Jason Chestnut's latest update for To Live and Die in Avalon

Aug 7, 2016

Well, friends, the campaign has ended and we didn’t meet our goals. If you pre-ordered a copy you should be receiving a refund shortly. 

It is with a heavy heart that I write this update, but I am proud of what has been accomplished since this started way back in February. 

I’ve written short stories, poetry and songs for nearly as long as I could write and even before I knew how to play an instrument. I have always wanted to write novels, but wasn’t sure I could pull it off and was always afraid of failing. I finally put aside that fear earlier this year and decided to try and take one of the plethora of the novel ideas bouncing around in my skull and make it into a reality. I attribute a lot of that courage from my incredibly supportive spouse and a couple of mentors in the English department at school who pushed me to reach for something more. What I began working on was a fantasy novel, but I quickly switched gears when the Nerdist Space Opera contest began. I took a character I had made up when I was in high school and was enamored with Emma Peel, James Bond and retro-science fiction serials and put her center stage. 

When the contest began I had a rough idea of the story and all of its beats, but barely enough to make a full novel. I asked one of my best friends, a professional graphic designer, if she could create a cover for me and I began the truthfully draining process of trying to promote a book I hadn’t really finished yet. This was always the part I dreaded, the self-promotion part, but despite my social anxiety issues I went door-to-door pushing my novel, went to comic book stores and coffee shops, messaged every single person on my Facebook friend’s list, began building up a Twitter following, did interviews for podcasts and local news and networked with a lot of brilliant authors throughout Inkshares and Goodreads. The solidarity with my fellow authors is what helped me push forward the most and it is something I’m going to continue cultivating. It really helps to know you’re not alone in this endeavor and that authors of all levels of success and experience are willing to lend a hand or ear when it’s needed. 

I lingered around 19th place in the contest, pretty respectable considering there were nearly a hundred submissions. When it was over, I put the aggressive marketing on hold and worked hard on completing a more polished draft. By the time I had asked for my first extension I had finished the second draft clocking in at about 75,000 words. I can tell you now, that all of the work I’ve put into this book has not been done in vain and despite the outcome of the campaign, I’m still going to continue to polish this book until it is the best it can be. 

I’m not going to sit here and tell you what I think I did wrong or what wasn’t enough. That’s self-defeating and I call this a near-success, not a failure. Ending with 119 pre-orders out of 250 is not bad at all. What I will tell you is that while I continue to fine tune my novel (and the aforementioned fantasy novel) my role on Inkshares and Goodreads is going to be more cheerleader rather than self-promoter. There are still a lot of great authors out there trying to meet their goals and I encourage you to give them a look and help them get where I couldn’t. This is not the end for me or To Live and Die in Avalon by a long shot. My only plan right now is to finish the best version of the book possible before I decide what to do with it next. 

I’d now like to acknowledge some of the Inkshares authors who showed their support for me and I encourage you to look them up, follow what they’re doing and help them reach their goals. Or at the very least, be the cheerleader for them that they’ve been for me:

Michael Haase

Tony Valdez

RH Webster

Billy O’Keefe

Eric H. Heisner

Stephen Carignan

Joseph Asphahani

Thomas J. Arnold

Nell Walton

Mike Donald

Tal M. Klein

Tabi Card

Matthew Poat

James Rasile

RF Martin

Bekki Leber

Seriously, the list goes on and on and if I didn’t mention you by name, trust me, every single person on my follow list for both me as an author or the book itself is important to me. Thank you. You’re all wonderful people for even just caring to see where this book could go. 

A special thanks to Jeremy and the Inkshares peeps, I love you guys. Thanks for providing a platform for fledgling writers like myself to take a chance and put it out there. You’ve opened huge doors for me and I’m eternally grateful for that. 

The story is not over yet. This is not goodbye, just see you later.  

Thank you!