Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August Update

Welcome everyone!

I have many great things to share with you today. First, I hope this post finds you safe and well. Do take good care of yourselves during this time. I know circumstances are tough for a lot of folks in my area. I'm with you, in spirit.

Next, I'm making slow but steady progress on Book 03. This time of year is always crazy-busy for me, so the amount of time I can dedicate to writing is reduced. However, fixing the problems highlighted by my esteemed editor are coming along quite nicely. I'm very happy with how the story is shaping out. I know you will be too.


Moreover, I've finally settled on a title for the book! Hooray! I've had three working titles so far. The first got tossed out pretty early, but the other two have stuck with me almost the whole way through the process. Everyone who's read a draft of Book 03 has waffled on which title is best as well. I think my editor cinched it for me. A title has to set the expectations for the book. The title I preferred didn't do that, or rather, it set up the wrong expectations. Therefore, I'll go with my second choice which is really the right choice. There are so many people think the title comes first when writing a book. Often, it's just the opposite. It's the last thing you settle.

In addition to all that, I got to spend some time this past weekend with a very dear old friend. I haven't seen him in nearly six years. He's an intellectual, and the conversations we had were incredibly uplifting. I wish I could have spent days with him discussing literature, writing, history, and philosophy. If there is anyone who can challenge my mind, it is him. His words have renewed my writing spirit, and I can't wait for him to get the third book in my Hunter's Rose series.


Finally, I have one last piece of artwork to get for the interior. I don't know why I'm procrastinating on it. It's simple. Maybe that's the problem. It's such a humble object that I'm not giving it the respect it deserves. Hopefully, in my next update I'll be able to tell you more.

All in all, things are going well in Celandine Valley. I'm still a little nervous about my cover and interior layout. We'll see what happens. Think about me. Pray for me. Send good wishes. I'm definitely going to need them.

Peace,

-Troy

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Just Ordered a New Piece of Art for Book 3!

Welcome everyone!

The march toward publication continues on. I'm about 20% of the way through making my edits for Book 03. These are the edits I received from my professional editor. As I go through them, I realize just how amazing she is at cutting to the very heart of the problems. I'm more excited about my book than ever.


Part of the process of finishing the book is to finish getting all the art. I'm mostly there already. 5 pieces have been completed which leaves only 2 left to go. 

Book 03 will have fewer illustrations than The Huntsman and the Vampire because it is a MUCH longer book. The first two books in the series are around 50,000 words. Book 03 will come in around 65,000! Perhaps, it is somewhat fitting that the middle of the series be the biggest, but the honest truth is, that's just how long the story had to be to get everything in I wanted.

So anyway, the 6th piece of art was commissioned today. I'm working with a great artist, and I'll have more to say about that in the future. I can't wait to share the good news with you!

Peace,

-Troy

Monday, June 28, 2021

Back From the Editor and On the Road to Revisions

 Welcome everyone!

It's been a while since I've updated you on where I am with Book 03. Summer is usually a free time for me, but this year I chose to take on some extra responsibilities and also squeezed in a vacation with my wonderful family. As a result, pretty much the entire month of June was lost when it comes to writing. However, I'm now back in the saddle and getting to work!

I have quite a bit to do. The version of my Third Book that I submitted to my editor was the fourth or fifth revision, I believe. So the story was already pretty decent, in my own estimation. Well, this is why you hire an editor. She pointed out some serious flaws with my main character in this story along with several issues with two of the main supporting characters. As a result, I have more than a dozen scenes that have to be completely rewritten. Not only that, I have to change quite a few dialogue tags and rework the motivation of one of the villains. Shew! That's a bunch.

However, I'm so thankful for my editor's feedback. It was so deep and insightful, honest and encouraging. I'm very grateful for all the time she put into it. Now it's my turn to take her feedback and improve the story so that you, my dear reader, can have something you'll enjoy. After all, that is the real point of writing a book: to give your readers something that inspires and uplifts.

Will I still be able to publish this year? I hope so. We'll see.

Peace,

-Troy

Monday, May 10, 2021

Book 3 Is Off to the Editor!!!

 Welcome everyone!

I'm so pleased you are here today. I hope this post finds you well, and if not, I hope whatever clouds lour upon your day pass by quickly. 

This morning, I submitted the manuscript for Book 03 to my editor! I mentioned before how I have run into trouble for this book with my cover, layout, interior, and editing. For now, the editing issue is resolved. I'm getting to work with a wonderful soul on my book, and I couldn't be more excited about it.


It will take my editor about a month to complete the edits. I asked for a more in-depth edit this time. Also, there are extenuating circumstances that will slow the process down. It's not anything bad or particularly trying; it's just life. I'm patient. This is a good thing.

Anyway, the good news is I've got a terrific editor reading my book and the resulting manuscript is going to be fantastic. I can't wait for you to get to read this one. I certainly think it's the best one yet.

Next up, I have to start getting the interior art finished. I have the roses done, now I just have to commission the other illustrations. The Huntsman and the Vampire had a lot of illustrations, Book 03 will not. The latest manuscript is about 5,000 words longer then Book 02, so as a result, I'm going to cut back on interior art.

I'll be back with more updates as the process goes along. Be well and take care of one another.

Peace,

-Troy

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

3rd Revision is Complete!

 Welcome everyone!

I am pleased to announce that the third revision of Book 03 is now finished. This one went much more quickly than the second revision. Part of that is my passion for writing has reawoken and the other part is that my life has much more structure to it now.


I've talked over and over how important a structured life is to an author. Some might think that coronavirus is a blessing for writers: all that time stuck at home with nothing to do! It isn't.

Writers need to be in the world, they need to be around people. We draw energy from nature and human relationships. When we are robbed of those things, our creativity suffers. Or, at least, mine did.

Now that life is returning to a sense of normal, a new normal perhaps, I am much more productive. Not to mention, I am much happier as well.

So anyway, things are progressing nicely here. I'll be back soon with a roadmap for what comes next in my Hunter's Rose Series

Peace,

-Troy

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Just an Update on Where Things Stand (Book 03)

Welcome everyone!

I hope you are doing well today. Strange weather we've been having in my area. Yesterday, it snowed in broad daylight! I'll post a picture, but I doubt it will do the event justice. 


Anyway, I just wanted to post an update on how things are coming along with Book 3. I'm getting asked about it a lot, which is awesome! I'm glad people are so ready for the next installment. 

Currently I'm am revising Chapter 20. As things stand, there are 25 chapters, so I'm 4/5 of the way through. The number of chapters is subject to change. So far, every book I've written ended up with more chapters than I started with. None-the-less, progress is steady.

When this batch of corrections is finished, it'll be time to move on to a professional edit. I'm a little bit nervous about that because this book, more than the first two, is much more personal for me. These are the stories I really want to tell. This is the world I want to reveal. Hopefully, the editor can see my vision and help me bring it to light.

In any case, take care of each other. I'll be back soon with more.

Peace,

-Troy

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Celebrating My Second Anniversary as a Writer!

 Welcome everyone!

It was back in March 2019 that I first released The Huntsman and the She-Wolf. With all that's gone on, it seems like so much more time has passed than just two years. But here we are: The Second Anniversary.


To celebrate, I want to share with you my sales data up to this point. I always share my data so that anyone else who's thinking about self-publishing a book has an understanding of what my experience has been like. Publishing is hard, and each person needs to set a goal that measures success for themselves, not compared to others. I had a goal to reach 500 copies sold across all formats by the end of my second (fiscal) year of being an author. Let's see if I got there:

(special note: I abbreviated the Book 1 as THatSW and Book 2 as THatV)

E-Book

THatSW: 81
THatV: 12

Paperbacks Online

THatSW: 103
THatV: 22

Hardback Online

THatSW: 65
THatV: 9

Audio Books

THatSW: 24

Paperbacks In-Person

THatSW: 104
THatV: 25

Hardbacks In-Person

THatSW: 18
THatV: 22

Kindle Unlimited Pages Read

THatSW: 10190
THatV: 1347

Grand Total Copies Sold

485

Grand Total Pages Read

11,537


Alright, time for reflection! Let's get the obvious out of the way. I didn't make 500 copies as I had hoped. Without a doubt, the COVID pandemic greatly impacted my ability to sell books in-person. I had a couple appearances and book signings lined up for this past year, and everything was canceled. I have no doubt in my mind that, in a normal year, I easily could have sold another 15 copies.

However, all is not lost. If you take the Kindle Unlimited pages read and divide by 209 (the length of both of my first two books), you would get an additional 55 copies. I do get paid per page read, so most authors do consider KU pages to be a "sale" of sorts. That would put me at 540, so if I wanted, I could think of it that way. But I'm not going to fudge things and say I got to 500. Nope. Failing to meet a goal isn't 100% a bad thing. It just helps illuminate the path forward. I think, in the next year, I should put both books on discount on Amazon. That will help bring in new readers and probably help me reach my 3rd year goal of 600 copies sold.


There are a lot of other very important takeaways. 1) The Huntsman and the She-Wolf hit 10,000 pages read on Kindle Unlimited. WOW! That's an amazing number. I never anticipated so many people would choose to read my book that way. 2) The audio book of Book 1 is up 24 copies sold. That puts it ahead of The Huntsman and the Vampire online paperback sales. Maybe I need to reconsider not doing an audio book for Book 2! 3) I crossed 100 paperbacks online AND in-person for THatSW! To me, that's a big deal. I'm ecstatic about those numbers. They're terrific. 4) I easily made enough profit on Book 1 and 2 this past year to fund all my needs for Book 3. 5) The launch party for The Huntsman and the Vampire was critical to getting sales off to a good start. I hope health regulations allow for me to do one again when Book 3 is ready.

So what does this mean going forward? Well, I think I should anticipate Book 3 struggling to put up numbers anywhere close to Book 1. I've always known that the first book in a series sells best. I just didn't know it would be by such a staggering amount. That's fine with me, but now I have to consider my costs more carefully. I also need to invest more in Book 1. I'm going to fire up my advertising again and do some price promotions in the next 12 months. I'll be interested to see how those turn out.



All in all, it was a very successful year during most difficult circumstances. I'm proud of what I was able to do even if one of my best avenues of sales was cut off. I'm sick of the COVID crisis. I'm sure you are too. Let's all hope it passes into history this year so we can get back to enjoying the things we love. Look for more updates soon about Book 3. Take care of each other.

Peace,

-Troy

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Here's Where the Pain Begins

 Welcome everyone!

In the middle of Book 3 there are four chapters that just do not flow with the rest of the story. Everything before them is great. Everything after them is great. But these four chapters are as rough as 24 CAMI sandpaper.



The biggest problem is those four chapters, all on their own, tell a fascinating story. Not only that, the last third or so of the book is built on what happens there. So, it's not just something I could easily cut out.

The only recourse is to fix the chapters. I have already revised these chapters the most compared to any other portion of Book 3. That leaves me two choices. 1) Just continue to polish away at what I have or 2) Start over from scratch. It's a big job either way.

At this moment, I'm unsure of which is the best coarse of action. Maybe I'll have some clarity by tomorrow.

Peace,

-Troy


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

There's Only So Much to Do in a Day

Welcome everyone!

Currently I'm making revisions and edits based on the feedback from my most recent round of reader feedback. I'm currently on Chapter 10, which is great. It's coming along a lot faster than my previous round where I had to force myself to make blog entries each day just to hold myself accountable to get the edits done!

Things are going so well, in fact, that my drive and motivation to get this round of revisions done is stronger than it's been since I was finishing up The Huntsman and the She-Wolf! That drive is so strong, that whenever I'm not working on Book 3, I feel the need to stop what I'm doing and go work on it some more. However, this feeling is very unwise.

I know some might think that the faster you get your corrections finished, the better. I mean, who wouldn't want to publish their books as soon as possible? Especially since this will be my third novella and the publishing process itself is no longer the primary challenge I face.

The truth is, there is only so much a writer can -- or really should -- do in a day. 

Now, every writer is going to be in a different place. I'm not a professional author. I do it as a hobby on the side. But I have spoken with numerous professional and hobbyist writers alike, and they all agree: it is possible to do too much for your book all at once. 

I try to get one, maybe two chapters done a day. Any more than that, bad things will begin to happen. For one, I get careless. I'll miss errors because I'm focused on the number of pages I get done instead of the quality of the work I'm producing. Two, I'll start making compromises. I'll go, "Eh, this sentence/paragraph/scene isn't so bad. I'll just leave it in unless the next reader/editor says something about it." Three, I'll get burned out. The old adage goes: the flame that burns brightest burns briefest. 

And it's true. I have to hold myself back in order to produce good quality work. The last thing I want is to get sick of my own creation. That almost happened with The Huntsman and the Vampire, I was pushing myself so hard. Some of the best chapters and scenes I've ever written are in Book 3. If there is any of my writing you have really enjoyed so far, you are in for quite a treat. 

But I don't just want two or three chapters to be their best. I want as many as I can get. So while I have to disappoint myself by going slow and doing it right, I know that doing so is the proper choice. 

I want Book 3 out yesterday, but I'm not willing to compromise the story that much in order to rush it out the door. My goal is to have it out by the end of the year. But if that doesn't happen so be it. I'll be done when it's ready to be done. And I know it will be better that way.

So if you're a writer, remember, there is only so much you can physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually accomplish in a single day. Rest is important. You need to recharge your creative juices so you are still interested in your work enough to put in the hard work it takes to make it as good as possible.

Peace,

-Troy

Monday, March 15, 2021

Coming Up on 3 Years

Welcome everyone!

Spring is such an excellent time to celebrate the birth of something. The end of this month marks three years since I began my publishing journey. So much has changed. It's been wonderful. At the end of March, I'll be giving an update on how things have gone and where they are going. I have some great news to share. I hope to see you then.

Peace,

-Troy

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

I Was Asked: Literary Cannon

Welcome everyone!

I don't often think about the so-called "Literary Cannon." It's a useful reference for sure and no doubt fun to debate. However, it's not anything that would really occupy my mindspace despite the fact I deal with literature on a daily basis.

Anyway, I was asked on two different occasions today what books were being added to the Great Books/Literary Cannon. I can only assume there was some kind of debate online about it, so I answered the curious minds as best I could.


I said that I am no expert on it and absolutely have no say on the matter. Therefore, my opinion is not particularly valid. Pressed, I told each inquirer that my observations tell me that books written in the 1960's were currently entering the cannon.

I pointed out that novels and stories from the 50's such as The Lord of the Flies, The Lord of the Rings, Fahrenheit 451, Atlas Shrugged, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Old Man and the Sea, and Things Fall Apart are widely regarded as great classics. In fact, some are even cliché at this point.

One of my interrogators wanted to know which books specifically from the 1960's I felt were being added. I shrugged and said if I were forced to give my own guess I would say:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
And if you're wondering, yes I knew all of those off the top of my head - which is what I am speaking from even now as I write this post. Again, I'm no expert, and I have no say in the matter.

Anyway, I was also asked why newer books aren't being added. I had to answer that new books, while immensely popular, have not yet had a chance to stand the test of time. It is only the stories that are truly useful to humanity that are remembered and beloved.

Some suppose that the Great Books are only considered great by luck or chance: they grabbed the zeitgeist as just the right time and are remembered for that. I pointed out that at one point Twilight had captured the zeitgeist but is now more memed than read, in my experience. Perhaps that's a personal bias, but regardless, just because something rockets to popularity doesn't ensure status as a classic work of literature. 

The Road, The Kite Runner, Never Let Me Go, etc. are all amazing works of literature, but they can't be judged if they are timeless yet since not enough time has passed to tell. There's no need to rush it. Besides, perhaps in a decade or two we'll look back on this era of literature and find a hidden gem no one is talking about right now, and THAT book will become the defining work of literature (fiction or nonfiction) of our time.

Finally, I assured both of the people who asked me this, that the cannon isn't really all that important when it comes to deciding what books are important to them. It's just one heuristic for categorizing literature and one that can be predisposed to snobbery and rigidity. 

If any of my readers wondered what my position is, well now you know it. Like I mentioned, I suspect there's some controversy brewing on some social media platform, and I may have inadvertently stepped in it. I don't mean to. Don't want to. I just found it odd I was asked the same question on two occasions on the same day, and I thought I would share that with you.

Peace,

-Troy

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

2021 Public Domain Celebration!

Welcome everyone!

In 2019 I made a post about the Public Domain. I plan to update that each year as new works enter it. For those who don't know, the Public Domain is a system by which copyrighted works (such as songs, novels, screenplays, paintings, photographs, etc.) lose their exclusivity. That means, anyone can use those works in any way they see fit without paying the original creator.

The rules about Public Domain are strange. Congress and big business have interfered with them numerous times. In fact, the works that become owned by the public this year should have been Public Domain back in 2001! Thank Disney for the 20 year delay, if you like. You can read more about it on Duke's School of Law page dedicated to the Public Domain.

Anyway, the big deal is that this year some significant works enter the Public Domain. Namely, they are The Great Gatsby by F. Scot Fitzgerald, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, and In Our Time by Ernest Hemmingway.


So that means you are free to write your Adventures of Nick Carraway novel you always wanted or the tennis career of Jordan Baker or even the steamy midnight trysts of Gatsby and Daisy. 

Public Domain isn't limited to just print works. You can now make songs, art, and film of public works without paying any royalties. However, it still must be all original work. For instance, any images or changes to the novel made in the 2013 film still belong to Warner Brothers. So be careful on that.

Other upcoming important works that will enter the public domain in the near future include Mickey Mouse and Steamboat Willey in 2024, Little House on the Prairie in 2028, Superman in 2033, The Chronicles of Narnia in 2034, and The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings in 2044. 

So start writing now, and be ready when those dates roll around!

Peace,

-Troy

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year!

 Welcome everyone!

I want to wish you a happy new year! I'm hoping for all of you that 2021 is a happy, healthy and prosperous year. Love all of you!


Peace,

-Troy