dkq

And now for something completely different….Dungeon Saga

*Disclaimer – I am staff at Mantic Games (I work as their community manager) but this post is not sponsored by them.  I just love the game so much I thought I’d share.

It’s not often I get to talk about my *other hobbies* on the blog, though it’s pretty much a given that most people know that I’m staff at Mantic Games now.  I’m their community manager and I spend a lot of time on social media making conversation with some amazing people.  Recently, we launched a Kickstarter – my first as it happens.  It’s for an amazing boardgame that I’m really looking forward to!

It’s called Dungeon Saga.

dkq

Right now, there’s all this in the box for a $100 pledge.

dungeonmaster updated

 

It’s a dungeon exploring game where your hero or heroes plays against an evil Necromancer and other guys.  And whether you’re new to games such as these or an old hand (like me!), you’ll find that this game is really great for you.

If you’ve never Kickstarted before, it’s a blast.  Each stretch goal, as more people come in, gives us more funds towards a shared goal of developing a kick ass board game and expansions.

There’s a lot of great things that Mantic Games does, but I genuinely think this board game is going to really change the face of fantasy gaming and represents a great opportunity for storytelling.

So. What do you think?  Interested?  What would push it over the edge for you?

Giveaway in August, and more

Hi guys!

I know I’ve been really lax with blogging since A-Z in April, but I think I’m going to change that.
So, check back on the blog tomorrow and grab yourself a ringside seat for some stories, poetry and snippets.  Some days I’ll even ask you to provide me with a prompt :)

And there will be a Rafflecopter draw for a giftcard and some goodies!

Freebies!

So, there’s a couple of things I’m giving away on my mailing list and the new mailing list we’ve set up for the Indie Author Group.  If you sign up for the newsletter you’ll get….

FIVE different coloured todo lists – they are effectively the same todo list, just coloured differently so you can print them based on mood etc.

AND

A huge editorial calendar resource with a massive 7 different tabs to help you plan books, KDP select periods and more!

You can sign up at the Indie Author Group mailing list.

I’ll be back later this week to talk about why editorial calendars and to-do lists are so important, and start up the posts again now that I’m settled in work and feeling a lot better (I’ve been quite under the weather lately).

Thanks guys and gals!

contract word on business folder showing trade or financial concept

Why I turned down a contract with an advance, and why you might want to think twice too

Very long title I know.

Right.  Here’s the ground rules for this post.  I WILL NOT tell people what press this is.  I talked with people to come to the conclusion I did, but I am withholding one reason.  I won’t talk money, nor what the contract specifics were.  If you ask, I’ll politely decline to answer, and if you state as fact that it was ‘x press’ I will not approve your comment.  I don’t normally put this sort of rule on my comments, but it’s important to say this up front because it’s not where I want the focus of this to be.

That said…

Four months ago, I finished a sci-fi collection that an editor friend of mine had said she wanted to see.  I trusted that she worked with a good press, but told her that while they were considering it, I would be doing my research, and wasn’t committing to signing with them. She said that was fine and I thought nothing more of it.  To be honest, it’s a three part story, and I didn’t really think that it was worth worrying about.  And then I started in my new job and forgot about it entirely.

Last month, editor friend wrote back and said ‘I’ve left that press, but they wanted your book before I left, here’s your new contact’.  Editor friend wasn’t specific about why she left, but I know she’s married and planning her own family, so to be honest, I didn’t think much about it.  We chatted about other stuff and then I got in touch with the new editor.

The new editor offered me a contract on the spot, four days after my email.  Contract included a modest advance covering the three books and some notes about the stuff they really felt needed addressed, and that we’d be looking at during edits.

contract word on business folder showing trade or financial conceptAll good, right?

All of this is great, right?  Major ego boost to be offered a contract on the spot, and it’d let me release the books without needing to find editing/cover art (which isn’t as difficult) and doing my own formatting.  But alarm bells had already started ringing.
Two other people I knew in passing had left the same press.  One author was trying to buy themselves out of their contract (which, on it’s own gives me the screaming willies to be fair), and another friend was lamenting the fact that her books were constantly unavailable on Amazon because her press wasn’t keeping them in stock.  The one link?  Same press, or imprint of press.

Digging deeper…

Digging deeper there were some grumbles about the press but nothing serious.  There were no warnings at Preditors and Editors.  But the press was going downhill.   Sales were dropping on all of their books, and the authors leaving were talking about delays on the last couple of royalty statements, and while they’d been treated well,  things weren’t looking good.

Something just wasn’t sitting right with me.  Even with the advance, it didn’t seem like a safe bet (not to mention, I would be quite concerned about taking an advance if they hadn’t paid royalties to others).

So, I turned down the contract

One of the major lessons I learned from all of this is that even contracts that look good on the surface, even from apparently reputable presses, in this day and age, you need to be careful.  I feel really bad turning them down, but given the mix of my friend leaving, other writers taking their back lists and not subbing new books, and royalties starting to fall by the wayside.

Remember when I said at the start that I wouldn’t name the press – there is another reason for it.  All of the authors are already aware of what’s going on and are talking about it on various forums.  I don’t need to add my non-signed up noise to that.  I’ve got no right to muddy the waters, and I might have the wrong end of the stick.  It could just be turnover.

What do you guys think?  Am I overreacting?  Are a couple of blips something that shouldn’t matter?  Or do you think I made the right choice?

7748865668_1dcef106a6

A word from our sponsor – daily writing support with Writer’s Almanac

One of the major things I’ve been working on setting up,  since before the new dream job (which I’m going to blog about at some point soon!) was a daily marketing support project for those that don’t know where to start with writing, and need guidance that involves all of the minutiae they can get.  So I wrote 12×12 Marketing tutorials.

So, I wrote Writer’s Almanac, but after I finished it, it just didn’t seem quite enough.  For a start, there was no accountability, and no way to get in touch about the stuff people were stuck on, and that really defeated the purpose of writing a daily book of promotional activities for anyone that was struggling with writing…
So, I redesigned it from the ground up.  It’s now ready to go on July 1st.  It’s no longer a book, but something else entirely, and is a lot easier to access and has been streamlined to take all of the pain out of marketing, and give you an idea, every day of where your attention should be.  It’s also now been updated to include what I’ve learned about some of my most successful Facebook campaigns, and how to use Facebook to your advantage – until the algorithms change at least, at which point I’ll work something else out.

It’s not a get lots of followers, sell squillions of books, make millions of pounds project – in fact, realistically, all I’m giving you are the tools to make sure your marketing efforts are spot on and designed to give you a clear idea of what you should be doing *daily* to make your business work for you, marketing wise.
I’ll explain how to do it all free of course (bar your time) but I will also recommend tools that speed up automation etc.  All in the name of making sure marketing isn’t as difficult for you as it could be.

If this sounds something like you’d like to get in on, please drop me a line to kaiberworks at gmail.com with ‘I’m In’ in the subject line.  It’s $20 till Saturday morning, $24 from then until the last week in June, then will finally settle on $36 and stay there as a yearly subscription.  Sign up before Saturday and I’ll also send you a free copy of 12×12.

The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky Guest Post

Daughter3DThe Daughter of the Sea and the Sky by David Litwack has launched! (I reviewed it yesterday, here).
This fabulous title is available now on all online retailers and in your local book stores. You aren’t going to want to miss this new literary journey exploring the clash between reason and faith, and the power of hope and love.

The Book

After centuries of religiously motivated war, the world has been split in two. Now the Blessed Lands are ruled by pure faith, while in the Republic, reason is the guiding light—two different realms, kept apart and at peace by a treaty and an ocean.

Summary: A mysterious nine-year-old from the Blessed Lands sails into the lives of a couple in the Republic, claiming to be the Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. Is she a troubled child longing to return home, or a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of the Republic? The answer will change the lives of all she meets… and perhaps their world as well.

Author: David Litwack
Genre: Fantasy/Speculative Literary Fiction
Publisher: Evolved Publishing

Amazon B&N

Guest Post – The Greatest Thing I Learned in School

In the seventh grade, I began a six year college preparatory school, the elite school in the city and accessible only via an entrance exam. Ninety-nine percent of its graduates went on to college, many to Ivy League schools. But only one in three graduated.
I felt pretty confident. I had a good education to date and all the skills to succeed. But I had never read for pleasure.
The kids in this school were very competitive—what we used to call “grade grubbers”—even at such a young age. On the first day of English class, our teacher, Dr. McNamara, hit us with a stern warning. We were all failing and would get an ‘F.’ No studying would help, no exam would change it. There was only one way we could improve our grade.
Dr. McNamara was a bear of a man, with a big round face, jowls and the almost expected wire-rimmed bifocals. He glared at us through them and drew us all to the edge of our seat.
“For each book you read,” he said, “I will raise you one grade. If you read five books in the term, you will get an ‘A.’”
Our marking term was one month long. I suspect none of us read that much in six months. But then, like a magic salve to the wound, he handed out “the list.” The list consisted of about three hundred wonderful books, and not the stodgy classics, all of them books to delight the young.
That year I read the complete works of Sherlock Holmes and wanted to be a detective. I read The Saga of Andy Burnett and dreamed of running off to become a mountain man. I read The Lord of the Rings and pictured myself as the ranger, Strider, and someday, if I was worthy, king of the men of Numenor.
I was twelve years old.
Of course I never become any of these, but I’d been given the lifelong gift of reading and have never stopped.
The most important thing I learned? Through books, I could experience other worlds, be in the minds of other people. And though fiction may never translate directly to reality, I learned something even more important—the power of possibility.
David Litwack, author of There Comes a Prophet, Along the Watchtower, and The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky
www.davidlitwack.com

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour

Follow along at Novel Publicity Events

Review: The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky by David Litwack

Daughter3DThe Daughter of the Sea and the Sky by David Litwack has launched! This fabulous title is available now on all online retailers and in your local book stores. You aren’t going to want to miss this new literary journey exploring the clash between reason and faith, and the power of hope and love.

The Book

After centuries of religiously motivated war, the world has been split in two. Now the Blessed Lands are ruled by pure faith, while in the Republic, reason is the guiding light—two different realms, kept apart and at peace by a treaty and an ocean.

Summary: A mysterious nine-year-old from the Blessed Lands sails into the lives of a couple in the Republic, claiming to be the Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. Is she a troubled child longing to return home, or a powerful prophet sent to unravel the fabric of the Republic? The answer will change the lives of all she meets… and perhaps their world as well.

Author: David Litwack
Genre: Fantasy/Speculative Literary Fiction
Publisher: Evolved Publishing

Amazon B&N

My Review

This was one of my favorite books so far of 2014 – it sucked me in from the outset.  I absolutely adored the relationships, the characterisation and the deeper themes and tropes, but I’m not going to talk about that.  Instead, I’m just going to recommend that you go, now and read it.

Familiar in a deja-vu kind of way, the storyline was well paced, though in places a bit bogged down and overly dreamy and vague (which actually felt like it lent it self even more to the feeling of unreality and connected disconnect (by which I mean you can’t help but feel you’ve been here, you’ve done this, but you’re reading it for the first time, so you’re just experiencing it as you read – you’re completely immersed, but there’s a part of you that’s aware enough to know that this is a story that you know, deep down).

Kailani, the Daughter of the Sea and the Sky and namesake of the book is an excellent character, but I especially felt for Helena, and enjoyed watching her story arc develop.  There’s narrative consequence and strong story control in their story, and a rightness that makes the book perfect for me.  I’ll read this one again, but I have found a new favorite author.

 RATING: ***** (Five exuberant stars!)

I received a copy of this book as part of my commitment to support authors on the Novel Publicity Tours.
I have provided an honest review in line with their policies.

 

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour

Follow along at Novel Publicity Events

Z for ZZZZZ….. #AtoZchallenge

I need a lot of sleep after this month.
I’ve started a new job, I’ve started a new project, I’ve approved edits and have sent books out for proofing, I’ve done lots of other things.  I’ve also let go of a lot of things I just can’t sustain.  I’ve collapsed projects, I’ve cut down on client work, and I’ve put myself, my family and my new job to the forefront of my mind.

So I thought I’d share where I’ve been for my AtoZ and give you the full circle of what I’ve done.

And then I’ll go sleep!

Wilderness Apocalypse – AtoZ Challenge (Shared) – 17/25 posts.
Alexandria Publishing Group (shared), What is a name (introductions in the alphabet)
And Author Interrupted

 

Y is for Yes

So, I’m working on the most important things right now.  But I’m saying ‘yes’ to a couple of things.

Yes is for ‘yes, I’m writing’.  Y is for ‘Yes, I finished CampNanowrimo’.

And Yes is for there will be regular content on my blog from now on, more than once a week, more on the important stuff and more and more about my books.  I’ve also changed direction just slightly, so Y is for yesterday, and leaving it behind.

Today though, I started a new story over on Wilderness Apocalypse, bringing my total started stories to 3.  I’ll do a summary tomorrow!

X for Xciting changes (yeah, I’m cheating)

So, now that I’m in amazing new job of doom(tm), I’ve decided that I’m going to start doing two things again.  Well… three actually.  One is painting minis and models and scenery and dioramas and *stuff*.  I really miss that hobby aspect of my life and I’m kinda glad I’m getting to do it again.

The second is knitting.  I really miss being able to knit, and that’s something I can change.

And most importantly….I’m going to get on with writing stuff and more importantly than that, releasing it all instead of sitting on it.  Mantic Games has a publishing arm, so I might write for them, but I want to get my own life sorted out and doing the stuff that makes me happy.  So there it is.  I’ll start sharing and showing off in the next few days, along with some of the other ‘fun’ projects I can now get away with doing.

Today’s was another short one, I know, but I’ll be back tomorrow with a half of a short story that I’m publishing in it’s entirety in one day between here and Wilderness Apocalypse called ‘Yesterday’.