Friday, November 13, 2015

It's been a while since I've written on my blog. As much as I know I should do so more often, lately it's been hard to find the time. Between finishing Book Three in the Dragonvein series, starting Book One in a new series, and co-authoring a trilogy, I'm not left with much spare time. But now that things are calming down a bit, I've had time to sit and reflect of what's been going on in my life.

Since my heart attack a few years back I have come to realize that I must do a better job prioritizing my time. I have neglected to spend as much time with my son as I should. I wish I could chalk it down to fatigue, but in truth I simply get caught up in myself and ignore my responsibilities. I have been trying to do better, but I still have to work on it.

The one thing I haven't ignored is my career. This year has been my most productive year so far. Before the month is out I will have released four novels in 2015. And though this is stellar, I think I can do better. 

There are two Dragonvein books remaining. So those are a given. The first Akiri book will be finished by the end of this Dec. (though being that they are to be marketed to the publishers I have no idea when they'll be released) and I hope to have two more written by the Fall. The other three I'm writing with Steven Savile should be done this year as well, barring unforeseen circumstances. So that's eight in total. If I can do it, I'll be extremely happy.

I've also taken the time to weed out things in my life (as well as keep things out) that hinder or upset me. This I have found to be important in order to maintain a balance. The negative gunk can clog up the gears. And I've found that less negativity has allowed me to accomplish more. It has made it easier for me to better myself. Not only professionally, but also personally.


So in the end I must say that 2015 has been kind to me. I can only hope I can maintain focus and make 2016 even better.   

Friday, September 4, 2015

To Fans of The Godling Chronices

Recently, I have heard from a few readers who are unhappy with the content of Dragonvein. Unlike The Godling Chronicles, I did not exclude profanity or sexual content. Though I did my best to keep the scenes tasteful, I understand how it might rub some people the wrong way. 

Let me first explain that The Godling Chronicles was the original concept of my son. Though I guided the story along, without his initial inspiration, it would have never been written. From day one I gave no small measure of consideration regarding content. How far should I go? How much adult content was too much? In the end I decided to allow my son to be my guide. It was his brainchild after all. If I didn't want him reading it, I wouldn't write it. Period.

Though I truly believed in the quality of the story, I had no idea at the time just how popular it would become. I didn't intend on making a career writing fantasy - or writing anything else for that matter. I had other ambitions and goals. But as luck would have it, circumstances manifested and the stars lined up in such a way so that I was able to focus all my attention on being a writer. By then, I was half way through the series and forced to think about future projects. I was now known as a YA fantasy author. Don't get me wrong. I love YA, but I was afraid that I would be unable to branch out into more mature stories. I wondered if readers would accept a grittier fantasy coming from an author they discovered through reading YA material. 

As The Godling Chronicles came to a conclusion, I needed to decide what to do next. I had a book written and ready for publication. But it included sex, profanity, and several situations inappropriate for young readers. This was definitely a departure from what I was known for. Frankly, I was terrified. I asked around, hoping to gain wisdom from fellow authors, but that didn't help. Some told me I was a fool and was endangering my career. Others said it would be fine. Sure, I would piss off a few people, but so long as the story was good, most wouldn't mind. My wife was no help either. She had sided with the less risky approach and wanted me to edit out the objectionable content.

In the end, I decided to gamble and went ahead with the book as it stood. Some of you who have read The Godling Chronicles will have seen the difference. And so far most haven't minded the change. Those of you who have only read Dragonvein may be wondering what the hell I'm talking about. The content isn't pornographic and the language, though harsh in places, only reflects the way people actually speak. Well, you'll understand if you read my previous books - and I hope you do. 


I would like to add that for those of you who are uncomfortable with the new content and miss seeing new Godling Chronicles books come out, I will be writing a sequel sometime next year. As with the original series, it will adhere to the same YA guidelines. I haven't abandoned YA. I only broadened my scope. I promise. 


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Back in the Saddle

After weeks of struggling I've finally found my stride. For a time I was starting to panic. I just couldn't work out what I should do about Dragonvein - Book Three. I had the middle and ending rattling around in my head, but the beginning...nothing clicked. I must have deleted more than 50,000 words. Not that it was a great loss. What I had written was military grade garbage. The world is better off without reading it, let me assure you.

Of course, now that I'm back in the saddle, I find myself in a situation where I have very little time to complete a whole lot of work. I've made promises to my fans which I intend to keep. Not to mention my agent is expecting a new book to shop to the publishers before the new year. So what I would normally allow six months to complete, I now have just a bit more than half that amount of time.

For those of you who have written a novel, or even made the attempt, you will understand what a massive undertaking this is. I need to produce close to 200,000 words worth of material. And just any old words will not do. If it was simply about a word count my life would be a breeze. No. They have to be good words. Words that make sense. Words that my readers will enjoy. This is not as easy to do as some might think. There are days when it seems everything I write sucks (though there are some who would say that is always the case with me). A few weeks ago, that would be all right. I could afford a day or two of non-production. Not anymore.

But never fear. I will soldier on. And I will live up to the obligation I have to my readers - and to my agent. But afterward don't be shocked and amazed if I disappear for a few weeks. I'd like to say to a beach somewhere. But in truth, I'll likely need a psychiatric ward to get my head back together.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How To Succeed as an Indie Author Without Really Trying

    The most common questions people have for indie and hybrid writers has to do with what it takes to “make it”. Well, I’m not sure anyone ever really “makes it”. Even the wealthiest superstar authors are seeking the next step along the path. And as for me, I see myself at the beginning of what I hope to be a long and prosperous career. My goals are far from having been reached. But that is not to say I haven’t achieved certain levels of success. My journey thus far has been filled with excitement and thrills. And I, in a relatively short time, have achieved more than I had ever hoped.

    But saying this does not answer the question, does it? What they want to know is how to get people reading their book? How do they get eyes on the page? What are the steps? Does it cost money? How much time is involved? There are in fact answers to these questions. But I always warn whoever I’m telling that nothing I say is a guaranteed method for success. And there are other opinions which differ greatly from my own. That said… 

    Before you can sell your book, you must first write your book. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been giving advice about promotion, editing, proofing, etc., only to find out that the person I’m speaking to hasn’t even finished their manuscript. An idea for a story is worthless unless you write it down. So start there. 

    But let’s assume you have written your book. You have had the immense pleasure of finally writing my favorite two words, “The End”. You have your masterpiece in hand and it’s ready for the world to see. Not so fast. Regardless of your talent, you need to take a step back and realize you are too close to your story. You need more eyes. And not just any set of eyes. You need professional eyes. Yes, I’m talking about an editor. And finding an editor is not as simple as you might think. One size does not fit all. Find someone both qualified and from whom you can take critical advice. Ask for a sample edit before committing. And most of all be wary of discounts. Good editing is not, and should not be cheap. If someone says they’ll edit your 150,000 word book for $300, run away as fast as you can. 
    
    Your next step is proofing. Editing is NOT proofing. Even the best editor will miss a few typos. And here’s some good news. This is an area where you can possibly save money. I personally pay proofers, but that doesn’t mean you should. If you have enough people around you who are meticulous and helpful, you might be able to talk them into searching your book for mistakes. This is a very important step. The cleaner your manuscript, the better the reception it gets from the reading public. 

     Once proofed, some writers use what are called beta readers. This is a step that can be important, but can also send you in a wrong direction. Beta readers critique your work from a reader’s perspective. It’s a way to receive a review without it being public. Two things to remember about beta readers should you decide to use them: One – they need to be a fan of the genre in which you’ve written. This may sound silly and obvious, but I assure you it’s not. Ask the reader ahead of time what books they have read. Two – the beta reader’s word is not gospel. You can disagree. It’s allowed. But if you are using five readers, and four say the same thing, I would take it seriously. What you are really looking for is a consensus – not individual opinions. 

    Now that your book is ready…it’s time for a cover. On this subject there are many schools of thought as to what constitutes an acceptable cover. I tend to go with a single main focal point (nothing too busy). But what most people agree on, is that the two key aspects are the title and your name. Do not sacrifice the visibility of either in favor of the art. This may upset the artist, but who cares? Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 for a decent cover. You can spend more, but for most writers starting out, this is within their budget. Be sure to take a look at best sellers in your genre. They can be solid guides as to what your cover should look like. Though I have seen debut novels with terrible covers sell well, more often than not it’s those with professional looking covers that get the reader’s attention. 

    Okay, you have your book, your cover rocks, and you’re ready to show the world what you’ve done. You set up your accounts on the various sites and hit the “publish” icon. Day one and you have five sales. But those are mostly friends and family. Still, it’s nice to see that your book has a ranking. Then day two…nothing. Day three…more nothing. What the hell? I did everything right! Why aren’t they buying my book? Well, that’s because this is only the beginning. Now you have to take off your writer’s hat and put on the one labeled marketing and promoting. This is when most people give up. “I’m not a marketing agent,” they say. “I’m a writer.” I hate to tell you this, but if you want to succeed at self-publishing, you have to be everything all at once. 

    Promotion is a slow, frustrating process. It takes hundreds of hours of relentless work to get your name out there. And there is no way to know what will and will not work for you. Some will recommend blog tours, others paid ads. I recommend anything you can think of. I’ve seen people have book signings in their front yard which did far better than you might imagine. Be creative. Each thing you do is a drop in a very large bucket. But over time, if you don’t give up, it will get filled. Soliciting reviews from bloggers, conducting interviews and podcasts, joining literary groups, advertising; all of it helps. 

    Finally – Keep writing. The indie world is fast paced. I can write three full-length novels in a year, as well as a few short stories. But I know other writers who put out more than double that. You cannot expect to build an indie career on one book. Even if your book does well from the very beginning, indie books typically have a 3-5 month window before sales decline dramatically. You need to have something new ready by then or you could lose momentum. The top indies are constantly putting out new material. Some as often as every 2-3 months. This is another leading cause of writers giving up. They simply can’t keep up with the pace and the workload. Unfortunately, there is no solution to this problem. In time you might be able to delegate some of the logistical aspects, but you are the one who must write the books. For this, there is no shortcut.

    Now that you’ve read my take on the indie world, I have to break the bad news to you. If you do everything I said, it might not work. In fact, it probably won’t. There are thousands upon thousands of writers out there. Only a handful get to the point where they can make a living. You must ask yourself if the reward is worth the risk. Some people will say it’s all about luck. And I suppose luck does play a part. But Seneca said, “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” If this is what you really want, be prepared for luck to come knocking. Otherwise you are in store for a bitter disappointment.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Summer Fat

It's summer, and once again I've decided to get my fat ass back in shape. Sitting behind a keyboard all day (and night) is not exactly conducive to good health, and my wife insists that it's high time to shed some pounds. Being that she hasn't taken out a new life insurance policy on me, I can safely say that her concern in genuine. And she's right. I feel like a bloated bull and look like ten pounds of crap stuffed in a five pound bag. Were this ten years ago, I would be running like a fiend and lifting weights as if I were training for the bloody Olympics. But it seems age has caught up with me. I can only manage brief workouts for now. Of course, a good thing about getting older is patience. That and diminished sense of vanity. So I'll take it one baby step after another. Hopefully, if I keep it up and don't lose focus, by next year people will stop trying to get me back in the water when I walk down the beach.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Win A Free Copy!!!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dragonvein by Brian D. Anderson

Dragonvein

by Brian D. Anderson

Giveaway ends June 16, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dragonvein ready for Pre-Order!

Dragonvein (Book One) is now available on kindle for pre-order! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shame

I love Alabama. I truly do. I grew up here. I even moved my family across the country so my son would have the advantages I feel my state, and more importantly, my hometown, offers. But when I hear that our State Supreme Court has ordered probate judges to defy the Supreme Court ruling and stop issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed for myself, my friends who live here, and my state as a whole.
Shame on Judge Moore. He will share a place in our hearts beside George Wallace; forever known as a narrow minded bigot incapable of compassion or understanding. His outdated, prejudice views are a blight on my beloved home and casts a ugly shadow on the people who proudly call themselves Alabamians. Moreover it is a stain on the office he holds and the respect it should inspire. His file footage will be shown right along with that angry little Governor barring the way at the University of Alabama. I hope he enjoys his place in history. He's earned it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

When asked why he performed lying on his back at tonight's SNL 40th Anniversary Special, Kanye West said that he wanted to see things from the perspective all the little people who look up to him. "I know I must seem almost Godlike to the masses," said West. What the audience didn't know was that on the ceiling above he had placed a life size picture of himself. "It really put it in perspective when I saw me standing above me. I couldn't help but feel in awe of my own presence. I think I finally understand why people love me."

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Wasted Day

Today I was feeling a bit burned out, so I decided that I should take it easy and spend some time watching old movies and reading. I've been getting a lot of work done lately, so the guilt of letting a day go was at a minimum. All was going according to my design until about 2pm when I fell asleep in the middle of watching the original Planet of the Apes. Taylor was in ape court and had discovered that his friend was lobotomized. When I woke up it was more than four hours later, the movie was long over, my son was home from school, the sun was down, and the day was practically done. I had wasted a day by wasting a day...that I had intended to waste. But instead of enjoying myself with useless pursuits of sloth and leisure, I slept. Now I'm faced with the fact that I will not be able to fall asleep again until well after midnight. I might even see the dawn if my bad luck holds. Yes, my plan has totally backfired.

I thought to renew my scheme of books and movies, but found the living room had been hijacked and I had a slight headache, making reading uncomfortable. In a fit of desperation I sat down at my computer and pulled up the book I'm working on and stared at it for roughly fifteen minutes before closing the file in disgust. Now I'm wide awake, and uninspired. A poor combination for an author. Particularly one who has several projects in the works; each very important to my career.

Oh well. I suppose I can take an aspirin and hope for the best. The good news is that I'll likely sleep through the morning ritual of the mad scramble to get the boy to the bus on time. Yes indeed. I think I'll try to pick some gold out this pile of shit.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fear

With too much quiet, too much time to live inside my own head, and far too many projects on my plate, I find those old feelings of inadequacy creeping back in. That little voice who is always there to torment me. It tells me that I'm way out of my depth. What makes me think that I can find success in a field populated by so many brilliant people? Who the hell am I to imagine in my dizziest daydreams that anyone would find what I do worthy of serious attention? Yeah. That's the old naysaying asshole who plagued me for years. I've tried to pretend I had banished him for good. I've tried to act like I had forgotten...but that was a lie.

I know that it's just fear talking. That little voice has no concept whatsoever of the things I am capable of accomplishing. It's not reality seeping in. It has no answers. No words of wisdom to impart. It can't stop me from failing where I should succeed. No. All that little voice knows is fear. And fear is a hell of a foe. A foe I'll never underestimate again. It's done me too much harm during my short life in this world.

But here's the thing that keeps rattling around my skull. It's something I didn't know before, but understand as a truth today. Fear has value. Fear tells us when we're breaking new ground. Fear tells us that we are learning to fly. Fear sets the boundary between what is mundane and what makes us great. How could we appreciate joy without the trail of fear? How can we know that our life has meaning without overcoming the demons which plague us?

So I welcome my fear and smile at the sound of that little voice. What was once like fingernails on a chalkboard has become a sweet melody. I feel fear...and that's a good thing.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The tension keeps building as I await the verdict from the publishers. All I can really do is continue writing and living life as if nothing important is happening. However, in the quiet hours of the day, I have to admit that I go a little nutty. I try to read, but I find it's difficult when I can't stay focused enough to get through more than a few pages.

On the positive, though reading may present a problem, writing does not. And for that I am truly grateful. As my wits fly apart, my muse seems to be perfectly intact. I'm nearing the halfway point in the second Dragonvein novel and should be sending off a portion to editing this week. The new serial is more or less mapped out and it should only take a week or two to finish the first episode. Hell, I've even figured out the plot for the new Godling Chronicles sequel. So all in all the work aspect of my life is thriving.

But once again I find my life as a whole without a sense of balance. This can be dangerous for someone like me who often turns to less than healthy activities in order to release tension. Well, at least the good folks at Heineken and the local pubs will stay in business. It's times like this I wish I lived in Colorado. I could light up a fatty, put on some Pink Floyd, and chill. Sadly, I am not permitted to do so. I just can't imagine explaining to my son why I was arrested for possession. Damn me and my sense of responsibility.