20 Feb 2016

The Ark, and Completion

Hail readers!

My news regarding the Ark has been sporadic, I must admit: often I was more pre-occupied writing essays concerning things like the Soviet Union, Corbyn (alas he is not so omnipresent as before) and even my scathing critique of Toryism. But with all this set aside, my focus is still on the Ark.

In the Upcoming page, I mention the ‘estimated date of completion’ to be around the end of February. Alas, with February’s end fast approaching, that deadline proved optimistic.

On the good side—I’ve written 54,000 words and about 270 pages. This is respectable progress: I am now more than halfway through the completion of what was, months ago, little more than a dream. Granted, I did not in fact dream the Ark; but the process by which I experience new stories is not altogether dissimilar. The Ark started off as a fragment—a very vivid, inspiring fragment albeit. I saw the Ark dominating a deep blue sky; I saw Casey’s ocean-blue eyes mirror it below; and I felt their love.

Anyway, that was a bit tangential. The bad news is that I’m not finished; and I have my A2 exams coming up towards May. This means it is unlikely I will finish the Ark before, oh, June or so. Maybe August. Such is the nature of the business, folks; a writer’s greatest virtue, after all, is patience.

There are also a number of other tasks I intend to perform along with completion of the first draft. Firstly, I wish to obtain more feedback—professional feedback. I’ve had the serendipity to find Reedsy; a website devoted to the the professionals behind books. I can find book designers, cartographers, and of course: editors.

I’ll likely solicit an editorial review from one such editor. They will address a number of things, including:

  1. The book’s ability to interest an agent;
  2. What might make an agent more interested;
  3. The book’s ability to interest a publisher;
  4. Editorial feedback about writing, characterisation, and plot.

After that, I’ll also likely get my cover letter looked at by an editor. The cover letter will be sent to agents—it’s important, because it gives first impressions (and first impressions are always important).

This will cost a few pretty pennies, but is still cheaper than a serious self-publishing effort. For the Necromancer, which I released on Halloween the year before last (making it a year and four months and since publication—whew!) I ended up spending:

  1. Approximately £160 on cover design and the creation of marketing materials;
  2. £120 on map design;
  3. About a £100 on various marketing;
  4. Close to £200 for the print copies and the associated shipping.

Grand total: £580

If I were to self-publish the Ark, I could easily surpass that figure. This is not impossible for me to do financially: my grandparents have given me an eighteenth birthday present that could cover that and more. But it’s not something I’d take lightly to doing.

And yet there are more important reasons still for why I’m choosing the traditional route.

Why Alex Won’t Be Self-Publishing, This Time

The first order of concern is time. Unless I am to spend a great deal of money getting reviewers and hiring a professional to market for me, I am going to have to do a fair amount of marketing myself. I simply do not have the time to realistically do this; school, and later university, will be chief concerns. What’s more—even hiring a marketing team would still drain time. Add to that:

  1. Co-ordinating and working with the designers (which requires a lot of input from me!);
  2. Editing—a lot of time is needed to review the edits, talk over the entire minutiae of the book over with the editor, and often times re-write, remove content, or add new content;
  3. Formatting takes time, especially if there are technical hiccups along the way;
  4. It takes time to submit the book to the various retailers, to Lulu, to order and get printed copies, and more;
  5. All of the above would have to be co-ordinated by me, and the marketing team would need to know deadlines, review the cover, perhaps themselves request things from the designer, etc. etc.

I also, to be honest, fancy getting an advance. There will be expenses to recoup, and plenty of money will be needed at university.

Besides that: I’ve never done it before. I’m curious to experience the process.

Keeping You Busy

Let’s face it: this process will take months. And the publisher could take months to perform all the various complex tasks aforementioned. The actual book could be out next year!

So: I’ve decided to release snippets of the Ark. I’ve already done this once—and indeed I have released sample chapters on the Upcoming page—but it’s good to release more. Along with that, you’ll get my thoughts and difficulties. Later on, you’ll get my experience of the editing process. And to top it all off: you’ll get to read what my beta readers think.

On top of all that, I will be releasing more… essays! I’ll be working on one such, entitled ‘Social Democracy versus Socialism’ soon. Others will follow it. (I’ve already done a pretty good job of turning this blog into a library of political philosophy though, haven’t I?)

And, I’ll be working on some poetry. I won’t say too much about this right now—I’ve promised another poem on the topic of love; others will also follow.

Conclusions

The road travelled by a writer is a long one, and fraught with many an unknown difficulty. That said, there is many a beautiful sight along the way; and the destination—that could be heaven!

Besides that, there will be much going on here on the Magical Realm. I’ve already detailed much of it. And, I may find the time to do one more thing: re-theme and expand the blog’s capabilities. Perhaps I’ll have an updating feed dedicated to my political musings. I’ve touched on this before.

Now, I leave you. Bid me good luck.

Alex.

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