November is done, NaNoWriMo is over, and you may be wondering what’s next. How do I get my book out there? Brent Thomas, a good friend of mine, self published his novel, and he’s here to share his journey.
Rodney Sloan: Hi Brent. So tell us a little about yourself.
Brent Thomas: I original come from the south-east of the USA, but for the past 10+ years I’ve been living in Japan, mostly working in Education. Currently I teach English at an all-girls elementary school. Also, I’m married to my book’s cover artist, and together we have a 6-month-old boy.
RS: Tell us about your book, Deadly Troubadours. What inspired you to write it?
BT: The sad truth is it started as a way to relieve boredom at work. I had one of those jobs that would either be extremely busy or extremely not. Since I’ve always liked writing I started doing short fiction as something that a could work on while seriously typing into my work computer and looking busy. One of the characters, Demetrius Tate, was a short story character that after I put the story down kept dancing around my head. This whole thing is just an idea that appealed to me that keeps expanding.
RS: We’ve played a bunch of Pathfinder together. Has role-playing inspired your work? Do specific experiences at the table find their way into your writing?
BT: Not really. There are homages to events and settings, even a hidden reference to my core college group. I try not to is specific experiences here because those were created by a group experience and I don’t want to claim ownership of them. That said, rpg has certainly served as the spark of inspiration.
RS: You self published. Can you tell us how that worked out for you.
BT: I looked into where I wanted to be available and how to go about getting there. That ended up being Smashwords and Amazon. I think it has worked okay for me. My expectations were low as a first-time, unknown author. I’ve sold maybe low triple-digits.
RS: Was there anything you wish you’d known before you self published?
BT:The importance of person to person connections. Getting that first book sold means asking everyone you ever met to buy and read it. It is kind of embarrassing but really important. Almost every contribution I’ve gotten on Indiegogo has come from a personal request for a friend to take a look and consider.
RS: You’re running an Indiegogo campaign to fund print copies of your book, tell us about that?
BT: I want to make a paper copy available. In America and some other countries that is as easy as setting up print-on-demand through Amazon. Japan doesn’t have that option and I want somethings to have on hand for friends and family here. So, I thought if I need to do a print run, why don’t I try crowdfunding and offer perks that might make this appealing to those over-seas as well. If nothing else, it can help serve as pre-orders. And so far I am on track to hit my goal.
RS: So, what’s next for Brent? Is a sequel in the works?
BT: Yes! Book 2 is in the works. I want it to be similar to book 1 in that it will tell a complete story while leaving hooks for book 3. The goal for that is to have it released next winter. Over summer I want to do an ebook release of a collection of some of my favorite short stories I’ve written.
RS: Hey, that sounds great. Any advice for aspiring writers? How do you get the words flowing?
BT: Don’t wait for inspiration. Just write. It is awesome to have those ready-made sentences pour out, but that feeling is rare. At least for me. Usually the first paragraph I write in a session is clumsy and awkward. It’s the warm-up. But that is why we edit. And then, when the juices start flowing, I can get into that rhythm of writing something quality.
RS: I hear you, I’m starting to think that good writers are good editors. And I hear you’re into comics…
BT: Oh, goodness! Love ’em! Even though I’m told I am too grumpy about them sometimes. Currently I’m having a lot of fun reading 70s Marvel comics through their unlimited app.
RS: Where can people find you on the interwebs?
BT: My main website is deadlytroubadours.com. I also put up the podcasts Reading Deadly Troubadours, Comics League International, and Living Japan. All of those are on iTunes. Plus my Twitter is @deadtroubadour.
RS: Thanks very much Brent.
BT: Thank you Rodney.
Be sure to check out Brent’s Indigogo campaign and support a fellow gamer–writer. Good luck with your editing everyone.