The GameLit Expansion Pack containing my novella, Pre-Screening Test, is on sale today for just 99 cents! If you missed the pre-order, it’s not to late to get a great deal on this box set full of amazing stories by many of the biggest names in game-based literature. This set has been #1 in Virtual Reality and Hot New Releases twice already, and it’s sure to rise to the top again while it’s cheap. Don’t wait!
Cover Reveal! I just finished the cover for my story in the GameLit Expansion Pack Box Set! I’m especially excited about it because I made the whole cover myself. I’ve always loved book covers. I hoped to make one sometime, but I never had the right opportunity before. I think it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. 🙂
The box set has a cover already, of course. That’s what people will see on Amazon when they go to buy it. My book cover will be inside with my story. It’s the most amazing and artistic collection of interior art I’ve ever seen. One for each of the nine stories included, in addition to the one for the set.
Also, there is a book trailer on YouTube, just for my story! Just 80 seconds long. It’s really a great little video, put together by Richard M. Mulder. You absolutely HAVE to see it! And you can hear the first part of my story on #FFF podcast.
Amazon likes to play a game with me. The premise is simple. They slowly drop the price of my paperback books a little at a time to see how long I’ll wait before I buy them cheap. they probably don’t realize the game’s a no-brainer. Eventually, the price goes lower than what I can get them from my distributor for (to sell at signings and conventions). Then I buy a bunch and they put the price right back up.
We’ve reached the tipping point of the game for a couple of my best-selling books. They are down to a third of the cover price. Normally, I’d just snap them up, but this time, I thought I’d let you in on it. I can’t guarantee I’ll hold off very long. But for a little while, you can get these books, brand new, for dirt cheap.
Get them fast, because after a few are sold, they’ll be $18.99 and $16.99 again. 🙂
Many times in life I’ve been given the advice, “Live in the now.” Dwelling on the past robs you of the present. If you live for the future, you will never get there. Philosophically, I agree. We can only affect what we are currently doing. Guilt for things we’ve done saps energy and sours today. Constantly reaching for future goals means never experiencing the greatness you could be feeling.
So, from the perspective of living, it’s great advice.
From the point of view of an author, however, it’s terrible.
Writing a book takes a LOT of time. Few have the luxury of sprinting through a manuscript un-distracted. So that means dedicating a lot of “right nows” to something you only vaguely hope will pay off in the long run. The biggest enemy of an author is “the now.” If you want to have a great experience, you’ll go out with friends or binge watch the latest TV show. Those things feel better in the moment.
Don’t get my wrong. Writing is emotional. It’s a lot of great moments. But they are solitary, and the good times are punctuated with outlines, edits, and confusion. That’s where the emotion driven artist falls down. The passion to create can only fuel so much writing. So you either have to stick to short stories, or you eventually have to face the long dark of the manuscript.
It means choosing not to have fun or relax during your precious few hours after work. It means not going out on a Saturday sometimes. It means closing Facebook, turning your phone to silent, locking your door and sitting in a desk chair. Those hours have to come from somewhere… and that means a lot of “right nows” that you don’t really live in… rather you work through.
I’m not saying you have to become a hermit. See friends. Watch TV. Have great experiences and moments. Those are all fuel for future characters and scenes. However, you can’t live in it. Some of your time has to be the fitful typing when you’d rather be at a movie.
That’s the price of writing a book. And if you want to get good, you have to write MANY.
So when people say, write what you love, it’s because you will be dedicating a lot of present hours to something unsure in the future. Learn to love the journey. Find enjoyment in slogging through proofreading or tweaking an outline. Only when those difficult tasks become something you enjoy will the actual time spent writing become something rewarding enough that you don’t have to rely on the end payouts to make it worthwhile.
In the long run, that’s the only way to get from “Once upon a time…” to–
Now a story from my writing past…
When I started writing, I only wrote novels. I’d written ten or twelve of them when I started seriously querying publishers. After a LOOOOONG stretch of nobody interested, I heard people say sometimes you can break in by writing short stories and publishing those first to build up a writer resume. So I tried my hand at shorter form fiction.
I entered the Writers of the Future contest a few times and submitted to the big sci-fi magazines. Even those were a little above my level at the time. Eventually, I found some “for exposure” anthologies and managed to get three stories in. Soon after, I sold my first steampunk story for money ($20.00). And “won” a contest that included getting another story published and fifty bucks.
With this new resume, I began querying again. I saw Curiosity Quills calling for subs on Twitter, and they accepted my first book. That book, Theocracide, is GameLit. Only, at the time, nobody used that label.
The first label I heard of was LitRPG. My publisher caught a trend and wanted to brand the Actuator series accordingly. It worked well, boosting sales. But as the fans of LitRPG fleshed out what that really meant, the definition didn’t really fit my work. To be LitRPG, having a role-playing game the books are set in and including scenes where people go into video game realities isn’t enough. They wanted actual game statistics in the book. So my publisher re-branded the Actuator series as GameLit, where it belongs.
I wasn’t excited by LitRPG books I read where they say things like, “Adarian leveled up when he killed the troll, gaining 6 hit points and better fighting skills.” It just pulls me out of the story. Clearly a lot of other authors felt the same way. So, they created a label to separate game-based literature from stories that literally describe the game terms. The new subgenre, of course, is GameLit.
As I talked with other authors interested in these themes, and supported their facebook pages, Indie Illuminati issued me an invitation to put a story into an anthology designed to raise awareness of this new genre. Several authors writing in that field were each preparing novelettes (15,000 – 20,000 words) to go with GameLit books they’d written. One of the contributing authors dropped out and they asked me to fill the void.
It just so happened that my current work in progress, Virtues & Virtual Reality, is a GameLit book. If not, I probably wouldn’t have agreed to such a large side project on such a short deadline. Anyway, I immediately knew what story I’d tell for this antho, and I’m over 10,000 words into it now. That story: Pre-screening Test.
Since the rest of them are ahead, they already started advertising. The cover (top) is out and they have it available for pre-order on Amazon. When I looked it up today, I saw it’s already ranking on the Amazon charts! You should get it now while it’s cheap, BTW. Only 99 cents!
What struck me about this situation is how everything fell into place so neatly. After years spinning my wheels and never getting any kind of interest from publishers, I’m now to the point where invitations come to me. It feels pretty great.
So, if you’re an aspiring author, keep at it! Write a lot of books and stories. Write what you love. Submit like crazy. Most of all, keep writing. Once you break in, things get a lot easier. 🙂
I’m up for a Writecast Listener’s Award. If you want to help, all you have to do is go to this website and vote for my episode (Acquisitions Strategies and Content Rating Systems). I’m sure you’ve heard it, but if you’re just sure mine would be the best, that’s okay. 🙂
Also, I’m doing a signing at Fortis College on Thursday, March 1, from 12:30 – 2:30 PM in Suite 200. If you have some time, please stop by! It’s the first time I’ll be signing paperbacks of The Actuator 4: The Last Key.