The Journey of Writing: Where Are You Going?

With the release of The Bow of Destiny on 9/28 I’ve been doing podcast, blog talk radio and blog interviews. As such, I’ve been getting a number of good questions, one of which is: “Where are you going as a writer?”

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Compass1Since an interview is short you find that your answers need to be truncated. However, having a blog means that I can follow up some of my answers with a broader explanation. Here’s my expanded answer to the question above.

There are several aspects to my goals as a writer over the next five years. The past five years have been spent updating my writing craft, building an author platform and getting a book ready for publication. But I must have a proverbial course charted as best I can of where I’d like to go with my writing. However, when you make such plans I think it best to do so with the understanding that the actual journey may not go as planned.

Right now I’m starting as an independent author. This has challenges all it’s own, especially with promotion. I’m starting with this first novel as an e-book for several reasons, the first being that of expense. An e-book is just cheaper to get into a distribution stream while the expense of a hard copy version may not be a good starting point on a smaller budget. But the goal is to grow toward the print market. So I’ve limited my scope but I plan to expanded market into print at some point. Waiting to release a hard copy version allows me to release my works again and, depending on the timing, I may be able tore-release several existing books in close succession.

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How do I get to the print market? Well there can be several ways to go. I can use any proceeds off e-book sales to create a print-on-demand (I don’t believe in keeping my own inventory – it’s just too cumbersome) version to sell with a second release. Or I can use my sales record and author branding to attract an agent and then a traditional publisher. Whether we self-publishers like it or not, traditional publishers can do far more than we can with a print distribution stream that gets books on shelves. This latter model would make me a hybrid author of which there are a number of successful ones already.

However, as a hybrid author, I would like to negotiate terms that leave me reasonable freedom on the independent side of my work. I think retaining as many rights on e-books as possible is important so I think in terms of some of the newer forms of contracts that are more like renewable licensing agreements.

Journey!This licensing concept is rather new in publishing but then traditional publishers have found the need to make changes to their standard contracts in recent years – more than once in some cases. Licensing also addresses some of my thoughts on ancillary rights. I’m certainly interested in have a well-done audio version – especially since many men I know are more open to listening to these. Much like have a print version done well and injected into the distribution stream, it’s also important to produce audio in high quality. A professional studio for sound quality is very important and well-beyond my means at the moment.

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There are other rights to consider as well and an agent is very helpful in negotiating these better than I can myself. Graphic novels and foreign language versions are not so easy to address on my own. I’ll definitely need an agent to sell these licensing rights so they are produced with high quality.

Additionally, along the way I’d certainly like to produce more books. I’ve got some plans to write several more series, a few of which are in the same alternate world of Denaria where The Bow of Destiny is set. In fact, I have most of a parallel novella series in process already but I want to get the current series well established before releasing it. Also, I have ideas for a follow-up series and possibly a prequel book or anthology of stories.

I’ve also got more than The Bow of Hart Saga and related books in mind. I have plans for another alternate world fantasy series named (tentatively) The Guardians of the Gate as well as an adventure fantasy series named (also tentatively) The Black Glove. The number of books in my mind may well reach twenty which carries me well beyond five years and closer to a decade.

So, summing up my plans, I’d like to make enough sales at some point to garner attention from agents. Then I’d like to transition into a hybrid author to broaden my market aspirations in print, audio, graphic novels and foreign language versions. I also have plans for several more series, some related to the current release and others that are completely different settings.

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BOD FinalIf you’re an author, what are your writing plans? What markets are you considering and how do you intend to enter these? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. Sign up for my Archer’s Aim Digest mailing list to receive the forthcoming edition of my newsletter with announcements about upcoming releases and events. You’ll receive my a FREE coupon for my short story e-book, The Black Bag which contains a sample chapter of The Bow of Destiny. You’ll also be the first to have news about my books, especially some free offers this summer related to the upcoming release of The Bow of Destiny, the first novel of The Bow of Hart Saga. Speaking of which, it is now available for pre-release orders on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks (via the iTunes app) & NOW Amazon – Kindle. Additionally, September’s FREE book, What Is Needed is available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords & Amazon.

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  1. Your plans to self-publish while searching for a reputable agent is wise.Finding one can take a long time, finding a good one even longer.Publishers have changed in the past ten years. Few give advances, even less have in house editors and demand clean copy by the author. Fees for editing typically start at 3 dollars a page and go as high as 1400 per the average 300-400 page book. Bookstores are becoming obsolete so you don’t need a publisher for what you have to do for yourself anyway. Small press is on a par with Indie writers. I have a small press publisher and am going to try self- publishing. We’ll need to share our experiences, as both options are difficult and costly.

    1. All the changes to publishing mean they are even more particular than in the past. I feel making a name for yourself is like being in the minor leagues – you’ve got to prove the value of your brand. I do believe, however, that publishers have the best stream for print distribution. Hybrid is the best way to go for mat at this point. Thanks for the input and insight on publishing, Micki!

      1. I agree. I concentrate on selling me first, then my books. It doesn’t happen overnight, but genuinely liking people–and I do, is a plus. I hope you keep us posted on your journey as a hybrid as I will you. My flaw is lack of PC technology skills which I don’t eye improving much in my lifetime.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. It seems there are many different paths to take in connecting your work with readers these days, which is both exciting and a little daunting. I’m just starting out in the sense that I don’t have anything close to ready for publication yet, though I’ve been working fairly intensively for a few years now. (as evidenced by my enormous pile of half finished or malformed novels! I like to think I have learnt more about the craft from each failure!) My plans: to finish the novel I’m currently working on (YA fantasy) take a deep breath, edit, more edits, then start the next one. Im also enjoying jumping into the rich and fascinating online communities of WordPress, good reads, wattpad etc. I would also like to try the self-pub route eventually, but feel like I’ll need to do a lot of research and preparation before I begin.
    All the best with your work!

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