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!

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.

The Library: A Place of Significance

Libraries are important in the history of civilization.

If you ask any author, most will say that libraries are great places. A library is one of my favorite places to be. Not only are there many books to read, but a library is a place of knowledge. Especially today, libraries are places of many resources. What should be known is how important libraries are in the history of civilization.

Libraries have been around for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Greece and Egypt. In those days, people were willing to travel hundreds of miles to visit a library. Stories and records of the great people in history were at the travelers’ fingertips. The long trip would be worth it. Today, we don’t have to travel mile after mile. But the reason why we visit a library is the same. A library is the sanctuary for literature.

When you look back in history, you may notice how big a role literature plays in the evolution of civilization. Ancient nations flourished in golden ages of literature. Think of ancient Greece for example. Greece was a nation that revolutionized the world at the time. At its height, stories of Greek heroes were being told and written down. Some of these stories are still told today. Now think of the Renaissance. It was an era of expansion and a renewal of culture. This was when the printing press was invented. Books were created by the thousands. Civilization advanced forward at a fast pace.

It comes to show that books are important to society. We will slip in an age of darkness without it. And libraries are the core of literature. They are significant pieces to our civil lives.

Animals and Dragons; a Connection

I love animals. They fascinate me in many different ways. I’m always interested in how diverse our world is. You may ask what this has to do with The Tales of Draco and, particularly, the dragons in the book. The truth is, it has a lot to do with the elements in the book. My fascination of animals has a big influence in The Tales of Draco.

For instance, Jacob Draco’s interest in animals and his life on the farm play a big role in the plot. This is what drives him and Clipper to begin their major experiment in Rise of the Dragon. As dragons, they discover their own natural gifts such as using their claws, charging with their horns, or breathing fire among many other things.

So are dragons in The Tales of Draco technically animals? You could say so, in a way as if you classify humans as mammals. Marissa Durfee, my sister and main illustrator, once said that dragons are human, just a different type of human.

We humans have our own knowledge of good and evil, so do dragons. But when you look closer, animals are more like us in many ways. Animals bleed, think, feel, and hurt just like humans do. I’m not saying that I’m against rightful hunting or the use of animals for farming. I’m saying that we should acknowledge their existence. Respect to animals can help us respect ourselves.

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.

Inspiration and Literature Progression

As important as I believe inspiration is, it can be a little hard to understand.

I personally believe inspiration is a wonderful thing. It is what moves the good in humanity forward. I have plenty of inspiration while I’m writing in The Tales of Draco, and I have seen readers become inspired by my work.  As important as I believe inspiration is, it can be a little hard to understand.

One thing I like to do is not reread books I’ve read in the past, but analyze them. I study the story’s structure, the sentence structure, and what works and what doesn’t work well in the story. I don’t do this to put that story’s work in my own. but learn from it.

When you want your story to have creativity, you have to be careful with how you interpret inspiration, or else your story may just be a bland rip-off of something successful. You won’t be seen as the next J.K. Rowling if you just copy the exact same plot. Creativity comes if you study what worked for that particular book. Your readers may want something similar to an earlier and more successful book, but most don’t want the same story retold. For example, if you are writing in the genre of fantasy, it is good to incorporate elements that fantasy readers will enjoy in a brand new adventure that they have never endured before.

I have been inspired by other authors and I do have their writing influence my own writing, but I don’t want my series to be the next Lord of the Rings. I want it to be The Tales of Draco. When you want to be inspired, you must “use” the author’s work, not “take” it. Inspiration may be hard to interpret, but it is something that every one of us has. And it is not just in writing, but in everything we do.

Medieval versus Renaissance

Many fantasy writers try to recreate a Medieval setting. However, many of these settings are actually in a completely different era in history.

When we think of a typical fantasy story, we often think of dragons, knights, castles, and damsels in distress. Basically, the setting is comparable to Medieval England. As I’ve explained before, this is because this type of fantasy has its roots in Medieval England with the stories of King Arthur or Beowulf. In recent literature, many fantasy writers still try to recreate a Medieval setting. However, many of these settings are actually in a completely different era in history. The Renaissance came after the Medieval Era. This is when literature really began to move forward once again.

The Medieval Era didn’t really mean the end of advancing technology, but it was clearly a time of slow progression. Books were rare and expensive because they were difficult to make. After the terrible Black Plague, a new surge of energy swept over Europe. Technology advanced at an extraordinary rate. This was when the printing press was invented. Books became more common. New stories had biblical and mythological inspiration. This is the setting that many fantasy stories today come from.

Of course there are books and movies that have a true Medieval setting that are put together quite well, but more than few have a Renaissance setting even when many believe it is Medieval. Think of Beauty and the Beast for example. The main character, Belle, loves to read. We learn of the grand library in the beast’s castle. That gives us evidence that this was a time that books were common. We also know that Belle’s father was an inventor. The elements in this story come from the Renaissance.

It’s no crime to have either a Medieval or a Renaissance setting, though they can be overused. One thing we can learn about these two time periods is how important literature is to our society. It was during the Renaissance when we had great writers like William Shakespeare. The Industrial Revolution gave rise to the age of Romanticism with writers like Mark Twain and Nathaniel Hawthorne. There is yet another golden age of literature that began in the twentieth century that continues today (the twentieth century was called the century of the book). This shows us that literature plays a huge role in moving society forward. It is through words that moves civilization forward.