Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How my first book came to be:

My first book: "Rojuun"

This is something I wrote back in November after publishing my book on Smashwords:

The process

I finally finished and published my book as an ebook. This was a project that I started back in February. Originally I decided to try to write a book when I was 21, back in 1991. 20 years later I've succeeded.
I've tried a few times to write a book and gotten starts to it, but this is the first success I've had.  It's not easy at all to write a book and I've failed more than once.
This time I started with the decision not to edit until I was done.  Previously, everytime I've tried writing, I went back after each chapter and tried to make it perfect.  What happened is that I stopped writing.  Or I changed my mind about what I wanted to do and became disheartened.
The next decision I made was not to make an outline.  I have a tendency to become bored when I know what's supposed to happen next.  Trying to make the story fit specifically into the outline lost my interest after awhile.
So this time, I started with an image in my mind about a valley that I can see vividly and have been since I was a child.  I don't know where it is, but it's always the same valley with a homestead and I was coming home after being gone for a long time.  That is where the main character Tathan starts.
Then I made up the people living there.  After that, I had no idea what was going to happen.  I wrote with the idea that Tathan and his cousin were on an adventure.  I take them north through a forest where they meet a couple of other individuals.  Throughout the entire book, I had very little idea what was going to happen next.  The amazing thing was that this really worked for me.
As I wrote, I became a better writer.  By the end of the book, my writing skills had become pretty good.  February and March went well and I had sixty thousand words written.  Then I did a play with my wife.  memorizing 200+ lines for a lead role is not easy and tends to make writing more difficult too.  As a result, most of April was lost.  I managed to pick it back up in June and finished the first draft at the end of the month.
Editing was a difficult process, which I will describe in future blogs.  It went through 5 edits from July to November.  By the end of it all the editing, I was sick of looking at words.  However, it reads well.  The paragraphs flow well together and there are no typos that I can see anymore.  With 107,860 words, I might have missed one or two though.
I am so thrilled to have it done and published.  I don't know how many copies I'll sell, but at least I can say that I've written a book. :)
Why I'm publishing as an ebook

The name of the book is "Rojuun". It's high fantasy with some humor thrown in. I published it as an ebook on Smashwords, which will allow me to make 85% off of each sale on their website. They also transformed the manuscript into all of the forms necessary for eReaders like the kindle, nook, ipad and smart phones.  The first 25% of the book is available as a free sample so that readers can look through it and see if they actually want to buy it.
The problem is that most publishers most likely will not touch it now.  Publishers want 1st publishing rights and that's gone.  I decided not to go through a publisher as all of them now work only through agents.  Getting a good agent takes a long time.  Most have an overwhelming amount of manuscripts to look through.  Then they have to sell my manuscript to the publisher along with who knows how many others.  Then the publisher has to look it over.  4 years later, the writer gets a rejection letter. *sigh*  Then, even if they do publish it, the writer still has to do much of the marketing themselves and only gets about 7-15% per copy sold.
It was a tough decision, but I decided to sell it as an ebook and hope for the best. :)

Now it's been published for 5 months.  Not only do I not regret self-publishing, I absolutely think I made the right decision.  In addition to that, I've discovered a blossoming community of like minded individuals.  Indie Authors are a movement that is bringing artistry and individuality back to writing.  Publishing houses run businesses and try to make artists fit into their business mold.

Writing is an art form that needs to spread its wings.  I primarily write fantasy novels, but even they aren't completely traditonal.  I use expressions like "nomming" and "going dragon".  No publisher would ever allow that.  I have become friends with many other writers that do not fit into traditional genres.  Together we are changing the world of writing. :)

Oh, and Rojuun is off to a strong start. It's the first book of a trilogy.  Book 2 is now published and Book 3 is written and waiting for final edits.  I've changed the price to $3.99, which is the standard for many Indie Authors.   It is now for sale at:


marsanderson said...

It is fascinating to hear about the process (or lack of one) behind books I love - thank you for sharing!

And you are correct - there were no typos in Rojuun. I am kind of obsessive about that.

John H. Carroll said...

Hi marsanderson. :)

I'm thrilled that you enjoyed Rojuun. I'm especially thrilled that you didn't find typos in it. :D

Writing has become even more enjoyable for me. I'm on the 6th novel set in the world of Ryallon now with more to come. I've gotten to where I have an idea of where each book is going, but the journey to get there is still a complete mystery. ;)


marsanderson said...

YAY more Ryallon!

Enjoy the journey :)