It's sort of a tradition now that the night before a book goes live that I sit down with a drink (currently a Mai Tai to wash down my Sazerac) to reflect back on the book that's about to clutter up people's shelves. This is the sixth or seventh time I've done this, which I guess is an accomplishment in and of itself. I've stuck with this whole book writing thing quite a few years now. Five, I believe.
And while I haven't earned the monetary success I would have liked (who has?), I realize this has been a pretty great trip so far. I was just finishing up a round of FaceBook Ads (more on that later), right after making some animated covers, and discussing how I like the format of my video editing software more than a previous one.
All of which were attached to my writing in a way. Because these days selling yourself (and being to do the legwork that isn't directly writing) is all a part of the writing. Yes, there are the trad-published purists who believe that all the "other shit" is beneath them and for the publisher to handle. And if you're George Martin or Stephen King, that might be true. But the rest of us better hustle if we want our daily bread. And if you ain't hustling, then you're just going to be left in the dust.
Well, that took a weird aside. Back to the book.
Unlike my other fiction books, or even the previous non-fiction book in this series, I can't say it was a labor of love. I consider writing more of a craft than an art, but even by my own personal motivation, this was not a book I felt compelled to write. Well, no. I did feel a need to write it, but it was more of an intellectual understanding that people need this type of book than a burning internal desire to write it. Worldbuilding for Fantasy Fans and Authors was a wonderful exercise in intellectual curiosity and rigor, whereas the workbook was more of a how-to book.
How-to books are weird things in that, if you are capable of writing a how-to book, chances are that the things that you're demonstrating are boring as hell to you.
For instance, if you are personally looking up a book (or, let's be honest: a YouTube video) on how to seal a broken pipe, that's because you currently have a broken pipe and need a plumber to show you the basics on how to fix it. Good for you the consumer that it's out there. But the explanation video is basic, entry-level stuff for the plumber who's showing you how. It's tedious, to a certain extent.
Well, maybe not. But it is a different mindset to show someone how to throw a baseball than to go out and actually throw one yourself. And this book was more of the former rather than the latter: I had to sit down and focus on the process, on each step, instead of enjoying just doing it. But I stuck with it because there is a need for it.
And--I only mention this because we're on my blog that no one ever reads--the need is there because most of the worldbuilding how-to books out there are crap. I think there's one maybe one and a half that I'd recommend outright. The rest are either 1) one person's unresearched opinion, 2) a list of basic prompts that they charge full price for even though it's only 50 pages long, 3) aimed at people just starting out who don't know any better.
I've been on the other side of this and been taken advantage of as I shelled out my money for "tips" that weren't worth much. I've also been on the other side of that where I desperately wanted to give people advice but didn't have the time. So that's sort of what this book is: An inexpensive (seriously, it's $4.99 for over 800 prompts) culmination of all I've learned in my 20 years of writing, with four of them focused on worldbuilding. It's a pretty good deal.
And it's out to the universe. Or so Amazon tells me. I need to refill my drink, and then I'll be back with more...
Anyways, this book is out almost a year to the day of the first book in the series. It should have been out much sooner, but life got in the way (much like it has with Sol's Harvest, which I WILL finish in the next few months, knock on wood). For one, I was hired to write two movies in that timeframe; one of which has been delivered, although the director just emailed me moments after I finished my FaceBook ads to discuss it; and the other that will have to be in the next year (I also just got contacted for another script I had forgotten about, but I'm not holding my breath). This is a pretty wile turn of events considering I gave up on screenwriting as a profession five years ago.
But that's all beside the point. What am I doing going forward?
Well, I have at least one other script to write, but I don't think that will have too much affect on my book writing (knock on wood). So the plan is thus:
1) Rerelease Sol's Harvest in its entirely: I've had something like five cover artists and two lifetime's worth of bad luck on this series, which is upsetting since it's the best thing I've ever written. So I've hired a very successful and very responsible cover artist to redo ALL of the covers. That means, starting next week, I'm going to re-edit all four books and fold that mythology book into them. Then, when that's done, I'm going to re-release all FOUR of them, one a month, until they're finished.
And it will be awesome. Or else.
2) One more worldbuilding book: Monsters and Magic. I think I'm on to something special with my magic system analysis. In that I've presented it to some pretty big authors and they've been impressed. I also have an idea on how to create creatures for fantasy series that I think needs some following up on. So one more book on the subject.
3) Keep making a new world a week on my YouTube channel. Honestly, the editing takes longer than I like, but I very much enjoy the practice of it each week. I've made 4-5 worlds already (complete with basic story plot) that I want to return to. This really keeps me sharp on the worldbuilding front.
4) Start my Urban Fantasy project. This thing has been bouncing around my head since I think 1999, so it's about time I get it out. I've done a script version of it many moons ago, but it just keeps growing. Hopefully it will be out sometime in 2022.
And that's it for now. Time to stumble off to bed. Go buy Fantasy Worldbuilding Workbook!