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  #1  
Old 01-14-2016, 11:50 AM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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New fantasy novel: The Ventifact Colossus

(Written with Mod approval)

So, I went and published a fantasy novel!

The book is called The Ventifact Colossus, and is available in both photon ($3.99) and tree-pulp versions on Amazon. (Also itís available ďfreeĒ if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.)

Itís classic fantasy genre stuff. To quote myself from my blog:

"The book tells the story of a hodgepodge team of would-be heroes, as they set about to save the world from a variety of absurdly dangerous threats. If youíre a fan of fantasy epics with flawed but likable characters, daring swordplay, high magic, terrible monsters, powerful but mysterious artifacts, intriguing mysteries that will all be explained by the end of the series, and villains with excellent mustaches, then you will surely enjoy The Ventifact Colossus."

Note that TVC is Book 1 of a series, though (IMHO) it stands on its own just fine. I'm currently working on Book 2, and expect there to be four books total by the time I'm done.

Iím happy to answer any questions you may have about it.
  #2  
Old 01-14-2016, 12:46 PM
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iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is online now
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Best of luck! What's your strategy to get the word out? For my novels (two so far, one fantasy and one fantasy-satire), I've had the best success advertising on Reddit, to specific sub-reddits that I thought might have interest (not that my 'success' has been anything to write home about).

Happy writing!
  #3  
Old 01-14-2016, 01:34 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Best of luck! What's your strategy to get the word out? For my novels (two so far, one fantasy and one fantasy-satire), I've had the best success advertising on Reddit, to specific sub-reddits that I thought might have interest (not that my 'success' has been anything to write home about).

Happy writing!
Social Media has been my main source of publicity. (I'm lucky enough to have a decent-sized social media footprint, and have lots of friends rebroadcasting for me. I also have a bunch of folks who read my posts on a huge D&D message board over many years, and constitute a built-in potential readership.)

I think the book has had a decent first week, but I have no idea what I should be comparing myself to. This is my first traditionally-(self)-published novel.

Good luck to you, as well!
  #4  
Old 01-14-2016, 03:45 PM
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Well lookee here at my Facebook and Straight Dope worlds colliding! I'm looking forward to reading it.
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Old 01-15-2016, 06:07 PM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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Congrats to a fellow SDMB author! Your book sounds cool, and I wish you the best of luck and great sales.
  #6  
Old 01-24-2016, 11:35 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Congrats to a fellow SDMB author! Your book sounds cool, and I wish you the best of luck and great sales.
Thanks, and same to you! I'm impressed that you've made it through four books in your series. (I'm guessing mine will be either 4 or 5 by the time it's done.) How long does it take you (typically) between first word written and moment of publishing?
  #7  
Old 01-24-2016, 11:39 PM
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I am quite intrigued. I will buy.
  #8  
Old 01-24-2016, 11:42 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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I am quite intrigued. I will buy.
Thank you! I hope you enjoy it.
  #9  
Old 01-24-2016, 11:44 PM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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Thanks, and same to you! I'm impressed that you've made it through four books in your series. (I'm guessing mine will be either 4 or 5 by the time it's done.) How long does it take you (typically) between first word written and moment of publishing?
It usually takes me about 2-3 months to write a book (though sometimes that's with a big chunk of time in the middle when I'm working on something else). I try to maintain a backlog so I can keep up with a once-per-three-months schedule--right now, I've got one in the can, two more finished (or mostly finished), and ideas for books up to #13. I try to get them edited and the covers done with plenty of time to hit my release dates. I hope I can keep it up!

How about you? How long does it take you to finish one?
  #10  
Old 01-24-2016, 11:53 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Originally Posted by Infovore View Post
It usually takes me about 2-3 months to write a book (though sometimes that's with a big chunk of time in the middle when I'm working on something else). I try to maintain a backlog so I can keep up with a once-per-three-months schedule--right now, I've got one in the can, two more finished (or mostly finished), and ideas for books up to #13. I try to get them edited and the covers done with plenty of time to hit my release dates. I hope I can keep it up!

How about you? How long does it take you to finish one?
Dang, I wish I could write that fast! Now, I've only written one book, so maybe the others will go faster, but it took me a couple of years -- about a year to finish the first draft, and another to go through all the revisions, edits, proofreading, etc.

My goal for book 2 is to finish in something more like 18 months start to finish.
  #11  
Old 02-11-2016, 02:18 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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This week I'm running a Kindle Countdown Deal for The Ventifact Colossus. The e-book is only 99 cents!

I received a 5-star review from Readers' Favorite that includes these excerpts:

"I always appreciate humor in a story, and Hart implemented this aspect very well... The narrative is flawless, appropriately paced, and not confusingly profound, compared to some fantasy fiction... The plot has some great twists and the epilogue will pique readers' curiosity. This is a great start for The Heroes of Spira and I look forward to Book Two."

"Not confusingly profound!" *snerk*

Thanks!
  #12  
Old 02-14-2016, 09:02 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Woot!

When I first published the book, I sent it off to a book blogger named Catherine Griffin who reviews self-published novels. I had no idea what to expect.

Yesterday I received her review. According to her Amazon.co.uk reviewer profile, she has reviewed 88 books and only given 3 of them five stars. And mine was one!

"...this book is a joy to read. Itís got interesting, well-developed characters; a soundly constructed plot; inventive fantasy; lots of humour; and excellent writing."

It's one thing to hear from your friends that they like your book. It's another thing altogether to discover that complete strangers do too!
  #13  
Old 02-15-2016, 04:40 AM
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I enjoyed it in the original. I never realised you were a Doper too.
  #14  
Old 02-15-2016, 07:55 AM
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Congrats on the good review!
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:47 AM
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I liked your Amazon precis.

Would you like to post a brief extract, so we can get the flavour of your writing?
  #16  
Old 02-15-2016, 01:04 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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I liked your Amazon precis.

Would you like to post a brief extract, so we can get the flavour of your writing?
Glee, if you go to the Amazon page, the "look inside" feature lets you read the first chapter and a half. That's probably the best way to get a sense of whether or not you'd enjoy the whole thing.

Thanks!
  #17  
Old 02-15-2016, 03:23 PM
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Glee, if you go to the Amazon page, the "look inside" feature lets you read the first chapter and a half. That's probably the best way to get a sense of whether or not you'd enjoy the whole thing.

Thanks!
OK, I like your sense of humour.

"Now if you don't mind, your perfume is obscuring the aroma of my chamberpot."

And ... I've bought a copy!
Amazon UK tells me it will arrive this Thursday.

Are you busy writing a sequel?
  #18  
Old 02-15-2016, 04:46 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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OK, I like your sense of humour.

"Now if you don't mind, your perfume is obscuring the aroma of my chamberpot."

And ... I've bought a copy!
Amazon UK tells me it will arrive this Thursday.

Are you busy writing a sequel?
I hope you enjoy your purchase!

And, yes, I'd say I'm between 1/4 and 1/3 through the first draft of Book 2. The series is going to be five books in total; they're all mapped out, so you don't need to worry that I'll go all Martin/Jordan on you.
  #19  
Old 02-15-2016, 08:46 PM
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I should have thought of this before - any way to get an autographed copy?!
  #20  
Old 02-15-2016, 09:32 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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I should have thought of this before - any way to get an autographed copy?!
You're in the UK, yes? Do you ever travel to the Boston area?
  #21  
Old 02-15-2016, 09:51 PM
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I should have thought of this before - any way to get an autographed copy?!
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You're in the UK, yes? Do you ever travel to the Boston area?
I am indeed across the pond. I've been to Vegas a few times, but now I'm retired I do less travelling.
  #22  
Old 02-16-2016, 08:43 AM
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Love me a good fantasy...ordered, and following you on Amazon.
  #23  
Old 02-16-2016, 11:35 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Love me a good fantasy...ordered, and following you on Amazon.
Thanks! I hope you still think it's a good fantasy after you've read it.
  #24  
Old 02-17-2016, 03:52 AM
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Just picked it up on Kindle. Looking forward to it.

BTW, Infovore, I love the series so far! When is the next one available, if you don't mind?
  #25  
Old 02-18-2016, 07:07 AM
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My copy has just been delivered.
  #26  
Old 02-18-2016, 10:31 AM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Just picked it up on Kindle. Looking forward to it.
Thanks, picker!
  #27  
Old 02-25-2016, 02:06 AM
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Nice work. I really enjoyed it. Now hurry up with the next one!
  #28  
Old 02-25-2016, 07:40 AM
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I'm enjoying it (it's a real page-turner.)
Gazing into the future, I can see a favourable Amazon review coming your way.

However as this is the Dope, I have a couple of questions!

Firstly a point of grammar.
You write:

"The first thing Ernie Roundhill did the next morning was sit at his desk and write a letter because he really ought to."

I understand this fine (it's even written in the style of Ernie's thought processes, if you see what I mean.)
However what came to my mind was (differences in bold):

"The next morning the first thing Ernie Roundhill did was to sit at his desk and write a letter because he should."

Secondly, is there going to be a map of Spira?
(I realise you may have chosen not to, as it's somewhat of a cliche...)
  #29  
Old 02-25-2016, 12:22 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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I'm enjoying it (it's a real page-turner.)
Gazing into the future, I can see a favourable Amazon review coming your way.
So glad you're enjoying it! And Amazon reviews are just about the greatest gift a reader can give to a new author.

Quote:
However as this is the Dope, I have a couple of questions!

Firstly a point of grammar.
You write:

"The first thing Ernie Roundhill did the next morning was sit at his desk and write a letter because he really ought to."

I understand this fine (it's even written in the style of Ernie's thought processes, if you see what I mean.)
However what came to my mind was (differences in bold):

"The next morning the first thing Ernie Roundhill did was to sit at his desk and write a letter because he should."
There's nothing wrong wither either version, I think, and as you surmise, I chose my phrasing in part to fit the slightly simpler way that Ernie looks at the world.

(Though on reflection, I think my omission of "to" was correct. I know there are all sorts of grammatical divergences between the U.S. and England; perhaps this is one?)


Quote:
Secondly, is there going to be a map of Spira?
(I realise you may have chosen not to, as it's somewhat of a cliche...)
I would have liked to include maps, but they would have added too much expense to the production of the book. If things go well, Book 2 will have maps, and I may even get around to putting some on the book's web page before then... assuming my artist can make the time. (Trust me: you would not want the author of the book to draw anything meant for public consumption!)

I hope you enjoy the rest of the book!
  #30  
Old 02-25-2016, 12:24 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Nice work. I really enjoyed it. Now hurry up with the next one!
So happy to hear it. And I'm plugging away on Book 2 as fast as I'm able.

If you have the time, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. Doesn't have to be long.

Many thanks!
  #31  
Old 02-25-2016, 11:25 PM
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On Chapter 4...
  #32  
Old 03-04-2016, 02:20 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Just wanted to mention:

If you're reading (or have finished) the book and want to be on my mailing list with updates on the series, you can sign up here. (I will never share your address, and my updates are infrequent, so no worries on those scores.)

Also, if you've read the book, please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon -- even if you didn't think it was great. (Amazon uses number of reviews as part of their mysterious algorithms that determine how often a book gets mentioned on their site.)

Thanks!
  #33  
Old 03-24-2016, 04:12 PM
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I've just left a review on Amazon.co.uk - 5 stars (well deserved )
  #34  
Old 03-24-2016, 04:39 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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I've just left a review on Amazon.co.uk - 5 stars (well deserved )
Thanks, glee! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

If you have a spare minute, consider copying your review over to the U.S. Amazon site; that's where the BookBub people will look when I apply for a promotional spot in a couple of weeks.

As for maps, I would have liked to include them, but as a first-time self-published author, I discovered they were too expensive to include. My hope is to include them with Book 2, the first draft of which is about 60% complete.
  #35  
Old 03-24-2016, 07:09 PM
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OK, I've copied my review over to the main Amazon site.

I realise maps in the book would be expensive.
How about sending your subscribers an e-mail attachment which they could print out?

Also for the future, I'm keen to get autographed copies. Maybe when the next book comes out I could send you cash and you reply with an autographed book?
  #36  
Old 03-24-2016, 11:38 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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OK, I've copied my review over to the main Amazon site.
Thanks!

Quote:
I realise maps in the book would be expensive.
How about sending your subscribers an e-mail attachment which they could print out?
Right now the problem is that I don't have maps worthy of publication. I am NOT an artist, and the artist I used for my cover is both busy and expensive. But when I do have maps made, I'll immediately post them to my website and mail the link to my subscribers.

Quote:
Also for the future, I'm keen to get autographed copies. Maybe when the next book comes out I could send you cash and you reply with an autographed book?
I'm sure we can work something out. Do you use PayPal? I could buy myself a copy, sign it, and mail it to you, and you could PayPal me the cost of the book and maybe half the shipping.
  #37  
Old 03-25-2016, 05:11 AM
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Right now the problem is that I don't have maps worthy of publication. I am NOT an artist, and the artist I used for my cover is both busy and expensive. But when I do have maps made, I'll immediately post them to my website and mail the link to my subscribers.
Excellent - I look forward to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glee View Post
Also for the future, I'm keen to get autographed copies. Maybe when the next book comes out I could send you cash and you reply with an autographed book?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parthol View Post
I'm sure we can work something out. Do you use PayPal? I could buy myself a copy, sign it, and mail it to you, and you could PayPal me the cost of the book and maybe half the shipping.
I use PayPal.
I'll pay for all the shipping (I want you happily writing! )
Oh, and I'd want a copy of Ventifact Colussus signed too...
  #38  
Old 04-19-2016, 12:15 PM
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Does Amazon still count it as a "sale" if I get it free through Kindle Unlimited? Would hate to think I've been cheating authors out of royalties by getting books for free. Think I've downloaded 20-30 books through Kindle Ulimited. Most of which I intended on buying and only didn't because of the free option.
  #39  
Old 04-19-2016, 03:00 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Does Amazon still count it as a "sale" if I get it free through Kindle Unlimited? Would hate to think I've been cheating authors out of royalties by getting books for free. Think I've downloaded 20-30 books through Kindle Ulimited. Most of which I intended on buying and only didn't because of the free option.
Great question!

Authors get paid for each page you read of a Kindle Unlimited book, and (at least for full length novels) it tends to work out that if you read the whole thing, they get paid about as much as if you had just bought it outright for your Kindle.

More specifically, Amazon computes a giant fund that all KU authors split up each month. For March, that was $14.9 million, which translated to $.0047 per page. In my case, Amazon has set The Ventifact Colossus at 624 normalized Kindle pages, so I get paid $2.93 for each full-read of the book. That's slightly more than I get for a straight-up Kindle sale! So download away, and feel no guilt
  #40  
Old 04-19-2016, 04:40 PM
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Good to know. Book has been downloaded. I'll write a review on amazon once it makes its way up to the top of my to read list.
  #41  
Old 04-27-2016, 09:07 AM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Hey fantasy-readin' Dopers!

Just a heads up: today and for the next few days, I'm running an Amazon Free Promotion. The Kindle version of The Ventifact Colossus is free like air is free! If you were skeptical, on the fence, feeling penny-pinched, or just like free stuff, now's a great time to pick it up!
  #42  
Old 06-22-2016, 06:40 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Hey Dopers!

So hereís a neat thing: My fantasy novel The Ventifact Colossus has been short-listed in the fantasy category for ReadFree.ly's "The 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading 2016.Ē

There are 15 books in the running, and at this point the winner will be chosen largely (if not wholly) by popular vote. So, want to help a Doper win an Internet Popularity Contest? Go here and vote for The Ventifact Colossus!

http://http://www.readfree.ly/vote-50-self-published-books-worth-reading-2016-fantasy/#votehere

Thanks!
  #43  
Old 06-28-2016, 10:46 PM
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I'm still waiting for the second one. And you better not hurt Sister Morningstar or we will have words...
  #44  
Old 06-29-2016, 02:38 AM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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I'm still waiting for the second one. And you better not hurt Sister Morningstar or we will have words...
Second book is coming along nicely -- probably 85-90% finished the first draft, after which will come several months of revising, editing, more revising, proofreading, formatting, and miscellaneous publishing nonsense.

As for Morningstar, er... um... can we just say that stories are more compelling when bad things happen to characters we love?

Thanks for the support!
  #45  
Old 11-15-2017, 07:28 AM
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Just bumping this thread to say "Why didn't you tell me the second book was out!" Can't wait to get time to read it.
  #46  
Old 11-15-2017, 03:29 PM
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So, I'm guessing it'll be another year and a half before the third book comes out.
  #47  
Old 12-16-2017, 10:47 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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Just bumping this thread to say "Why didn't you tell me the second book was out!" Can't wait to get time to read it.
Goodness! I had forgotten about this thread, but yes, as you discovered, Book 2, The Crosser's Maze, is out! I suppose I ought to start a new thread for it, but in the meantime, thank you for bumping this! :-)
  #48  
Old 12-16-2017, 10:51 PM
Parthol Parthol is offline
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So, I'm guessing it'll be another year and a half before the third book comes out.
I'm afraid that's likely, yes. I'm not a fast writer, and I don't have many hours a day to devote to writing, but I promise I'm doing my best. At the moment I'm about 15% through the first draft of Book 3, and I'd like to be done with the draft by July. But it takes me about a year to revise a first draft, get feedback from readers, revise some more, get the book edited, revise yet again, have the final draft proofread, fix the last few typos, and then go through the formatting/uploading/publishing process.

I thank you in advance for your patience!
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