A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Closing Thoughts

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

In a sense I suspect many may be disappointed by the way this series of posts ended. Many probably were expecting much more detail, and maybe a better sense of direction. Still with writers being anywhere on their paths to success it means that being specific or drilling down to that exact item, or specific advice would be impossible. Each of us is on a unique journey, a path only we can take. Others can view it and take away what may be important, but in the end it will only be a small part of the overall process or picture.

For me finding Joel Friedlander, (joelfriedlander.com) was that final piece that made it happen for me, (And no I’m not being paid to say this. In fact this person is unaware of this post). And we all must realize that his solutions are not the only ones available to us. There are many great sites out there with great teachers and educators who are willing to tutor or mentor. And there are also the opposite. So it behooves us to research before investing. With the anonymity of the web it is easy to lose one’s money with no recourse.

There are sites like, authorscommunity.net where they are set up to help and assist authors in their journeys. And we can always look to Writers Digest, and The Writer magazine, since it is their business to bring important information, training, suggestions, and trends to the writer. Or a site such as authors.me where they attempt to bring writers, publishers, agents, and editors together.Sites that didn’t exist in the recent past.  And as far as sites I could continue to list them, but then again, there’d be no room for anything but websites.

I could have also gone through the mechanics of what and how I do my writing, (but this isn’t what this or these posts are about). Still, if you think about it, this is my personal way of attacking the whole project from beginning to end, and it works for me. And while parts may work for others, we are each individuals who will tackle the problems before us in our own personal way. There is no one right or wrong way to do any of this. I can remember my mother saying that my dad would always try to make her do something the way he did. She always responded back with, “I don’t do it that way”.

We must remember that as individuals we will always see the problem from our personal perspective. And with this we will also solve whatever that problem is with what has worked for us. So while we may want to help others with the way we do something it may not work for them. That is probably why giving one the tools and understanding to use those tools is as far as we need to go. From there all of us must learn to fly on our own.

We may look back fondly on that particular mentor that made the light shine in the darkness, and understanding suddenly dawn. Yet if we honestly think about that experience we will see that they allowed us the room to make mistakes, to then come back and ask questions. And yes, while they were the teacher in truth they probably were more of a guide keeping us within the boundaries we needed to be. Using their experience to keep us from falling too hard and becoming discouraged.

So consider this as a series of posts on my personal journey and an overview of the road I traveled. It cannot be your road. Take away from it what is important to you. In the end only you can move yourself along your personal journey. Will it be easy? No. Rarely is such the case. So expect it to be hard, and if some parts are easy then this type of disappointment is positive. For me when such happens I generally wait until the other shoe drops because there always seems to be something waiting in the wings I hadn’t anticipated.

Oh yes, some of you may have been wondering if those novels I’ve self-published were just short little things that might be considered novellas. No not really, since my shortest is close to three hundred pages, the longest which combines a trilogy into a single book is eleven hundred and fifty plus pages, and the longest stand alone novel is over six hundred and fifty pages in length. I’ve released two trilogies with the other three as stand alone novels. Remember:

Set those goals, and keep your mind and eyes on what those goals are. As in life, there are always distractions, always other things to pull you away from your path, your personal journey. And never, never give up. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

Advertisements

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Eight

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

At times it seems like there is nothing out there that can move things along into the direction that one needs to go. So I suspect at this point many give up. We have to remember that we are not the only ones who have been down this road. It is also important to remember that many stop at this point and fall away thinking about all the time they’ve wasted and that there surely are easier ways and other things which are available. In their mind it is definitely time to move on.

We have a plaque in this house that simply states ,”Never Give Up.” Three little words that are important to remember. Still and in the end there are no guarantees – none. You see the results of this most often when someone is fighting a terrible illness or injury. As long as they are fighting they seem to persevere. Of course for many it doesn’t matter since they are terminal. Yet, one can see, once  they give up, it is soon after this that they die. There is a point where one becomes tired of the fight. (Still, we are all terminal. It’s just the “when” that’s unknown.) This is true for anything we do in life. How many times have we been frustrated and eventually give up considering it a lost cause? And if any of us would honestly look back we will see this happening in our own lives.

So I continue to try, to never give up, and pursue that dream of being a successful writer. Truthfully to have completed and published – whether traditional or self-publishing – a novel can be considered a success. Many start this journey and never get but a few words written on the page. Finding that in the end, it’s not as simple as it appears. For me, so far, it has been nine novels – all self-published.

And since this series of posts deal with that journey I wrap it all up this week, followed by my closing thoughts next week. I have to admit, up to this time that I’ve learned a lot. Still what I knew at the beginning wasn’t even close to the knowledge needed, (even though I felt I knew enough). So I continued my personal search to learn more and to be able to take control of the overall process. This lack of knowledge and the learning of this forced me to drop many of the preconceived ideas I had, which is probably a good thing.

It was during this time that I received an email for a free webinar. Now any who have attended these know that it does two things. First, it tries to sell you a product, and secondly it builds an email list for the ones who are presenting the webinar. I knew I was sadly lacking the tools for dealing with the publicity or book marketing side, and this webinar addressed this. So I signed up and watched the webinar.

In a sense this is where things began to change. The one hosting the webinar was Joel Friedlander (joelfriedlander.com). And the one presenting the webinar was Joan Stewart (publicityhound.com). I learned more in that one class or webinar than I knew about the subject. I purchased the product. And with the knowledge gained I began to notice the very thing being taught was used by established authors and can be described as a media kit.

Now if you decide to go to the sites I’ve just listed great. With Joel, once there, head to the “sites” in the menu at the top of the page. Why you may ask. Simply stated, here are links to all of his sites and everything that he has available, for a price of course, to assist the indie author on his or her journey. And I’ve personally spent a lot of time and money on many of the products he has available.

I have to say that what I’ve learned through his webinars and products have brought more understanding and knowledge for the industry I find myself in. I use his templates for my books, I’ve learned about publishing, and so many other things. And he continues to offer webinars as the host as he brings in others who have expertise that is important to the indie writer. In fact I just finished a webinar that dealt with what’s known as “copy”. And simply stated that’s your blurb, or anything written that is about and outside of your novel.

I’ve found that writing blurbs and such isn’t easy. In fact it’s hard. What was presented opened my eyes to a different, and I’d say a better way of writing this critical material. I couldn’t afford the cost of the actual course this time around, so will take away what I can from the webinar.

Now, to be honest, I’m sure there are many great sites out there to assist one in whatever direction they want to go. Finding that right one can help propel one in the right direction and give one the knowledge needed to be successful in the end. I have purchased other courses over time and found that so far what I’ve picked up from Joel is, by far, better presented, detailed, timely, and accurate. And his products are always being evaluated and improved. (No, I’m in no way affiliated with or are being paid for these comments)

In conclusion what I can take away from this is the fact that one must never stop learning, never stop improving, and never stop period. It is important to set those goals and to attain them. It is important to continue to improve on all levels. To continue your education, and as your knowledge grows so will your ability to see things and make sense of what you are seeing. It’s always frustrating to see something that’s important and it goes right over one’s head.

This has  been a journey that’s still moving, changing and growing. And this isn’t one for the faint of heart, or for the ones who don’t have the will or fortitude to continue. There are no guarantees in life, as I stated earlier, but if one doesn’t try, then one will never succeed. Next week I close out this series of posts with some closing thoughts. God Bless, and have a great week! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Seven

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

Okay, I had these completed manuscripts, and at this point I was at a loss as to the direction to go, as well as the way to do it. How was I going to get them out into the world? During this time Writers Digest started their own publishing house called Blue Ash. They touted the fact that they used the distribution network from Book Baby, which is high praise for the company I was using. Whether Blue Ash is still operating I honestly don’t know as I never used their services.

Somehow I needed to get my other stories or novels out into the world. Here the years were flying by and I definitely wasn’t getting any younger. What I mean is the fact that I started this new career after retiring from another. So time available to me wouldn’t be as great as one who decided, in their twenties, to pursue a career in writing. I remember reading what one author said stating that it had taken ten years before his career took off. Ten years, I thought, I don’t have that luxury. Yet here it is eleven years from those beginnings and next year I hit seventy.

Seventy, really? I do truly wonder where the years have gone. They have flown so fast that to find myself here at this time in my life and at this age is not only a surprise, but in some ways a shock. Of course my mother who is presently in her nineties laughs at one who is so much younger than she. Still, even for her, the years have moved along much too fast.

I knew I needed to learn more, but at this point didn’t know where to look, or what direction to turn. It was about this time that I got an email for a free webinar for marketing and the ins and outs of what would help authors with their platforms and the marketing of their novels. Of course these types of webinars usually have a sales pitch at the end. And for a price one can buy the product touted in the webinar.

Up until this time I must admit that I had been fumbling in the dark. And what I learned about the ones putting on this webinar is the fact that both had been in the industry for years, had assisted authors, had published their own books, and understood the process involved. And to be honest, the class was well worth the time even if I hadn’t purchased the offered materials. Okay, I’m the type, again because money has always been tight, and a rare commodity, that usually waits until the “special price offer” is about to expire before committing. And even then I feel guilty about spending money that should probably go elsewhere.

So after arguing with myself, and trying to decide, I finally gave in and purchased that particular kit. It was quite obvious that I really did know next to nothing about this part of the industry, and the webinar made it painfully clear. So I finally gave in. Was I sorry? I know that all of us have been mad at ourselves for purchasing something that in the end either didn’t meet our expectations or ended up never being used, and thusly a waste. Yet in this case I wasn’t sorry. What was inside that kit was worth the price of admission. It’s always nice when that happens.

Of course this didn’t necessarily solve my dilemma of those unpublished manuscripts. Next week I go into what this webinar became, and whether it went further than only one. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant/godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Five

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

On the social media side Facebook seemed to be one of the more important ones. Is it truly? Now that one I cannot answer personally. Truthfully I’m not a social media guy. I don’t like to put “me” out to the world with every little thing that I do on any particular day, or that I’m so important that everybody just has to know what I’m doing. Yet, it is said that it is critical, as an author, to be there for ones’ fans.

And speaking of fans or readers where are they? I know that Goodreads is an important site for finding them. So after a suggestion I went there, joined and set up an author page which would show my novels. Still and even with the onsight tutorial I was at loss as to what to do with it, let alone all the other places I was supposed to be. This led to another webinar, (from Writers Digest – not free, of course) dealing with one’s presence on Goodreads. And the information and education provided was timely and good. So I applied what I could.

During this time of learning and education I continued to write, building the number of novels I had in my portfolio. Still at this point in time I can still consider this a hobby and not a career. Why, you may ask. Simply stated, a hobby costs you money, and a career earns you money. So far I’ve spent significantly more than I’ve seen coming back in. My ROI (Return On Investment) is highly negative at this point and time.

Now I had a number of unpublished manuscripts and wondered what I would do with them. It led me back to the point where I began to think about traditional publishing once again. (I even submitted a manuscript to Baen Books for a possible chance at being published. Here there’s a good chance one will not hear back for at least a year.) It was during this time with the knowledge I had gained that I wrote a novel specifically written with the length a publisher would require for that “debut” novel in the genre I mostly write.

From here it was back to the webinars where I took a class specifically to learn the ins and outs of queries, (again from Writers Digest, and again not free). An agent even critiqued the one I created. At this point I still hadn’t given up on the idea of the traditional publishing route. So after finishing the class and tweaking my query I submitted it to another group of agents. Again the result was nothing more than more rejection letters.  It was also during this time when a new site became available, authors.me .

This site touted the fact that it was a place where agents, publishers, editors, and writers could come together on common ground. It was a place to be discovered, and to find that elusive agent or possible future contract for one’s hard work. So I joined. And when I finished the manuscript I had written specifically for this chance I uploaded it to the site. Again you need to understand that there’s a free side, and a monthly fee side. I understand this. To keep a page active requires funds.

Still with finances remaining tight I had to go for the free side, and I did have a publisher who seemed interested, but she became interested through Pitmad, (I comment on this a bit further along in this post) not Authors.me. In the end it was rejected. So I went back into the novel, which was 82,000 words at the time, and reworked the whole thing pushing it to around 100,000 words. This pushed it right to the limit of where “debut” novels were supposed to be. And then at the same time I had presented the novel here on this blog showing it as it was originally written, followed by showing the changes made. Still once it was rejected by that one publisher the same manuscript couldn’t be tried again with them. So I uploaded the revised manuscript to authors.me, and nothing happened.

This put me back to square one. During this time period, and a little before authors.me, I learned about something that was happening on Twitter. It’s called Pitmad, (If you’re unfamiliar with Pitmad then run a search). This happened about three to four times a year, and gave one a way to pitch their manuscripts to agents and such within the confines of Twitter. So I thought, why not? Here, again I pitched the manuscript, Unexpected, Unplanned, and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic adventure. Yes, as stated above, I had a publisher interested, still in the end it went nowhere. I did this for a couple of years hitting every Pitmad I could, but alas nothing came of it in the end.

I kept wondering, what was I doing wrong? Still in life there’s only two directions – forward or backward. Next week I continue on in my quest to get my novels out into the world. Have a great week and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Four

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

Presently, I’m still with Book Baby, although I haven’t added any recent novels. In fact what they have from me are the original four novels they published as EBooks, (since then I’ve released three as second editions) and eventually once I’ve published the final one as a second edition I will probably leave. Looking back, overall there was still a lot I didn’t understand about the process of preparing a novel for publication. Blurbs come to mind. And the importance of a blurb cannot be overstated. It is the second most critical aspect of your novel as far as gaining readership. The first, of course, is your cover. Then I can add keywords. Keywords – I didn’t have a clue to be honest. Yet each and every one of these things are critical to one’s success. Of course if your content sucks then it won’t go anywhere or mean anything in the end no matter how good your cover and blurb is.

Then with Book Baby I learned some of the restrictions that such a relationship entails. If one wanted to make changes, whether minor or major, and here I’m not referring to the manuscript, then one change a year is allowed. Anything beyond that would cost money. And other than putting your novels into their network, nothing would be done, (changes were coming). Of course advertising was and is your responsibility. Yes, if one of your EBooks sold, then your share or royalty would be placed into their accounting system.

In the years that followed very little happened with these novels. They basically sat there collecting electronic dust. It made me wonder what I was doing wrong. Was this, in the end, something that only family would enjoy? Would it simply be a family legacy to my future generations that one of their relatives from the past had written a number of novels? I truly hoped not.

Again with the lack of movement I began to wonder if they, (the novels) really were good enough. Still I felt the stories were strong, and the desire to continue writing was still there. In fact on the few reviews I’d gotten the ratings were almost always high. I felt that the key simply was to push towards that original goal and know that word of mouth, and the right story, the right novel could lead to a following, and the sale of those novels.

Yet it was necessary to continue to learn. During this time I had created a Facebook page, (not a fan, thank you) Began a blog, Words in the Wind, created a Webpage, fdbrant.com, and joined Goodreads as an author. Now I’m a long way from being rich, and money has always been tight, so this meant that I’d have to be responsible for that webpage creation. I don’t code or write HTML, so I looked over options for software that would allow me to create the webpage. (And this also meant that any place I might set up needed to be cheap and affordable.)

Eventually I settled on Serif Webplus. Then through a suggestion from a friend who dealt with the web all the time I went with Godaddy as the provider where my webpage would exist. (Since that original webpage creation I’ve since updated and am using Godaddy’s webpage builder.) For any who wanted to view the page it was simply typing in the address and there you are. Still this was additional funds out the door that I didn’t have. Yet without a presence on the net or web the chances of being discovered were just about zero.

I knew of blogs, but had never read any as they were of no interest. So I headed over to WordPress, their free side, and went through the process of setting up my blog and naming it Words in the Wind. If one went there, (or here) they’d see my icon as a windmill. In fact if one was to look at the full address to this blog “windmills” would be there. I looked at windmills as a metaphor for writing. The blades representing words and ideas, and because the windmill turned to face the wind meant, in my mind, that it faced in all directions just like the genres which go in all directions. And this then led to the title.

Now with all the social media in place, and the hard work to get it there, now what? I truthfully didn’t know. Next week I continue this journey. Have a great week and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

Published in: on January 27, 2018 at 7:18 am  Leave a Comment  

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Three

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

So in this new “wild west” of publishing everything was changing at a rapid rate. And into this new world with the little knowledge I had I thought the smart thing to do was to take advantage of one of these companies, (companies that converted manuscripts into EBooks) and have them publish my novels. Still, at this point I had hope that somewhere during this process that I’d land or find an agent, and begin the process that led to traditional publishing.

Traditional publishing seemed to be the best way to get known, and maybe in the end produce enough income that I might be able to live off the proceeds. As time went on and as I learned more about this route, I found there was much I didn’t like. In a sense, after all that effort, hard work, time invested, and all that isolation as one worked on that particular manuscript or project, in the end you sold your rights to all of this hard personal work to a company that probably wouldn’t invest much time and effort on the project. And if there wasn’t an immediate return bury it, leaving the writer out in the cold with no recourse.

I didn’t like those odds, and add to it the fact that if I wanted those rights back, I’d had to purchase them. So while having your novel published by one of the big houses seemed to be the way to success, it wasn’t necessarily so. It was then I learned that in this modern world of publishing, much of the work, after the fact, would still fall to you the writer. They, (publishers) now require that the writer have a platform. The writer now had to be on social media, have a website, and in most cases have an active blog. The writer now would be responsible for all the correspondence with fans of his or her works, and in many ways be responsible for getting the word out.

As I thought about this, I began to wonder why I would need a publisher since they were requiring all of this from me. I mean if I was doing this as an independent then I’d be doing very much the same thing. Sure, I understand that with the budgets that publishers have, besides their reach, there is a better chance of becoming known through them. Yet, at the same time that chance overall would be really small.

Going independent meant that I’d be the one in control of everything. Of course this meant that I’d be in control of everything, including the costs involved, the decisions for content, release dates, distribution, announcements, and so many other small details that it might become overwhelming. Especially since I really knew nothing about this industry.

So back to Writers Digest and a webinar on self-publishing I went. After this I did some research and decided that the company I would go with to create my EBooks, followed by the fact they had a great distribution network, was Book Baby. With them you paid for the production costs, and they would then distribute your EBook throughout their network, collect the royalties, handle the accounting, and once your royalties hit a certain threshold transfer the funds into you account.

For me this seemed to be a good solution or compromise. It appeared they had the experience, distribution network, and a system that would allow one to track their books. So my first four novels were originally converted and published by them. Still, as time moved on their prices continued to climb, and with the last one I sent them to convert the costs had risen to well over $400. This was rapidly heading in the direction of unaffordable. And while they did distribute, I really wasn’t seeing much results. Again, POD (Print on Demand) was still in the future, and the small independent print shops where one might get a manuscript printed was well beyond most indie authors as far as costs. This still left the issue of distribution. and how one would get their printed books out to the retailers.

So for me it was time to do some additional research and continue to learn and understand the industry I found myself in. And, of course, this industry was now very fluid and big changes were in the wind and happening almost overnight.

Next week I continue my journey to becoming and indie writer, and publisher. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Two

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

As I’ve stated in an earlier post, I thought that once a manuscript was written then it’s done. I guess that was one of the first hard lessons learned. Without editing there is no story. And in a sense even though I hadn’t thought about editing, when I had written book two in the Discovery trilogy, I had no choice but to return to the first one and make corrections. In other words edit the darn thing.

So now what? How was I to get these manuscripts in front of publishers and editors? Well I had returned to subscribing to Writers Digest, and ended up purchasing one of their books that gave lists of agents, and such. So I picked out a few that I thought would work with the genre I wrote, submitted queries, and waited. Every one came back as rejections. And what made it worse was the fact the rejections were form letter rejections, which meant no interest at all.

During this time I became a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA). Every year they host conferences, and also have a contest tied in with their conferences allowing authors to submit manuscripts, (for a price of course) to be judged. Then at the conference the winner would be announced. Then this winner would have the opportunity to talk to publishers and agents who would be specifically interested in their manuscript.

This was a no brainer. I had to submit to this contest and hope I was good enough to at least reach the finals. Of course the winner wouldn’t be announced until the end of the conference. So I attended the writer’s conference, and I have to admit that it was worth the price of admission. The only issue for me was the price of admission only allowed me to do this once.

The classes I attended added to the knowledge that I lacked, and as far as my manuscript, it didn’t go anywhere. Still, by this time I had written another novel and had brought a query with me, hoping to get the opportunity to give it to either an agent, or publisher. I was fortunate enough to find one who accepted the query. Still, I never heard back. So in the end another failed query and opportunity.

I guess, in many ways what you see here is pretty standard for any unknown. It has been stated that one could paper their walls with rejection letters before finally landing a deal somewhere. Still I continued to learn. And eventually, after taking one of many webinars I learned a little about self-publishing, and the beginnings of the revolution in electronic books. Whether you have a love or hate relationship, it is Amazon that drove this, forcing the other publishers to come along for the ride, kicking and screaming, and fighting this trend.

POD (Print on Demand) hadn’t arrived as of yet. So a few internet companies began to offer services for converting manuscripts into the EBook formats – Epub, and Mobi. Some would do the work for free taking a percentage of the sales as their share for the work performed. Others would require payment up front, and then any sales belonged to you.

In the beginning of all of this one was responsible for the cover designs, and obviously the content, and formatting of that content. It was later that many of these specialty houses began offering services that would  do this work for you, again for a price. Still, if we were to look at some of my early covers that I created verses the ones presently on my novels then it becomes painfully obvious where the talent is.

Next week I move onto my first foray into this new world of self-publishing. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

Discovery

Available now, two new novels: Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure (And the link to the webpage for this book: (http://www.fdbrant.com/page21.html), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, (And the link to the webpage for this book: http://www.fdbrant.com/page20.html) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/page19.html) is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage:http://www.fdbrant.com/article02.html)  Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1) and Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage:http://www.fdbrant.com/desperatetosurvive.html) Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1) are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/page18.html) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/article01.html). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback (ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6) Kindle (ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3) and Epub (978-1-946179-05-0).

* * *

If you caught last week’s post you know that I’m presenting the novels I’ve written in the order I’ve written them. And this one is book two in the Discovery Trilogy. Restating what I said last week, and since this is the second, I had just come back to writing. And until I wrote The Ones Before, I had never tackled a full length novel. Looking back it had been years, and I mean years since I had tried my hand at writing, and I found that almost the whole industry had changed.

There was much that I got wrong, and as in anything worth pursuing, I continue to learn and improve. And while this novel is over one hundred sixty five thousand words, (approximately 500 pages) making it long for what publishers want, it continues to tell the story of a future world thousands of years after an apocalyptic event. And what this novel did and it’s the only time I’ve faced this, is to force me to go back to book one, The Ones Before, and rewrite portions of it – again. This had to happen to make the two novels consistent and work together since it obviously deals with the same story.

To be truthful, this second novel was a much better written first draft than the first one. Still I’ve had to do heavy editing and revisions to it also. Originally the story was to be a single novel, but, as in my other trilogy, it became two, and then eventually three. And where book one was originally to end, this happened instead in book two – Not that book one doesn’t reach closure because it does.

All three novels take place in a post apocalyptic world where only the “when” is different. Books one and two take place thousands of years after the event while book three is approximately two hundred years or three generations since the destruction. In many ways book three shows the beginnings of trends and traditions that are part of the societies and the world of the first two books. And book three presents the remnant of the ones who became known as The Ones Before.

Once again this story is a result of a recurring dream, one that left me with images that I wanted to bring to life. And this story, these novels began it all for me. Because once these first two were complete, (not necessarily ready for primetime) I found I had a desire to continue. As I stated last week, I set a goal, at the time of writing these novels, of writing eight. Was it realistic? I didn’t know, but knew, after checking those milestones, I could always adjust that figure if it became necessary. So I pushed off into the unknown.

This journey began at the end of 2006, and I consider 2007 to be the actual time of writing that first novel. And here we are ten years later. So the obvious question is did I make that goal, or did I have to adjust it? And the truth here is yes, (yes what?) I had to adjust it. I had to adjust it higher and changed the goal to ten, which I’ll make and surpass also. And as I stated last week, I found that it takes me a year to produce a novel. This includes the writing, editing, revisions, and rewrites. Yet even then they aren’t necessarily ready for publication as there’s many additional steps that must be taken before any of them will see the light of day and are available.

So book one, within the storyline, ends with success. Yet the ones we are following have a second destination, a second site, and have plans to head there once they wrap up the project where they presently are located – which happens to be the desert. Now I stated that with this series if one wanted they could follow every character and the lands where they live, travel, and work, as I used real lands. No none of the cities, towns, and such exist in the story, but every piece of land is there.

In this novel we continue to follow the six protagonists and their lives. They are a brother and sister, a scout, a cartographer, the Head Keeper of the past, and his wife. And there is a point in the story where all of them finally come together and meet for the first time. Until then they remain separate. Well generally, as obviously the brother and sister are together as well as the Head Keeper of the Past and his wife. And the scout and the cartographer are friends. Still it is an accidental discovery that makes the wheels begin to turn that will bring all of them together and in the end lead to these important discoveries, and the influences these discoveries will make on their known world.

And with Discovery the story actually wraps up. So at the completion of this one they, the novels, went to the shelves where they have remained these past ten years. Again, at the time of writing I didn’t think anything about editing, or the whole process necessary to make the novels and stories work. I thought, wrongly, when one writes nothing else needs to be done.  In fact I felt so strongly and positively about this one that I submitted it to a contest. Of course it failed miserably – no editing and such, no story.

Still, in the end, I love my characters, their lives, and the world where they live. And we really do get up close and personal with these characters, and everything about them. And speaking of their world I think that most of us would find it difficult to live in that world. We love our modern conveniences, our medical advancements, transportation, and such. In this world none of that exists. The world would be closer to the early to middle 1800’s, than the world of the 21st century. Populations are small, as we continue to recover from the event that almost wiped the human race off the planet. And nothing, absolutely nothing from our time seems to have survived. We have started over.

Have a great week, and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

 

 

The Ones Before

Available now, two new novels: Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure (And the link to the webpage for this book: (http://www.fdbrant.com/page21.html), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, (And the link to the webpage for this book: http://www.fdbrant.com/page20.html) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/page19.html) is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage:http://www.fdbrant.com/article02.html)  Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1) and Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage:http://www.fdbrant.com/desperatetosurvive.html) Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1) are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/page18.html) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/article01.html). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback (ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6) Kindle (ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3) and Epub (978-1-946179-05-0).

* * *

In the weeks ahead I’ll be presenting each of the novels I’ve written. This is the first. I plan on going into a bit of background on each, what my thoughts were at the time, and the direction the novel was originally to take and where it actually ended. And during this process I’ll present them in the order written. And with the first I’ll be providing an introduction to this overall series of posts.

One would think that for example, trilogies are written as a set, one after another until complete. And I suspect for many writers it is this way. Still, with the two trilogies I’ve written neither were. In both cases the first two were written followed by other novels before returning to complete the series. Again, both of these trilogies are open for additional novels. Whether that happens is an unknown.

In truth, after retiring and then beginning this career as a writer I’m finding that after fifty plus years of working that I’m burning out. Yes, in comparison to the hours I spent working my original career, this is a leisurely journey. Still like any job, it requires time, and while I don’t punch a clock any more, I still must be disciplined, spend each day concentrating on the writing, editing, and things like this blog.

This probably requires more discipline, concentration, and dedication than anything I’ve done. And while it would be nice to see some financial gain for the time, effort, and finances spent, and it hasn’t been cheap, there’s a good chance in the end that there will be no such reward. Leaving my reward to be the actual completion of a number of novels, all that I self-published. I know that many have started such a journey never to finish.

I can say I’ve learned a lot, and know that as far as this industry I’ve barely begun. So much has changed since the time when I first tried my hand at writing. In fact the whole industry is different, and now so much of what must be done has to be done by the writer. It’s no longer write the novel, submit it, and if one is fortunate enough to have it chosen by one of the publishing houses, then from there they’d take over and do everything necessary to get it out to the world. And if you’re a writer you know of what I speak.

And when you consider that there are over a million new publications each year then for an unknown to become known is close to impossible. Statistics say that nine out of ten writers fail. And to be honest this might be even higher. So when I began this journey in earnest these facts were something I was unaware of. Maybe it’s a good thing since it meant that I wouldn’t be discouraged right out of the gate.

Still some of the ignorance remained with me through those first couple of years where I learned how long it takes to bring forth a new work. For me, from beginning to end, and here I’m not referring to actually publishing, it takes about a year to do all the serious work. That means writing the novel followed by serious editing. While it is less than ideal I must do my own editing. For this I have no choice. Financially, hiring an editor, is beyond my means.

Editing, by far, is the most difficult and important part of the process. For me I have a method, as I’m sure most writers do. And for me I go through a novel – first page to last – a minimum of three times. Still with the ones I’m presently editing I can say I’ve been completely through them at least twelve times. Why the difference? It’s simple really. These early novels have required the most revisions, rewrites, and edits. And this is why they have yet to be published. While over time my writing has improved to a point where it requires less rewriting and editing, which I have to admit is really nice, it still must be done. And this novel, as I’ve stated, is the first I ever wrote.

Book length is also important. In the genre I mostly write the word count expected is around one hundred thousand. Yet when I wrote these first two I was unaware of such things as word count. I thought page count was the thing. So both are long, with this one being over one hundred thirty four thousand words, and the second at over one hundred and sixty five thousand. With three hundred to three hundred and fifty words to a page it gives you an idea to the length. And what I’ve learned is that each page you add costs additional money. And by being a small publisher, using Ingram as my producer, and distributor, and by being a publisher of short runs it is expensive, (Now known as POD, or Print on Demand). And because of this the paperbacks produced for sale in the retail market aren’t cheap. If you look up the price of any of my novels you’d naturally think, they must be really good or the publisher thinks they will sell well or the writer has such an ego that he believes that they deserve such a price. As I’ve stated I’m that publisher and writer, and in the end I really only earn, in most markets, less than a dollar per paperback book sold – thusly this is the reality and cost of doing business. And with this it’s time to head into the novel:

The Ones Before came about because of my interest in the past, and in the field of archaeology. In a sense the movie Planet of the Apes where the protagonist discovers, at the end of the movie, that he is on earth sometime far into the future has stayed with me. I still see the images of the Statue of Liberty as a ruin clearly identifying the fact that his world is gone forever.

Another influence for this series, for it is a trilogy, came from a favorite author. His stories always take place in real places. Not necessarily towns, cities, and such, but the lands. So I determined that I’d do the same with this one. So the wild lands, the places spoken of in this novel are real. And if one wanted to retrace the route of the people in this story one can. Although I have to say that those lands in the novel are lacking the cities and towns that exist now. So if one did follow the paths then they would have to imagine the lands without these cities and such.

And with all that I’ve written, in the ten to eleven years of writing, this series is the only one that follows the lands as they exist. Still, as I began this novel, I thought “first person” is the way to write it. After getting to the point where chapter four might have been, (there are eighteen chapters in this novel) I realized that this wasn’t going to work. So I started over and changed the perspective to “third person”. Oh just a small fact here; when I write novels they are all presented as “third person”, yet generally with my short stories I write in the “first person” POV

I say chapter four, but when I wrote this one I had no chapter breaks, nothing at all. So this became another issue as I had to go back and figure out where the chapter breaks should be. And these issues were only the beginnings of problems with this first novel. Issues such as a broken timeline. And others became obvious as I wrote, then came back later (much later) to clean it up. All my novels I now write have those chapter breaks in them as I go along. I can sense, as I write, where the natural break falls.

Did I say, clean it up? Well, that only happened later once I had added chapter breaks and such. I mean when I wrote my first novels the idea of editing didn’t enter my mind at all. I thought – write it, and be done with it. Well, that was another hard lesson. It has been stated that anybody can write, but only writers can edit. So the truth is one doesn’t have a story or a complete novel until the revisions, rewriting and editing is done.

Story – where’d the story come from? This, like the other trilogy I wrote, came from a fragment of a dream. This one, again like the other was a recurring dream. And it intrigued me enough to want to write a story. So when I began this I thought that I must have some type of goal to reach beyond this one novel. So I thought to set my goal rather high. I told myself that I’d write eight novels. Was that a real reachable goal? At the time I made it I really didn’t know.

In this story my original idea was to have one main character who is married and deals with the past. In fact I identified his position as “Head Keeper of the Past”. The other four characters that play an important part in the story were originally to be there as minor characters, ones who would pass on what they had so that the main character would then go forth and solve the mystery that’s before him. But, those other characters demanded more time, and a deeper role in the story, (really?). So instead of one main character I ended up with six. Each and every one critical to the telling of this story.

In fact, other than the prologue where the Head Keeper of the Past is writing, we don’t see him until much later in the novel. Instead we begin with a team that’s mapping major trails. From there we move on to the sister and brother who are trying to survive on family property that has been in their family for generations. And then it is from there we are finally introduced to the Head Keeper of the Past.

In a sense these novels are about discovering one’s past. In the story, The Ones Before are myth. Yet it is a myth that refuses to die, even though nothing has ever been discovered showing they were ever real, had existed, or had lived. Still many past Head Keepers of the Past have tried to solve this mystery only to fail. And this is the overriding theme. The story can be considered post apocalyptic in nature, but only generally. As the event is thousands of years in the past – at least for the first two novels.

Another aspect here in the beginning of my writing lay in the fact that I thought to eliminate conflict. After all, we have enough in our lives, why would I want to include it in a novel? Was I successful? No, not at all. It was later that I learned that conflict is what drives the story. And I learned there are many levels to conflict. From those decisions we make to go one way or the other, to outright war and destruction.

Is this novel available? No not yet. Soon, as I’m having covers designed for the complete trilogy in November of 2017, and hope to have them available by the Christmas season of this year. I have to admit that I love my characters and their interactions with each other and the world they live. And in this novel you truly do learn of their world, their society, and where they are technologically. And I find personally, seeing, reading, and finding a complete living world makes the reading so much more pleasurable.

So I hope that this look inside the process, and the introduction to my path as a writer piques your interest enough that you will want to at least read the back cover of the novel. It, as well as the other two, will be available as both a paperback and in the EBook format. Have a great week and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

A Celebration of Life

At the beginning of February we joined family and friends in the celebration of life for one who has passed away. It is during such celebrations that one learns, from the many who knew them, who and what this person represented to each individually, and how many lives she touched. (And one thing that became clear is that she really loved people.) For us as we go through our lives this is something we really don’t think much about. Here I mean the influences we may have left on individuals be it positive or negative. And here in such a setting we begin to see just who the one who passed away was and the many she did touch. If we think about it we play many roles during our lives. First off it is as a child having to deal with our parents and siblings – let alone that bully down the street. Then from that time on these roles grow to cover the many different aspects that is us. And many times at such ceremonies we learn about a different side or aspect of the one who has moved on that we were never aware of, and can be surprised by what is revealed. It is important to remember that for most of us those influences we leave behind are generally unknown to us, and sometimes these influences are seen from afar leaving us with no idea that we’ve left this legacy behind.

I believe that a little background is necessary, especially from one who came into this family from the outside. In other words I married into this family, as my wife married into mine. Still with her family, whenever family gatherings were held it would be at her brother’s home. And his wife Pam would be gracious, always smiling as the hoards would descend upon her home and chaos would reign supreme. So it became a tradition, and they had a pool, so the children loved to go there since they could swim to their heart’s content. Pam would interact with all of us, with that infectious smile of hers, and she always seemed to have a good word for any and all who would invade her home – in a good way of course. So we would always have fond memories of our time spent there.

What is it that makes a person this way? In many ways to find the answer is beyond me. If we had more like this woman, then there would be less strife, less commotion, less ill feelings, probably less demands, and maybe in the end a better world because of it. She, like the untold millions, will never be remembered beyond her family and friends, leaves a legacy that will be hard to follow or to live up to. No she’s not an angel or is she a perfect individual. Still what she had would give any of us a lofty goal to attain.

While this isn’t true of all men, most of us want to protect our women, and strive to do so. If we honestly think about it, because of the demands of the modern world, this protection is more of an illusion than fact. Because it requires both individuals in a relationship to work, it means a good portion of any day we are separated from our mates and then they are beyond that protection we want to provide. Still as the years pass by us, much too fast to be honest, we reach a point in our lives that we know that one of us will pass on before the other.

And if anything, the statistics show that it is the fact that women generally outlive men. So we, as men, try to make sure that if we are the first to pass on we leave our spouses in such a way that they won’t have to depend on others to make it through the day-to-day routine, and much of what is required will be taken care of and provided. And because her husband Dan, my brother-in-law, had almost died from the very same cancer years earlier, he felt – no, he knew he’d pass before she did. Only to learn, after doing everything necessary to make her time alone after he passed on, easy, it was not to be. It was discovered that she had a GBM, and it was already stage four. And two months later it took her life.

What can one say? What can one do? When all you have planned for, with the reality that you face knowing that it is you who will leave first only to learn you are completely wrong. Now it is he who is sitting in that lonely home after more than half a century of being together. How does one reconcile such a loss? At least for Dan, he has a loving family, and a rather large group of friends, who will continue to check in on him and assist him in his needs. And at times his home will be filled with the joy and laughter of his grandchildren – a blessing in itself. Yet on the other side of all of this will be the times when he will be alone, which are the toughest of all.

You see, when he learned of his cancer, none of his sons were married and if things held true he would not live to see any of his future grandchildren. And then within ten months all three were married, and as is the norm each added to the extended family, and he was able to enjoy those grandchildren. He was given the gift of seeing the future of his family, and the daughters-in-laws who joined his loving family. Since the cancer he has usually means that within two months he would succumb to the disease, in truth it is a miracle he’s still with us. In fact during the time of discovering the GBM he “flat-lined”. Yet here he is over six years later. Yes, all of us know that in the end it will take him for it is the nature of a GBM. It can only be suppressed and will return to finish what it started. There is no cure.

This leads one to think about the home they were living in as a loving couple and a family for all those wonderful years together. Any of us can relate to the fact that when we enter into someone’s home we can immediately sense the influences of the ones living there. Some homes invite you in making you immediately comfortable, and others leave you with the impression that the sooner one can leave the better. Theirs definitely is the former.

In the past I wrote a post dealing with a home, and how it goes through stages until sometime in its future it is replaced with something else. I looked at this from the point of view that when someone lives in that home it becomes a personal representation of them. And when you come to visit their history is there for you to see. And you know the warmth, the friendliness, and the love that is there. And I can say it is definitely here in their home. Still, sometime in the near future it will become empty as his time comes to an end as all of ours will someday.

Then, as family descends upon that home, with so many good and happy memories, slowly, as it is emptied of those keepsakes from the past, it will transform from a home to just a house, becoming vacant with nothing to remind any of all that has happened within its walls. Nothing to talk to any of the love, and joy that was there. No history of the past. At this point it becomes a blank slate waiting for a new family, and new memories to created. We all know it as the circle of life.

So what can really be said here other than the fact that we will see this happening right here in their loving home. When we are in the present, and we all live in the present, even with our ability to remember our past and attempt to see our future, this is something that is furthest from our minds. We love the time together as a loving couple, as a family and with friends. And at those special times we let the future become what it may. And then suddenly that future is the reality we are facing, and you see your loved one pass on ahead of you. And in most cases it is much too soon. Yet, in the end, all of us are only given so much time here. And the lesson we should take away from all of this is the fact that the most precious commodity we have, and we seem to do a great job of wasting it, is time. From what little I knew of her, Pam, like the rest of us, probably did waste a lot of time, but in the end before her time ended, she saw her children grow into responsible loving adults, and she absolutely loved her extended family and the growing family filling her home with the laughter of her grandchildren. And from her interaction, with that infectious smile, she held every one of these young lives in her loving arms. What will those same grandchildren’s memories of her be, well only they can say. Still from the images left for the future generations I’m sure it will be fond loving memories of their grandmother.

In this we cannot forget the adding of three women to the family, which had to be a nice addition for Pam since she had been surrounded by four males making her the minority. So to finally balance it out had to be wonderful for her. To have other women who became family must have filled her heart with joy. And for her the transition seemed effortless. Still, from what I can determine even towards the end you could see the love she had for her family.

And in the end we, in our time, will follow a similar path leaving memories of us with our family and friends. I guess the obvious question here is this: What will those memories of any of us be when it is our time? It is said that we die twice. The first time is our physical passing, and the second is when all who knew and loved us have joined us. At that point there is no one to remember or to know who we were. May it be for Pam, and Dan – when his time comes – that this second one will be a long time in the future. They truly deserve these loving memories. God Bless!

Published in: on March 25, 2017 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: