I just had an interview on my novel and game writing projects published in Liberty Island Magazine. My thanks to Tamara Wilhite for arranging it, and for doing the interview!
Archives for April 2021
A couple of months ago I attended a very interesting event: ProWritingAid’s Fantasy Writers Week. ProWritingAid is a terrific piece of software that describes itself as “a grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.” Not only is it all those things, but it actually does them well. I used it to edit the upcoming re-release of my novel, and found it so valuable that I decided to invest in a lifetime license.
Good as it is, though (and I recommend it to any serious writer), it’s not the focus of this post — so let me get back to that. Fantasy Writers Week was “a week-long series of events all geared towards fantasy writers and world-builders” — and, of course, how they can use their software to do what they do more effectively. Some of the sessions were extremely informative, and I took pages of notes.
The single most useful thing that I learned from it, though, was the existence of an amazing tool for authors and gamers like me: World Anvil. In the creators’ own words:
“World Anvil is a set of worldbuilding tools that helps you create, organize and store your world setting. With wiki-like articles, interactive maps, historical timelines, an RPG Campaign Manager and a full novel-writing software, we have all the tools you’ll need to run your RPG Campaign or write your novel!”https://www.worldanvil.com/
That’s a pretty ambitious set of claims for any tool. Half an hour into their presentation I realized with a shock that they weren’t exaggerating. After I picked my jaw up from my desk, I spent the rest of the session drinking in everything I could, and brainstorming about what I could do with it.
Imagine a huge wiki, structured with sections tailored precisely to provide logically organized information about an entire world — from flora and fauna to characters, traditions, and rituals. Something practically designed for someone who loves to immerse him or her self and get lost in a new world, and all the things.
That’s what World Anvil is like. And one of the most exciting things I realized in playing with it is that I have a lot of notes and information about the saga that wouldn’t work particularly well in a novel, but would be ideal for this kind of “world exploring” experience. All it’ll take to provide it is a little organizing and a fair amount of cut and paste.
There’s a lot that I could say about it, but I honestly think it’s better understood by experiencing and playing with it. So click the link and check it out for yourself — and while you’re at it, check out the nascent page I’m now building there for the Sanctum of the Archmage Saga. And let me know what you think!
I’m pleased to announce that The Return of the Horde, the first of four parts or “episodes” in the re-release of my novel, Hell Gate, is now available for purchase from Andarian Publishing!
My plan is to publish each of the four parts at about six week intervals over the spring and summer. In the fall I’ll collect them into a single e-book that I’ll also release to selected e-book stores.
Here’s an excerpt from the book’s opening scene. It would have made for a great cover illustration, but I think that a simple cover and background will do for now.
Its appearance sharpened into focus as it stepped through the edge of the dome and into the city. It stood about twelve feet in height. It was man-shaped, walking upright on two legs, and wore what looked like a harness of red, leathered straps. A heavily muscled body of jet black skin gleamed as though wet in the bright morning sun.
Gigantic wings covered with black feathers shrouded it like a cloak. They came unfurled as it walked, reaching out to either side, and beat the air menacingly. As they did, they revealed two arms carrying an enormous axe with a viciously serrated edge. The axe shone with an evil red light.
The creature strode boldly across the amphitheater. It stopped halfway between the edge of the dome and the marketplace. It turned, surveying the city and its people. Then it unfurled its wings to their full extent, threw back its head, and laughed.
“I am Incanus Thad,” the demon’s voice boomed. “Captain of the Horde of Zomoran, the Black Magus. Behold me, mortals, and despair — and die!”Sanctum of the Archmage: The Return of the Horde by Tony Andarian. Now available from Andarian Publishing.
As part of my promotion strategy for re-releasing my first novel, Hell Gate, I’ve broken it into four novella-length parts or “episodes.” Part I, The Return of the Horde, will be coming out within the next month. I’m looking to experiment with whether I can build reader interest by “serializing” it on my website and on Patreon, by releasing a new part every month or so. I won’t be releasing it on any bookstores until after the serial is finished.
This decision, of course, will require additional covers for the “episode” novellas. After some thought I’ve come to the conclusion (actually rather obvious in hindsight) that it will be prohibitive (both in time and cost) to try to get illustrated, or even composite, covers for them. So at least for the episode releases, I’ve decided to create plain, simple covers of the kind that it’s pretty easy for even me to do in photoshop, given an adequate piece of stock art.
With that introduction, here’s the tentative cover for Hell Gate, Episode I: The Return of the Horde, coming very soon from Andarian Publishing. Feedback welcome.
Now that I’ve finally managed to stand up a new e-commerce site for my writing, I’m getting ready to begin the next phase in building my author career. To make that a success, though, I have two long overdue tasks that I need to address. Both are in the way of forming “partnerships” that I’ll need to support my publishing plans, for things that I (at least currently) lack the skills to do on my own.
I need to find a cover designer and illustrator who’s willing and able to work with me on a consistent schedule to produce art work for the saga. At a minimum, that means someone who can produce illustrations or photo compositions that I can use to create decent book covers. I hope, however, to be able to find someone skilled at cover design who can take that task on in its entirety.
The reason I’m looking for a “partner” rather than trying to hire out these jobs as “one-offs” is that I really want to try, if I can, to get a consistent style for the saga’s art. This is one of the core “best practices” (to better “brand” your work) recommended in all of my indie publishing research. A partner would help me to produce the covers I need on the schedule that I’ll need them, and I expect to need more of them now that I’m switching to a more “episode based” pre-release strategy on my website. One of my hopes is that I can find someone who’s also willing to produce in-book illustrations that can be included in the compilation volumes, preferably in a black and white “pen and ink” style that could be included in the “print on demand” editions as well.
I need to find an audiobook narrator to help me create the audio versions of the books that I have planned. Again, I’d really like to find a regular reader who’s willing and able to take on these jobs on a consistent schedule. I’d also like to try to find a female narrator if possible (since the protagonist is a woman), especially for the early books.
I do have “backup strategies” to do each of these on my own if I can’t manage to find someone able to help with them. A third style of “indie art production” (aside from illustration and photo compositing) that’s become more common in recent years, for example, are “renders” from a 3D program like Daz3D. I do have some experience with laying out 3D visuals from my game development work, and this is something I’ve started to explore. Similarly, I do machine learning related software work, and there are techniques (approaching actual viability in the next few years) for training and running a system to actually synthesize human sounding voice from text. Failing that I do have a good microphone and could try reading them myself, but I’d have to put in a lot of practice to develop the V/O skills necessary to make that a success.
As much fun as it would be to dabble with these alternatives, though, they would involve taking my already far too limited time away from writing. So if you know (or even are!) an illustrator/cover or V/O artist you could recommend, please feel free to reach out. 🙂
Welcome to the new author website for Andarian Publishing! I’m Tony Andarian, and this will be the new home of the Sanctum of the Archmage Writing Projects and blog.
The plans for this site have been in the works for a while, and considerably delayed by interruptions from “real life,” especially during the last few years. I’m pleased to announce that they’re finally coming to fruition, and that they portend (I hope) some exciting new developments from me.
As a brief teaser, here is some of what I hope to be able to roll out in the next few months.
- New Sanctum of the Archmage novels. I’m (finally) getting ready to begin releasing some (long overdue) installments in my novel series. That will start with a re-release of the revised edition of Dawn of Chaos. More on that will be coming out shortly.
- Andarian Publishing is now e-commerce enabled. I’m going to be relying less in the future on what I think are some increasingly problematic aspects of today’s indie publishing world. These include centralized electronic “bookstores” like Amazon. Those interested will now also be able to buy my work directly from me on my website.
- New, Innovative Product Offerings. I’m also planning to experiment with some more innovative, “out of the box” products and services related to the Sanctum saga. A Patreon site and direct e-sales to support pre-release novels, and access to Worldbuilding content delivered on World Anvil are a couple of the ideas I’ve been considering.
There’s more, but I’ll stop there for now. I hope you’ll come back, or consider subscribing to my mailing list, to hear more about my upcoming plans for the saga. And thanks again for your interest!