So, as most everyone was probably expecting, I did not manage to finish my second development draft of Tantalus Depths within one week, as I had hoped. BUT fortunately it didn’t take anywhere near as long as the first draft did. I have just finished my second development draft of Tantalus Depths and turned it into my editor. Only took two and a half weeks!
So once again, we’re all going to have to wait a little while before he’s able to read through it and give me feedback on this latest draft. Unless there are any significant problems left over after two thorough rounds of development edits, though, we should be able to move right from here to the copy editing stage. We’re really making headway!
Once we do officially enter the copy editing stage, the ball’s really going to start rolling. Shortly after that is when the interior page design and the new cover art will be approved (which I can’t wait for). We’ll also get an official release date around that time too, hopefully. We are well on our way to reaping the benefits of all this hard work and finally holding a real-life, fully-published print copy of Tantalus Depths!
One thing at a time, though. As you’ve undoubtedly noticed by now, no stage in this process moves quickly. I’d say we’re closer to the end than the beginning, but any number of things could happen to set us back, so I’m not going to jinx it. For now, we’re back to the waiting game, as my editor pours over this new draft. That means I’m going to be shifting my attention back to campaigning Proteus once again, and boy, I gotta tell you, missing that extra week and a half of campaign time really did not do my campaign any favors.
Proteus hasn’t had any new pre-orders in two weeks, so we have to make a lot of headway in not a lot of time. We can absolutely do it, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work. As always, please tell all your friends about Proteus and try and get as many of them to pre-order copies as you can. We still need to sell more than 400 copies to get that publishing deal, and we only have until the end of next month to get there. If you have it in your heart to order multiple copies and can afford to do so, that would be absolutely invaluable to the success of the campaign. I already owe you all a tremendous debt for the help you’ve offered in getting Tantalus Depths a publication deal, and for getting Proteus almost halfway to one of its own. I can never express my gratitude to you all for what you’ve done to get us this far.
As soon as I have news about this second draft, you’ll all be the first to know. Meanwhile, back to Proteus I go, and I hope to see you all there!
THE MOST IMPORTANT UPDATE....IN THE WORLD.
Want some news? Here’s some news...
To the best of my knowledge, very shortly (if not right now) Ghosts of War: Retribution will be off to the printers.
That right, it’s D-O-N-E, done.
Edits have been done, copy edits have been done, covers have been done and finalised, the interior has been designed and finalised. Done.
So what now? Well, there is one thing that is rather important:
Since Ghosts had its backing period so long ago, undoubtedly some of you have changed address in the meantime. If you want to receive your physical copy of Ghosts of War: Retribution, it’s very important to update your address on the Inkshares site (or just confirm it to be super safe). Just follow this simple guide to fix everything up:
With that squared away, you should safely receive your print copy (provided you bought one) some time before the general release date of the 17th of July. If things stick to the current schedule, I believe that backer print copies (and ebooks) are set to go out around the 15th of June.
And now onto some pretty things.
Like the final full cover spread (the final book is 416 pages, and should be just under an inch thick):
and the blurbs pages and title page:
That’s all for now. I’ll be doing a couple more updates in the run up to release, and I’ll make sure to keep reminding you all about confirming your shipping addresses. I want make sure everyone gets their books.
Hey there, lovely people!
Apologies for the silence as of late. I’ve been struggling with the new direction on Terminus and, after a lot of soul-searching, have decided to leave Inkshares to pursue other options. The staff has been very supportive and given me a lot of encouragement but, after so much time, I still don’t feel confident that this is the right home for this story.
Anyone who pre-ordered will be seeing a refund coming their way soon.
I came into this process full of excitement, with a completed first draft and two sequels outlined. When I was advised to scrap everything but the central speaking-to-the-dead concept and make the story about something else, I took that advice to heart. I wrote an entirely new draft based on these suggestions... and ended up creating something that was in complete thematic opposition to the story that I wanted to tell. Initial test readers backed up my suspicion. The story that you all supported was supposed to be about reclaiming life in a world obsessed with the past, but this new draft became about people succumbing to their guilt and fear and damning the world because of it. I was also advised that the origin story needed to come first and that I was focusing too much on rebellion. Yet, that’s what so much of science fiction is - a dark mirror to the systems that hold us back and our chance to see them challenged in spectacular fashion. And there are plenty of stories out there that start at a future point and slowly unravel the mystery of a technology’s origin. That’s the kind of story that I want to tell.
Not that it’s all been bad. My editor has made some great suggestions that I’ll carry with me in my work going forward. (Stakes are key!) The reading list that Inkshares provided was a mini course on the craft from the greats - Stephen King, Ursula K. LeGuin, and others - that contained a lot of inspiration. Most of all, the other authors and readers who I’ve met through this process have been so incredibly supportive. I now feel like I have a strong network of supporters, sounding boards, and sometimes even just shoulders to cry on.
Yes, this story is weird. Yes, it straddles genres. But that’s what had me so excited about it in the first place. It’s time to get back to thinking of these as strengths instead of weaknesses.
The plan at the moment, honestly, is to collapse into tears. So much work, just to feel so lost. But then it’s time to pick myself back up and push through one more draft, one that hews a lot closer to the story that you originally backed. I’ll make some inquiries, but if nothing comes of the traditional path, I’ll self-publish and get this baby out into the world. No more waiting, no more chasing someone else’s vision, no more doubt. Then it’s on to the sequels. Terminus towers around the world, more characters, more explorations of the technology’s political/religious/cultural effects. Just like the story, I’m ready to move forward, not backwards.
You all have proven that there’s something in this story that resonates. You’ve given me the courage to push through the hard times, learn from them, and achieve the dream.
In the meantime, you can keep up with me at jayemilius.com, where I’ll be sharing excerpts and blogging about the process. I’ll also continue these periodic updates through the website’s mailing list and share daily dispatches on Twitter at @jayemilius. And, of course, once the story is out in the world I’ll be sharing that Amazon link far and wide.
Thank you so much for all your support throughout this process. Each and every one of you who backed the project has been on my mind constantly. You are absolutely amazing.
To all my patient supporters,
Two weeks ago I received the first round of developmental notes for AFTER DEATH from my editor Matt Harry. For the most part his notes made a lot of sense, and in discussing with him how best to address his concerns I have decided to restructure the novel.
By this I mean that I will take what is currently a three-part story, each part following one incarnation of the protagonist’s soul, and attempt to intercut the lives one chapter at a time. Our hope is that this will result in a draft that is not only tighter, but more surprising, suspenseful, and even more of a mind bender than the book already is.
This will take time, of course, and with every day that passes I am increasingly grateful for your continued patience and support.
In related news, Nerdist founder, comedian, and Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick recently plugged AFTER DEATH on his ID10T podcast! It was incredibly kind of him to do that, and I can’t thank him enough. Click below to check it out!
Not only that, but AFTER DEATH recently received this amazing blurb from J. David Pleins, Ph.D., a writer and teacher whose work has been a huge influence on my own:
"Daniel Lee’s captivating After Death weaves together time travel, zombie apocalypse, epic battles, zen musings, quantum physics, and timeless archetypes. He plays with an array of afterlife concepts — beliefs of different faiths, tales from different mythologies, icons of pop culture — and forges them into a Grand Unified Theory of the afterlife. It’s both a raucous adventure story and a deep-dive into the human soul. If the great mythographer Joseph Campbell wrote a novel, this would be it!"
— J. David Pleins, Ph.D., author of The Evolving God and Professor of Biblical History, Mythology, Science and Religion at Santa Clara University
Who could ask for a better blurb than that?
Finally, if you’re at all a fan of tabletop games, you probably know that the Kickstarter campaign for Restoration Games’ new reimagining of the classic 1980s board game Fireball Island has been, well, on FIRE. They surpassed their goal within the first hour and have gone on to raise well over $2 million!
The team at Restoration Games, aware of my obsession with the game and that I moderate the /r/fireballisland subreddit, asked me if I’d help promote the campaign by teaming up with The Brothers Murph, the former Dice Tower YouTubers with whom they have a sponsorship agreement, and letting them film one of my infamous Fireball Island Night parties.
They agreed to my terms (a free copy of the game and that I got to plug my book in the video) and the end result is below. It was a ton of fun! Click the image to check it out!
On that note, work on my revisions continues.
I’ve already learned a ton from this experience and made many new friends in the Inkshares community of authors. I’d like to give particular shouts out to my fellow Sci-Fi Contest cohorts Katherine Forrister and Ferd Crôtte, whose books Curio Citizen and Mission 51 won the Nerdist contest alongside me. Of the two I’ve so far only read Curio Citizen, and it is excellent. I highly recommend ordering a copy for yourself.
Thank you again for sticking by me through this process, and for continuing to spread the word and share the link to my book with friends. It seriously means the world to me.
If you don’t already, please follow me on Twitter @dannyboylee.
And until next time, be excellent to each other!
Friends, we have an update!
Two days ago, I received my editor’s notes for my second draft of Tantalus Depths. He was impressed! The story is making serious progress toward genuine greatness. He said it will likely only take one more round of development edits before it’s ready to go to the copy-editing stage.
The last round of development edits I made took way too long. It took me months to get things just the way I felt they needed to be, and by the end of it I kind of just wanted to swan dive into a woodchipper. Fortunately, though, this next round of development edits won’t take long at all. I’ve gone through all of Matt’s notes a couple times now. There are way fewer of them than last time, and most of them are very simple fixes. With this last draft I had to fully rewrite four or five chapters from the ground up and ended up adding about 20k words to the manuscript as a whole. This next round of edits should be little more than tweaking sentences here and there, trimming a few out or adding a few in. I anticipate no significant multi-page rewrites for this one, so it should go a whole lot faster.
In fact *knocks on wood with all the might of Mjolnir* my goal is to finish this round of edits by the end of this week. I’m hesitant to put definitive timers on things these days, since every single step of this editing process has taken me WAY longer to do than I thought it would, but now that I have a better handle on how long it takes me to do this kind of work and knowing that the overall workload for this draft is way lighter than the last, I think one week is quite attainable.
Of course, there’s another reason to try and get this done that fast. As most all of you should know by now, I’m still trying to get Proteus funded. We’ve made slow but steady progress with that campaign, and as of right now it’s hovering at just a bit over 340 orders. We’ve almost reached the halfway mark with two more months to fund it.
Tantalus Depths comes first, though. That’s the book I started first, that’s the book that the most people have supported, and it’s the book people have already waited altogether too long for. So I’m taking a break from campaigning Proteus until I finish this draft of Tantalus Depths and send it in. Obviously I don’t want to lose more campaign time than necessary for Proteus, so hopefully that deadline helps keep me focused on getting this draft done quickly.
It’s going to be a busy week! I’m honestly looking forward to working on this draft, since I’ve already got some interesting new ideas to implement. I’ll send another update as soon as I’ve finished this draft and sent it in, so hopefully you’ll hear from me again really soon!
By the way…since I’m not going to be actively campaigning Proteus much this week, I’d be extra-extra grateful if a few more of you could support that book by giving it a pre-order or two while I edit Tantalus Depths. We can double our productivity that way and I’ll be at least a little less stressed out!
But not that much less stressed out. My body consumes stress for nourishment at this point.