Runic Revolt - 1st Draft Complete!

The first draft of the fourth book in the Runic series is done!

It's been quite the journey over the last three and a half months. I came back from doing the Fate of Legends series to start writing Runic Revolt, and for about a month I wasn't quite into it. The writing was fine, but I wasn't feeling it. It didn't excite me.

I wondered if I had another Runic book in me. If I'd ruined my momentum by writing a different series.

But then my muse struck with full force, and filled the book with meaning and purpose. I just needed a reason to write the fourth book...a theme that excited me. Thank goodness I found it!

Now I know that not only do I have a fourth book in me, but that I have even more as well. I look forward to editing the heck out of Runic 4 over the next month or two, and then seeing what you guys think about it!

Goodreads Giveaway Failed!

Every once and again I try new marketing ideas to bring more readers to my books. A while back I decided to try a Goodreads Giveaway, where I offered to give away three free copies of one of my books. As you may know, I love to talk about the numbers...and let me tell you, they weren't good.

A total of 605 people requested the book, and 241 people put it on their "to-read" list. Of these, precisely zero people put it on their "currently reading" list.

Now, there are several possibilities for why this happened.

  1. The book cover didn't attract any readers to actually read it.
  2. The blurb for the book is failing to convert potential readers into readers.
  3. Giveaways aren't an effective way to promote books.
  4. Giveaways attract mostly people who collect free stuff (leading to #3).

Either way, I didn't find the giveaway useful, and although I may try it again with a different book, it certainly makes me question the value of using Goodreads' new ebook giveaways. Those cost $119 for the regular giveaway of up to 100 ebooks, and $599 for premium listing of the same. With no guarantee of ROI - and for $599, an almost certain loss of about $599 - I can't justify these promotions as a viable way to market my books.

 Has anyone else had better luck with these promotions? If so, let me know!

Six weeks till Readercon!

Only six more weeks until Readercon in Quincy, MA!

I'll be there for the whole convention, and I'm looking forward to it! My goal is to have the fourth book in the Runic series either published or pretty darn closed to it by that point. I'm about 70% of the way through writing it, and working hard to finish on time.

After that, I'll be working on Destroyer of Legends, the sequel to Seeker of Legends. And then it'll be time to start a whole new series, one I've been thinking about for the last year and a half.

As usual, I'll keep you posted. Hope to see you at Readercon!

Update on Runic Revolt

I'm about halfway done with Runic Revolt, the fourth book in the Runic series!

Lots of new stuff in this one. Working hard to finish it by this summer, hopefully before Readercon! It's quite the lofty goal, considering the first book took years to finish, the second took over a year, and the third took ten months to complete. I'll do my best, but I won't compromise quality.

I'm posting another chapter to the preview on my site. You can click here to read it. Keep in mind that there might be small errors here and there, as I haven't done my usual three to four rounds of editing yet!

Sorry for the Delay!

I'm nearly ready to publish Seeker of Legends!

The major roadblock has been getting my usual beta readers (my wife and brothers) to read and tear apart the book. Life has been overwhelmingly busy for them...but the feedback process is nearly complete!

In the meantime, I've been working hard on Runic Revolt, the fourth book in the Runic series. It's coming along quite nicely...almost 40% complete! I'll keep you updated as usual. The best place to check for my progress is on the home page. Each book has a bar graph showing my progress. I update it almost daily.

All right...back to writing Kyle's next adventure!

Why I wrote Hunter of Legends - Racism, Nationalism, and the Self

I am white, and my wife is black. When our son Hunter was born, it was right around the time of the Presidential election in the U.S. The themes of nationalism vs. globalism, racism, and cultural genocide were - and are - front and center in the minds of many Americans. Not to mention the fact that my wife and I were still getting strange - or downright angry - looks and comments from people (of several races) that didn't approve of our union.

And as a writer - and a father to a biracial son - I wanted to understand it.

I think of fantasy as a way to explore elements of human nature by changing the rules of the world to address these elements. To expose them and play with them. So I created a world where everything about you - your appearance, personality, skills, memories, and so on - was potentially contagious. Where strong-willed individuals could pass on their traits to weaker-willed people. And where the strongest-willed of all were called Legends. Those who cannot be changed, yet can change anyone else.

Naturally, this led to a society where people who spend enough time with each other ended up acting and looking like each other. And where an outsider - someone with dark skin, or a different way of thinking - would pose a real, tangible threat if their will was strong enough.

By making the idea of cultural genocide a very real possibility, I was able to explore the feelings both sides might have about it. The ideas of self, of community, and of what makes a people one people. Is it the way they look? The way they act? Their belief systems, or religions, or rituals?

And how do you remain yourself when everyone around you can change who you are?

I hoped that, by exploring these issues through fantasy - and by placing Hunter within that story, and seeing how he might react to such a world - that I could further my understanding of these important issues. I also wanted to write a story for Hunter that he might read when he's older that could help him process these issues as well.

I found that, in writing Hunter of Legends, I often ended up enjoying the characters I disagreed with the most. And I think that, if we all spent a little more time trying to understand each other - without necessarily having to agree with each other - that it would be a good start toward building a better future for our children.

If you're interested in reading Hunter of Legends, click here for a preview of the first 3 chapters, or click here to get it from Amazon!

Progress Updates

I'm having a little trouble with the web site, which is hosted by Squarespace. For some reason, the bar graphs showing my progress with each book aren't editable. Which is too bad, because I've made quite a bit of progress!

I'm finishing the final edits for Seeker of Legends, and the cover is complete. After I finish the edits, I'll format and publish it. Should be mid-March or so.

For Runic Revolt, the fourth book in the Runic series, I'm about a quarter of the way through the first draft.

As usual, I'll keep you posted!

To read a preview for Seeker of Legends, click here.

To read a preview for Runic Revolt, click here.

A Note on Editing

I'm in the process of editing and completing the final draft of Seeker of Legends, the second book in the Fate of Legends series (for a preview, click here).

To edit my first drafts, I print them out, 2 pages on a side, double-sided. I hole-punch them and put the book in a three-ring binder, and go through it with a red or blue pen, making changes and additions as I go. When I'm done, I make these edits on the word document.

I usually do this process 2-3 times, sometimes reading the book backward (from the end). Each time, I make a few thousands changes, and do a complete spelling and grammar check afterward. The process takes a month-and-a-half to two months. It's a lot harder than hiring an editor, but also much cheaper!

One day, I might hire an editor, if it becomes cost-effective to do so. But with books over 150,000 words, it can get awfully expensive.

That being said, if you find an error in one of my books, feel free to let me know at If I agree it's a mistake, I'll gift you one of my books!

Pantsing vs. Outlining

When I write a book, I usually have a very clear idea of the world, most of the characters, and the beginning, a scene in the middle, and the ending. I let the rest be created on the fly, so to speak. A process than writers call "pantsing," or flying by the seat of your pants.

For Destroyer of Legends, one of the two books I'm working on now, I've decided to try outlining the entire book first, then filling it in. It should be an interesting experiment, and I'll let you know how I feel about it vs. my usual method of writing my novels!

Announcing Book 4 in the Runic Series: Runic Revolution!

Hi guys!

So after finishing the first draft of Seeker of Legends and sending it to my family for review, I've decided to continue on with the fourth book in the Runic Series: Runic Revolution.

I'm already a fifth of the way through, and am writing daily to finish the first draft. I hope to have it finished by the summer. I've already contacted Bookfly Design LLC, the creator of my book covers, to have a cover made for it then!

For a preview, click here. As always, I'll keep you updated on my progress through my bar charts on the home page of my website!

Seeker of Legends Update!

The first draft of Seeker of Legends, the sequel to Hunter of Legends, is now complete!

At 469 pages, it is around the same length as the first book. I've already got a ton of edits listed for the final draft, and am working on it now!

In addition, James T. Egan from Bookfly Design has completed the first draft of the book cover, and let me tell you...I think it's pretty darn spectacular. I'll be uploading the final version as soon as it is complete.

To read the first few chapters of Seeker of Legends, click here!

Or, if you haven't read Hunter of Legends yet, click here to preview it or get it on Amazon!

How to Write & Publish a Book - Part 3

(Click here for part 1 of this guide; click here for part 2.)

Okay, so you've finished the first draft of your manuscript. Congrats! That's quite an accomplishment...something most people who dream of writing a book never do. what?

Step 7 - Edit!

Finishing your first draft is just the beginning. Perhaps the most important step is next:  fixing your book.

Now, as you write more and more books, you'll probably find that you need fewer drafts after the rough draft to get your book to a publishable state. But for most of you, this'll be the first time you've ever gone through the process, so your book might just suck. I know my first book did!

But that's okay. You don't need to be a good writer, but you do need a good editor. That editor can be you, someone you hire, or a fellow writer or community of writers that critique your work.

If you choose to hire an editor, keep in mind that they can get pretty expensive. It's probably best to read through your manuscript a few times, fixing as much as you can (and getting it as close to what you consider to be finished as possible) before sending it to a hired editor. There are plenty of available editors online, and if you go to writing conventions, you're likely to meet a few.

If you choose to edit your work yourself, all the power to you. That's what I did, after sending it to a few family members. Be prepared to make a few mistakes along the way, until you gain experience and get better at it. A good editor would never have let me make some of the decisions I made for my first book, Runic Awakening. But mistakes can be very effective (if painful) teachers!

Online writing communities are a great way to get your rough work out there. They can offer valuable feedback, but they're unlikely to get into the nitty-gritty of spellchecking, grammar-checking, and so on. Ultimately, unless you hire someone, you'll be doing these things yourself.

Step 8 - Format've done it. You've finished your final draft! After agonizing over your book for what seems like forever, pouring your heart and soul into it, you're ready to send it to the masses!

But first, you need to make it look pretty.

Now, how you format your book will depend on whether you plan on publishing it yourself, or by hiring an agent and going through a traditional publisher. If you want to go the traditional route, you'll need to have your manuscript in their standard format. Click here for instructions on how to do that.

If, on the other hand, you're like me and want to self-publish, congrats! That's a hell of a lot more work. At first. But don't worry...once you do it the first time, it'll get much easier. It took me the better part of 2 weeks to format Runic Awakening, 2 days to format Runic Revelation, and an hour to format Hunter of Legends.

It would take me a dozen pages to explain how to format a book for print. My wife wants to spend time with me at some point in the next week, so I'll just add a link to a Microsoft Word sample I created using the formatting for my books.

Here it is!

Also, click here to learn more about the different requirements for print versions of your book. 

Step 9 - The Ebook

If you're self-publishing your book, you need to format an ebook version as well. Not hard at all, really. Just take the example I gave above, cut out all the redundant title pages and blank pages, and take out the page numbers on your table of contents. And don't forget to change the ISBN numbers, as you'll need different ones for the ebook and paperback versions.

To make it easy, here's a sample!

Step 10 - The Book Cover

There are lots of online businesses that will make a book cover for you. I chose There’s a 4-6 month waiting period, but if they have a sudden opening, they’ll fit you in.

In general, it is better to make your book cover similar in style to best-selling books in your genre. While the temptation may be to create something no one has ever seen before, readers are more likely to click on something that looks familiar to them…like the last books they liked.

Also, font size and thickness is important. The title needs to be visible and legible when downsized to a thumbnail on Amazon. Thin fonts won’t cut it. Bookfly Design LLC, the company I went with, knows this. If you go with a different company, make sure they give you a thumbnail version of the proofs. It’s the first impression a reader will get when they buy your book on Amazon or any other bookseller’s website.

Prices for Bookfly Design were in the $500-$700 range. I recommend buying the ebook and paperback package. Even though you might not sell many paperbacks at first, they’re great to have in conventions, or to give copies to local libraries and so forth. Also, some paid reviewers prefer paperback copies, and it’s always in your interest to cater to the desires of your reviewers!

Also, if you go with another company, make sure they specify the type of paper you’re going to use. More on this later, but there are two options: cream and white. Cream is a different thickness than white, and that will affect the width of the spine of the book, and therefore the width of the cover image. Since you have images in your book, white paper is generally preferred, as those images may not show up properly on cream paper. White paper is a little harder on the eyes due to the glare, which is why novels with no images tend to have cream paper. Incidentally, that’s why textbooks have white paper, as they generally have images.

Step 11 - Get an ISBN!

ISBN stands for  International Standard Book Number. Bowker is the company that gives them out. You need them for paperbacks and hardcovers, and might want them for your ebooks. Go to: purchase ISBNs. I bought ten to start, which was expensive, but the books more than paid for it. After using up all of those (one for each ebook and one for each paperback), I purchased one hundred ISBNs. It's expensive, but as I'm planning on writing at least another thirty books, it's cost-effective.

You need an ISBN number for every version of your book - paperback, ebook, and hardcover, if you make one. You don't need them for audiobooks. Don't worry...I'll be going over how to make audiobooks later on in this guide!

After buying an ISBN, you need to attribute a book to it. Just click on the ISBN in your ISBN manager page, and fill in all the required fields (labeled with an "*").

To make each subsequent version of your book, use the clone link on the “My ISBN’s” page to copy the information from one version of the book (say the ebook) to another ISBN (like the paperback). Then edit the fields to specify that this is the paperback, and amend the pricing as well.

You don’t have to wait for the ISBN to complete registering…you can use it right away to publish your books if you’re ready to!


Alright, that's enough for this part of the guide. Next up, I'll go over how to publish your book!

Back from Vacation!

Well, I've been on vacation with the family for the last 8 days. I had a great time...and managed to get regular sleep for once! Now that I'm back home, I'm ready to crank out a whole lot of writing. I've also come up with a concept for a new fantasy series, as well as ideas for books 4-6 of the Runic series.

So much writing to do, so little time to do it! A shame that the vast majority of authors can't do it full time. I often wonder what I could do if writing paid the bills!