Tag Archives: The Eyes of a Doll

Pre-Madness Post

Midnight Madness at Pennsic is almost upon us.

I must be MAD! because I love these kinds of sales. It will be a night of constantly being on stage and talking to people. Tomorrow, I’ll be exhausted, but hopefully with fewer books and more money.

Pennsic so far has been extremely productive. It’s hard to judge sales compared to last year, because I did such a poor job of tracking sales. My processes are getting better every time I do a show. I haven’t sold what I did last year, but I seem to recall sales picking up the last 2 days. Which will start soon.

Mostly, I’m writing this post to talk about Where Now the Rider and A Lake Most Deep. I’ve made good progress on Where Now the Rider, especially since I’ve gotten past the hard initial steps of a book. I like where it’s going, though I need to add more action. Six chapters in and only one murder? What am I thinking?

As we’ve gotten busier and writing has become more challenging, I’ve switched to adding the wiki links to A Lake Most Deep. It’s now complete and the new electronic version is available.

If you have already purchased A Lake Most Deep and want to be able to go to the wiki entries while you are reading the books, you can get the new version downloaded to your Kindle by asking Amazon to send it to you.

To contact via phone:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktocall

To contact via chat:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktochat

Be warned, however, that if you have Amazon update to the latest copy, it will erase your bookmarks and notes. This, by the way, is why Amazon will not force feed the updated version.

Remember, the only change I made is in the electronic version of A Lake Most Deep. This change adds links to the wiki at www.robhowell.org/shijuren the first time a name or place or new word is mentioned. If you will never use the wiki, don’t worry about the update.

In the coming week, I’ll have finished adding these links to The Eyes of a Doll.

I’m adding these links because the response to the links in the electronic version of I Am a Wondrous Thing has been overwhelmingly positive. These links will be standard for all of my e-books in Shijuren.

With that, it’s time to prepare for MADNESS!!!

The Wiki

Greetings all

Last Friday I sent off the manuscript to Kellie for her last round of editing. Still on track to have I Am a Wondrous Thing published in June.

On Friday, I was talking to Cedar Sanderson about the manuscript and the wiki I’m building in Shijuren (www.robhowell.org/shijuren), and she asked for me to guest post about doing a wiki on the blog she shares with a number of great writers, the Mad Genius Club (They’re not mad, but they are a little miffed). I was immensely pleased and honored by the opportunity, and immediately wrote it.

I’ll wait here for my mother, my ex-wives, and all of my teachers to pick their jaws off the floor at the idea of me doing something immediately.

In any case, you can see the post here: https://madgeniusclub.com/2016/06/04/guest-post-creating-a-wiki/

After finishing that, I have turned myself to the task of finishing the appendices for IAAWT and updating the wiki to fully reflect all of the new stuff I’ve created. I’m pleased to say that I’m done with all of the people, which is the largest category I need to update.

As of now, the wiki is up to over 300 pages. That’s not just the characters in IAAWT, of course, that includes all the other things I’ve done, some of which have not really ever been used except as background for me.

However, one thing that number also reflects is a new way of organizing the wiki. One of the concerns that was brought up to me by two people in two different places was how I was going to handle spoilers. Obviously, I want to update entries based upon what happens in the books, but I don’t want to ruin any of the books for new readers.

My solution is to create a separate page for each entry to reflect changes after each book. For example, there is a page for Edward Aethelredson. On that page is a link for Edward after I Am a Wondrous Thing (he’s a minor character). There’s also a link for Edward after A Lake Most Deep and another for him after The Eyes of a Doll. The wiki process actually makes creating these easy and quick, so the process has been smooth.

Now people visiting the site have the option of clicking on a spoiler or not. Some people love spoilers. Some people don’t. You might ask if this means people don’t have to read the books, but I have written as sparse and bare-bones explanation of what happens that while the ending might be obvious, the story isn’t.

I like it.

As I’m writing Where Now the Rider this summer and in the fall, I’ll be backfilling all the stuff from ALMD and TEOAD.

One of the things I’m going to try with IAAWT is that each of the people, places, and words in the book are linked to the wiki, both from the entry in the appendices and the first time the word is used in the text. Most e-readers are connected to the internet, and it’s easy to add the hyperlinks. This means a reader can click on a link, look up a thing, and return to their reading app without losing their place.

If I get good response from that, I’ll update ALMD and TEOAD to include those links for the e-books, and add it to Where Now the Rider. We’ll see.

If it doesn’t work, two keystrokes removes all the hyperlinks from the document. One thing about self-publishing, I can be very responsive to the feedback of my customers. I tried linking to appendix entries in A Lake Most Deep, but people did not like the way that worked. We’ll try this. Then we’ll see.

I think that’s it for now. Have a great day.

Planet Comicon AAR

What an exhausting weekend. Many thanks to Bill Wilks for serving as the muscle, my sweetie Nik Deplazes for assisting, and Rachel Ost for serving as the Byzantine on the bench. Without their help, I’d have never made it.

Was it worth the money to do? Obviously that has to be the first question and the answer is yes, even though I did not quite break even in sales of paperbacks compared to all of my expenses. While I would have loved to have sold more copies, I still gained quite a bit of exposure and I won’t know for at least a couple of weeks what the impact to online sales will be.

I spent today editing a large chunk of I Am a Wondrous Thing and I am starting to get the same feeling I got when I turned the corner on A Lake Most Deep and The Eyes of a Doll. The corner where I think I’ve got a good story. If I’m as correct with IAAWT as I was with the first two, given the response I’ve gotten, then it will be a good story. That means that what I need is exposure, and there’s no doubt Planet Comicon gave me quite a bit.

I was pleased to see most of my plans worked pretty well. My experience at National Computer and Atronex watching Dave Williamson two decades ago definitely helped.

I really like the banner my friend Timothy Jones printed out for me. You probably saw it in the pictures on Facebook. I liked it so much I think I’ll have another banner, this one based on the TEOAD cover, because I noticed people’s eyes looked both above the table and at the base where I had the banner. I think it will be good to have both places covered whenever possible.

One unqualified success was my “Wandering Signature Chart.” I don’t like just signing my name to books. I want to write something else, something fun. For people I know, I can write something personal directed at them, but I knew that most of my signatures would be to people I had never met before.

At Pennsic, I whimsically signed a book to a friend of a friend who I knew was a gamer with, “Congratulations, you’ve rolled a 17 on the Wandering Signature Chart.” We all laughed and I forgot about it until two weeks ago, when I thought that might be a fun thing, so I made the chart.

It includes things like the above saying, plus a bunch of book and movie references like “I love the smell of paragraphs in the morning” and “I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing printer ink.” Some people chose one, and “By my pretty, floral bonnet, I will sign this for you” was a definite favorite, but many enjoyed the whimsy of rolling a d20 for the result.

Either way, it was another way to engage the passers-by and have fun with my new readers. I had one sale solely because he wanted one of the signatures. I’ll definitely take it. The chart, and a d20, has been added to my basic display unit.

I also learned a number of things during the weekend. I’ve streamlined my accounting, and now have a good process for that. I figured out a pretty good arrangement on the table, and planned for an arrangement that will adjust to at least six different books. When I get more than six things might get crowded, but I’ll take that problem. I need to improve my signage a bit, but that’s tweaking. My signs were clear and readable.

As a side note, I want to mention Patrick McEvoy of www.megaflowgraphics.com again. He did a fantastic job on my covers, and they drew in a bunch of people, The Eyes of a Doll cover especially.

Speaking of noticing things, one of the best parts of Planet Comicon for me was people-watching. Usually , at such cons, I notice some things, but I’m too busy walking or looking at the next thing in the program or some such to catch a lot of little details in the cosplay. At a booth, I’m watching people to see if they might have any interest in my books, so I’m paying attention to stuff. Saw lots of cool, little touches.

I also saw some wonderful t-shirts and paying attention to them got me a number of opportunities to talk to people I would not have had otherwise. I got at least two sales simply because I engaged people with a reference many others might not have gotten.

I had a great time meeting people, of course. It was good to see a number of people like Doug Kempton, Jenna Tomlin, and Beth Moscato, who I don’t talk to enough. The highlight of this was meeting Samanta and Kyrstin Zuo Cai who I had met years ago. They’re the daughters of an old friend of mine, John Cook, who passed away four years ago. We had many a battle in our fantasy sports leagues. He should still be around so I can still kick his butt.

Anyway, I made some contacts that might prove fruitful. A couple of podcasts approached me about appearing on their shows, and I’m hoping that in the fall I can set that up, especially as Where Now the Rider is getting close to being done.

In general, lots of exciting stuff. I met a lot of cool people and learned a ton. Assuming they keep the price reasonable, I’ll go back to Planet Comicon every year. As I get a bigger name, I suspect I’ll do better each time. Honestly, if all I do is break even in the future it will be worth it. I’m sure I did get some new longtime customers. Plus, though exhausting, it was simply fun.

 

 

 

 

Catching Up

Lots of stuff happening around here.

First, I just published a second edition of A Lake Most Deep. If you bought the first edition in ebook form, then you can speak to Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktocall or
http://www.amazon.com/clicktochat
You just need to ask for the updated content and they’ll send it to you for free.

Second, the draft for the first book of The Kreisens, book 3 in Shijuren, was sent off to the editor last week. I’m hoping for a release date around 1 June.

Third, there’s progress on the audiobook front. I’m hoping for September for A Lake Most Deep. I will probably do a Kickstarter in May for that project.

Fourth, I’m on the road in Canada right now. I had a wonderful time at the coronation of Nigel and Adrielle. Talked to a bunch of old friends, made some new ones, and promoted the next edition of A Lake Most Deep as well as showed off The Eyes of a Doll. A fun and useful day.

I’m headed to Ad-Astra this upcoming weekend, so if you’re in the Toronto area come join us. I’m in four panels, plus a reading. They are:

Friday 7pm Richmond B
The Relationship Between a Self-Publisher and Their Editor
Vanessa Ricci-Thode,Jennifer Jaquith, Beverly Bambury, Charlotte Ashley, Rob Howell

Friday 9pm Richmond A
Food Drink and Cuisine in Speculative Fiction
Costi Gurgu, Erik Buchanan, Rob Howell

Saturday 4pm Markham A
Book Signings Conventions and Festivals: Navigating Opportunity as a Self-Published Author
Sarah WaterRaven, Rob Howell, Mark Lefebvre

Sunday 1pm Markham B
Marketing and Promoting Your Self-Published Novel
MJ Moores, Sarah WaterRaven, Beverly Bambury, Rob Howell

Sunday 3pm Oakridge
Fantasy Reading
Brandon Draga, Cameron Currie, Rob Howell, Catherine Fitzsimmons

Exciting times.

Excited

Map Achrida

I’m so excited to announce that Adam Hale has drawn us all a map of Achrida.

This is just one of the changes that have kept me so busy that I haven’t had a chance to blog.

The map is merely one of the updates to a forthcoming First Anniversary, Second Edition of A Lake Most Deep. These have been submitted to Amazon in both ebook and paperback format, and are in the process of getting reviewed. Hopefully both will be active in the next day or so.

The changes to the second edition are mostly minor. The map is a big change, of course, but mostly it’s cleaning of some mistakes I made publishing my first book and editing to fix some typos and grammatical errors I found. Also, to make it more consistent with The Eyes of a Doll, I had Kellie edit A Lake Most Deep.

Also, I had Patrick change the cover to make it match the much better setup on my second book. This is more obvious with the print version, but people such as Cedar Sanderson who pointed out that my name needs to be in big, bright letters can now simply laugh at my inability to self-promote instead of laughing and asking when I’m going to fix that.

As a side note, I want to thank all of those who took the time to tell me that one thing. I’m getting better, but I’ve never been good at putting myself forward.

In any case, the one substantial change is an addition requested by Romaine Spence. He pointed out that I never answered what happened to the Notes of Naum. In response, I added a few paragraphs. He’ll also get an autographed copy of the new edition for his help.

What will this mean to those who bought the first edition? Well, a total of 125 of the first edition were printed. When I become the biggest fantasy author on the planet, these will be worth something. So tell your friends about me, and consider it an investment in your future.

For ebooks, I had hoped that Amazon would allow people to download the new edition for free. Unfortunately, they will not. I suppose I understand that, from the perspective of things that routinely get new versions, but that doesn’t help us.

What I will say is that if you bought the 1st edition of either version of the book, I will send you an email with the map and the extra paragraphs. It’s not ideal, but I’m afraid that’s what it is.

But wait, there’s more!

Not about A Lake Most Deep, but about the next book. I’m getting very close to sending the first book in an epic fantasy set in Shijuren sent to Kellie. Edward is a minor character in this one, and it talks about some of his experiences in Ivan Yevgenich’s izba.

More to come about that project soon.

I want to thank all of you who bought the first edition. I feel bad that, in a sense, I am not being fair to the ones who were there for me at the beginning. I can only say that I’m learning, trying to get better, and I want to continue putting quality product out there.  And that I thank you for your patience and forbearance.

Enough for now, I have to go save Valentin, one of the characters in the next book.

Random Stuff

I’m in a weird position in terms of writing right now. Kellie, my editor, has her hands on both A Lake Most Deep and the first Irina novel and I can’t work on either.

For A Lake Most Deep she is re-editing it to match the editing style from The Eyes of a Doll. I am getting low on physical copies of ALMD and I am going to order more before Gulf Wars. I’ve been planning to issue a second edition to reflect the things I’ve learned in publishing both ALMD and TEOAD. Mostly, this means revising the cover, changing the font, and the formatting. However, I’m also going to take the time to get it re-edited so it and TEOAD are the product of the same hands.

The first Irina novel, as I may have mentioned, is a much more complex novel, with a large number of threads and perspectives. This is my first foray into such a complicated structure and I’m not sure if what I’m doing is working. Kellie’s looking at it to see what I’m doing right and wrong. I’ve been waffling on titles but for now I’ve decided to call it A Mind-Song of Motherhood. I like that title quite a bit, and it might end up as the title of the trilogy.

What this means is that the top two things on my to-do list are out of my hands. So, I’m focused on other projects.

I’ve started laying out the third Edward novel in my head. I know the hook, the basic background of the story, heck, I even know the title, Where Now the Rider. However, as usual, I don’t know the main villain until I write it. I’m a pantser, what can I say. I’ll start writing the opening chapters tonight or tomorrow and will have a few thousand words ready to go when I turn back to finishing Irina 1.

More importantly to me is my other project, which I’ll keep mostly mum on for now. Suffice it to say that for all of you who will read the Shijuren series of novels, this will be a wonderful and ongoing thing.

It’s this last project that I’ve pounded my head on for the last couple of weeks. I’m getting there, and if I weren’t so paranoid I would have been able to announce it by now, but there you go.

I’m getting more and more excited about the upcoming con schedule. One big reason is that I’ll be more involved. It looks like I’ll be on panels at both Ad-Astra and LibertyCon. Also, I’ve a table at both Planet Comicon and Mid-Americon II here in KC. I’ve also got a line on some smaller regional cons. By the end of the year, hopefully I’ll be more well-known.

The more I read, the more confident I am that I can write. I’m awful at self-promotion, though. Working on it, though.

I think that’s it for now. Have a great day, everyone.

Two Months

OK, that’s ridiculous. I should not take two months to update this blog. I do apologize.

However, here’s what I’ve done the past two months. I published The Eyes of a Doll, I’ve had some sadness with my family, I survived the holidays, took charge of my health, and wrote most of I Am a Wondrous Thing, the first of a trilogy starring Irina, the former Velikomat, or Great Mother of Periaslavl.

My writing processes are improving, and I’m getting faster, meaning I have no excuse not to update more frequently. In fact, next week, I will pick a day where I always update the blog each week. Probably Tuesday.

I’m starting to really like the way the Irina story is shaping up, after having a number of, not false starts, but incomplete starts. This is my first attempt at writing a trilogy, and also a larger epic fantasy novel.

With the first person Edward novels, there aren’t as many threads I need to weave into the story. Part of my incomplete starts was my lack of realization that I need to include more people. This is a 300k plus word story. Irina isn’t the only major figure, and I realized I needed more protagonists. Plus, I want to write what the bad guys are doing too.

Oh, and if you’re interested in the workings of the magic, you’ll understand completely how Love Magic works by the end of these, plus quite a bit with Line Magic. If it’s any consolation, I will too. I’m a pantser and while I have been planning the physics behind the magic system for 20 years, I am discovering that the magic is just like another character, it tells me how much more it wants to be involved.

Anyway plan is to finish the first draft of I Am a Wondrous Thing next week, and then go to ChattaCon while Kellie tells me exactly where I screwed up 🙂 I’m still aiming for April 1st release date so I can have some when I go to Ad Astra in Toronto.

I’ve also started laying out in my mind some of the challenges and faced with the next novel, which will center around the Readers and lore magic.

In the meantime, back to the grindstone.

A Busy Fall

Greetings all

It’s been a very busy fall. I am finding that writing the next books keeps me from doing a good job here. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

The good news is The Eyes of a Doll final manuscript is at the editor. I’ll be creating the appendices and add-ons over the next week or so. The art is almost done too. When I have a final version of the front, I’ll post it on my Facebook page. All this means the 1st of December is becoming increasingly likely for a publish date.

I’m working on the third novel and will hopefully have a draft to my editor in December. This one is different in that it is a fantasy novel without so much mystery in it, though there’s quite a lot.

It’s also different because it is my first foray in writing a full trilogy. The Edward novels will be a long series, but they’re episodal. This is forcing me to lay out a larger plot line than I have before. I’m curious if this means that writing the first one will make it easier to write the second and third. I’ll find out.

Well, that’s a fair update. Back to the salt mines for me. Have a great day.

Notes and Updates

Greetings all

First, I meant to announce this much sooner, but the draft for The Eyes of a Doll has been sent to my editor. Also, Patrick McEvoy has agreed to do the cover art again. We are on schedule for our planned date to publish on 1 December.

As always, I’m my own worst critic. But there’s some parts of this book I really like, so I just need to get the rest up to snuff.

While I wait on the first edited copy, I’m working on the next book, which for working purposes I’m calling I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’m making good progress and feel like it will be a fun story.

Looking through the convention list, I’m thinking I’m probably done with conventions for the rest of 2015. I’m planning on expanding the number of conventions I’ll be going to in 2016, though.

Sooooo…., if you have suggestions, especially if you can offer crash space, let me know. I don’t mind driving to just about anywhere, especially as I get better about voice writing while driving, but I’d rather spend my money on Patrick’s art than hotel rooms.

That’s enough for now. I owe you all an NFL prediction post.

I’m baaack

Sorry for the long delay since posting. I should have a chance to be more consistent until the next deadlines happen.

I can report that I have sent The Eyes of a Doll to my editor and alpha readers. I’m late because of Lilies and Pennsic this year, but I think I’ll be able to recover and get it published in early December. My goal is to have paper copies by Kris Kinder, Calontir’s shopping event the second Saturday of December. For that to happen, I need to have the book finished by 30 November at the latest, so expect to see the e-book on Amazon somewhere around then.

This journey is a process and, not surprisingly, has been filled with a few potholes. I’m learning though, and am encouraged by the future.

I have a good start to the 3rd book in the Shijuren world, and will have that draft finished by about the same time as I publish The Eyes of a Doll.

The 3rd book is about Ludmilla, though I’m thinking I’m changing her name because Ludmilja seemed the perfect name for a character in The Eyes of a Doll. This book is not set in Achrida, but starts in Periaslavl and will explore the Kreisen. It’s goal for release date will be 1 April.

I’m already planning the 4th book in Shijuren. This one will focus on a Reader learning more than he wanted to learn. I’ve been waffling on where I want to set it, so I haven’t named him yet.

That’s enough for now, expect some football posts this week. Cowboys-Giants on the 13th cannot come soon enough.