Legion is up on Audible.com for pre-order!
The release date is now officially Sept 20th. The e-book will be released on the same day.
It has been a busy month! I have done an edit on Outland, arranged for a new cover for it, approved the cover for Legion, and written about 75% of the new novel that my agent and I discussed.
This is the third year in a row that we’ve gone up to Whistler in the summer, and I’ve spent most of the week writing. It’s really very much a writing retreat for me, and an excellent opportunity to get some heads-down work on a novel. I literally had 40k words on the new book by the time I came home.
I’m in another alpha/beta reading group on scribophile right now, and I’ll be submitting the new book when my turn comes. The novel, which I’m tentatively naming The Singularity Trap, sits at about 55k at the moment, but all the major storylines are in. I just need advice from readers on where it’s still a little thin.
On another front, I got an email from the guy who did the narration on Legion, telling me how much he enjoyed the book. (Not naming names, as that would constitute an endorsement, and I haven’t asked permission). I gotta tell ya, my head almost exploded with excitement. Any compliment is good, of course, but one from someone who is in the business, and is paid to read books, is just over the top great.
I’m finished the second Legion book, although I think it could still use a good pounding from a professional editor. The third book is at about 42k words. I’ve decided to give it a rest and come back to it in a month or so. Fresh eyes might help.
So, yeah, I have six books either finished or well along. I’m either very productive or totally scatter-brained. Haven’t decided which, yet.
My last day of work before vacation. Woo-hoo!
I have a laundry-list of things to do, of course, as mentioned in my previous post. But add to that some software updates that I need to make. I wrote a couple of apps in aid of the plotting of the Legion books. In particular, an XNA-based stellarium to allow me to plot Bob’s movements against actual star locations; and a timeline program to allow me to coordinate events across star systems.
Both of those apps could have a wider use, and I’m thinking of putting them up on codeproject.com after the book is out. Might be a neat kind of cross-marketing, actually.
We’ll see. My vacation seems to be full-up with stuff to do, but at least it’s stuff I want to do.
Oh, and I still need to get the Acknowledgements and Dedication pages out to Ethan before pub day.
Meanwhile, the cover art for Audible has been finalized, and we’re working on the cover art for the e-book. I’m looking forward to being able to actually put something up.
Ray Porter contacted me this week. Woo-hoo! Looks like my book is now in process.
He asked me about how I see my characters and I provided my opinions. There may or may not be further questions, and I’ll be happy to answer them.
In other news, after some critting on Scribophile, I’ve decided that For We Are Many needs a bit of re-work. Still too much procedural stuff, still too many roadblocks being resolved too quickly, still too many chapters with little or no conflict. And, IMO, scenes still being whipped past too quickly.
So I’ve re-sorted my latest revision back into the individual sub-plots, and I’m going to try to write each one as a novella. And I have to watch the number of POVs, something that is a constant problem with this series.
I’ll be on vacation soon, so I’ll have two weeks to just heads-down hammer on it. I anticipate having book 2 finished and editor-ready by the end of August.
Meanwhile, my agent and I are slowly working on my next (non-Bob) book. It’s going to be a busy time for me. I have to:
He’s also pointed out Tor’s periodic requests for submission of novellas in various categories. He thinks it wouldn’t hurt for me to submit something to them. As it happens, I have an ideas list with more than 130 items on it, at latest count. Some of the ideas are too ‘thin’ for a full novel, but could certainly form a novella in the 25-40k range. I’ll have to keep that in mind.
Sadly, having a day-job puts a severe crimp in my writing productivity. 🙂 Maybe someday…
I’d like to go off on a slight tangent with this post. I’ve been working madly on book 2 of Legion, and I am pausing to think about how the process has evolved for me.
When I started writing Outland, end of May 2014, I basically just fired up WORD and started typing. But I’m realistic enough to know that there’s craft involved, so I also started buying books, reading articles, and joining forums.
I ended up on absolutewrite.com, which is a huge site traffic-wise. It has a lot of good information, although it’s relatively hard to find. Most of it is in threads with hundreds of entries, and the only way to glean the information you want is to start at post 1…
I also initially joined critiquecircle.com, and learned a lot from getting my work publicly flayed. However, I found the need to post submissions several weeks in advance to be a pain, and I eventually moved to scribophile. For the record, the paid memberhip is worth getting.
On scrib, I joined the Uber critting group. The advantage of this is that you end up in a sub-group of 4-6 people, and you crit each other’s work week after week. So you get consistent crits from the same people. And I find the level of skill to be very high amongst the members.
I also joined the Beta Readers group. Same idea– you are organized into a small group of 4-6 people, and you swap manuscripts on a schedule. Again, consistent betas and good quality results.
With all this input, my writing has been improving constantly. I’ve been able to identify my weak spots and specifically target them in my work. Multiple edit passes, using what I learn in each Uber crit, combined with feedback from beta readers, allow me to make significant strides in a relatively short time. I honestly can’t see how writers managed to get anywhere before the interwebz.
As of this writing, book 1 is being produced at Audible, book 2 is going through final edits, and book 3 is about a third written. The main plot points are in place in book 3, just needing fleshing out. The question of a print publisher for Legion is still up in the air. If we don’t get a bite by September, we’ll just put the e-book up under the agent’s imprint and hope for better traction down the road.
My agent has asked me for a list of ideas for future books, and we’ll be discussing that at some point. My Ideas List has 113 entries at the moment, so I had to trim it down to a dozen or so of the ideas that I like best. We’ll see how that goes.
Anyway, the journey continues, and I’m still nervous.
It took very little time between when I sent the completed manuscript in, and Audible’s production department got back to me. My wife and I had been discussing who would be a good narrator for the novel, and I was chagrined when the email from Audible indicated that they’d already assigned a voice actor.
But I looked up a couple of books that he had done, and bought one with a store credit, and I’m pleasantly surprised. He manages to make different character voices distinct, and even makes female voices believable.
So I am very much looking forward to this. They’ve given me a tentative publication date of Sept 20th. If I end up going through my agent’s press for publication, we’ll aim for the same date. If I get a print publisher between now and then, who knows?
I just sent off the final version of my manuscript to the publisher. Wow, nerves, much? And it doesn’t matter how many times you look it over before hitting send, you’re still positive that you’ve forgotten something.
I’ve also asked my agent about narrator’s voices. I have an opinion or two on that subject, as it turns out. 🙂
Well, anyway, it’s done. I’m working away on book 2, For We Are Many. I have a couple of small chapters to fill out, but by and large, the writing is done, and it’s editing time.
Today, I sent my edited manuscript back to the editor. She was surprised that it was so fast.
And there’s another source of anxiety. I know that I have fast turnaround. When I was doing my query on absolutewrite, there were comments made about how fast I was turning around the versions. And I don’t mean in a good way.
I don’t really have any metric with which to measure my turnover. No prior experience in the industry, no other writers that I’ve worked with. I don’t think that I’m doing a slap-dash edit. I think the issue may be that a lifetime of software development and unreasonable deadlines have taught me to do heads-down cramming.
I hope that’s what it is.
I guess I’ll find out soon enough. If the editor sends it back with some variation of “scrap and redo”, then I’ll have to re-evaluate. If she’s good with my changes, then, well, I’m just fast.
I received the completed edit yesterday, a week early. And it’s not bad. There were the expected spelling and syntax corrections, and some suggestions for wording changes, of course. She indicated where things were vague or confusing and needed further explanation. There were a couple of suggestions for putting in more backstory–those were a little aggravating because I took that out at the suggestion of critters (grrr!).
But nothing Earth-shattering. No wholesale ripping out of subplots or savaging of characters; no indications of systemic writing flaws; no suggestions to redo whole chapters. My expected ass-whuppin’ has turned out to be nothing more than a light thwapping. Huh. Go figger.
There was one change, where she suggested I remove VEHEMENT entirely, that I simply can’t follow. VEHEMENT is a minor ‘character’ in book 1, but in book 2 they cause some pretty significant damage, so they have to stay. But, hey, minor stuff, right?
So, yeah. I’m feeling validated. 🙂
I found an email in my inbox yesterday, from the editor that Audible has acquired for Legion.
You know how, when you come home after a few days away, your dog runs around in circles and jumps all over you? Well, that’s how I felt. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long, long time. I am about to have my darlings savaged by a professional.
Yes, you might say, but it’s not as exciting as when you actually publish. Sure, okay, but this is still way up there. I expect to come out of the experience with a black eye, arm in a sling, and little cartoon cross-shaped bandaids all over my body. But I’ll learn. I’ll learn what a professional wants to see in a marketable work.
I’ve recently come to realize that you can only really get so far with free crit sites and volunteer beta readers. I spent some time on critiquecircle, and did private beta swaps with a couple of people. I’ve done public and group-based chapter submissions on scribophile, and participated in a couple of beta swaps. I’ve sent my first chapter into a couple of editors to get a sample edit done.
What has amazed me is the lack of consistency. Understand, I’m completely convinced that every single person I’ve interacted with has worked entirely in good faith– as have I, when critting other’s work. But it’s very hard to get a clear indication of what needs to be fixed. What one person likes, another might hate. I’ve gotten complaints both that I have too much description and too little. Some want more scene-setting, some want less. I went through several crits and beta-swaps before the Uber group crits on scribophile finally convinced me that my scenes often lack tension. Once I received that message, I was happy to go back and correct it. But before you can correct it, you have to see it. And before you can see it, you have to have it pointed out.
And this brings us to the root of my incoherent ramble (I blame the incoherence on lack of coffee. It’s early on a Saturday A.M.). When you’re starting out in writing, the learning curve is huge. As you get better, your rate of education slows down. Eventually, I think you reach a point where the informal educational tactics become ineffective for the amount of time they require. At that point, it starts to become a slog. I am very, very lucky that I’ve found myself in a situation where the next level of learnin’ is being handed to me. Along with, I expect, a thorough ass-whupping.