Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.
I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.
I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .
I hope you'll come along for the ride.
You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.
Episode 12, November the 20th, 2020. I published the book. I made it to the finish line. It is all done.
Since Last Time
Well, hello there. I know it's been a little bit long since I was last talking to you about my writing progress. In fact, I believe it's around eight weeks, which was double the amount of time I intended to take off. Truth be told I did record an episode four weeks ago. I didn't feel comfortable with it.
I wasn't happy with it, but mainly because of the work that needed to happen next. I had nothing else to say and got a bit bogged down in editing the Wiki. So I ended up just letting things slip, which I apologize for, but I am back now and intending to get this podcast rolling along again with regular updates on what will now be book two.
So what has happened since last time? Well, clearly I published A Fool's Errand. My debut novel after nearly five years has been published and I am absolutely stoked about it. Everything went well with the publication. I've been getting fantastic reviews from people reading the book - fantasy lovers, non fantasy people and people I do not know have all given me fantastic feedback on the story, which makes me very encouraged. My ultimate goal as expressed in earlier episodes is for people to be able to pick up the book and enjoy the story in the way that I enjoy other stories. For them to feel entertained by a story that has some depth and some interesting characters. And I feel like I succeeded in that. That's the feedback I've received. That's the way I feel about the finished product that I put out there. And I'm happy to move forward now, continuing the story and continuing to evolve as an author. And I think that's probably the most significant thing that's come. While I've published two non-fiction books and I know I'm a published author, my life goal has been to publish fiction novels. And I have now started that journey. I've reached that destination and I love where I'm at with it. I really enjoy how it feels. I do feel like I am now actually an author, albeit I've spent five years being an author and doing the work than an author needs to do, the real success is in publishing the story and getting it out into the world.
Don't be fooled though. It isn't that I feel like it's a perfect work. I don't, there are many things, on reflection, I would like to change in the prose or in the scenes that I feel I could do better today than when they were finalized, whether it be several months ago or a year ago. But there is a point when you need to ship the end product.
There is a point when the story needs to be read.
When it needs to be finished, being told. And my job now is to get on with the next part of the story. And I'm lucky because it is a series I'm not having to come up with a completely new story as if it was a standalone book on its own right.
Fool Me Twice, which is the working title for book two, is already, 45% written. I just need to continue that now and get it through to publication next year, which I will be doing. That's where my mind is at. I'll talk through now. what the steps were that got me there. how we got to the publication date from the last episode and what I've been doing since then and what I intend to be doing moving forward.
So, if you recall, had been through a whole editing sequence, including using my developmental editor Fleetwood, who worked with me to get the story structure great. And I then had to finish my edits, package it up and then send it to the proofreader. I believe the proofreader had it for around three weeks and setd it back to me, as an edited word document, which I needed to go through. So I worked through that, I'd envisaged it was going to be a very long, 10 to 12 days of me working through lots of edits that needed doing. What was really great was it took me less than three days. It was a much quicker process than I envisaged.
It was much easier to work through. And I was able to just sit and be ready for the actual publication, without some of the stress that I thought I would have. And I'm really, really happy that happened the way it did. It was such a relief. Once I'd been through that, and what I did was basically accept, or not accept, changes that were highlighted within the document.
There was lots of things in there typos, clearly some grammar problems. My proofreader is very good in that she not only just does it, but explains why. I guess that makes her life easier in the future, the better her authors, get an understanding what needs to be corrected in their writing, the less work she really has to do.
And the less likelihood that she might make some mistakes along the way as well. And for those of you that might've picked up the first editions and found a few typos or errors, understand that this is a human process. It's not machine driven, it's not absolute. And particularly when you're writing a large novel in a complex world with lots of new names and things that can be very tricky to get it 100% perfect.
And that, that is something that I had to come to terms with. It's very easy to get a feeling of failure. Albeit over something minor, like finding a handful of errors once you'd got to publication, but in the bigger picture I wrote, well, I published, 202,000 words. I wrote four to 500,000. I would think in getting there.
30 little issues that I had to correct out of 202,000 words is a minute percentage. It's so minute I'm wasting more breath talking about it. It really doesn't matter. But it's a really interesting example of me learning to be better at the craft of being not only an author, but a publisher and understanding the practical reality of it.
Do I wish nothing was wrong with my stories? Absolutely. Is that realistic? I'm not sure. There's a sacrifice that would have to come and doing that. There's a sacrifice in time and timeliness to get things done. And there's also the need to complete the publication and put it out in the world. Certainly for me.
Some people are happy to write stories and put them on the shelf or in the drawer. My aspirations as a storyteller has been to publish the stories, to get them out in the world and to get better as I go. To continually tell better, more interesting stories. It would be problematic to have written your best work first and have nothing better to add to it.
I think that would be a nightmare. I feel like I got a great story out. So once the edit, of the proofreading changes was done, I then had a word document, which I was able to import back into my software Scrivener. I then exported from Scrivener into a piece of software called vellum. And because I self-publish, I use vellum as my publishing software of choice. Within that you check the formatting, add pages at the beginning of the manuscript and the back of the novel.
Thank you pages, copyright pages, cover pages, make sure the cover image is up there. All of those things. I had to make sure all of that front and back matter was correct. I had to bring in the final version of the map and we had a couple of issues in the printed versions, getting that a hundred percent correct.
Once I'd finished all that, I sent that off and got an urgent print proof back from the printers. I had to do a couple of those, to be honest, to get it exactly right. I only did the paperback at that point with the ebook, I had to do a couple of different copies.
I ended up having to do a couple of different versions for Amazon print versus IngramSpark, who's the primary printer that we use. Just the way things are handled. I now have four vellum source files with slight differences. One of the reasons is for the ebook versions, if you're going to distribute to Apple for iBooks, you can't have links to, for example, Facebook or Amazon or things within the back matter of the book. That just can't exist, they won't accept it.
So I have a version that's fine to put up on Kindle that might have links to my website and Facebook and Twitter accounts. But within the Apple version, I can't have those URLs in there. So I have different versions, which makes it a little bit fiddly when you have to go back and do little updates that you find because you need to do it in multiple versions.
Once I was happy with the print proof and everything else. I was busy setting up pre-orders on my site and, or on other sites, doing all the mathematical calculations, what the actual costs were going to be for physical copies. And I started working on the hardback version and I had to learn a few things about the jacket because the hardback, has a jacket as most people would realize, and the jacket is laid out differently. And I hadn't thought about that. For now I went with a fairly similar process to the paperback, but I will be updating it now that I have some feedback and I have, some reviews and other materials so that I can get the hardback jacket to be more in line with what a traditional hardback might be.
I had then, surprisingly got a heap of purchases on my own website for hand signed copies by myself. I sign it and personalize it on the inside. We then wrap it in Brown paper. And the, In All Jest logo, which is the jester's face on the cover of the book, I have a wax seal of that.
And so we would then wax seal the seam of the Brown Paper on the outside of the wrapping. And then I would, using calligraphy and a black pen address it. And I tried to give everyone a title or a name that might relate to the world and a location, I know we did more than 80 of those. And I still have some sitting in my studio here at the moment that need to go out. I keep getting orders for them, which is great. That's not available to everyone, around the world because we can't do the wrapping and sealing and send it overseas. The cost of shipping is $40 per book to go international.
So it wasn't practical. So we set up a digital signed method, a personalized page for everyone else and got a number of those internationally, which was great. Got that all done, got everything sorted and waited until publication day. Publication Day came and went. Was very exciting to have it officially out there in the world to be able to talk about it, but it was a fairly low key day.
It was actually my wife's birthday as well, which will help me remember it, probably unfortunately it will help her remember it as well. We didn't do a large launch party or anything like that. It's my debut novel. There was a lot of stress about knowing I would get it done on time or whether I'd have to delay it.
So I didn't want to work in an area that I was very uncertain about and try to have some form of launch party.
Might have heard the background friend I have a little ghecko. As it worked out, I feel really comfortable about not making too big, a deal of it when it went live. Let everyone know virtually of course, on social media, put it out there and let it effectively do its work out in the world. So in summary, I'm really, really happy with the way it's gone. Not only the support of friends and families and buying copies, but other people that have bought out of all sorts of interesting occurrences or methods, people finding it through online channels. I've been able to get it stocked in a couple of book shops in Brisbane here, which is really exciting.
I'm very grateful to those bookstore owners for stocking it. I am working on how to grow and promote to a wider audience. And I know that the long game for the series will kick in when book two and book three, and later books come out and are published. And each of those I think will roughly take one year to complete.
Book two will be done sooner because it's already almost 50% written. But my goal is over the next five years to publish one book per year, which is a big ask, but that's what I want to do. And I want to give my readers a story that they can not wait too long for that they can see the next one. coming, know they want it and, and stay connected to the characters in the series.
What comes next or what did come next? What really held me up afterwards was I needed to edit my world wiki. I have a private Wiki. running on WordPress, where I store all of the information about the world and the book and plot threads and characters and everything else. Because of all the changes in A Fool's Errand that I made, I didn't edit the Wiki as I was writing the stories too much involved in that.
So what I did do though, was sit down once the book was published and just, hard graft, worked through the Wiki and brought it in line with what the finished novel was about and any of the history adaptions or changes, modifications that we made that needed to be adjusted to make everything line up. It was not much fun.
I was not in the mood for it. Any of the days I did it I had to chip away at it bit by bit, but I got that done just over a week ago. And it's done. I'm happy it's done. I committed to doing that before I touched book two. So I did not have to waste time in the editing process of book two, making sure I had everything lining up.
I needed to make sure I could just get on with it. I am now recapping where, Fool Me Twice as at and outlining, which is new to me as far as at the start of a project. I used an outlining process during the editing cycle to clarify what was going on. I'm effectively doing that right now to say what needs to carry over, what needs to happen?
What have I got happening and summarize all of that. I need to go through all the existing chapters and really just understand the detail of what I've written and make sure that that's going to stay where it is. And I need to understand the timeline of the whole manuscript. And does it now fit with what's supposed to be happening and what happened in A Fool's Errand?
The timeline for it is fairly aggressive. I want to try and have the finished first draft at the end of January, 2021. Move straight into editing and get it to my editor by April and with an earlier publication date than October. So I'd be hoping for August or September, if that's possible. That's what I'm looking to do.
It will come down a lot to whether I have progressed a lot more in my writing and experience and the way I craft the story or not. If I haven't made as much progress as I thought I have that I can just write it and then go back and edit through it. That will slow me down, but based on the late work I did on A Fool's Errand, I really feel now that I can do the first draft, sit down, evaluate it, edit right through it, and be much more comfortable about where the story's at and have a much better grip on, on the story and, and have produced a better story than I did in the first draft originally, of A Fool's Errand. So that's what comes next. I had a few reflections on, the whole process and particularly my first novel that I wanted to share, at publication letting go is really hard. I did want perfection, but it's unrealistic. setting the deadline was much more important than I realized at the time.
I understand the importance of deadlines, and I understand the importance of shipping, but the deadline, I said, as aggressive as it was in some ways allowed me to get it done. And those of you that may listen to this in the future that are writing novels for the first time or others that are trying to achieve things by giving yourself a deadline.
That's the ultimate way to hold yourself accountable and not making excuses to get around it. I always had soft deadlines, but once I put a hard deadline in that I could see was capable of being met, but will require a large stretch. It helped me get there. So I'm glad I did that.
I have said that I now feel like I'm an author and the truth is if I want to be an author. I now have to get to book two and get writing and I have, and I've started on it and there's no more excuses. It's time to do it. I'm no longer learning the same way I learned book one. I have more things to learn, but not the same things.
And I know I can do it and I need to get on and do it. And I want to, so I will, but that's, I have to get onto the next page, the next story, the next scene, all of the next ideas and get it done. One thing that my performance coach taught me was that I need to be able to recognize the achievement and, and acknowledge it to myself and just enjoy it.
And I have done that and I keep a copy of the printed book on my desk. All day, every day. So that even when I'm working on other matters, I remember that I wrote the story and I published that story and I'm doing that, but I also need to realize it's time to move on. The book is written and published.
It's no longer my story so much as it is the people that will read it's story. And I have a publisher's duty to get out there and market it. And I have an author's duty to get out there and write book two and book three and four and five and six. So the there's work to be done. There's a lot more work to be done.
It won't do itself. So it's my job to do it. And that's. What I shall do a final thought something I learned. I did not realize. I've listened to a lot of people talk about their journeys as an author and how the stories live in their head. A lot and the characters come to them. And I experienced lots of that when I was writing the story, but only in those moments.
Once the book was out there and people had read it and people started talking to me about the story, they read, everything changed. Suddenly I had someone to share what had been in my heart and brain for so long. I could share it with people. And people were now living in the world.
People were immersed in the world that I created and the sad thing, but it's exciting is that there's a portion of my brain. Now that is always in Dharatan. That's always there. It's just something changed. And it's there now and it exists. Its Tangible. It's real. It's real to other people and it's become more real to me.
And I now have those characters in my head all the time. There are things I want them to achieve and do, that they want to achieve and do, there's parts of the story floating around. I was not ready for that. I did not know that was going to happen. And, if you were to meet anyone that personally knows me in a face-to-face environment, and we start talking about A Fool's Errand and the book, they will all say to you, my eyes light up, I get animated, I jiggle around. I have really enjoyed this, but I enjoy even more the ability to see how people are taking this story on and to have little discussions with them about it. But to hear what they liked about the story, how each person got something different, the characters they love and hate, and everyone I've spoken to has got differences, little things, strange little things that stood out to some people, but not to others.
People seeing potential plot threads that may or may not be there, but it was interesting to see that they picked up on something, which I may have an awareness of, or may have been constructing in the longer story. And wasn't necessarily aware that it was on page. So there's just been a whole heap of stuff there that I've really, really enjoyed.
As I said earlier, I wasn't ready for it. It's become a permanent fixture in my brain. At times I don't want to do anything else, but sit down and write and write and write, which I don't have the privilege right now of doing, but I am thankful and grateful to all of the feedback from everyone so far, I will try and answer questions that are given to me, on the podcast, as well as to the people that ask.
So if you do have any questions about the story that you've read, that you would like to know or the world, if it's not going to create a spoiler for anyone else, I'll be glad to answer it on future podcast episodes. Till next time.
Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.