day I’ll have that kind of following, but right now I’m simply going as an unpublished author and a fan, looking to network.

There are a bunch of panes I’m looking forward to.  Some are easy choices, such as

What makes a hero
Building a great series
Magic in “real life” and fiction

But, like all conferences, there’s always that hour that has TWO panels you want to attend at the same time.  I’m torn between ‘What to Expect from Publishers and Editors’ (has a lot of business implications) and ‘Handling Sex in Crime/Fantasy Fiction’ (let’s just say things get steamy in the Communion sequel).

Ordered 500 bookmarks.  Gotta get rid of all of them before August 1st

Ordered 500 bookmarks. Gotta get rid of all of them before October 1st

I’ll also be looking for booths ran by any authors who have self-published their books as ebooks only.  I’m interested in doing this at some point in the future, but it would be nice to get some ideas on how it’s done first.

I won’t purchase a table for myself, but I will be giving out Communion bookmarks to anyone I happen to talk to.

But, it’s the first conference I’ll be attending… EVER.  Any tips?

Administrative Announcement: Communion in Two Parts

For about a month now, I’ve been going back and forth on whether I want to release the full copy of my debut novel Communion in October or split it into two parts.  In the end, I’ve decided on two parts.

Several factors played into this decision:

1)  For the readers:  Communion is pretty long for a first novel.  The draft I sent to the editor is a little over 86K words.  Out of about 15 people I sent early drafts to for a beta-reading, only about half were able to get through it.  I’m worried people who I’ve never even met might find 86K slightly daunting for an unproven writer.  The first half will be about 45K.  I’m hoping will find this length a little more comfortable.

2) For the story:  While I feel strongly that the first half of Communion is ready to go, the second half needs a little more work.  There are certain minor details that need to be further refined.  Also, if I release Communion in two parts, I can beef up the second half by adding a few more scenes.

3)  For my writing career:  It’s recommended for an Independent Author to release a new book in six month increments at most.  I can release part 2 of Communion in April 2014.  And I’ve already begun planning out the novel for October 2014.

And, I’d much rather leave people with the feeling of “I want more” rather than “I’ve had enough.  Is this book over yet?”

In other news, Communion finally made its way to a professional editor earlier this week.  Her first read-through will be a beta-reading, so I’m looking forward to hearing what she says.

Also, I recently ordered a blog tour via Bewitching Book Tours.  I’ll be posting the banner (it looks AMAZING!) and other info in the next week or two.

So, that’s where my thoughts are.  Do you think this is a wise decision or am I setting myself up for failure?

Vampire Morality: Alternative Victims

Back to our main question:  How do authors get us to root for these malicious creatures of the night who feed on human blood?

Well, what if they don’t feed on human blood?

Below is a list of alternate food sources vampires have used in popular vampires book and television series.

Alternatives:
Human blood (but from a blood bank):  Damon in Vampire Diaries (the TV version) does this.
Animal blood:  In Twilight and in Vampire Diaries (book and TV series).  In Vampire Diaries, animal blood can sustain vampires but isn’t as gratifying or empowering as human blood.
Synthetic Blood: Bill Compton in True Blood.
Symbiotic feeding:  Shori in Fledgling by Octavia Butler.  This one in particular is rather interesting.  The “vampires” (called “Ina”) in this novel need human blood for nourishment.  However, humans feel an intense euphoric sensation when they are fed on.  Being bitten by a Moroi or Strigoi in Vampire Academy is similar, but in Fledgling the feedings heal human wounds and increase their lifespan.

No Alternatives in Communion

Sorry, but my dhampir don’t get to cop out.  In Communion, my dhampir are powered by something inside of them called vampiric essence.  They still eat regular food for the sake of the human part of them.  But their vampiric essence requires human blood.  Feeding on goats and rabbits won’t give them their superhuman abilities, which is what most of my characters are after.

Those are all my notes on Vampire Morality.  Let me know if there’s any other alternatives to human blood I left out or if there’s any other aspects of Vampire Morality I should explore.

Thanks for reading.

Also see:  Vampire Morality:  The Need to Feed