Traditional or Indie?

The writing is going very well, and I can’t wait to share “My Life As Death” with everyone. I didn’t know what to expect when I started writing it, but it has turned into something I never could have planned; probably because I didn’t plan it at all. I just started with an idea about a teenage Grim Reaper and I let the story lead the way. But early on in the writing of it, I knew this would be my best shot at going the traditional publishing route.

I knew absolutely nothing about publishing when I began writing; I just had a story to write. But as I continued writing, I began looking into the various publishing options. This was around 2011-2012 when the Amazon Kindle and independent publishing was just starting to get big. Writers like Amanda Hocking and Hugh Howey were becoming some of the first “Kindle Millionaires”, and even traditionally published authors like Joe Konrath and Dean Wesley Smith were sharing their advice on forgoing the traditional route. I read everything I could on the subject, and when The Dark Genesis of Daniel James was ready, I went the indie route.

Going the indie route was the right decision with Dark Genesis. As my first book, I was very unsure of myself and I very much wanted to have complete control over the entire thing; it was my baby. I don’t think I would have done well with the submission process, let alone the editorial / revision process if it had actually been accepted by an agent or publisher. Most likely, that book would have been my last.

23 Hours, at around 20,000 words was an awkward length to try to get published anywhere, so traditional publishing it wasn’t really an option. Trad publishing might have been worth considering for The Consciousness Puzzle, but as much as I enjoy the book, and especially the main character, there really is nothing that makes it stand out from the sea of action/adventure fiction already available out there; I just wrote what I wanted to read. Having TCP as my debut (trad published) novel would have probably been the end of my trad publishing career.

So that brings us back to My Life As Death. After 8 years of writing I’ve definitely matured as an author, and I like to think I’ve gotten quite a bit better. I also think that story and the characters in MLAD are the best I’ve written. They’re a bit unique, a little deep, and extremely entertaining (at least to me). I think it’s the perfect book for me to be able to get an agent and a traditional publishing deal, so that’s been the plan, until I read this article by Dean Wesley Smith.

The monetary breakdown wasn’t anything new to me. I’ve read this sort of math before, but seeing it again made me question if I still wanted to pursue the traditional route. It wasn’t just the money aspect though, it also reminded me what sort of time frame I’m looking at from the traditional path.

Yesterday I started writing the first draft of my query letter. I’m sure I’ll write several more versions before I’m content with it. Then I have to write a synopsis of the book. Then I have to research probably 100+ agents so I can identify a couple dozen I will query. Then, as far as this book goes, all I can do is wait. And even if by some chance I get an agent to agree to represent me, we have to try to get a publishing company interested. That alone is a huge battle, but even if it’s one we eventually win, there will be rounds of edits followed by production concerns, etc… to further push out the actual publishing. This means it could be (and most likely would be) years before the final book is available. This is what really has me reconsidering the Traditional vs Indie route.

I want to get this book in front of people. I want to share it with readers everywhere, as quickly as possible, and I know publishing through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Draft 2 Digital, etc… would allow me to get it out there the quickest. I also know that I suck at advertising and marketing my books. A traditional publishing deal doesn’t guarantee my book would be marketed any better, but it gives it a better chance to be marketed by someone who knows what they’re doing.

So that’s my dilemma, “Traditional or Indie?” What are your thought?

Writing Again!

There’s been a lot going on lately that has taken my focus off of writing, either my books or this blog, not the least of which was my youngest son moving and getting married. Both of these events required a good bit of my time, both for the actual event and for the projects he requested to got with them. I got to enjoy making various items I probably would not have attempted otherwise (a headboard, folding ladder-shelf, decorative wooden crates, hatchet display boxes and a cake topper to name a few). I appreciated the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone with these projects but I really missed writing. Then two days ago my wife had surgery. Surgery is not usually a great thing, but it did force me to spend several hours in the waiting room with nothing much to do, so I decided to crack open my little travel 2-in-1 laptop and give writing a shot.

I’m probably about 90-95% done with Zero Sum, and Mike Locke is such an easy character for me to slip into, so I thought it would be the best place to get me feet wet after a little time off. I opened up the file, read the last couple chapters I’d written and tried to continue. After ten minutes I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t know why, but sometimes the story just flows, other times I see way to many options and I hop all over the place, and sometimes my brain just freezes. That day, it was the latter. I just couldn’t see what happened next. I thought abut just shutting down my laptop but decided to try again with a different book.

My Life As Death is totally different from Zero Sum, and apparently that was exactly what I needed. I re-read a little of what I’d already written, and just continued from there. I wrote pretty much the entire time I was in that waiting room, and even though it’d been over a month since I’d last written, it was like I’d never stopped. That never happens when I take time off, so for that I was very grateful. Then the nurse called my name and the writing came to an end so I could go back and see my wife. Everything went well but by the time we got home both of us were exhausted so I didn’t get any more writing done.

I also didn’t get any writing done yesterday, choosing to focus on design work and caring for my wife, but most of the big projects around the house are now complete, and there shouldn’t be any more major events in the near future, so once again I can make writing a priority. And when I talk about making writing a priority, I mean both my books and keeping up on this blog. The guitar build continued, even though I haven’t given any updates on it, so you will be seeing the rest of the build soon.

Projects

I’ve always had multiple projects going on at once, but lately it seems that my mental to-do list just keeps growing. Between the household projects, my writing, 3D printing, guitar building, etc…, it seems like I’ll never get done with all of them. My wife is big on creating lists, so as much as I hate them, I decided to put together a list of all the projects I’m either currently working on or plan to start in the near future. A lot of the projects are household projects but some of the projects are personal projects (like adding a rasberry Pi/ Octopi to my 3D printer), some are for my online shop, some are for my writing (like finish the four books I’m currently working on) and some are for family and/or friends, but all of them can currently be done if I make them a priority. Additionally, each of them is an actual projects and not just a routine task I have to do often (such as mow the yard, cook dinner or do the dishes). So once I compiled the list in excel and had everything documented like that, I realized why I haven’t been writing much. As of yesterday morning I had 74 projects on the list.

At first, seeing the entire list laid out was a bit intimidating, but then I realized that very few of the projects had a specific deadline. Stuff for my son’s wedding has to be made before the wedding, and the pool landscaping would be nice to have done before we close up the pool for the winter, but otherwise the timing is up to me. And, while some of the projects are large, many of them will only require a couple hours or possibly even less. So with the list made, I now just need to determine my priorities.

I’ve already knocked out a couple projects, and prioritized some writing time, so I think the list will definitely help keep me moving forward on all of the projects, just don’t tell my wife she was right about making a list.

New Web Address

For those eagle eyed few who might have noticed, yes, the Keyboard Monkeys web address has changed. WordPress was having a flash deal so I went ahead and got the domain keyboardmonkeys.blog to make this site’s address easier to remember and to get rid of the annoying ads. Otherwise, the site should look the same, at least for now. I may eventually play around with site layout but for now I think it works well.

Writing Update 2/15/19

I’ve had several people email and message me about my books recently. which really makes me feel good. Most of the messages have been asking about the new books, for which I really haven’t done a good job putting any updates out there, so hopefully this will help anyone wondering what’s going on.

The second Mike Locke novel, tentatively titled “Zero Sum” is about 90% done. I love the story and the characters, especially a new one introduced at the very beginning and I planned on having it ready for release before spring. As far along as it is, there’s still a good chance it will be released before summer, but for the past couple weeks just about all my writing time has gone to another project; “My Life As Death: A Grim Beginning”.

I had the idea for My Life As Death a couple years ago but I kept putting off working on it, trying to finish other projects first. Then a few weeks ago I couldn’t put it off any more. I don’t know why I jumped into it, but writing it has gone much smoother and much quicker than almost any other book, besides 23 Hours. The ease of writing it is a big reason I’ve continued to focus on it, but there is also another reason. After self publishing my first three books I’ve decided to explore the traditional publishing route, and most publishers aren’t interested in starting with the second book of a series. I don’t know what it will take to get a traditional publishing contract, or even what it will take to find an agent, but I think My Life As Death will give me the best chance at it. I’ll be doing a quick write up/blurb about it soon, but if I do get a publishing contract for it, then I assume the book won’t be out for quite a while; it’s my understanding that the typical publishing process is 1-2 years. The timing/release schedule is one reason I haven’t pursued traditional publishing in the past, but I really want to give it a shot.

The second Daniel James book is pretty much where it’s been for the past several year, about 25% done. As with the Mike Locke series, I love the characters and story, and there really isn’t any writer’s block preventing me from finishing this book, it’s just been a matter of priority. Writing the Daniel James series (which I tend to refer to as the Aether Chronicles) is a bit more in-depth than any of the others. It requires a lot more planning and research which really slows down the progress so for the time being I have kind of put it on the back burner, though it will continue; Daniel’s got a big future that will eventually come to light.

And as a surprise, I’ve also got another book to announce. As I said before, “just about all my writing time” has gone to My Life As Death. The little bit that hasn’t gone to MLAD has gone to another one titled After the End, the sequel to 23 Hours. Originally 23 Hours was just the start of a 4 part miniseries so I started writing After the End before 23 Hours was even published, but I stopped writing just before finishing it because I felt 23 Hours had the perfect ending. But upon reading it again a couple years later, I decided that the rest of the world should know what happens next. I don’t have an exact publication date for After the End yet, but I will definitely be posting updates here.

So there’s the status on each of the books I’m working on, and with this new site I will be doing much better job keeping you up-to-date with each of them in the future.

Recipes to make while drinking a beer

One of the books I’ve been working on for some time is not a fiction book like all my others; it’s actually a cook book. But I don’t want the book to just be a collection of recipes that I’ve come up with over the years, I want it to be fun to read. Initially I wanted to have the book done in time to send it with my youngest son when he went off to college but it is taking a lot longer to write so that didn’t happen. Instead, I’ve decided just to post the recipes here as I get them done. These will not be in any particular order on this website, and will not necessarily be the final version that makes it into the book, but they will be very close.

Intro

I’m a guy. And like most guys, I like food. I’m also broke which means I can’t afford to go out and eat all the great food at the fancy restaurants. So that really left me only two options; learn to make do with hot dogs and mac n’ cheese, or learn to cook. I actually enjoy learning new things so the decision was a no brainer.

One of the great things about cooking is that you can use it as an excuse to have a beer, and though it’s not required, I highly recommend it (hence the title). But try to keep it to just one or else the food might end up tasting better to you than to everyone else.

As I present the various recipes I’ve come up with, I’ll also share bits of advice and information that I’ve learned over the years. But I’m not a trained chef, I just watch a lot of them on TV, so feel free to take any advice with a grain of salt.

Welcome to the new site!

Welcome to the Keyboard Monkey site, the new place to listen to me blather on about about writing, my books and other literary thoughts. So much has changed in my life over the past few months, and I’ll get to some of it, but one of the biggest changes in my online life is the fact that I decided to compartmentalize my blogging. Several months ago I left the company for which I’d worked for the past 20 years. Doing so lead me to create a new online portfolio (https://krileydesign.wordpress.com/) using the wordpress platform. I really like the customization of the platform so I decided to move my blogging to it as well. But rather than just import everything I’d previously done on blogger, I am using this opportunity to start fresh here. And though there is some crossover, I’m also using this opportunity to separate my design work from my writing. So going forward you can find all my design blogging over at my design site and all my writing thoughts here. I don’t know if this will be beneficial for me or for you, but I like the idea, so we’ll see how it goes. Let me know what you think of the place, and keep checking back for frequent updates!