An Oppressed Revolution?
Guest post by David Brown
Traditional publishing and self-publishing. A quandary for aspiring writers. Which way do you turn on the crossroad? There are no right or wrong answers and I won’t preach that my publishing gospel is the right path to take. It was for me and I am proud of the journey I have made so far and privileged to have had the opportunity. Which way did I go when I came to the crossroads with my laptop tucked under my arm? I headed on down the road to self-publishing and haven’t looked back since.
Traditional publishing is tough. Approaching a publisher or agent with your manuscript is a daunting prospect but this was once the only option we writers had. Publishers and agents are busy people with the proverbial mountains of manuscripts to negotiate on a daily basis. They can’t accept them all. In fact I once read publishers only embraced around 2% of manuscripts each year. That’s a lot of writers left broken hearted when the postman has been.
Between starting writing in 1999 and the end of 2006 I ‘completed’ four novels. Foolishly I decided that the first three were fit for publication and tried approaching publishing houses and agents. I had a Writer’s Handbook listing the best contacts and I was careful to address them to the right departments and make sure they accepted fantasy. My experience was not a good one. Rejection letters mounted but they frustrated me, offering no insight into whether my work was any good, simply “we’re not taking on any more submissions at this time.” I also encountered the dreaded vanity publishers with one offering me publication in exchange for £4,000! I was not fooled!
The closest I felt I came to publication was my third novel, Endeavour. I tried it with Pegasus Publishing. They did like it, but felt it was too long (950 pages) to take a gamble on. They offered to publish it in exchange for around £1,500 but again I wasn’t interested in spending so much money. I focussed on my fourth novel, The Voice of Elenchera, and tried to make it as good as I could but in the end I edited it too much and lost my way with it – it went back into the drawer to be filed away. I continued with my world building and didn’t try writing a novel for the next three years. Looking back I know now that I wasn’t ready. My world was still in its infancy and needed more substance.
When I wrote Fezariu’s Epiphany (2009-2011) I found myself at a new crossroad. Should I go back to pursuing a traditional publishing deal or try my hand at self-publishing? My wife, critic, best friend and publicist, Donna, and I decided that self-publishing might be the best route to take. Some might see that choice as cowardice but my fantasy novels are meant to be different to the norm and we felt self-publishing would not only allow readers to decide whether my work was worth their time, but my wife and I would have complete control of the novel.
Self-publishing isn’t a route for the faint-hearted. Donna spent many months researching the route, while I was buried in my writing and even then the months after publication were a steep learning curve. You’ll have to do the promotion work and it’s unlikely you’ll be selling thousands of copies overnight but I’ve already found there is some amazing support out there. Twitter and Facebook have a plethora of writers who will be with you every step of the way. They offer shortcuts and insight – but make sure you return the support where you can. Facebook has several forums for indie authors and my wife runs an indie exchange forum where writers can share their work and support one another. Such groups are a great place to start.
Fezariu’s Epiphany has been no Hunger Games but what it has achieved has astounded me. I hope the same of my next novel, A World Apart, and every book that follows in the pantheon of The Elencheran Chronicles. Indie authors are spearheading a revolution in the literary world and though they are not welcomed by some readers, there are many more that are happy to embrace them. Next time a reader frowns upon self-publishing they should remember publishers and agents are human too and sometimes make mistakes. Had some publishing houses have had their way then today we could be asking ‘who is Harry Potter?’.
12-year-old Fezariu thought his mother died when he was little, but when his beloved stepfather dies the boy discovers she is alive and well – and working at the most famous brothel in all of Elenchera. When she cruelly rejects him it’s more than he can bear, and he runs away to join a band of ruthless soldiers for hire. The Merelax Mercenaries will fight for anyone who can pay them, no matter the justice of the cause.
Fezariu grows up among the soldiers and becomes one of them. He thinks his time with the mercenaries has hardened him. But a campaign in his old home town pushes him too far, and he discovers what really happened to his mother. Maybe there are some things money shouldn’t buy… and maybe it’s time Fezariu took his revenge.
Available at Amazon
Jessamine’s arrival at the White Oak was the subject of conflicting rumours. Some said that Vincent had found her on the streets and offered to take her in, others professed that Jessamine was a prostitute from a rival brothel and that Vincent had persuaded her to join the White Oak. The worst of the sceptics claimed that Jessamine was payment from one of the local merchants who was heavily in debt from his frequent visits to Vincent’s inn and had been forced to sacrifice his own daughter. Whatever the truth, Vincent arrived at the White Oak one day with eighteen-year-old Jessamine by his side.
The atmosphere at the White Oak changed completely. Vincent quickly found himself overwhelmed by love for Jessamine and his hostile demeanour descended into a rare placidity that was welcomed by all that frequented the inn. It seemed that Vincent’s days of sexual promiscuity were at end and with Jessamine he had found the reassuring comfort of monogamy. However, Vincent’s new found and tender devotion did not last long.
Within months, Vincent’s love submitted to the lure of opportunity. During the long nights sitting with Jessamine by the bar, Vincent hadn’t failed to notice the lustful gazes of the patrons. Their eyes, wide with desire, followed Jessamine’s every move. Rather than feeling the insecurity of a jealous lover, Vincent was struck by a glorious epiphany, one that could increase his already vast wealth.
Vincent took his time in laying the foundations of his treacherous scheme. He enticed Jessamine with sweet words, flowers, rich trinkets and promises of impending marriage and children. Once Jessamine was at his mercy, Vincent introduced her to the wealthiest and most impatient of his patrons. His assurances to Jessamine spoke of monogamy and sacrifice that would bind them together for all time. If this had been the beginning of their relationship then Jessamine would have refused Vincent’s proposal and walked away; however, by this point her heart beat to the same rhythm as Vincent’s and to leave now was simply unthinkable. So Jessamine submitted body but not soul to the eager patrons, all the time thinking of Vincent’s reassurances that they would one day be married.
Jessamine’s new life as a prostitute of the White Oak brought fame and wealth. The mysterious and shy girl Vincent had first brought to the inn became spellbound by the power of her own intoxicating femininity. As her confidence grew Jessamine learned to dominate the room, giving equal attention to each patron before choosing to share her bed with the highest bidder. Vincent remained in the background and watched the patrons – old and young – offer money and fabulous gifts for just one night with Jessamine. The partnership was perfect. Jessamine would earn a fortune by day but at the end of the night would sleep in Vincent’s richly adorned arms.
When Jessamine passed her first year at the White Oak she saw a sudden change in Vincent. His greed, seldom constrained, was now unleashed in all its ferocity. Jessamine began entertaining patrons day and night to line Vincent’s already bulging pockets. Their nights of tender lovemaking and untarnished promises of marriage were forgotten. Jessamine, believing it to just be a phase Vincent was going through, worked even harder to please the patrons and win back the adoration of the one man she loved.
About the Author:
David Brown could be considered a fantasy fanatic, especially since he has spent the last 10 years developing a 47,000-year history for his fictional world of Elenchera. When converting his obsession into literary form, David commits himself to a rigorous writing and editing process before his work can meet his approval. Combined with the critical eye of his wife and a BA Honors in History and English, David’s dedication leads him to his goal of inspiring readers through heartfelt stories and characters.
Although David is inspired primarily by fantasy fiction, he also finds his muse in the form of anime, world cinema, history, and biographies. His own books, Fezariu’s Epiphany and the in-progress A World Apart, combine aspects from worlds both old and new into compelling tales of a world not soon forgotten., David himself certainly does not lack a spirit of adventure; in fact, he left his job in 2007 in order to spend a month traveling. Second only to meeting and marrying his wife, David counts this as one of the most amazing experiences of his life.
The Elencheran Chronicles: http://elenchera.com
The World According to Dave: http://blog.elenchera.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11451305-fezariu-s-epiphany (book page)