Pains and Rewards of Publishing

Do your research.

I’ve mentioned the sweat and tears that go into writing. The publishing process is a whole different story. Publishing is so much different from writing. It’s difficult in its own way. There are mainly three ways a book can get published. I’ll be talking about two of them: traditional publishing and self-publishing. These are two different breeds of sheep. But you must be careful because some of them may turn out to be wolves. There are plenty of scams out there and it can be a really messy situation to be entangled in one. If you are looking for a publisher, only go to ones that are trusted. Luckily, there are red flags you can watch out for so you know which publishers you can trust.

The most well-known method of publishing is the traditional way. This type of publishing may be the most difficult regarding the process of making a manuscript a book. First you need to finish your manuscript; never open yourself to publishers before your manuscript is done. Second, find a literary agent. This may be one of the hardest steps. To get an agent, you want to let him or her know that your work stands out and will be a true success. You have to write a query letter the agent know that. Query letters are really tough to write correctly. It’s a good idea to research how to write one if you want it to be successful. Once you get an agent, he or she will look for a publisher. Traditional publishing is hard, but worth it. This method can really get your book out into the world. Now you must watch out. There are plenty of scams out there who are preying on you. Never submit to an agent who asks for a fee to read your manuscript. Literary agents get paid only if you do. There should be no cost to submit your work. Be sure to do your research on whatever agency your looking into to make sure you can trust them.

The second method of publishing is self-publishing. Oh boy, here we go. Self-publishing is an easier way to get your book out into the world, but it is a real gamble. Unlike traditional publishing, you have to pay to publish the book. You also have to manage everything yourself, so it can be a lot of work. And like traditional publishing, self-publishing can be dangerous if you are not careful. Don’t expect that you’ll be a bestseller. It’s possible but unlikely. And remember, BE CAREFUL. It’s really easy to fall victim of scams or mere marketing schemes. Your consultant may get you to think that he or she will do whatever he or she can to make your book popular. The consultant may talk about sending your book to various places and invite you to travel around the world to big conventions. What the consultant might no tell you is that the expenses come from your pocket. These events can cost thousands of dollars. Many of these self-publishing companies aren’t evil, but they just play the dirty advertising game. If you plan to self-publish, remember what you are getting into.

There is no right or wrong method in how you publish your book. It’s okay to try and find a literary agent and use traditional publishing. And it’s not bad to self-publish your book. If you want to publish, find a publisher. All you need to do is know where you’re going so you don’t get scammed. Do your research and try your best, that is the greatest chance in having your book become successful.

I had my own method of publishing Rise of the Dragon. As of now, it’s self-published by iUniverse. But I’m not planning on self-publishing all the books in the series. The reason why I self-published the first book is so I know my strengths and weaknesses in my writing. I can get all sorts of feedback that can help make The Tales of Draco the best it can be. This gave me experience in the field of an author and I don’t regret doing this. But iUniverse is no different from any other self-publishing company. They give me all sorts of opportunities to travel around the world on book tours, yet they cost so much money. I don’t worry about these offers because I’m not officially using the self-publishing method for The Tales of Draco. I simply self-published for practice. But if you want to self-publish, that’s okay. There have been many books that were successful through self-publishing.

In the end, just be careful. Publishing a book is a very accomplishing task, no matter the method. There are many honest publishers out there who are waiting for new books. Do your research and good luck!

Words Can be Art

Literary devices are the paintbrush. The story is the painting.

We’ve all been taught this ever since we learned how to read. Letters build words. Words build stories. Most of us have also been taught how to make our writing come to life, how to add texture and all that. From my personal style of writing and the ways other authors write, this is very important to know. And it’s not just because we need to add literary devices everywhere. It’s just as important to keep an eye on your similes, metaphors, personifications, etc. so your writing doesn’t become distracting. This is especially true to fantasy/sci-fi writers, since these genres work so well with literary devices. But this can apply with any genre. It’s easy to get lost in how to describe your setting rather than the story.

I like to compare literary devices to salt and the story to a slice of bitter fruit. (here’s a metaphor here) The right amount of salt can really bring out the flavor of the fruit. But you may know what happens when you add too much salt. It’s even worse than adding no salt at all. You don’t taste the natural flavor of the fruit, you just get a terrible taste on your tongue that you want to wash out immediately. It’s the same for your story. Using literary devices can give flavor to it. But if you use too many literary devices, the story is no longer as flavorful to read.

As I have said, fantasy and sci-fi stories tend to use literary devices more often. This is for good reason. When done right, your literary devices can really bring your enchanting world to life. If not, you may sound like someone who is putting more focus on expressing the paintbrush rather than the painting. (oh great, another metaphor)

So there you have it. I hope you are not thinking that I dislike literary devices. Being an author of fantasy myself, I love adding similes and other things to give The Tales of Draco some flavor. It’s okay to add literary devices, no matter what genre you are into. Just remember to use these literary devices as the paintbrush to create your painting.

Moral Support

Characters are so important because they are supposed to be living beings like us.

I’ve enjoyed creating Clipper’s character. But creating other characters such as Chang, Sally, Reno, and others was a part of the fun writing this book. It’s true that characters are the most important part of a story. They need to be fleshed out in such a way. Characters are so important because they are supposed to be living beings like us.

Clipper has been a part of the story line for Rise of the Dragon since the very beginning. Never had Jacob been alone when the book was still in the form of an idea. They were the first two characters in the book. I eventually created their friends and the main antagonist. And I plan on introducing other characters in the future (I’m really excited for that).

Like anything that stands, there has to be some sort of support. The minor characters in The Tales of Draco are the support. It would be very hard to write about Jacob if he’s the all alone, having to learn everything by himself and having to fight an entire force of evil with no help. When you think about it, it would have been a very lonely experience. Not only does Clipper help by being at Jacob’s side, Jacob has other friends. Consider this moral support for Jacob. And that’s support that most stories (there are a few exceptions) depend on.

A Time for Action…

When I read a book, I often like a good action scene, especially when it moves the plot along at a comfortable pace. It’s also good to have a few down scenes as well just so the story can be easier to follow. While writing Rise of the Dragon, I really loved creating action scenes. Sometimes I would feel like I was there, observing the action as it unfolds.

But as much as I like writing action scenes, I also find it enjoyable to write down scenes, or scenes with less intense action. I believe it’s good for a story to have down scenes so there is more than just mindless action.

Some stories rely on action more than others. And they work in many ways. The important thing is, a story’s plot must flow at a good pace. There is a time for action, and a time for repose.

The American/English Spelling Technique

It is important to know the nature of the English language…

The English language is broad. Being the second-most spoken and most diverse language,  it comes to no surprise that it differs from region to region. A person from Portland, Oregon will likely understand what a person from London is saying, but they might speak in a different accent and even a different dialect. It is important to know the nature of the English language as a writer.

One thing I had to be aware of when writing dialogue is the accent the speaking character will have. In The Tales of Draco, I use the typical American spelling (honor, color, scepter, etc.) in the narration because the main character speaks in that accent. But I use English spelling (honour, colour, sceptre, etc.) for characters with foreign accents, though that doesn’t necessarily mean the character’s accent is English. The spelling can also be changed in a way to put emphasis on how a character pronounces certain words. An example of the American/English spelling is used for Clipper. Clipper speaks with a Canadian accent, and words are spelled in the English style in Canada. Even though Clipper’s accent slightly differs from Jacob’s, it is still similar; so I still use American spelling for his dialogue. This contrasts with some of the dwarves and other characters where I use English spelling.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I use English spelling, it doesn’t always mean the accent is English. I use this spelling to indicate that the accent differs from Jacob and Clipper’s accents. You’ll see this American/English spelling more in future books in the series. When a character has a foreign accent, I use English spelling, even if the accent isn’t English. Sometimes the spelling will change in another way depending on the accent; it isn’t always English spelling.

I’m not saying the American/English technique is the correct way to add accent in dialogue. I’ve read plenty of books that use one type of spelling, even in dialogue. I just use the American/English technique in dialogue, depending on who is speaking. I only use American spelling in the narration.

If you ever decide to use the American/English technique, just remember to do it appropriately. Be aware of how you spell words in dialogue and most especially in the narration.

The Art of Theatre…

The last few weeks have been quite interesting. I had two book events, a presentation and a signing, at a school. What made the scheduling a little difficult is that I was performing in Les Misérables. My time was pressed, but I had a lot of fun.

I enjoy writing. It is a part of my life. But another thing I also enjoy is theatre and music. Acting on stage involves the work of literature, just like writing. In Les Mis, I played the Bishop of Digne, a beggar, and, ironically, the student Joly. The play had great feedback from the audience. I have been in about eight different plays now, performing various characters from the Magic Mirror on the Wall to a cowardly knight.

The reason why I explain my interest in theatre is because it is something I enjoy when I’m not writing. Many authors have other things they enjoy doing. Some are into art, others are into crafting. There are many things that I enjoy doing, including being the field of theatre. It is actually good for an author to have other hobbies and desires. These hobbies can help clear your mind and even aid in your writing talent. They can also help you overcome writer’s block. Theatre is literature and is something I will continue to be involved in.

The Importance of Reading…

A good reader is also a good writer.

There are some helpful elements that can really help an author unlock his or her greatest potential. A good author should write often, of course. But one of the most important things an author should do is read. Reading is what moves literature forward.

There is a broad range of what an author can read, and it can influence what the author will write. For example, I love reading fantasy books. It’s one of my favorite genres along with classical fiction. I enjoy entering other worlds and experiencing things I could never experience on a daily basis. I will constantly return to books about dragons, adventure, and magic. It’s what gives the adventure to me. And because I love reading in the realm of fantasy, I also love to write in the realm of fantasy. Just remember, write about things you love. I love reading about dragons. That is why The Tales of Draco is about dragons.

Believe it or not, if I had not read some of the books I enjoyed in the past, I doubt I would have written The Tales of Draco. So if you ever decide to write a story, one of the best exercises for you is to read. Reading will give you inspiration. It’s inspiration that will move literature along. A good writer is also a good reader.