My short bio: I'm Bill Ricardi, former uTest performance tester of the year 2010, former test manager for one of the Big 4 consultancies, former owner of a startup that went nowhere when the funding pulled out.

Last March I gave up on tech to follow my dream. I wrote my first fantasy novel, Another Stupid Spell. After over 2 dozen agent rejections, I published it anyway.

Unexpectedly, it shot up to 4.45+ on Goodreads, broke 165K pages read on the Kindle in 30 days, and gave me a new livelihood. We expect the rating to level out a bit with more volume, but it's currently sitting just above 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone'.

My cat Loki and I are here for the next few hours. We're happy to answer process questions, questions about the transition from tech, and anything else about myself or the upcoming trilogy. And of course, if I can help anyone else with their own writing dreams, please ask!

My Proof: http://www.billricardi.com/reddit.html

EDIT: It's now 8 AM U.K. time, and I need to walk the cat on his little harness and take a nap. If you're just catching this now, feel free to post questions and I'll try to answer one final swath of them in the next few hours. Thanks for all the love and support, I'm really overwhelmed. :)

EDIT 2: I'm back until I pass out now!

FINAL EDIT: OK folks, 18 hours later and I learned so much! Thanks for that. I need to eat and sleep for at least 5 hours before my 8 hour writing shift starts. Good luck everyone!

Comments: 97 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

Oax_Mike49 karma

How do you get the ball rolling once you decide to self-publish?

What are the next five steps once you have a book written, edited and ready to go to give a self-published book a chance to sell?

rrauwl12 karma

Hey It's come to my attention that the reply I made 15 hours ago isn't coming through. I'm sorry about that. I'm going to contact the mods and see what's up. I'll private mail you a reply as well. No idea what's happening with that.

Edit: We're going meta! Here's a screenshot of the reply from 15 hours ago. It's like time travel hacking!

Oax_Mike2 karma

No worries :)

I don't have a manuscript ready to rock or anything...

rrauwl7 karma

Added a screenshot, for the ultimate 'Yo dawg I heard you like replies' reply.

rrauwl7 karma

First I should note, if you want to break into the mainstream, deciding to self publish is one of the hardest decisions to make. You automatically burn around half of the potential agents for your book, as a large subset of fantasy literary agents won't touch a book once it is self published. So there's that.

Now to answer the first question, you have a number of decisions to make

1a) Are you going E-book only, or paper too? I went E-book only because it has the best return on royalties, but in other markets, both would have been an option.

1b) Decide if you're going broad, or you want to be an Amazon exclusive. I wanted to get in on the Kindle page reads and have a shot at the All Star bonuses, so I went Amazon exclusive. But it does put more of an onus on DIY advertising and publicity. People can only go ONE place for your stuff.

1c) You need to commission your cover art and decide how you want to advertise. I was on a tight budget, but I still wanted quality, so I researched the heck out of it. Hugor Rodriguez and Hugorky Rodriguez did my cover to very exact specifications, for 50 bucks and credit on the book and in the book. They are SUPERSTARS. On the ad front, I did a discount week through one of the major discount E-book advertisers. That got word of mouth rolling.

1d) Finally, I got active on social media. I never, ever used Facebook. You bet your butt that I do now though! It's a great way to reach out to your circle, and have them help and support you.

2) First 5 steps after 'ready': Start with all of the above answers to #1. Next is getting active on Goodreads. Join the authors forum, do everything they say to join and set up your author site, etc. Start blogging your experience, either via Goodreads or elsewhere. Reach out to readers for detailed feedback and encourage them to post actual reviews. Ratings get you noticed, reviews sell books. Contact the niche book lists (LGBTQ in my case as some of the characters qualify, theme-specific, etc). Finally, Find all of the big book review bloggers and ask them if they're interested in giving you a shot.

EDIT: Is this reply showing up? Posted it 15 hours ago.

rrauwl3 karma

I'm just going to repost this, because I replied 15 hours ago but it doesn't look like it showed up by the lack of any reaction, upvotes, downvotes, etc.

First I should note, if you want to break into the mainstream, deciding to self publish is one of the hardest decisions to make. You automatically burn around half of the potential agents for your book, as a large subset of fantasy literary agents won't touch a book once it is self published. So there's that.

Now to answer the first question, you have a number of decisions to make

1a) Are you going E-book only, or paper too? I went E-book only because it has the best return on royalties, but in other markets, both would have been an option.

1b) Decide if you're going broad, or you want to be an Amazon exclusive. I wanted to get in on the Kindle page reads and have a shot at the All Star bonuses, so I went Amazon exclusive. But it does put more of an onus on DIY advertising and publicity. People can only go ONE place for your stuff.

1c) You need to commission your cover art and decide how you want to advertise. I was on a tight budget, but I still wanted quality, so I researched the heck out of it. Hugor Rodriguez and Hugorky Rodriguez did my cover to very exact specifications, for 50 bucks and credit on the book and in the book. They are SUPERSTARS. On the ad front, I did a discount week through one of the major discount E-book advertisers. That got word of mouth rolling.

1d) Finally, I got active on social media. I never, ever used Facebook. You bet your butt that I do now though! It's a great way to reach out to your circle, and have them help and support you.

2) First 5 steps after 'ready': Start with all of the above answers to #1. Next is getting active on Goodreads. Join the authors forum, do everything they say to join and set up your author site, etc. Start blogging your experience, either via Goodreads or elsewhere. Reach out to readers for detailed feedback and encourage them to post actual reviews. Ratings get you noticed, reviews sell books. Contact the niche book lists (LGBTQ in my case as some of the characters qualify, theme-specific, etc). Finally, Find all of the big book review bloggers and ask them if they're interested in giving you a shot.

rrauwl1 karma

Yeah something really weird happened. You can at least see the reply in my comment history! :) Sent to mods, hope they can sort it.

Californib30 karma

Hi Bill. Why do I want to read your book? I could read all kinds of shit. Why yours?

rrauwl32 karma

An excellent question!

Well, in my youth I fell in love with a concept from an old sci-fi novel called 'Flowers for Algernon'. All my life I wished that there was something in the realm of fantasy that covered the topic of shifting intelligence.

I got sick of waiting, so I wrote it. Objectively speaking, it's a cool concept that simply hasn't been touched much in the realm of fantasy. My reviewers say that the characters are the strongest part of the novel. They're as 'real' as I could make them. I hope people find them funny, and exciting, and sad at the same time. Just like life.

Californib13 karma

Aw shit, dude. I read Flowers for Algernon. Tell me yours isn't like that one. I don't think I could go through that wringer again.

rrauwl23 karma

Prepare to be wrung, my friend. :)

But seriously, there's a sequel right? So it can't be QUITE that sad!

iLiveEvil2 karma

What do you imply by shifting intelligence? It's a new word for me.

rrauwl10 karma

In Flowers for Algernon, the tone and vocabulary of the writing changed based on the current level of intelligence of the main character.

Similarly in 'Another Stupid Spell', the first person narration changes tone and vocabulary as our main character gains or loses intelligence. The main difference is that we're reading Sorch's diary entries, often made a couple of days after the events being described. So as long as he's able to cast his intelligence enhancements within a reasonable time frame, only his direct spoken quotes will suffer. Only in cases of protracted loss of intelligence does the first person narration backslide into more tribal phrasing.

iLiveEvil1 karma

What causes the narrator to lose intelligence? I didn't know that intelligence could increase/decrease within a short time period.

rrauwl1 karma

I'll quote from the dust jacket:

"Sorch is an orc mage in a world where orcs are cursed with stupidity every time they cast a spell. The only spell he can safely cast is Enhance Intelligence, which boosts his IQ for a fraction of a second before the curse drains it all away again."

A millennia ago, a goddess was spurned and insulted by a powerful orc mage. She cursed his race to become dumber whenever they cast an arcane spell. The Enhance Intelligence spell was just a way for orcs to thumb their nose at this goddess, a kind of protest, a defiance. Until they stole the Voodoo Engine, which fed off of any spell being cast around it.

Thus, the central contention and premise of Another Stupid Spell: How does our hero, Sorch, escape the role of being a slave to the Voodoo Engine, and become a real mage and adventurer in his own right?

PM_ME_DRAGON_BUTTS11 karma

So, how much is the book earning you now?

rrauwl31 karma

It's only been out a little more than a month, so we won't know Amazon's valuation on the September KENP (Kindle page reads) for another couple of weeks. But here's what we know so far:

Our cut of the pure sales is around 700 US, so we just need to add what we project for KENP. As of this moment, over around 33 days, we have 201,727 pages read. My best guess on the fund value would be around $0.0045 per page. So around $900.

So total in just over a month is around $1600, and we expect month 2 to ramp upwards sharply as word of positive reviews gets out. It's a good sign for a book that had a one time, $200 ad budget. :)

olioli8613 karma

How did you advertise with that $200?

rrauwl19 karma

In my case, I dropped the price of the book to $0.99 for a promotional week and I advertised the deal with Books Butterfly, Book Sends, etc. These are services that have large mailing lists filled with people who want to be informed when Amazon has a 99 cent or free deal on a book.

Even taking into account a surge of cheap sales, it's a short term hit on your revenue because if your book hasn't been out at a stable price for at least 30 days, Amazon drops your royalties to 35% when you do something like this.

But in my case, totally worth it. The exposure meant a lot of word of mouth, leading to a lot of Kindle borrows (which even during the promotion are worth the same), and then a lot of good reviews that led to long term sales once the price went back up to $5.79.

olioli864 karma

Really helpful. I say helpful...I started writing a novel for fun a while back and am only a quarter of the way into the first draft. Then a little addition to the family appeared and unfortunately the book has stopped for a year or so now.

Might be able to have another shot at writing more soon though and if by some rare chance I think it's worth publishing this could be useful.

One small follow-up. Why not put it on Amazon at full price for 30 days and get a low steady rate then do the discount. Did sales have to be sufficient prior to the price drop to allow you to do that without the penalty?

rrauwl17 karma

The reason to do it right away is simply momentum. The extra 50 or 70 bucks you get from getting 70 cents per discounted book VS 35 cents per discounted book is almost meaningless. Getting the good reviews and ratings is far more important to your long term success.

The other reason is, potentially, follow up advertising options. Some advertisers only let you become their book of the week (or their selection of the day, etc.) if you have X number of ratings at a level above Y. The faster you get there, the more options you unlock. And the more people approach you about writing small articles, blogging, reviews, etc.

shiningmidnight9 karma

I write far less than I should, and when I do the thing that always hangs me up is dialogue. Any tips or tricks for constructing engaging dialogue between characters? Anything from an intimate one-on-one to large scenes with multiple characters.

Anything would be a help. Know how people say "you're your own worst critic?" Well, I can sometimes look at a passage and be happy enough with it. Still knowing there's work that could be done, but that it's in a decent place for the moment.

I never feel that way about my dialogue. It always feels somehow weird to me. So much so that I was once tempted to try writing a whole book without a single line of actual dialogue, just covering it with prose.

rrauwl35 karma

I started writing better dialog when I remembered my old D&D sessions and started actually role-playing scenes in my head.

In order to do this, I had to make generic character sheets. Never more than 1 page, because this is about getting a full character concept at a glance. Every character that appears in multiple portions of the book for extended interaction with the main character(s) gets a sheet.

Now you can put your characters 'in a room' together. You're thinking like they think. You know their education, their beliefs, and the events that shaped them. You know how well they know who they're talking too, and how much they trust the other people. So what would they actually say?

That's how I improved. I'm sure that it would be different for everyone, but give it a try.

jebemtiomaro4 karma

What was the turning point that made you end your former career and go for writing?

rrauwl14 karma

I got really, REALLY burnt by people I trusted. I won't go into details, but that betrayal meant that I had to shoulder my employees' salaries out of my savings for a couple of months, and kill a dream of mine all at the same time.

That was my last strike in the tech world. I just couldn't go back to that, at least not right away. I had done periodical work in the past as a sports writer, gambling consultant, and the like. I had always wanted to try it whole hog. I even did a non-fiction book about living cheaply in my spare time a number of years ago. But fantasy was the dream. So I went for it.

imbaczek3 karma

The tech startup world needs to hear more failure stories instead of only talking about unicorns. I think there's a fantasy novel idea in here somewhere :)

rrauwl3 karma

I DO have a god of invention that features in the second book. :thinking:

jebemtiomaro3 karma

Well its good to see that the death of one dream brought out another. Congrats on your sucsess and hope to see more in the future.

rrauwl4 karma

Thanks so much! The second book in the trilogy is all plotted out and around 30% written. I project it will be finished in early December, in time for the holidays. So, fingers crossed!

rearviewmirror712 karma

Gambling consultant? Would love to hear more about that. Seems like there would be a lot of great angles for a book there. Did the job mainly consist of bank roll management tutorials and psychological strategy? Really curious.

rrauwl3 karma

I was a coverage and strategy writer for Gary Wise's poker site, called Wise Hand Poker. I was also the resident pro alongside David Matthews on a head-to-head competitive blackjack site called Get21. I was published in Bluff magazine as well.

A lot of it was about bankroll management, identifying weakness in a field, etc. I also did a lot of articles about RL casino play. As a security guy, a lot of my experience was with odds calculation, detecting mechanical biasing on devices, locating weak dealers and games, etc.

rrauwl3 karma

Just a quick heads up, I'll likely get some sleep in about 3 hours. If there are any more questions feel free to post them, I'll try to get back to you ASAP. Even if you only catch this after I leave, feel free to post your question and I'll try to answer in the morning.

A bit worried because it says 17 comments but I only see 16. So if I missed your question, I'm sorry, it got eaten! You can check my writing blog to see if it was answered from another time.

hiv_negative3 karma

i am infatuated with this girl who's great. she's smart, she's funny and i get on really well with her. however she has an on-again off-again thing with her boyfriend and i don't want to meddle. how would you suggest i navigate this? do i ignore my feelings and just move on?

rrauwl17 karma

Did you point out, as your username suggests, that you're HIV negative? I ask because although it's probably not the best icebreaker as such, producing paperwork to that effect might be that one thing she was looking for.

I know if I were a woman, I might be thinking:

Hmmm, I really want to sleep with /u/hiv_negative but I want to make sure that he's been tested. If only he would take the initiative and present me with paperwork. Then we could bang.

Then again, there might be a good reason that I'm not a girl. :thinking:

Rezmir3 karma

Maybe, this is not only my problem. So, how do you choose which story to tell? And how can you stick to it without changing your mind?

rrauwl2 karma

I'd say many, if not most, authors look backward on what they've written in the past and they cringe. They think: 'I was so young and stupid when I wrote that, what was I thinking?'

What you have to realise is if you embrace that attitude, NOTHING you write will ever see the light of day. Nothing will ever be good enough. You will get caught in a loop of eternal revision.

You pick the story that speaks to you in the moment. The one that you would have liked someone to tell you about. You can tailor this with, for example, specific themes or genres that successful agents are asking for in their literary blogs. But that core concept needs to be good enough in the moment, that's all.

TakeThatLongWalk3 karma

Are you/will you do a physical printed version through Lulu or ReadWrite or whatever? Some of us are old-fashioned and want a dead tree version. And anyway, even if you only do a small run, think how cool it would be to have your own book on your shelf!

rrauwl2 karma

A physical print run shuts down the interest of even more agents than just a self published E-book, and I'm still hoping for eventual agency representation. However if the books are so successful that I decide to eschew agency representation all together, I'll absolutely be doing a print run.

sonofabutch2 karma

Why would doing a print run shut down interest? If anything I would think it would help -- proof of concept and all that.

rrauwl2 karma

You would think that, and I've made the same inquiry. :)

Apparently, some publishers feel handcuffed by the print and e-book branding you've done (including everything from cover art, to tag lines, to dust jackets, to what's in the Thank You section.). Others see it as missed out sales, and will prefer to tap you for the sequel. And others, I'm guessing here, just don't want to deal with one of them there uppity self publishing types! :)

AutoModerator3 karma

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rrauwl9 karma

Thanks AutoMod. :) I'm also my own webmaster, so if the mods would like me to add another custom page to the site with any sort of keyword content, just give me a poke and I can do so for double confirmation.

thanks_mrbluewaffle3 karma

Who were your inspirations? What advice do you have for timid writers too afraid of rejection? What drove you? Ill be looking your book up!

Random, will there be an audiobook?

rrauwl10 karma

1) Inspirations: Daniel Keyes of course and his amazing Flowers for Algernon. Stephen King's On Writing changed my life. He taught me that writing was a job, and I needed to be tough and treat it like a job. Man, it was a wake up call. The Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms books were my main childhood inspirations, as well as Roger Zelazny and his Chronicles of Amber.

2) Timidity: Besides reading King's 'On Writing', start small. After getting your copyright, let your best friend read it. Then your not so best friends. Then a larger proofreading group. Work your way up slowly, using the FEEDBACK (that's what it is at the end of the day) to improve and gain confidence.

3) Drives: I was driven by a deep need for success, and chasing down demons of my youth. The success because I had just failed in tech. I failed big. And even if it wasn't entirely my fault, it hurt. The demons of my youth include being hit on the back of the head with a barbell and having severe intelligence and memory issues for a while. The memory thing still haunts me to this day. So Sorch, my main character, is sometimes speaking for me and my pain.

4) Audiobook: I want to! After I finish writing the sequel, but before I outline the third book fully (guilty of already starting), I'm going to look at making a run myself. It will likely suck. :) So then I'll look at the professional audiobook reading services!

Zimbyzim6 karma

There is an art to narrating an audio book, over the years I've listened to many hundreds of audio books. Please please please at least consider a good narrator, I honestly pick my books these days by narrator over author as I know they could read a grocery list and have me enthralled. Congratulations on the book, I'll download it when it is released as an audio book :)

rrauwl5 karma

Yeah I figure my version will be kept on ice for 20 years and then trotted out at some point to compare to my future-self's speech patterns, as proof of my senility.

sonofabutch2 karma

Did you look at the experiences of Hugh Howey, Amanda Hocking, Rob Dirks, etc., for any inspiration/advice?

rrauwl1 karma

I was familiar with some self publishing success stories, but honestly Stephen King was my only guide for writing technique, and I did my own research on the numbers involved for self-publishing.

For inspiration however, yeah of course. Reading about huge self publishing success stories gave me a sense of hope after all of the literary agency rejections, certainly.

sonofabutch2 karma

On Writing is awesome.

How many rejections did you get? Or is it just no answer? Do you actually get letters saying "no thanks"? Did you save them so you can rub it in their faces later?

rrauwl2 karma

On Writing is indeed awesome. Inspiring, frightening, but mostly brutally instructive and helpful!

25 rejections from both US and UK agents, an additional 25 no answers.

The vast majority of rejections were very polite and professional. I saved the bookmarks to all of their individual profiles, but not for face rubbing. :) I'll wait the required about of time for re-submission (for those that accept previously published E-books of course), and I'll try again. Never burn bridges. :)

zyonsis2 karma

Congrats on your success! What are your suggestions for keeping up your writing skills when you're not in a field that relies actively on it (for example, I'm a college student studying math)? Did you do any creative writing as a hobby during your tech career?

rrauwl3 karma

The first tip is never stop reading. You don't know where your next inspiration will come from, but if you're not 'hearing' literary voices other than your own, then it's a mental echo chamber. I read at least 4 novels per year no matter how busy I get. Latest was Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by the way, and before that a group of Lovecraft shorts.

I did both creative and paid writing during my tech years.

The paid writing was non fiction (stuff for Yahoo Sports on tennis and snooker, stuff for gambling and MMA websites, some ghost written political pieces, etc.) I also did a hobbyist non fiction book many years ago about how to live cheaply.

My creative writing was playful stuff under a pen name, because some of it was adult oriented. :) I would say that when I had a full time tech job, I dedicated at least 3 hours a week on average to just fun short stories. So yes, that kept me growing as a writer even when I wasn't doing i full time.

Ryjinn3 karma

Can I ask how you got into paid political writing? Politics and orcs are my two big things so this is all really interesting to me. Congratulations on your success.

rrauwl1 karma

Back when I was in California, I answered an ad. That may sound pretty boring, but that's all there was to it. :) I sent a writing sample on a topic, and a couple of weeks later I was sent a contract.

Ryjinn2 karma

Man I've got to open my goddamn eyes and show some initiative from the sound of things.

rrauwl2 karma

There's a lot of information out there, but sometimes it's hard to know what to look for. Start with Googling 'ghostwriting opportunities' and see how deep that rabbit hole goes. :)

misterghost22 karma

Hi man thats great. How did you get it published? What steps did you take to make it to where people can actually buy it?

rrauwl2 karma

Hia, thanks! I addressed some of that in this answer but I think you might be asking more on the technical side as well, so let me talk about that.

First you need to get your manuscript in order. My suggestion is copyright it with a service of your choice. I live in the UK so I went with Copyright House. It's not always required as such, but I think it's a smart move just in case things ever get litigious.

Then, assuming you're not being represented by an agent (if so they'll let you know about their preferred process before they go to publishers) and also assuming you went through the manuscript yourself several times, you want to hand it off to a beta proofreading team that is under NDA. Just 3 or 4 people from all walks of life that you trust, who will tell you the truth no matter how much it hurts. Take their notes, rewrite, and if the changes were really big, re-copyright.

Commission cover art as above, see Amazon's specific aspect ratio requirements and preferred resolution. If you go with non-Amazon make sure you get their requirements as well.

If you decide to go the pure Amazon route, you can join a programme called Kindle Direct Publishing. Then walk through the book publication steps. They'll prompt you for EVERYTHING you need to provide, and you can pause and get help if you need to. Consider your market and image when selecting a price, and if you plan not to take the auto-pricing advice, have a good reason and research to back it up.

And that's it. There may be a couple additional steps with non Amazon services, but that's the bulk of it.

JavierTheNormal2 karma

Goodreads is famously political. Did you play their political game or avoid it somehow?

rrauwl4 karma

No politics at all on my part, I was too new there to be anything other than a statistic.

I didn't join the site until a friend of mine mentioned it when I was setting up my social media account. I knew it existed, but I never thought about it as an author tool.

So I checked it out and I pretty much just followed all the instructions they had for setting up an author page. Word for word. Put this description here, upload this picture here, start your blog there, and join this Authors group.

I have a total of 10 people on my friends list, and I knew most of them for over 10 years. :)

squallxgamer2 karma

I come from an engineering backround. I developed some pretty terrible health conditions and had to leave the field. After 5 years not working, and trying things I could do from home I decided to go back to work but in a different field. Believe it or not I now work at a forensic psychiatric hospital in maximum security.

Reality is I would love to become a writer, I just lack the literary knowledge to do so. But something I recently fell in love with was audio books from the fantasy realm as I work night shift and audio books have been a life saver. My two favorite authors as of late are Cinda Williams Chima, and Taran Matharu. I bring this up because I thought to myself how cool it would be to narrate books like these. Your bavkround gives me hope that it is possible. I lack the full setup to narrate an audio book, but may try sometime soon.

My question (which I forgot to include, sorry mods) was, Have you thought about having the book be narrated into an audio book? I love to read but my time is limited. At work I can use a bluetooth earbud and listen to audio books, which as allowed me "read" books again.

rrauwl1 karma

I answered this privately before it got removed when the question went missing. :) But for the public record:

I wish you all the best! When I looked into narration, one of the names that popped up was ACX. They have a lot of tips and tools that might be useful to you in the long run.

Audiobook: I want to! After I finish writing the sequel, but before I outline the third book fully (guilty of already starting), I'm going to look at making a run myself. It will likely suck. :) So then I'll look at the professional audiobook reading services!

roboconcept2 karma

Were you intimidated about submitting your work to the editing process, even if just to friends at first? I feel chock full of good ideas but often wonder if my grasp of grammer/syntax is up to the task.

rrauwl2 karma

I wasn't intimidated. I was actually pretty confident. Or maybe I was just so fed up with the world at that point that I said, 'Screw it, I must have gotten SOMETHING right!'

What it boiled down to was that nothing would have changed if I did nothing. And that to me was worse than the risk of feeling dumb in front of my friends.

There's a quote in the book that I wrote that reflects the exact attitude I had at the time:

"I know then. I know, live brave better. If die being brave, fine. Not stupid basher-kind of brave. No charge ten muck lizard. Smart orc kind of brave. Change life kind of brave. Save tribe by look past just tribe. Find answer out there, in world... somewhere."

exwifeofodin2 karma

Thanks for posting this! In what ways did you advertise your book, and do you have any tips on what sites or methods are the best? I'm an on-again off-again writer, but it's a dream for me to one day publish my own novel.

rrauwl1 karma

I cover that in this reply mostly.

But I can speak to the on-again off-again theme: If you don't treat writing as at least a part time job, publishing will be hard. You need to regularly set aside X hours a day, Y hours a week. And during those hours (minus reasonable breaks) you do nothing but write. Anything that a boss wouldn't let you do (watch TV, stare at the screen with writer's block, etc), you can't do. If you have writer's block, open up a new file and write SOMETHING. You need to fill that time completely with writing.

liamquane2 karma

How did you market your book yourself?

rrauwl1 karma

Painfully. :)

As this was my first fantasy release, it was trial and error. Goodreads was a resource, as was social media. I did a lot of research via Google as to what kind of advertising worked and what didn't. You can read in some of my other replies what the result of that was.

In the end I took about three weeks off from writing when I first published the book, and spent 40 hour weeks doing nothing but blogs, paid ad preparation, social media, Goodreads, and tuning my message and presentation on Amazon itself.

liamquane2 karma

Congratuwelldone on your success! Fantastic to hear that this type of thing is possible! Can I ask, how did you overcome the rejections and get your story out there? :~)

rrauwl1 karma

The only real rejections are by gatekeepers (agents, publishers, etc.). Criticism by a single reader is opinion; something to be reflected on certainly, but it shouldn't be considered rejection.

Rejection by a gatekeeper is just a numbers game. Eventually, if the product is good enough, someone will say yes. Every 'no' brings you closer to the only 'yes' that matters; assuming you believe in the quality of your work.

coryrenton2 karma

which sub-genre do you think is underserved (and therefore easier to break into)?

rrauwl1 karma

I don't really know to be honest. I think that if an author cracks that, they have a huge leg up. But it might be one of those questions that only some kind of complex predictive analysis can solve. I can only suggest that literary themes tend to cycle, much like fashion. What was popular 40 years ago might be popular again next year. But picking the right sub-genre to give that treatment is voodoo to me.

coryrenton2 karma

i mean more along the lines of "I'm a big fan of robot werewolf culinary competition fiction, but the stories out here are so bad, I think I could write better ones" Which genres have you noticed are like that?

rrauwl2 karma

You mean OTHER than robot werewolf culinary competition?

It's a very subjective question, i think is what I'm getting at. What I think I could write better, I'm writing right now. :)

I suppose that, at least in my case, I think I could do young adult fantasy with blasphemous (think: religions outside of the mainstream that end up having real world power) themes better than anyone out there. It's something I plan to explore after Another Stupid Trilogy.

kitten_kaboodle_72 karma

How did you go about getting published after being rejected? Did you self-publish/how much did it all cost you?

rrauwl2 karma

Self publishing through an online E-book retailer like Amazon KDP is free. However you do pay for your own advertising and cover art and the like. 200 on advertising and 50 on cover art has gotten us to this point.

blablabla14142 karma

Do you have any advices for someone who tries to write a fiction novel ? For exemple whenever I try to write a main storyline I end up writing an origin story for some character

rrauwl3 karma

Outline first. Always. Every chapter should be a 2 or 3 paragraph summary. You should have a full book outline before you write a word.

obamabeblacknshiet-14 karma

Aren't you a convicted pedophile?

rrauwl7 karma

Is that people who love feet?