Some of you may know, some may not, but I just recently had to make a big decision with my novel. There's a lot of choices to consider, but I think the biggest, for me, is between traditional publishing and self-publishing.
I spent a lot of time looking back and forth between the two options, weighing the pros and cons. Self-publishing gives you a lot more freedom and a lot more control over the end product. It also costs a lot more. I have to pay for an editor, a cover artist, an ISBN... so many things. Then, I have to do all my own marketing, which, arguably, I may have to do on the traditional path, too. The bright side is, I get to keep all the profits, though. Plus, I'm told that if you can build a good audience with self-publishing, you have a better leg to stand on if you choose to switch to traditional publishing later.
With traditional, I actually get paid for my work! It's not much, though. All the money my book makes gets split up amongst me, the publisher, my agent, editors, formatters, artists, and everyone else involved in bringing my story to life. On the bright side, a lot of the hard work gets done for me by the publisher. I don't have to pony up cash upfront for a lot of the expenses in making it.
I've been waffling on this for a while, but if you read my front page, you'll know what I decided on. I'm taking a year to pursue an agent and see if I can secure a contract. I'll be focusing on cleaning up the manuscript and getting up sample chapters for online readers. And mostly, I'll be querying agents off and on to see if I can get a good contract. If that fails, I'll fall back to self-publishing.
So... that's the plan, folks! Wish me luck. This is a long, arduous road.
One of the coolest, but more tedious things I've had to do in writing The Paladin is fleshing out an entire universe. It's really fun, but kinda sad because I feel like 75% of it will never reach the page.
To make sure that processes flow naturally and characters act organically, I need to know what is happening outside of the narrative of my novel. That means that while my story takes place entirely within one geographical area, I've had to map out what things are like across the country. In The Paladin, the main organization is, of course, the titular Paladins. They operate across the country and across the world, but my story only focuses one state. Still, to know why people are where they are, why the organizations operate they way they do, and to make sure it all flows properly during the story, I need to know what Paladins on the opposite of the country are doing. I need to know what their superiors are doing. I need to know what the political climate in the US was like when the Paladin Order was forming.
Because of this, I have a lot of side story potential. Without giving too much away, I even have a little one shot story in my mind that takes place back in the 1910s and involves Teddy Roosevelt killing werewolves. Bully! Another involves a hunter listening to Queen as he fights his way through a horde of zombies (Don't Stop Me Now.) It's honestly overwhelming sometimes, but I know that if I'm going to get to any of that stuff, I have to make sure the first story gets out there and is well received.
So, if you're reading this, I hope I've excited you for the world I'm putting together. I hope when you read this story and see how wide it reaches, you'll think about how Paladins might operate in your neck of the woods. And, mostly, I hope you'll enjoy the journey of Jonathan Sutter as he learns about the Order and the crazy world hidden around all of us.
On that note, I hope to have my first three chapters up soon and available to read. I'm going over a final edit and I want to make sure their as polished as I can get them!
So today was another day of going chapter by chapter, line by line, and deciding what parts of it absolutely, positively don't need to stay in the final version. It's called (both in writing and in my former career of editing video) killing your darlings.
As a writer, you tend to think that everything you put out is gold. Or if not gold, at least crucial to the overall plot. Sadly, that's almost never the truth. For the sake of the reader (and the sake of publishers who don't want to pay extra money for pages that don't need to be in your book!) a good writer has to go back through and remove a lot of stuff. For me, it starts with a simple word cut.
My genre, Urban Fantasy, is one of the genres that actually allows a pretty lengthy book. After all, it takes time to build a world, right? I've heard agents who are okay with up to a 150,000 words, but the general limit for a debut novel in my genre seems to be 110,000. Currently The Paladin sits at 143,865 words.
Let me put that in perspective for anyone who asks how many pages that is. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone was JK Rowling's debut novel and came in at 76,944. I'm sure a lot of people wished it had been longer, but I doubt her publisher wanted to spend the extra dosh on an unknown author. You'll notice, however, that by the time she got to book 7, it ballooned to 198,227. Heck, Order of the Phoenix had 257,045!
Point is... I'm untested and unknown at this point, so I really have to make my words count. So, unlike this blog post, my book is getting more and more succinct with every passing day.
On a completely unrelated note, if you're in the mood for nerd debates, you should check out my friend Miles' podcast Smash Fiction. The bring the art of BS to a new level.
Click to check them out!
I want to do a regular update where I let people know what I'm listening to when I write. I have a large playlist that helps me get in the right mental state for writing the scene I'm in and today's inaugural Paladin Playlist entry is Super Beast - Rob Zombie.
For those that have been able to actually read some of my novel, you know I have several encounters between our protagonists and demons. Super Beast is a perfect song to get me in the mindset for the kind of horrors that a physical confrontation with demons can bring. I set this song on loop and just start typing. If you want to get in the proper mindset when you're reading The Paladin, try listening to Super Beast during the final climactic battle. It won't disappoint!
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.