A. M. Macdonald

Author and Geek Culture Emissary. Speaking the word of nerd.

Update?!

Feb
20

Hey readers. It’s been awhile.

First things first: I launched Remember the Dawn on December 20th and had a live launch event on December 27th. IT WAS AWESOME. The pictures are still on my girlfriend’s camera, and I promise to upload them soon. You can check out my instagram for the vibe, if you’d like. I definitely recommend doing live launches for all your self-published releases! Even if it’s just family and friends, there’s a special feeling to having a few pints while watching a bunch of people read your work. I even did a live reading! What a night it was.

In the almost 2 months since release, I’ve seen a good reception. I’ve sold 60 copies through Amazon, and another 70 paperbacks at my launch event, work, and at an author ‘signing’ at a local bookstore chain. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention–I totally did that! I’ve also snagged 5,519 page reads through Kindle Unlimited. All in all, it’s not a bestseller or anything, but I think that’s a pretty good release for a self-published author. One more thing: I’m getting an audiobook produced!

The ancillary effect to releasing Remember the Dawn has been an uptick in Dybsy’s visibility. I’ve seen more sales and more page reads. I guess what they say is true: the more books you write, the better you do. It’s like a snowball. This week I went live with my first professional cover for Dybsy, and that has made things even better (I looove the cover, by the way).

So, where I am now? I’ve written 15,000 words of Book Two of the Staringers, titled The Starlight Doctrine. Unfortunately, I’ve stalled out over the last month. I think I might just be Starsingered out for the time being, which is fine. The foundation is set and the story is largely plotted, so I just need to put words on a page. In the mean time, I am making absurd progress on a cyberpunk/dystopia inspired by Alita: Battle Angel. I’ve smashed 10.500 words in three days, and the scenes are stacking up. I already know where I’m going next, and it’s super exciting.

That’s all from me, for now. To those of you who’ve read my books, I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed the experience. To those of you in the middle of reading, keep going! And to those of you who are considering, I promise you this: at the end of the book, if nothing else, you’ll have had fun.

Adios.

REMEMBER THE DAWN is live for preorder!

Nov
17

What a great day.

Secure a copy of REMEMBER THE DAWN for the pre-order price of $0.99. Full release is December 20—just in time for the holidays!

 

What’s in a name?

Nov
07

Today I started debating the name of the series in which Remember the Dawn is the first book. I’ve been calling it the Starsinger Trilogy, but something just didn’t sit right for me.

So I went to the fantastic resource of /r/fantasywriters for suggestions and opinion, and guess what—it took off! I can’t believe the quality feedback I’ve received so far. Check it out here: https://www.reddit.com/r/fantasywriters/comments/9v0i9j/series_title/

4 months of editing later… I’m done!

Nov
03

Good news, everyone! Remember the Dawn is finally ready for print and publish. It has been a long and arduous journey to get my manuscript into shape—I can’t even count how many drafts I’ve gone through—but I think the result will be well worth the time and effort.

Special thanks to Josiah at JD Book Services, who not only provided me with exceptional editing services, but also essentially taught me a crash course in the English language. I cannot believe how much my technical writing has improved throughout the process.

My cover design starts Monday with Jake at J Caleb Design. I am incredibly excited to develop a kickass cover that screams epic fantasy. I might also run my formatting through Jake, though I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on things. We’ll see.

The last and most important step is to plan a launch strategy and design a marking platform. The self-publishing world seems to turn on the effectiveness of marketing, and since I am most invested in reaching as many fantasy fans as possible it seems necessary to devote a lot of thought and resources here.

All this being said, I remain hopeful that my querying efforts will pay off and a literary agent wants my book. I think my core competency is writing and worldbuilding and very much not marketing and promotion, and so a traditional publishing model would likely serve me best. We’ll see, though I am dead-set on self-publishing by the end of the year if I don’t hear otherwise.

What an exciting time!

Beta Readers and Cowboy Dystopia

Jul
12

Can I just say how much editing sucks? I didn’t forget after Dybsy, I just chose not to remember. And this time around I’m much more adept at how to edit, thus doing it properly and more in depth. I’d guess I’m about 50+ hours into the several edits, and I’m now 70% done the final rewrite.

That said, I’ve secured a whole whack of beta readers! I guess the blurb and first chapter sparked some interest on Reddit. There are 6 readers from Reddit and 4 from IRL. I’d guess maybe 3 or 4 will read the entire thing and give me feedback, which is a pretty good rate from what I gather.

I’ve lined up a professional editor that is widely respected for the final touches, and I’m hoping to receive beta feedback around the same time. So that’s where I’m at with Remember the Dawn.

On the side, when able, I’m starting to put out words on my new project.  It’s untitled and I’ve barely written an entire scene, but I’m mind-mapping a story structure. This is the one, I think. Here it is in four words: Cowboy Dystopia with Magic.

Time for the Sharpie Draft

Jun
28

There comes a time when you must print your work and read it page by page, on paper, wielding a sharpie and stowing indecision. It’s time to carve this baby up, and get ready for the final edits with JD Book Services in late July (that won’t stop be from participating in #SFFPIT tomorrow).

First draft done!

Jun
20

There is no other feeling like finishing a first draft. When I finished the first draft of Dybsy back in December 2016, my elation couldn’t be contained, even during the next 4 months of savage editing.

Five minutes ago I finished the first draft of Remember the Dawn, which came in at 117,477 words over 72 scenes. If you follow me at all, you already know the book is a fantasy (epic?) involving starlight magic and magic resistant peacekeepers. I’m sure my first rounds of edits will flesh out many scenes, and likely add a few more. I foresee a final vomit draft word count approaching 130,000, which is right at the high end of the accepted fantasy word length for a debut author (I don’t think self-publishing *counts* for traditional publishers). The word count will reduce over the subsequent rounds of editing.

While browsing Reddit I came across this post: https://fictionary.co/seven-drafts-editor-allison-k-williams/. I wish I’d had this sort of information and guidance when working on Dybsy, because it seems an incredibly reasonable and useful approach. I am going to employ this process as I edit Remember the Dawn. After the final step of copyediting, I’ll start querying. There’s an open call right now with DAW, a highly prolific SFF publishes, for unagented manuscripts. I want to try to get a final draft ready to submit there.

‘Dybsy’ Cover Refresh!

May
29

In honour of Dybsy’s one year anniversary (and stagnant reader activity), I’ve refreshed Dybsy’s cover page. I think this does a MUCH better job of giving the reader an impression of the gamer nature of the book. Voila:

New Work

Apr
10

What a difference six months can make.

Speaker of Runes is a completely abandoned project. I’ll come back to it someday, but I lost the story very quickly. Just didn’t feel great about the writing.

So what has happened since?

I wrote 60,000 words of a fantasy epic. WHAT? That’s right. The working title is the Starsinger Trilogy. I’ve completed a second draft of Part 1 and I’m about halfway into a first draft of Part 2. Beta reader feedback has been INSANE and I’m extremely excited about the work.

On the side, as a way to manage my writer’s block, I’m working on a cyberpunk noire (so I call it). It’s like Sin City meets Altered Carbon. I’m really enjoying it!

Goodreads Giveaway!

Apr
10

If you know me,  you I’m not big on marketing and advertising. Not so helpful with a self-published book. So for the one year anniversary of Dybsy’s publish, I’m going to launch a Goodreads Giveaway! I’m legitimately curious to see what people say, for better or worse, after they read the book.