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Alina Sayre Guest Blog & e-Book Giveaway

Welcome BannerAlina Sayre

Alina Sayre

The Illuminator Rising, is the third book in The Voyages of the Legend series. See her guest blog below.

e-Book Giveaway Rules

1) Subscribe to the Kingdom of Torrence webpage (including email),  and
2) add the following to the comments in Alina’s guest blog:

  • your name and
  • a comment on another section or post on the KOT website.

If you have read one of Alina’s books, a comment about that book would be appreciated. The winner will be randomly selected and checked against the subscribers list. Alina will send the e-Book directly to the email the winner provides. Good luck.

Guest post

Insanity-Free Revision

My writing process makes me what they call a “pantser.” I create a vague, skeletal outline of my book plots in advance, but then I start writing and see where the characters take me. Sometimes they are stubborn, and I end up with a tangled-up manuscript at the end. That was definitely the case with my latest book, The Illuminator Rising. 76,000 words is a lot of tangled manuscript. So if you’re going to be a pantser, it’s crucial to be a good reviser. Here are some of the hacks I’ve developed that help me tackle huge revision projects without going insane along the way!

  • My revision process starts with my amazing team of test readers. After doing two complete drafts of a manuscript in complete solitude, I send the rough product to them for their hard, honest critique.

Since they’re a mix of middle-grade readers, young adults, and parents of middle-graders, I get a whole range of comments, which is exactly what I need! I compile their feedback into a comprehensive spreadsheet. Seeing it all together on one page helps me to identify trends and recognize the manuscript’s biggest weaknesses—like that the early draft of The Illuminator Rising had 28 named characters, most of whose personal arcs got lost halfway through the book. Oops.

Once I’ve got the comments spreadsheet together,

  • I divide the book into sections and assign each one its own color of post-it note. (I couldn’t write anything without post-it notes. I should put them in my book acknowledgments.) Each thread of revision—each shallow character, dropped plotline, or half-baked theme—gets its own sticky note.

The Illuminator Rising had a lot of sticky notes. Then I can work chronologically through the book and check off each sticky note as I address it. In college writing classes, I was known to physically cut up my stories with scissors so I could visually rearrange the pieces and fix structural issues. That’s virtually impossible (or at least a really messy idea) with a 75,000-word manuscript. So for this book, I went digital instead.

For one messy section,

  • I digitally highlighted each logical section in a different color. Then I grouped the bits and pieces together by color, which allowed me to quickly see where the material was, how long the sections were, when I finished a section, etc.

It was a lot of staring at screens, but I think it helped me sort the material into a much more logical flow!

All in all, Draft 6 of The Illuminator Rising looks very, very different than the draft I sent to my test readers. (As in, different people die in this draft. Surprise!) I hope it makes for an exciting read!

Synopsis of The Illuminator Rising
Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend

Driven from their home island of Rhynlyr, Ellie and her friends must solve a riddle to find the survivors of the Vestigia Roi. But instead of a safe haven, they discover a hopeless band of refugees paralyzed by fear. Strengthened by new allies and new gifts, the crew of the 

Legend faces dangers like never before. Can they escape being shot out of the sky, falling over the Edge of the world, or being engulfed by urken armies long enough to rally the Vestigia Roi? And can they rekindle a fire from the ashes of the One Kingdom before Draaken takes over the world? 

Advance praise: 
“…a thrilling read…[Sayre] has a flair for being able to capture the interest of a reader and hold onto it.”
-Readers’ Favorite, 5-star review

Alina Sayre is also on Goodreads

The Road to Publishing: The Publisher (Part II)

So, how does it feel? You have worked your manuscript through the editing process – red lines and mark ups. It is a hard, often lonely road, but you’ve made it. Again, congratulations. Now, it’s time to determine your publishing options. The question is whether it will be a traditional publisher, a publishing service, or self-publishing?

Each of these routes has its Pros and Cons, its rewards and pitfalls. The most important thing at this point is knowing what you want. Why are you writing in the first place? One of my favorite topics, strategic planning, but that is for another post…

Traditional Publishers: Fame and fortune painted in your eyes? This route typically starts with a query letter to a literary agent who will represent you with a publishing house, presumably leveraging their acquaintance with the publishing houses to get your manuscript seen. If you have chosen to pursue this route, do a Google search. There are some traditional publishers that accept direct submission. You should be aware, however, that this route offers a steep challenge.

Tara K. Harper writes an interesting article about the likelihood of being published. In short, 3 out of 10,000 manuscripts are reported published by a traditional publisher. As I understand it the publishing house will only provide about 3 months of marketing, but will probably get your book placed in brick and mortar bookstores. The cost – a portion of your royalties…

Publishing Services: This method involves hiring a professional publishing service, but you are still considered an indie author. The biggest benefit is that the service will (should) manage all of your business logistics: manuscript formatting, cover design, channel placement/distribution, and book orders. Some may even offer some marketing.

I am very thankful for Friesen Press. I was treated well and learned a lot from them about the business hidden behind being an author. My debut book, The Legend of Jerrod, won two awards and was ranked about 180,000 with Amazon. With the exception of marketing (which I was disappointed with), everything they told me was “right on the money”. I retained all rights to my book and received the royalties as they promised while they did all of the posting logistics; retaining all rights was the biggest issue for me. It was a good way to break into the business side of being an indie author (non-traditional publishing).

That said, be careful about your publishing services. When I started selecting my first publisher I didn’t know too many authors. The one I knew best told me she had paid twice what Friesen was requesting, and she had signed the rights to her book and to any movie away for 4 years. Ouch! One of the publishing services that I considered for Amanda’s Quest required me to use its editor if they were going to published the manuscript, which included some marketing. If I paid for the publishing it would have cost the same amount…. hmm?

I discovered some local favorite publishing services who would have taken some of the business burdens off my back, but they were 3 to 4 times as expensive as the true, self-publishing route.

True Self-Publishing: As I have gained experience I have met some wonderful, mutually supporting authors and mentors. I am a member of three author groups: FSFNet.com (fantasy & sci-fi authors), World Literary Cafe, and High Sierra Writer; thank you all. Based on their experience and encouragement, I am about to jump into the deep end without flotation devices.

I selected Streetlight Graphics to format Amanda’s Quest into the various formats required by the distribution channels. Streetlight was recommended by a number of authors, appears on the title pages of numerous books, and offers pricing and payment plans that were as reasonable as any others I could find. I have been very happy with their service.

The Pro to this route of publishing is that the royalties and copyrights are all mine, and the price is much less. Using Ingram as one of my distribution channels may enable me to be in brick and mortar book stores, if I chose to pursue that path. The Cons, I am taking on all the business logistics.

Recommendation: The route to publishing you select must optimize your goals. If you want to be in brick and mortar book stores or traditional publishing is the only way to be eligible for an author group, then pursue a traditional publisher. If you want to publish quickly and retain control all of your copyright decision, then pursue either a publishing service or self-publishing. Chosing between these two options depends on cost/royalties and the amount of business transactions you want to manage.

Keep in mind, in May 2014 The Wire – News from the Atlantic reported that Amazon’s share of all new books purchased was 41 percent. Amazon also held 65 percent of all new online books (in both print and digital) and 67 percent of the e-book market.  Additionally, in July 2014 The Daily Dot reported that 2013 eBook sales surpassed the number of books sold in brick and mortar book stores, although the total revenue due to price disparities were still less.


Amanda’s Quest Manuscript & Websites Changes

The Amanda’s Quest manuscript has been submitted to my editor. I am moving forward on the cover art and maps.  I am also working on the editor’s changes. Still on line for the fall release of Amanda’s Quest.

Amanda’s Quest has all the characters that survived The Legend of Jerrod. It answers some of the cliff hangers from the first book, but creates some new questions for the future. Amanda’s Quest introduces Norse mythology and some Highlands elements as Amanda travels the continent of Ak’ron, through the Kingdom of Haithenbeurn and the U’thra Basin.

The author of An Anthology of Dreams suggested that I post some excerpts from Amanda’s Quest, which I will do shortly in a separate post. I am also going to redesign this web page and add an author’s web page. Another place to watch for information about this falls release is the Amanda’s Quest Fan Page on Facebook.

Fantasy Writing – the Kingdom of Torrence series

I remember the first time I read Lord of the Rings, laying in bed, wishing that I knew what all the characters were thinking. The narrative was wonderful; I could see the landscape and other scenes as I traversed though the story-line, but, for me, there was just something missing. And even more so with wonderful stories like Harry Potter and Hunger Games.

So often I reflect on a favored article by Charlie Jane Anders, “10 Writing ‘Rules’ We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break”. I often argue with authors from other genre that its okay to have Prologues. That fantasy (and sci-fi) readers want and need narratives. Ms. Anders even encourages “info dumps”. I know, non-fantasy (and sci-fi) genre authors/readers may be holding their breath. In the Kingdom of Torrence series (are you sitting down?) I even use multiple points of view (i.e. character hopping) to allow the reader to feel what primary characters are feeling (gasp?).

The second book in the series, Amanda’s Quest (release fall 2015) will follow the debut book, The Legend of Jerrod, in the series. While Jerrod and the others ride up Mount Thoradan toward Terrace Xul, Amanda goes on alone to fulfill the blood debt that threatens all of their lives. Leaving her only love in Rhonda’s arms, Amanda crosses the Kingdom of Haithenbeurn to “recover” an artifact for the Guild of the Crimson Pommel, but the witch queen, Felicia, and the wizard, Nathanial, each have their own agendas.

Amanda’s Quest will double the size of the map found in the Histories & Arms section of The Legend of Jerrod and offer a new map, a map from the northern kingdom’s perspective. I am currently working with a new editor to finish the manuscript and have had some discussions with a cover designer. I am not sure which publisher may manage the printing yet, but I intend to make the story available in hardback, paper back, and eBook.

February 2015

I have spent 2015 revising the Amanda’s Quest manuscript and submitting it to the editor. The least prepared was chapters 6 through 10, which I just delivered, and the History & Arms section. I still have a couple of maps to finish as well.

My hope is that Amanda’s Quest will be released in September 2015.

I will be attending Nevada Reading Week at the end of February. I am looking forward to meeting Washoe County School District teachers and librarians.

Amanda’s Quest Update

I have spent the last month pushing to polish the third set of chapters for Amanda’s Quest to submit to my beta readers. That has been completed and I have started the search for a new editor. I am looking for someone with experience in the fantasy genre. I hope to publish Amanda’s Quest in 2015.

In the meantime, I am designing the cover, working on enlarging the map found in The Legend of Jerrod, possibly adding a new map, and laying out battle diagrams for the truly fanatical fantasy readers, of which I include myself. I have finished the first dragon battle which is part of the chapters just submitted to the beta readers. In their current predicaments, all the characters are separated by the fates, Felicia, the witch from Cipper, has become more involved in their destinies, and Nathanial threatens the kingdom.

I anticipate that the main body of the Amanda’s Quest manuscript will be slightly shorter The Legend of Jerrod manuscript was. However, the History & Arms section will be longer, including a tactical depiction of a battle between Torrence and ….

Well, would that ruin it for you?

I love meeting and hearing from readers. Leave me a comment.

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