Tag Archives: publishing

Sometimes You Have to Let Go

Sleeper ProtocolIn October 2014, I signed a contract with Red Adept Publishing for my debut novel, Sleeper Protocol. From February of this year until September, the publisher’s amazing editing team worked with me through six content edit passes and four copy-editing passes. I could say, without lying, that I learned to love the editing process because of the awesome team I had in place. But what I learned this year to improve my craft was that sometimes you have to let go.

You see, Sleeper Protocol went through it’s early stages several years ago as a short story and then novella entitled “Walkabout.” Every time I worked on the basic idea, there was so much more to tell. I fell deeper and deeper in love with the story as I wrote. Strong feelings during the writing process are good because they take us deeper into the scenes, the motivations, and the surroundings of our story. When I made a sweeping change to the story and “appointed” a new antagonist, the book took off. When I submitted the manuscript to Red Adept, I was understandably nervous but I believed that the book’s title, first line, and entire plot would get the publishers attention.

I was right – but one out of three ain’t bad.

In one of the very first conversations I had with my publisher, the working title of Walkabout had to go. There were too many other books out there with the same title or a variation thereof and finding it could present a problem to prospective readers. To my surprise, this wasn’t that difficult to swallow, except that I spent about two weeks trying to use Walkabout in every possible title combination. Nothing worked. I decided to put off searching for a title until the content edits were completed. I spent weeks brainstorming a new title only to find that my publisher and I both came up with the same possible title, and Sleeper Protocol was officially born.

During the editing process, though, I learned the biggest lesson of all. We’re told to put everything we have into the hook. The right voice, descriptions, and purposeful prose will bring the reader in, right? I created what I thought was a great first line only to have my editor immediately tell me it had to go. There was a POV inconsistency in it and it led the reader in the wrong direction – but in my mind it was perfect!

And there was no point arguing about it. My content editor was exactly right. We made the change and re-tooled the first few lines and made the opening stronger. When the very first line gets the ire of your editor, it’s easy to think that the rest of process will be horrible. To the contrary, it gave me a tremendous boost of confidence that she loved the book enough to say “Hey Kevin, let’s do this differently.”

The lesson: don’t hold on too tight. Yes, the story is your baby and you’re understandably anxious about the whole process, but when your team says “consider this” you have to listen. I am glad that I learned to do just that, and I think that the novel is so much stronger than when I submitted it eighteen months ago. Hopefully, you’ll help be the judge of that.

Sleeper Protocol releases in ebook formats on January 5, 2016 with print versions to follow.  You can find more information on my website www.kevinikenberry.com. Happy New Year, and I wish that 2016 be a great year for your writing!

About the Author: Kevin Ikenberry

Kevin IkenberryKevin ikenberry’s head has been in the clouds since he was old enough to read. Ask him and he’ll tell you that he still wants to be an astronaut. Kevin has a diverse background in space science education and works with space every day.

Kevin’s science fiction and horror short fiction has appeared internationally, most recently in the anthologies Extreme Planets and Pernicious Invaders. His debut novel, Sleeper Protocol, is due in January 2016 from Red Adept Publishing.

Kevin is a member of Fiction Foundry, Pikes Peak Writers, and is an alumna of the Superstars Writing Seminar.

He can be found online at www.kevinikenberry.com.

A Stone’s Throw – Launching a Sequel

A Stone's Throw coverToday I’m celebrating the launch of A Stone’s Throw, the sequel to my popular YA fantasy novel, Set in Stone!

In this highly anticipated sequel, Connor travels to the Carraig, the school of the Petralists, hoping to learn more about his curse and gain patronage on his own terms before his curse rages out of control.

Things don’t go according to plan.

At the Carraig, it’s all about the game, and the stakes have never been higher.  Connor plunges into a maze of deadly intrigue as old enemies appear from under every rock, and new challenges threaten to destroy everything he’s trying to accomplish.

With the help of loyal friends, he launches his own game, breaking all the rules, and gambling everything on a daring attempt to control his own fate and save the lives of the ones he loves.

It’s a fun read, full of big adventure, big magic, and lots more humor.  It builds upon the thrilling foundation created with Set in Stone.  The book’s available in ebook, hardcover, and paperback formats.  Help me celebrate the launch by picking up your own copy.

I’m also offering a special deal to anyone who signs up for my newsletter.  They’ll receive a free Kindle copy of Saving Face, the prequel to my fast-paced alternate history fantasy series, the Facetakers.  They’ll also receive a $5 off coupon for the Kindle version of Set in Stone.  So if you haven’t started the series yet, that’s the cheapest way to check it out.

Merry Christmas!  And happy reading.

About the Author: Frank Morin

Author Frank MorinFrank Morin loves good stories in every form.  When not writing or trying to keep up with his active family, he’s often found hiking, camping, Scuba diving, or enjoying other outdoor activities.  For updates on upcoming releases of his popular Petralist YA fantasy novels, or his fast-paced Facetakers alternate history fantasy series, check his website:  www.frankmorin.org

Celebrating a Launch

Set in Stone CoverBig magic.

Big adventure.

Lots of humor.

May 1st saw the release of Set in Stone in both hardcover and ebook format!

The release of Set in Stone was a long time in coming and a  huge milestone.  It kicked off the 8 books in 8 months publishing blitz I’m trying to do this year, and launched the Petralist series, a YA fantasy series that’s already being enjoyed by a wide audience, from middle-schoolers to adults.

Tomorrow, at sixteen, Connor will reveal his secret curse to the world and take his place as a guardian.

If he survives today.

When armies descend upon his peaceful village, led by superhuman Petralists and clever Builders, most people run and hide. Connor’s not that smart. He manages to get caught in the middle of the escalating conflict. Worse, he learns his curse is the rarest of powers, and both sides will do anything to control it and secure his loyalty. Connor is fast, but even he can’t outrun this avalanche.

Truths are sacrificed, loyalties are sundered, and dangerous girls twist his heart into knots.

That’s when things get complicated.

While his friends try to free the village under siege, Connor peels back layers of intrigue and half-truths to find secrets neither side wants him to know. Surrounded by deadly enemies that all claim to be his friends, Connor must choose a course with the lives of everyone he loves hanging in the balance.

His only hope is to gamble everything on a curse that could destroy them all unless his final choice is Set in Stone.

The book launch was a great experience.  In fact, I blogged about it here.

You can find Set in Stone at every ebook retailer.  Hardcovers are available online as well, or you can order signed copies directly from me.  I’ll have my website (www.frankmorin.org) updated soon with the shopping cart.  Until then, feel free to contact with requests.

The sequel, No Stone Unturned, is expected to be released in August.

#8books8months  #SetinStone

Avoiding Publishing Conflicts

A few years ago, the blogosphere was all atwitter concerning the story of Mandy DeGeit, a new author who discovered the story she submitted to an anthology wasn’t the same as the story that was published under her name. The “editor” had added in minor items like a suggestion of a rape, animal abuse, changing an ungendered character to a boy, and even introducing spelling errors on the title. Heavyweights like Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Maberry waded in to give their take on the carnage.

Authors who have been around the block a time or two have watched these kinds of publishers come and go, watching the cycle repeat itself every so often. Just like the emails that proclaim you’ve inherited a few million dollars from an unknown relative who lived in Nigeria, these scams and otherwise questionable practices keep resurfacing to ensnare the unwary.

The way to protect yourself and avoid unnecessary conflict is to take the time to do a thorough background check of your potential publisher. In order to do this you have to separate your ego from your business instinct. Receiving an email from a publisher that says they want to publish your story is a heady experience. You’ve bled yourself dry, spending untold hours crafting your novel. It sure would be nice to receive some compensation by seeing your name on a cover. The problem is it can end up costing you time, money, your novel, and even your reputation.

There are several well-known websites you should visit when you’re interested in a publisher. AbsoluteWrite is a good place to start (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php). Their forums are full of first-hand experience when dealing with most publishers, both good and bad. There are cases where a well-respected publisher lost their way, such as Dorchester/Leisure. If the forum threads span multiple pages, make sure you read the last two or three to see what’s new with a publisher. If you see one or two complaints, but otherwise positive feedback, that publisher is a decent candidate for your novel.

Once your visit to the AbsoluteWrite water cooler is complete, stop by the Writer Beware blogs (http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/). This project is a public service offered by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). They don’t pull punches, and they do their best to give as much detail as possible. The blogs and forums are filled with experience for you to gather and consider.

Our next stop is Predators and Editors (http://pred-ed.com/). This website contains so much information about bad presses that they’ve been sued several times. Additionally, they have whole sections on similar topics, including agents, magazines and organizations.

Just to be thorough, you can always visit the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) and Ripoff Report (www.ripoffreport.com) to see if there are business complaints unrelated to authors. Things to watch for include complaints that books were not received and complaints of unpaid bills from suppliers.

After digesting these sources, and assuming you still wish to continue researching, I personally recommend doing a couple of custom Google searches.

+“QuestionablePressName” +(sucks|scam|warning)

The above search string should return any pages that have your potential publisher and the words “suck” or “scam” or “warning”.

At this point, you’re either putting stamps on a manuscript package or thanking your lucky stars that you avoided a scam. Hopefully it’s the former, and you’re on your way to not only being published, but being published well.

About the Author:DeMarco_Web-5963

Guy Anthony De Marco is a speculative fiction author; a Graphic Novel Bram Stoker Award®; winner of the HWA Silver Hammer Award; a prolific short story and flash fiction crafter; a novelist; an invisible man with superhero powers; a game writer (Sojourner Tales modules, Interface Zero 2.0 core team, D&D modules); and a coffee addict. One of these is false.
A writer since 1977, Guy is a member of the following organizations: SFWA, WWA, SFPA, IAMTW, ASCAP, RMFW, NCW, HWA. He hopes to collect the rest of the letters of the alphabet one day. Additional information can be found at WikipediaGuyAndTonya.com, and GuyAnthonyDeMarco.com.