Looking Back: 2014

2014 is nearly over, with a mere three days left in the year before 2015 starts. I thought I’d take this time to look back on my year, with another post tomorrow talking about what I plan to do next year (which will be the special announcements post I mentioned a while ago).

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“The Mad Voyage of Prince Malock” is now available in print!

I am pleased to announce that the first novel in the Prince Malock World, The Mad Voyage of Prince Malock, is now available in trade paperback form via CreateSpace for $20.99 USD.

You can buy a copy of the book here.

Also, because it is available via extended distribution, you should be able to order it through your local bookstore, if for some reason you don’t want to buy it through CreateSpace.

The print version will also become available on Amazon in a few days. I’ll be sure to update this post when it is.

And remember: If you want to be the first to know of my new releases, sign up for my newsletter here.

Edit: You can now buy the paperback from Amazon here.

My take on the Amazon/Hachette Dispute

For those of you who may not know, Amazon and book publisher Hachette have been in a pretty public and major dispute over how much Amazon is allowed to price Hachette’s ebooks. From what I understand, Hachette wants higher ebook prices ($9.99+), while Amazon wants to price them lower (less than $9.99). This dispute has been going on for a while now and doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon.

In the beginning I eagerly followed every update about the dispute I could find. I did this because I believe it is part of my job, as an indie writer/publisher, to keep as up to date on news about the publishing industry as I can. I don’t want to be taken by surprise by some sudden or unexpected change, after all, the way some publishers and writers have in the past.

But recently I’ve been avoiding almost every article written on the subject, even if it is written by someone I like. Why?

Because the dispute has nothing to do with me*. I could honestly care less about who ‘wins’ because neither side’s victory or loss is going to affect me in any way. I am certainly not going to raise or lower the prices of my books in response to whatever happens. If I were a Hachette author or Amazon worker I might care, but I am neither, so I have no reason to give a hoot about which way the conflict goes.

Basically I just think there’s more drama surrounding this conflict than it deserves. I was especially disappointed when Stephen Colbert weighed in on it a while ago, not helped in the least by his misunderstanding the whole situation. I think that was the point when I just got fed up with it.

If Amazon and Hachette do come to some sort of agreement soon, I’ll definitely read about it. But I’m honestly not holding my breath and definitely won’t be altering my own plans in reaction to whatever agreement they come up with.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to return to writing my next novel, which does concern me and therefore deserves my attention.

*Dean Wesley Smith wrote a good blog post about it back in July that reflects my own attitude toward the dispute quite well.

“The Mad Voyage of Prince Malock” is now available!

First book in the Prince Malock Duology

The Mad Voyage of Prince Malock

You read that headline right. My fantasy novel, The Mad Voyage of Prince Malock, is now for sale on Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords* for $7.99!

Here’s the synopsis:

Prince Tojas Malock, Crown Prince of the island of Carnag, is chosen by the sea godess Kano to go on a dangerous and potentially lethal voyage to the island at the edge of the world, World’s End.

Confident in his own skills, Malock assembles the finest crew money can buy and sets out into the mysterious southern seas beyond the edge of the Northern Isles. But when he loses almost the entire fleet in a month, leaving a single ship struggling to remain afloat and a ragtag crew that wants to be anywhere but, Malock realizes that he is in way over his head. It doesn’t help that the information about the southern seas provided to him by his lover – an aquarian woman named Vashnas, the only mortal to ever reach World’s End and return alive – turns out to be less-than-accurate, causing him to wonder what else she might be hiding from him, and why.

Kinker Dolan, an old fisherman from the small and obscure island of Destan, has a secret. It’s a terrible secret, a secret that fills him with guilt and shame in equal measure. Yet when he attempts to flee Destan to escape his guilt, he ends up getting drawn into Prince Malock’s mad voyage, where he must use all of his wits and knowledge to keep his life – and his secret – safe.

With mortal-eating gods, murderous aquarian pirates, and betrayals within the crew itself, will Prince Malock, Kinker, and the rest of the crew of the Iron Wind make it to World’s End alive? And even if they do, how will they react to the true purpose of the voyage?

And if you want to be immediately notified of when the sequel, The Return of Prince Malock, is released, then subscribe to my email newsletter here.

*Will be available in Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and other ebookstores very soon.

Another victory

Today I finished the third draft of my upcoming novel, The Mad Voyage of Prince Malock.

I am done rewriting or, as some writers call it, ‘redrafting.’ I will put it aside for now, work on a few short stories, and then come back to it to do some editing. I could do the editing right away, as I know of several problems that need to be addressed, but this draft was a lot harder for me to write than the last two and I would like to focus on something else for a while, just to give my mind a break.

After I edit out those errors, I will then give it to some friends of mine to look over. And after that, I will get it ready for publishing, which should be sometime later this year if all goes according to plan. So excited.

-Tim

Taking Charge of my Business

I hope to make a career out of writing fiction.

That is a rather ambitious dream, when you consider all of the obstacles that new and old writers alike must constantly deal with. Scams seem to be around every corner, plenty of people will take your rights and your money with a smile on their face, there’s a ton of misinformation about writing and publishing everywhere you look, and sometimes you get sick and you miss a few days of writing and you think, this is it, this proves I’m not a writer, that I’m a fraud, that I’ll never make any money off this. Even though you have not yet published even one book yet.

Indeed, there is no guarantee I’ll ever make a living at this. Joe Konrath calls publishing a lottery and I am starting to think there’s some truth to that metaphor when you consider the millions of books published each year, traditional, indie, or otherwise, and how many new writers give up early on. Indie-/self-publishing has made it easier to make a living writing fiction, true, but it still takes a while to build a dedicated readership who will buy basically anything you write.

Nonetheless, I still want this to be my career. I’m taking a long-term view of the business, trying to give myself time and space to learn and make mistakes and to write a lot of books. It’s not easy because I want to be published now and I want to be making a living now, too, but I still have a lot to learn and it wouldn’t do for me to upload my first novel to Amazon or some other website right away until I’ve got a proper grasp of things like formatting and cover design, for example.

This is why I am indie-publishing, actually. I would like to have as much control over my business as I can, even if that doesn’t guarantee me anything except a lot of hard work. Indie-publishing gives me that control and indie-publishing is a viable option in today’s world, so I’m gonna give it a go and see where that takes me.

Oddly, I am excited for my future, maybe because I have set realistic goals. Right now, all I want to do is make enough money off my fiction (both novels and short stories and maybe other things, too, later on) to live off of. True, it may take a while for me to achieve that goal, but it seems far more reasonable that uploading one book to Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Kobo or whatever and expecting it to sell a million copies within its first few weeks or months.

Whenever I get worried or depressed about my future as a writer, I remind myself to keep writing and learning and to never give up. I believe that as long as I do that, then maybe someday I’ll achieve my dream of becoming a fulltime career writer. Maybe.

I can only hope.

-Tim

Positive Thinking is Fuel

My dream is to become a fulltime, professional fiction writer.

That’s what I want to do. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time and I’ve only recently started to take the necessary steps to make that dream a reality. I’m still in the process of learning a lot of things and I think it will be a while before I can actually call myself a professional.

The road to becoming a professional fiction writer is difficult and beset with many difficulties, even now that the rise of indie-publishing has made it easier for fiction writers to make some real money off their work. Even if you write great books, know how to market and promote your book effectively, and design (or hire someone else to design) awesome book covers, it can still take a while to get your career going.

Sometimes, when I think about it all, I get discouraged. There’s no guarantee I’ll make a living. I mean, I’ve been doing everything I can to take care of the craft and business side of writing (all the while learning as much as I can), but even knowing I am doing the best I can, sometimes I wonder if my best is good enough.

As a result, I try to think positively whenever I can. I remind myself of my victories and my strengths. I acknowledge that I still have a lot to learn and that I won’t succeed right away, but I’m not going to pretend that I’ve made NO progress or that I will never succeed. That type of thinking is a good way to kill dreams and creativity, two very important parts of success, in my opinion.

But I would be amiss if I said positive thinking alone was enough. There are some people who think that. They believe that all they need to do is think about good things or how good they are and that if you do just that, then you’ll get everything you want and it will all work out in the end. They forget that positive thinking is fuel, the fuel that helps make our dreams a reality, but by itself is fairly useless.

Imagine I told you I was wanted to go to, say, Austin. Because I don’t live near enough to Austin to walk there or take a bus, I must take a car.

Now would it make sense for me to grab a tank of gasoline and say that this tank, by itself, will get me to Austin? No! I would need to put the gasoline in the car in order for it to be any use. Gasoline is useless without a car to put it in. Likewise, a car cannot get anywhere without at least a little gas in its tank.

Think of positive thinking as fuel. By itself, positive thinking doesn’t do much except make us feel better about ourselves. But if we let it fuel our actions, like how gas fuels a car, then it is extremely useful and even necessary.

For example, positive thinking by itself won’t make me a professional fiction writer. I wish it would, but by itself it can’t do much and may actually be harmful because I can trick myself into believing I am doing something important or necessary when in fact I’m not doing anything at all.

Instead, I use positive thinking as a way to help me learn from my mistakes and to take the steps necessary to achieve my dreams. When I run into a problem or have to learn something that seems daunting, I remind myself that I’ve done this before, that I’ve learned difficult things before, and that it will work out so long as I keep at it and never give up.

If you use positive thinking in this way, then you have a better chance at success than you would otherwise.

What do you think about positive thinking? Has positive thinking helped (or is helping you) get past certain failures or challenges in your life? Share your thoughts in the comments!

-Tim

Need Recommendations for Novels Featuring Characters Going through Crisis of Faith

I’ve recently came up with an idea for a project I want to work on very soon, but in order to start it, I need to read at least seven novels that feature at least one character (not necessarily the protagonist, though that would be preferable) who struggle to retain belief in God.

Any novel from any genre is appropriate and they can be old or new. Self-published, traditional published, and indie published novels are all acceptable, too, as are ebooks and print books. I don’t care who the author is, either. The only other limitation I must add is that the novels must be written in English (it’s the only language I can read well, though I can read a little bit of Spanish). You can even recommend your own novel, if you want.

As long as the novel features at least one character who struggles to retain belief in God (the resolution to that struggle is irrelevant), I’ll read it.

-Tim