Hi folks. So, we’ve got a lot going on. In fact, we’ve been really slammed putting out novels, working on a board game, RPG dice designs for an upcoming Kickstarter, and quite a bit more. As a publisher, author, game designer and artist living in an era in which nearly anything is possible and publishing is easier than it’s ever been, it really isn’t nearly as easy, nor as glamorous as some might think. It’s actually pretty exhausting—and creating things is the easy part!
I can write a solid novel much easier than I can do the herculean task of formatting it, getting it on the market, spreading the word, getting reviews and convincing people to actually give my work a chance. I use only pro editors (sometimes 2 of them), plus at least 1 proof reader, pro artists (in addition to doing my own art, and I’m a pro, too.) I think my biggest headache has been eBook creation. It makes me want to pull my hair out. I’ve converted ebooks over 100 times and don’t have much to show for it. It’s not much easier now than when I started. It’s the one area where I don’t use a pro (but hope to one day. After paying for editors, advertising, art, etc. I just don’t feel up to paying for conversion when I “mostly” know how to do it myself. The Shadow Reaper turned out great but it took me months just to get the eBooks right, and that’s just crazy!
It’s nearly enough to drive an indie to do traditional publishing, but even there, you have to do some of your own marketing. Basically, chasing your dreams and becoming successful is very difficult, regardless of talent. There’s just so many things you have to do right to make it all work out.
As I said, The Shadow Reaper turned out great, but yeah, it took me months to take the manuscript and create decent print, EPub and Mobi files, and it cost a large chunk of money to get to that point. So, the next time you turn your nose up at a book that’s a whopping 4.99 or even 8.99, please consider that maybe a lot went into it. (Sadly, that’s not always the case with self-published books, but hopefully more authors will take the time to do it right. Corners are cut because of several factors, but I never cut corners on the quality of the actual text and art. It’s expensive to do it right, and some just don’t know how.)
Most authors these days try to give away some examples of their work. it’s a good idea to read an excerpt or other example of a writer’s work before you invest your time and money in them, and also why you shouldn’t avoid books that cost a little more. A good book is worth more than the author is charging for it.
Speaking of price, for a limited time, my pre-order for The Shadow Reaper is on sale for only $1.99! (Gotta get noticed somehow, but eventually, I need to actually break even, or even make some money, so I can rationalize the huge numbers of hours I spend on the craft.)
I’ll keep it on sale for a little while and then jack the price up to something more reasonable. If you like science fiction and fantasy (and maybe a bit of horror, too), then I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of it. Now, if only I can get some reviews! I spent about 2 solid months contacting reviewers, but they were all busy (those guys and gals are being inundated with thousands of authors asking for reviews, and some reviewers won’t even review indies.)
The amount of up front money I shell out to publish is scary, because there’s no guarantees any of it will come back. I believe in what I’m doing and in the quality, but it’s still a lot of money up front. Kickstarter isn’t any easier. It’s actually a tremendous amount of work, which is why some game companies that have done Kickstarter in the past have opted to skip it for future games. Now, I’ll probably do a Kickstarter for my upcoming board game, Freeze Or Burn, but my budget is very tight and I’ll have to shell out a ton of money before even launching, so I’m not going to rush it out the door, but spend a good chunk of time playtesting (once I’m to that point.)
I’ve heard from numerous authors who balk at spending money on their novels, preferring to do their own covers, even though they aren’t pro artists. Many of them skip pro editors and it shows. QT Games LLC stands apart from many companies in that we only use pros. It means we may not make a profit and will eventually fold if people don’t take a chance on our product lines, but we believe in what we’re doing and don’t feel that quality is a good place to start cutting corners.
Don’t get me wrong—I don’t regret the fast-paced lifestyle, investing the money and time, but for those who have been considering publishing a book or running a Kickstarter, I suggest thinking long and hard about it. I’m not being negative, I’ve just been there more than once and continue to be surprised just how hard it all is and hope you are ready for it when and if you do it. Be sure to do your homework!
Speaking of Kickstarter, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m behind in celebrating our 40th Anniversary of our 2 universes: The Cosmoverse for much of our fiction, and Toonaria, for most of our games and some fiction, so we’re running a Kickstarter soon! We’ll be sharing RPG dice, art and fiction.
We have designed several Cosmoverse and Toonaria-themed dice and are considering various color combinations and other options, and will showcase them in the Kickstarter.
In our last Kickstarter, we showcased four gorgeous, glossy, 2-sided Cosmoverse Campaign Cards. This time we’ll be showcasing our first Toonaria Campaign Card painted by yours truly.
What’s next? Sea of Worms and Arcane Synthesis have been long done, but still need formatting and then they’ll be on Amazon and around the world just like The Shadow Reaper will be 7/31/19. I have several other projects in the works, but this has gotten long, so I’ll end the update here.
If you would like a taste of my writing, you can get a free eBook just for joining our quarterly newsletter (and that way you’ll also get even more sneak peeks, and stay up to date.) I’m all ears, friends. let me hear from you! Thanks and I hope you have a terrific weekend!