Howdy! And my sincerest best wishes for you and yours through whatever hand this mad time may have dealt you.
Just a quick update. Earlier this week, I received my third editorial letter for Bane of All Things from my awesome editor, Sarah Nivala. Sarah is quite happy with where we are with the current draft and so am I.
Through two rounds of developmental editing that enriched description, provided more context for readers to be better be able to get a handle on the complexity of this story, and to make my characters and their interactions with each other more engaging, BoAT has gotten a little thicker -- from 129,000 words as first submitted to Inkshares, to 158,000.
Formatted as a trade paperback, this equates to about 500 pages. That’s still relatively lean compared to many of the epic fantasy titles out there these days that are bending bookshelves, but Sarah has offered some great ideas on how to tighten up the story. (Hint: Chapter Four may be the new Chapter One).
Over the next month, I will be working on those revisions, and then BoAT will be handed off to Inkshares CEO Adam Gomolin for his thoughts.
At present, we still don’t have a publication date. Due to the impact of pandemic lockdown measures on bookstores and the kind of public gathering launch events that are key to a successful kick-off for a new book, Inkshares is not releasing any new titles until 2021.
As soon as I have insight on when BoAT may finally be in your hands, you will, too.
On the cancer front, I have continued to be in good health since my last update. Today marks five weeks into my one year of gene therapy medication that promises to beat this thing forever. I am glad to say that the side effects of the meds have so far been less severe than I had feared they might be.
Stay tuned, stay safe, and thank you again for your continued faith and patience.
It’s hard to believe it’s been only three months since my last update. Feels like a year. I hope everyone is keeping safe and sane as best they can as we weather this viral storm.
Today, I returned the revised manuscript for BoAT to my editor at Inkshares. I do hope that with two rounds of developmental edits now complete, the end is in sight, but we will see.
Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary, if you can believe it, since I got the word that Inkshares would publish this tome. Whether you work with a publisher large or small, it can routinely take 18-24 months to get a book out the door.
With Inkshares, I had hoped to shorten that cycle to 12-18 months. But thanks to social-distancing measures, it’s hard to say when we might have a launch date for BoAT. Bricks-and-mortar bookstores, in addition to online sales, are an important part of Inkshares’ marketing strategy. The team doesn’t want to launch any title at a disadvantage. Neither do I.
So, stay tuned.
As some of you know, since my last update, I have had a cancer diagnosis – metastatic melanoma.
I have had two surgeries to remove all the lymph nodes under my left arm. In mid-May, I will begin targeted gene therapy – a year of fiendishly expensive meds that have a good chance of completely and permanently eradicating the cancer.
By some morbid twist of fate, a half dozen friends, neighbours, and former colleagues have also had cancer diagnoses in recent months.
This of course puts a whole different flavor on living in the time of a pandemic. It emphasizes how much the small victories matter. How much a positive attitude matters. And how important it is to occupy yourself in productive ways.
Thank you all again for your patience and support. Stay safe and keep reading!
Good day and Happy New Year! (Is it already too late in the month to still say that?)
Just a quick update on the latest. As previously reported, I sent back to my editor, Sarah Nivala, the revised manuscript for Bane of All Things on Dec. 13. This, if you recall, was the revision based on my first Editorial Letter that I received from Sarah back in September.
Earlier this week, Sarah sent back Editorial Letter #2 with their assessment of where the manuscript now stands. In short, the end is in sight. But as Sarah notes in the Letter:
“A question we ask ourselves quite frequently at Inkshares when addressing the quality and marketability of a novel is this: ‘What is it about this novel that necessitates its publication?’ What this really means is that we need to see what it is about a novel that makes it utterly unique. We don’t want to publish works that will fade among the crowd of their genre; we develop stories that offer readers a singular experience … what it is that will make critics and readers alike ravenously devour it?”
For a book, a movie or a TV show, it can be hard to predict or engineer success. All we can do is put out the strongest product we can. What does this mean in BoAT’s case? At this point, it’s about doing further work on the characters to make them more well-rounded and engaging for the reader, raise the stakes by digging deeper into the true nature and motivations of the Big Bad Guy, and offering more sweeping spectacle in terms of the sharing more backstory of this world.
If this sounds like I literally need to sit down for a fresh interview with each of my characters, as if I were producing an episode on each of them for the Biography Channel, you’re right. It is a good time of year, after all, to sit back for some relaxed and honest conversation.
My intent is to turn this around by end of March.
Thank you again for your faith and support. It typically takes 18-24 months for a book to be released from the day a publisher first agrees to take it on. I am doing my level best to shorten that cycle considerably with BoAT. (FYI, the one-year anniversary of when Inkshares said yes is April 29).
Back in September, I delivered my last update on the production status of that epic fantasy novel, Bane of All Things (BoAT), which you helped me to crowdfund with Inkshares.
With that last update, I had just received my Editorial Letter – a comprehensive assessment of BoAT’s strengths and weaknesses to give me a handle on what edits and revisions I must make to ensure this story is the best version of itself that it can be prior to publication.
I had a three-month window in which to complete said revisions and return the manuscript to my Inkshares editor.
I am glad to say that the work has been completed ahead of schedule and I sent the revised manuscript back yesterday – on Friday the 13th, because, why not?
It’s become a meatier novel than I had originally planned, having grown from 129,000 to 150,000 words in total with this revision. That puts it in the 500-page ballpark. Pretty hefty, when compared to the average novel lengths for genres like romance, or suspense thriller or science fiction, but still modest in size when compared to the weighty works of Tier 1 fantasy authors like Brandon Sanderson, George R.R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss.
So, what’s next?
I wait (for perhaps a couple of months – they are busy folks over there and it is the holidays) for the revised manuscript to be reviewed and assessed. This will likely yield a second Editorial Letter for additional fine tuning.
Like I said before, getting a quality product out into the world is a slow process.
What I do hope will come within the next couple of months, based on the assessment of this latest version of BoAT, is clarity around an actual publication date – hopefully for the fall. Rest assured, as soon as I know, you will know.
In the meantime, thank you again for agreeing to support me on this journey. I wouldn’t be here without you.
All the best to you and your family for the holiday season.
Howdy, folks. Just a quick note to confirm that the Editorial Letter is in my hand and first round revisions have begun in earnest. My intention is to turn around the new draft of BoAT by Christmas. Only then, when Inkshares can assess how well I have executed on said revisions, will it be time for a serious conversation about a release date.
But a wordsmith can dream, can’t he? My hope would be a release for the fall of 2020, but we will see. I REPEAT – that is my hope, not a given. It may even be wildly unrealistic, but we will see where we stand in the new year.
What is the significance of next fall? Each October, Ottawa plays host to CAN•CON – the Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature. This is the place to cross paths with authors, gamers, poets and illustrators of fantasy, science fiction and horror. The creative community of the National Capital Region turns out in force, joined by colleagues and special guests from across Canada and the U.S. I support CAN•CON on the media relations side as a volunteer and am also a recurring panelist.
It would be fantastic to have a launch event for BoAT at CAN•CON 2020!
But before we get there, there is lots of work to do. For Inkshares, it’s not just about how quickly we can arrive at a strong and polished product, but when it makes the best business sense to launch it into the market.
For now, my focus must be on taking to heart the awesome insight that my editor, Sarah, has provided on the manuscript and forging ahead with those revisions. She has made great observations about some things I need to work on with character and pacing and effectively getting the reader oriented and grounded in this world that I have created.
But while there is still much work to do, Sarah’s overall assessment of the manuscript was as follows:
“Bane of All Things is an exciting, rich novel that creates a truly vivid and complex world that is original and interesting. Obviously, comparisons will be drawn between your novel and A Song of Ice and Fire and perhaps An Ember in the Ashes, but it is a unique entity. Your novel is engaging because the fantasy realm that it draws us into is intricate and compelling and the themes of loyalty, faith, and loss help you to tell human stories in a fantasy setting. You’ve created a fascinating cast of characters and creatures.”
That works for me.
Howdy, one and all. Four months have already passed since the Inkshares crowdfund campaign for Bane of All Things ended in success so it’s time for an update.
Things move slowly in the publishing business and that’s just par for the course. As much as I can’t wait to have the finished product in my hands (and in yours), it takes time and plenty of sober second thought to polish a novel from a debut author, and develop its marketing plan, to ensure it has the best chance of standing out from the crowd and doing well.
My editor at Inkshares continues to work on my Editorial Letter. This comprehensive assessment of BoAT’s strengths and weaknesses will give me a handle on what edits and revisions I must make to ensure this story is the best version of itself that it can be. The plan a couple of months ago called for me to have my Letter by now, but it’s taking a little longer than first expected.
In the meantime, Inkshares has already set up my Properties page. Properties is the side of the Inkshares platform reserved for talent agents, other publishers and movie and TV producers. This is where they come to scout out interesting books they may want to licence in some way, or even opt for the Hollywood treatment. So who knows what could happen there!
Also, I vowed as part of the crowdfunding campaign that I would donate one dollar from each copy pre-ordered to non-profit Autism Ontario on behalf of my autistic son and nephews. That donation has been made, rounded up to a nice even $500.
Thanks again to each and every one of you for making all this possible. Stay tuned for further updates as the production process for BoAT moves ahead!
Howdy, Folks. It’s been six weeks since I announced the success of the campaign for Bane of All Things and I finally have an update to share.
The next step in the process is the Editorial Letter. This will be an exhaustive evaluation of the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses in all dimensions – character, plot, pacing, tone and all that subtle stuff that most readers probably don’t want to know too much about because it’s kind of like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard in Oz. But damn, doesn’t a story sing when the author gets it right.
I found out yesterday that my Editorial Letter will be coming in mid-August. Once I have this in hand, the revision process will begin in earnest.
Not that I have been sitting on my hands in the meantime. On the suggestion of Inkshares CEO Adam Gomolin, I have been digesting two classic works on the craft of writing that I hadn’t yet added to my reference library, John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction and Madison Smartt Bell’s Narrative Design. Taking the time to reflect on the current draft of BoAT will reading through these has given me some ideas for tweaks and refinements. I have until mid-July to make those changes and resubmit the manuscript to Inkshares so that only the latest best version goes under scrutiny for that Editorial Letter. This will certainly keep my nose to the grindstone!
Those giveaways and prizes I promised
Now I must apologize for being slow with those campaign mementos and prizes I had promised – the signed posters and canvas prints. I have started getting those out, so if you were a prize winner for a canvas, or a supporter who qualifies for a signed poster(s) for having pre-ordered multiple copies of BoAT, rest assured they will soon be on their way. If you live in the Ottawa area and I haven’t asked for your home mailing address, it’s because I plan to either mail to your workplace or drop by and deliver in person.
Other great Inkshares projects you may want to check out
Lastly, I want to give a shout out to a few fellow Inkshares authors currently in funding:
Ricky Ruszin has only nine days left on the campaign for Showtime! and is hoping that getting past the 400-pre-order mark will be enough to earn a publication offer from Inkshares as I did. Showtime! Is a spooky tale about the boob tube described as “America’s Got Talent meets Timeless with a dash of Carrie.”
Jacqui Castle is already a published Inkshares author and has launched her campaign for the second book in her series, The Seclusion. This is one of those cautionary tales about a dystopian future under a total surveillance state that’s looking all too likely these days.
And then there is Allison Basile’s The Little Book of Bad Intentions, described as Jane Austen meets The War of the Roses, in which an aging playboy races against the clock to murder his ruthless trophy wife—before Alzheimer’s sets in, and he can’t remember where he’s stashed the body.
And, again, thanks much!
Once again, my deepest thanks to each and every one of you for making all this possible.
Howdy! I just got off the phone an hour ago with Adam Gomolin, CEO of Inkshares.
He didn’t call to talk about the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Inkshares will publish Bane of All Things.
I can’t say when yet. There is still much work to do. The Inkshares team and I are in wholehearted agreement that BoAT be the best version of itself that it can be before hitting bookstores. Debut novels face a tough battle to get noticed these days, what with Netflix, HBO and everything else on a 55-inch flat screen competing for people’s attention.
We don’t want to just publish a novel, but a novel with the best chance of success.
So, it will be back to school for me and BoAT for the next several months. I will get the paperwork tomorrow that will begin my “enrolment” in Inkshares’ Inkubator Program. Consider it the literary version of the incubator that a tech startup would go into, with the nose-to-the-grindstone revising and editing that I expected would follow a successful campaign.
I will keep you up to date as this moves along. Hopefully before too long, I can give you news about an actual publication date and when you can expect the copies you have pre-ordered.
For now, let me say once again, “Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!”
It is not an exaggeration to say that this could not and would not have happened without the patience and support of each and everyone one of you. My deepest and sincerest thanks. I will be reaching out to everyone who ordered two or more copies individually for your mailing addresses to send those signed souvenir posters.
The reality of this might finally be starting to sink in :).