What inspired you to write fantasy fiction?
My love of fantasy fiction goes back to my childhood. I didn’t love to read until I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This was my first foray into speculative fiction, and I was hooked. Soon after, I read The Chronicles of Narnia, The Dragolance Chronicles, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (I had a chronicles thing going on for a while), The Belgariad, The Sword of Shannara, only to name a few. No genre could hook me like fantasy. I also spent much of my childhood training horses and working on the family farm. Sometimes it felt like I lived in another time, and those experiences inspired me. Several years ago I reached a crossroads in my life, and I decided to follow a long-time dream of writing a fantasy series. I wrote the first draft of Call of the Herald for myself, and it was not terrible. It was littered with minor issues and sometime self-indulgent but not terrible. Working with a talented editor inspired me to new heights. I stopped writing entirely for myself, and I began to write my story for everyone else. Now, as I look back on the result of the efforts of so many, I find myself inspired by what we have created.
In what year does The Dawning of Power take place?
This is subjective. The World of Godsland is a fantasy realm, a place whose timelines do not necessarily correlate to our own. The best answer I can give is that the timeframe would be similar to what we would call the Medieval Ages.
Who published The Dawning of Power?
In 2008 I formed White Wolf Press, LLC to publish my creative works. The Dawning of Power is printed on a traditional offset press and is also available through new technologies such as: Print-On-Demand, eBooks, and iPhone / iPod applications.
Why did you self-publish?
I reached a point where I knew I had a quality product, but I also lacked quality credentials. When I tried to look at myself from an agent’s point-of-view, I realized that I would be a risky acquisition. After all, publishing is a business and agents are in business to make money. No matter how good the writing, there are other factors to consider such as the lack of existing readership and no proof that I could promote my own work. Authors can’t expect their agent, publisher and publicist to do all the work. A great deal of book promotion comes from the author.
I had confidence in myself and my work, and I knew a market existed. I did some pre-press research and gauged the markets that were within my reach. Armed with this information, I went to press with confidence. Leveraging my technical skills, I began to build my author platform, as well as leveraging new delivery technologies and emerging markets. My author platform and readership are steadily growing, and I feel confident that when I next seek an agent, I will be able to present a solid business case backed by real statistical data. When looking for an agent, I believe it is important to think like a business person and not an artist, or you are bound to get your feelings hurt.
Self-publishing has thus far served me well, but I look forward to a future where a traditional publisher can help me expand my reach. Until then, I am happy to succeed as a traditional self-publisher.
Do you recommend assisted self-publishing or “vanity presses”?
The answer to this question depends greatly on goals of the individual. If you are writing a book for your family and friends, or if you expect to sell less than 100 copies, then assisted self-publishing may be a viable solution for you. I would still advise you to do your research. It may be that a cheaper, print-on-demand, solution, such as LuLu, would be more economical.
If, however, your goal is to achieve commercial success as a self-publisher, then using a vanity press would be ill-advised. I have nothing against getting some professional help in the publishing process, but the economics quickly become an issue with vanity presses. It is difficult to sell a 300 page book for $30, and that is about on par for the books I’ve seen produced by vanity presses. And if the author’s cost per book is anywhere near half the cover price, then forget selling on Amazon or other retail outlets. After they take their 50%-60% discount, there will be nothing left for the author. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that you won’t own your ISBN number!
A better solution is to take the time to set up your own small press. Buy your ISBNs, work with a cover and text-layout designer, and look into brokering a print run. There is more financial risk involved, and I must stress that you should do your market research before ordering thousands of books. It can be tempting to order 3000 books to get a price break, but I have to tell you even 1000 books is A LOT of BOOKS! Start small and work your way up. If you find this overwhelming or have questions, feel free to contact me and I will do my best to offer some advice.
Which character in The World of Godsland is based on you?
All of them and none, I suppose. There is only one character (so far) in the series that is based on a true-life individual, and he’s a cross-eyed bull . . .
How many books will be in The World of Godsland fantasy series?
I am planning for at least twenty books in the series (6 trilogies and 2 prequels). Note that the prequels will NOT be written until AFTER the rest of the series is complete. I promise! The series covers a 150+ year time span, and each trilogy will take place in its own unique set of circumstances. Some characters will span multiple trilogies, and others will not. I hope to maintain continuity and still be able to keep things fresh as the series progresses.
Where can I buy The Dawning of Power?
I’m glad you asked : ^ ). You can get it from this website, of course, and the following places to name a few:
You can order it from your local bookstore
Amazon international sites, such as Amazon.co.uk, .de, .sp, .ca, etc.
Is The Dawning of Power available on Kindle or the iPhone?
Yes and yes! Just got to the Amazon Kindle store or the iTunes App Store.
When will the next book in the series be ready?
I’m working on it.
Are you related to Jackson Rathbone or Basil Rathbone?
Let’s just say that I’ll never see any of the Twilight or Sherlock Holmes royalties . . .
How about drummer Dennis Rathbone or any of the Rathbones involved in harness racing, are you related to them?
Yup. Those good folks I’ll lay claim to.
What advice would you give to new writers who are considering self-publishing?
I can’t say this loudly enough: find a good editor! If you can, find someone who either specializes in your genre or at least has experience in your genre. Just because your loved ones tell you it’s great, don’t buy it. They love you. Find someone who doesn’t love you and doesn’t have a vested interest in your personal happiness, and have them give it a read. Put on your thick skin and be ready to not only accept constructive criticism but welcome it and act on it! Good feedback can make your writing better.
Other than that, do your research before you spend any money.