Think you know what awaits in the worlds beyond this one?
Lo, the cover of Book 3, The Catalyst, is revealed—and the brillance of designer Dan Fernandez shines yet again. I’m shooting for books two and three to be released in e-book and print by the end of August.
The cover of Book 2 (The Margins), by wonder designer Dan Fernandez, is finished. Now a print proof is winging its way to me, and at 700-plus pages, it’ll double as a self-defense accessory. (My first marketing campaign: read this, or I’ll hit you with it.)
Up next: the cover for Book 3 (The Catalyst), which is edited and ready to go once the design’s approved.
It’s not that far off now; hoping for a late summer release for both of them…
…at the promo copy for the next book in the Commons series, The Margins:
“I think I did something. Something someone really bad was counting on me to do. And I think you helped me.”
Ray-Anne Blair isn’t buying it. She just wants Paul Reid to forget about the imaginary place he says he needs to return to—and to stop calling her Rain.
Everyone wants something. Jeremy Johns wants to do well at his job, but the new office is strange. So is his boss, Mr. Truitt. Annie Brucker wants to understand how she ended up back with her abusive ex. Her son, Zach, wants to know if he should trust whatever it is that talks to him from the dark of his closet, something so heavy it makes the floorboards creak. Jonas Porter, Audra Farrelly, Po the silent monk, and Charlene Moseley want to know where their prospective Journeymen have disappeared to—though the answer might spell the end of all existence.
Welcome to The Margins, a place that shouldn’t be but is, thanks to Paul and the others. They thought they’d won. Instead, they played right into the hands of someone who anticipated their heroic act. Now realms are crossing over, the universe is collapsing, and it’s up to those who created the danger to overcome it.
It won’t be easy, but why would it be? It’s The Commons.
Image credit: Dan Fernandez
Geralyn and I were given free rein to handle the event as we pleased. We decided on an open Q&A where we’d each give a quick summary of our careers to date and answer a list of questions, allowing attendees to jump in and ask their own as we went along.
It started out with our brief recaps of entering and winning the contest, which is sponsored by the state’s libraries and is open to self-published authors only. We talked about what it’s been like to appear at libraries in the Chicago area and beyond. We touched upon our latest projects and how we were coming along. And then came the questions from those in the room, several of whom were authors themselves.
Which is when the magic happened.
I’ll confess: when I arrived, I wondered how we were going to fill 90 minutes. Soon enough, I wasn’t thinking about the time at all until I looked at my watch and realized we only had 15 minutes left—and we had to leave space for our host to explain the 2017 contest.
A creative community sprang up out of nowhere. Discussions ranged from how young people read nowadays to why the best way of working is whatever gets you to “The End.” One woman wondered how the kids reading her book would ever know what a cold-water flat is. (I told her I think it’s fair to expect readers to do a bit of research rather than having to explain everything to death.) Another had more nuts-and-bolts platform and publishing questions.
By the time we’d finished, I’d agreed to help Geralyn with Scrivener, and we’d all seen what happens when you put newly empowered authors in a room and get them talking. In the past, the conversation might have been all about how to write a query letter and land an agent. Now it was about writing and editing a story, then getting it out into the world and finding an audience for it.
None of us have identical processes. Each of us is in a difference place, career-wise. Nobody’s blowing the doors off in terms of sales, and that’s perfectly all right. In this new world, as Hugh Howey has said more than once, you’re never a failure unless you quit. You’re just someone who hasn’t succeeded yet.
As any self-respecting Spider-Man fan knows, with great power comes great responsibility. And in the world of indie authors, we have both for the first time. We have the power to pilot our own careers and the responsibility to learn and grow while doing so. That’s far preferable to waiting for someone to choose me and treat me fairly.
It’s a great time to be indie. And this afternoon in Elgin, that was as clear as Indie Author Day.
So April’s shaping up to be quite the eventful month, book-wise.
As previously mentioned, I find out on April 16 whether or not I’m the winner of the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author contest. (And as a friend of mine has said, whether I come out on top or not, I’ve already won.)
A specialty of author Jefferson Smith, ImmerseOrDie is a tough-but-fair challenge wherein Jeff starts reading an indie novel at the beginning of his daily 40-minute treadmill workout. He counts every “WTF” flaw that takes him out of the story. If he hits three WTFs before his session’s finished, he stops reading, marks the time of death, and shares the details of the patient’s demise in a post. Should the book go the 40-minute distance, he then puts it through a second round to see if he wants to read it to the end. The numbers are fairly brutal: at the time the bundle titles were chosen, only 13 of 114 books survived the treadmill round. And of those 13, only these eight made it to being fully read.
As for the bundle part of it, StoryBundle offers a themed collection of ebooks for whatever price the reader would like to pay. In addition, the customer determines the split between the authors and the site and can choose to have a percentage donated to charity as well.
Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be included in this bundle with the likes of Smith, Russ Linton, Christopher Ruz, Bryce Anderson, JS Morin, Christopher Wright, Richard Levesque, and Crash Bandicoot co-creator Andy Gavin. I’m nearly finished reading the books in the bundle and have enjoyed the hell out of all of them. It’s a collection of fresh voices and top-notch storytelling chops, and they’ve made my commute seems a whole lot shorter. I highly recommend all of them.