Tag Archives: Age of Torridan

#49 Age of Torridan is on Amazon!

Well met, my friends!

After working in the changes suggested by Red Adept Editing and creating the e-book layout, my novel “Age of Torridan” is finally available on Amazon via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

Here is the link to Amazon Germany.

Here is the link to Amazon USA.

Here is the link to Amazon Great Britain.

If the links don’t work, this is the short link provided by Amazon (which probably leads to Amazon USA).

I ran a kickstarter campaign to help with the cost of the cover image and this is the awesome image the artist Zelda Devon produced:

Age of Torridan revised low rez

If you are interested in a sample, here is a PDF version of the first three chapters: Age of Torridan Sample.

Since the first week sales are very important for the fate of a book, please help spreading this blog post, for example on facebook, twitter or by telling people about it in real life :)

Pursue your dreams and see you next time,

Kai

#48 The 10 Kickstarter Dos

Well met, my friends!

After analyzing a few Kickstarter campaigns and running my own, I decided to write up a list of the ten Kickstarter dos and don’ts. However, since “don’ts” are too negative, I’ll only mention dos :D

1. Look at other projects in your category

Before starting my publishing project, I looked at other campaigns in the publishing group. It gives a good indication of what to expect regarding the funding goal and the rewards. I specifically looked at The Betrayal of Renegade X, which had a similar aim.

2. Have an impressive cover image

For the most part, the campaign image is what’s going to make people click on the project, so it’s a good idea to have a colorful eye-catching picture.

3. Pick the right funding goal

You need to tailor your funding goal depending on what kind of project you are running: film projects typically raise more than game projects, which raise more than music projects. Publishing projects are on the lower end, but since the aforementioned Betrayal of Renegade X had a funding goal of $2500, I knew that my funding goal of €1500 was realistic. It was also exactly what I needed, because I already had a quote from the artist and knew what the kickstarter share and taxes would amount to.

However, if you’re able to complete the project with less money, you could also pick a funding goal based on your clout. In my case, I would have guessed that I could reach a goal of about €300. The advantage of a lower goal is that you do not get anything, if you fall short of a higher goal, but might be able to attain a lower figure.

4. Take the generosity of kickstarter backers into account

I’ve backed a few projects and have always wondered about the $5 reward tier, which often times is just a symbolic thank you for backing the project. I disliked this reward tier, but I’ve had people not pick a reward in my own campaign. Others picked a reward, but increased the pledge by a multiple of the original figure. People, who are backing projects on Kickstarter, are not looking for a good monetary deal, but rather want to see creators succeed. Therefore, this symbolic reward tier, which I avoided, is not considered to be bad.

5. Start with few rewards, then add new ones as the campaign progresses

On the one hand, making people read and decide between many reward tiers is tiresome. On the other hand, giving people a choice is important. My proposed solution is to start with few rewards (1-3) and then add others as the campaign progresses. Perhaps there is even backer feedback that leads to additional reward tiers.

6. The limited reward should already fund the campaign

The very successful Karnivore Koala board game campaign started out with 2 rewards: the €20 early bird version of the game, which was limited to 250 copies and the €25 version of the game. The limited reward created a sense of urgency and since the funding goal was set to €5000, the campaign was already successful once the early bird versions had been sold out.

7. Provide updates throughout the campaign

To keep things fresh and interesting it is important to post an update at least once a week. Since most projects are not progressing at that pace, it is perhaps necessary to hold back a few updates and release them later. In my case, I recorded myself reading the first three chapters of the novel and would post a new chapter each week. Since this was a campaign to collect money for the cover art, the artist Zelda Devon provided some sketches as well.

8. Advertise in the correct channels

In order for people to be able to back your campaign, you need to make them aware that it exists. I looked through several message boards related to fantasy books to mention the campaign. Be respectful of the rules of those boards. In many cases they specifically mentioned that they did not want any “advertisement”. If you do mess up, it’s no problem – I accidently posted in the wrong section on fantasy faction, but they were kind enough to move it. In another board, I didn’t see that they don’t allow posts like this and they hid my thread. No big deal.

However, talking about my campaign in these new fantasy message boards was not very successful. I received the best response on social media (facebook, twitter) and on unrelated message boards where I was a regular. For instance, the Day[9] community, which is about Starcraft and computer games, was very supportive.

9. Be unobtrusive with your promotion

This is an extension of point 8 – you need to pick the right channels and sending messages to people, who you don’t know isn’t going to help. Even if you reference stuff they wrote, this will only be seen as spam and is not going to help in any way.

10. No matter the outcome, get something out of the campaign

Running a successful campaign can be rewarding, but there is also something to be learned about failed pitches. If Age of Torridan hadn’t peaked at €234, I wouldn’t have looked at it in detail and wouldn’t have written this blog post. Thus, don’t be discouraged, if the campaign doesn’t run as smoothly as expected. There is still something to draw out of running it.

Pursue your dreams and see you next time,

Kai

#47 Age of Torridan Cover Art Sketches!

Well met, my friends!

Today, Zelda Devon sent me the sketches for the Age of Torridan (needs a new cover) kickstarter campaign. The final version will look as beautiful as the other images on her website. The purpose for the sketches is to evaluate the arrangement and decide, which composition is the best. That said, I still think they look absolutely gorgeous!

Age of Torridan A Age of Torridan B

Since the third version is similar to the first, I’ll show you sketch A and sketch B – help me decide which one is best!

Pursue your dreams and see you next time,

Kai

#46 Age of Torridan Kickstarter Campaign

Well met, my friends!

As of last Tuesday, Kickstarter officially allows German based projects. Since I am putting the finishing touches on my fantasy novel “Age of Torridan”, I figured this would be a great opportunity for me to participate in the launch. If you have a moment, please check out my project here:

Age of Torridan (needs new cover art) Kickstarter Campaign

Here is what the campaign is about: I wrote a medieval fantasy novel in the spirit of the old Dragonlance books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. At the moment I’m putting in the changes that were suggested by the professional copy editor that I hired. Once that is done, all that is missing before the release in July (2015) is a cover and ebook formatting. With this campaign I’m trying to raise money for a new cover, which will be created by professional artist Zelda Devon (see her work at www.zeldadevon.com). My original estimation was that a cover would cost something around €500, but in reality the price is typically above $1000 (for reference, see this blog post by Rachel Aaron on the cost of a professional quality book).

As the campaign progresses, I will put up videos of me reading chapters from the book. I will also reveal Zelda Devon’s sketches as she sends them to me.

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration. If there are any questions, I’d be happy to answer them :)

Pursue your dreams and see you next time,

Kai

#45 The ARCs are here!

Well met, my friends!

Today the advance review copies (ARC) of my novel “Age of Torridan” arrived. Despite my initial plan, I opted for just 35 ARCs, which seems to be plenty.

100_3560

Yesterday I tried to find reviewers and sent out six e-mails to various sites. About the same number stated that they would not take a look at independently published manuscripts. Interestingly enough, the elitist book reviews had a very appropriate post up, pointing out some of the terrible covers of self published books. As you can see, my cover is just a photo with a greyscale filter and adjusted brightness and contrast.

100_3561

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I already got in touch with an artist to create a proper cover for the release version of the book. Once the cover and the professional copy edit are done, I can put the book on amazon.

Pursue your dreams and see you next time,

Kai

#44 Gearing up for Publication

Well met, my friends!

As some of you know, I’ve been working for a good while on a medieval fantasy novel, inspired by the early Dragonlance books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. My alpha readers provided feedback, which led to some new chapters. I’m finally in the last stages and am looking to release the book via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Createspace later this year. Here are the things that I still need to sort out:

1. Sanity Check:

I want to re-read the book once more to make sure that the changes I made in the early chapters do not invalidate the later sections.

2. Optional Line Edit:

A line edit is crucial, but since I’m on a very tight time schedule, I might shorten the line editing in favor of getting the Advance Reader (or Review) Copy (ARC) out the door.

3. Write Chapter Commentary for ARCs:

This is something cool I’ve planned for the ARCs – the feedback from my alpha readers showed me that there were a few subtle issues that only half of my readers picked up on. Since these things were not crucial to understand and enjoy the story, I left the clues as vague as they were. However, I want to provide some background information per chapter to explain what’s going on behind the scenes and what some of the choices were that I made. Since this is not something that interests everybody, I will include this in the ARCs, but not in the final release of the book.

4. Compile List of Book Bloggers / Reviewers:

As I am nearing the release, I want to drum up some interest beforehand. To that end, I plan to approach book reviewers and bloggers with an interest in fantasy to see whether they would like to have (and possibly review) one of the ARCs.

Of course I got so carried away that I only approached fellow authors so far (Rachel Aaron, Danielle E. Shipley, Michelle Proulx, and Kat O’Keeffe), but at least the response was positive, even if they are not in a position to review. Still, the purpose for printing ARCs is not only to give them to reviewers, but also as a thank you to my alpha readers and to give to cool people.

5. Print 50-100 ARCs:

I haven’t made up my mind yet, but right now I think 50 will be sufficient. I need 16 for my alpha readers, keep a few for myself, and then distribute the rest to reviewers and the above mentioned cool people. Since there is an equal mix of people wanting eARCs and actual books, the number 50 should be sufficient.

6. Line Edit:

The release version should be as error free as possible, so I am contemplating to pay someone for the line edit, in addition to my own efforts.

7. Commission a Cover:

I’ve already contacted an old friend of mine to design a cover. If that falls through, the next person to check is Zelda Devon and her fantasy-esque art style, which would be a perfect fit.

8. Format Book as epub / mobi:

When I gave the kindle version to my alpha readers, the formatting was all right, but not perfect. For the release version, I aim to do better.

9. Release on KDP and Createspace:

Even though I plan to have the ARCs done in early March, the cover, formatting, line edit means that the release of the book will be delayed till June. Once I have a more accurate estimate, I will be sure to mention it, either here or on twitter.

Pursue your dreams and see you next time,

Kai

#30 Age of Torridan, first draft

Well met, my friends!

yesterday I added another 349 words to my work in progress “Age of Torridan”. In fact, those words completed the final chapter. When I got home from the writing session, I printed the entire book for the first time. The first draft came in at 73817 words and 242 pages.

I actually thought it’d be something like 250 words per page, but now it seems that it’s more like 300 words per page. Since a “real” book is 300+ pages to me – yeah, it’s a completely arbitrary number – that means I have to add another 18k+ words or so to the book during revisions. Fortunately I’m already aware of a couple of scenes that are missing. My descriptions could be strengthened as well, so I don’t foresee too much of a problem. The only challenge is to go through the revisions fast enough to hand the book to my beta readers before the end of the year. We’ll see how it goes.

It feels great to finally have the printout of the book – I can’t wait for tomorrow’s writing sessions, which will be more of reading sessions. That’s pretty much the downside: since I need to read the book for my revision, I most likely won’t be adding words to it during the rest of NaNoWriMo. Currently I am at 4k there. I already knew that I wouldn’t make the 50k, but it would have been nice to at least exceed last year’s word count.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted about the new developments regarding Age of Torridan and / or NaNoWriMo.

Pursue your dreams and see you next time,

Kai

#27 Miscellaneous things

Well met, my friends!

In the meantime a few things have happened, so I’ll just sum them up in one big blog post:

Spiel and Gamesäge
In late October I’ve attended the annual games fair “Spiel” in Essen, which is the biggest event of that sort in the world. I didn’t try out any new games, but I participated in a King of Tokyo tournament. Unfortunately I did not manage to win one of those four player tournaments until they ran out of prizes. Still, that was good fun and perhaps next year I’ll attend all of the days and will try out and buy more games. Regarding gamesäge, I’m behind schedule, but the last video I posted also deals with Spiel 2013.

Sword & Laser season 2
Some of you might remember the Sword & Laser podcast I mentioned on my blog, because I submitted a story to their anthology (see blog posts 4 and 16 for details). Right now they are trying to raise money for a second season of the video version of their podcast. The kickstarter campaign still runs for 15 days – I’ve already backed this and am looking forward to reading the aforementioned anthology, which was the kickstarter reward for backing.

Age of Torridan
Unfortunately I didn’t complete the milestone of finishing my work in progress novel “Age of Torridan” by the end of October. I’m at seventy thousand words and there are just four chapters left to write until the first draft is ready. This leads me straight to the next point:

NaNoWriMo
The first of November, which is NaNoWriMo‘s start date, is a holiday in Germany. However, this year I had to come in to work, since there was an important deadline. I did not get any words done for NaNoWriMo on the 1st and 2nd of November. Afterwards I flew to London for a short vacation. Since I didn’t note card a new story, didn’t finish Age of Torridan and started late, I’ve decided to be a “NaNo rebel” and continue working on the old book.

London
My London trip was great as always – I attended Patrick Rothfuss‘s signing and Q&A in both Oxford and London. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, as that actually is a relevant blog entry on its own.

Twitter follow etiquette
Originally I only followed people on twitter, if I “discovered” them or if I knew them well. However, I’ve changed my mind regarding the whole “follow back” etiquette and as a result I soared from 26 followers to 70. So my new approach is to follow back everyone, who adds me, but when people post too many weird, disagreeable, nonsensical things, as determined by my mood, I may unfollow again. In any case, people are in good company, as Wil Wheaton usually goes on a twitter rampage once a year, resulting in me unfollowing him and adding him again a few months later.

That’s all for now. Pursue your dreams and see you next time,

Kai

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