A Million Little Things

Back with another update – and way, way sooner than usual!

As I not so subtly hinted at during my last post, my next novel is going to be self-published via Kickstarter. Was I inspired by Brandon Sanderson’s recent campaign? Maybe. Do I think I can break his 41 million dollar record? Uh… no. But do I think it could be an interesting and potentially profitable experience? Well, my friends and fans – that’s really going to depend on you.

Actually, it’s going to depend on you eventually. Right now, it still depends on me. Because a successful Kickstarter book campaign doesn’t just happen. Step one – write a great novel. I got that covered. But then things get complicated.

First, I need to figure out how to publish the damn thing. Who’s going to create and distribute the e-books? What about printed books? Do I go with hardcover and paperback? How much will those cost? How much should I gouge… uh, I mean charge… my fans to buy them? I’m still working on these details, but right now I’m leaning towards e-book and print on demand through Ingram Spark. They published my short story collection A Minor Malevolent Spirit and Other Tales, (MMS for the rest of the post) and I was very happy with the product.

But this time things are a bit different. MMS was distributed through retailers like Amazon and Barnes&Noble. This time, managing the orders and shipping out the books is all on me. And before I can tackle that beast, I still have to get them physically printed (or digitally printed for the e-books). That means getting the manuscript formatted and submitted. And planning out the design of the entire novel. How big will it be? What type of paper should we use? Print size? What about the cover art? Oh, damn… cover art.

That’s a real sticking point for me. On my Star Wars novels, I didn’t have a lot of input on the covers. Most of them were solid, but some (ahem, original Rule of Two cover) were… well, let’s just say if my books are my children, this kid might have been put up for adoption. Fortunately, the new covers for the recent Legends re-releases look great for the entire series.

To be fair, most of my cover art experiences weren’t bad. I was happy with my Mass Effect and Chaos Born covers – I was able to get a little more input on those. And I like the cover for MMS, even though it was basically made using modified stock art. But the cover art process is never easy for me. As a writer, I have a very specific vision for the tone and style of my story, and I know how to capture that in words. But capturing it in images – or rather, a single image – just isn’t in my skill set. In my mind I have some ideas of how it should look or what it should be, but turning those ideas into actual images that look great and draw readers in is a whole ‘nother ball game.

So for right now, I’m still looking at cover art options. I want something professional, and I’m willing to pay for it… to a point. If I already had all that sweet, sweet Kickstarter cash I’d know how much I could splurge on the cover. But the truth is, I’m probably going to need some really kick-ass cover art to help drive the Kickstarter campaign. So I have to get this figured out before I can go any farther. (BTW – if you’re an artist who’s interested, swing on by my CONTACT page! Send me a link to your portfolio, ballpark your rates, and we can chat!)

And even after I get the printing, cover art, and distribution figured out, I still need to launch the actual Kickstarter campaign. That means coming up with a great pitch, an awesome presentation, and then blitzing the hell out of social media to make sure all my fans hear about it! That’s why I launched my FB Author Page. It’s why I’m going to be ramping up the frequency of these blog posts and my Tweets. Hell, it’s even why I finally got my own Tik-Tok account.

Oh, yeah – at some point, I also need to reach out to Kickstarter themselves. Or sign up. Or whatever you do over there. Man, I really suck at this… but I’m learning. And hopefully by next month, I’ll have it all up and running.

And that’s where it comes full circle back to you folks. Because when all is said and done, none of this is possible without the support of my fans. So thank you, in advance. I think it’s going to be a wild ride, so let’s all hold on!