On Monday, I recommended a great new middle grade book, The Man in the Cinder Clouds, and today we have author Rick Daley as a guest to
talk about the path that The Man in the Cinder Clouds took to publication.
how authors these days were mixing it up, combining self and traditional
publishing, carving a path for themselves in the changing landscape of the
industry. I love Rick’s path as well as his novel, so I’m glad he’s here to
share with us today.
First, give us the
short blurb on The Man in the Cinder Clouds and tell us what inspired you to
your readers! Here’s a teaser blurb:
temperature is the only thing cool about Jason’s trip to the North Pole, but
things heat up when his father discovers a book buried deep in the ice. This
is no ordinary book, mind you. For starters, it was written by an Elf. And if
that’s not enough, the book proves the existence of Kris Kringle—you know,
Santa Claus. It’s a story you have to
read to believe, and once you do Christmas will never be the same.
years old and I was explaining to him the magic of Christmas. “You’d better be good, or Santa won’t bring
you any presents,” was the way I put it.
The spell worked, by the way, he was (and still is) a good boy. I wrote a short blog post about the incident,
and in it I mentioned that Santa’s capacity was low because he lost two toy
factories when the ice under them gave way as a result of global warming. What can I say, I have a warped outlook on
telling the origins of Santa is found in an ice core. My first thought was to write is as a
screenplay, and include every Christmas cliché as a joke, similar to how the
fairy tales made appearances in “Shrek” and the classic toys had their roles in
“Toy Story.” The more I thought about
it, though, the more I realized Hollywood would really screw up the story, and
if I wanted my vision to make its way to the big screen, writing it as a novel
was the way to go.
story, it took on more of a gritty-and-real edge, like “Batman Begins” but with
Santa. Not that it’s without warmth and
humor, but there is action and peril, too.
The clichés are there, but not as jokes, they all play into the
characters and stem from the story.
another novel (that I also had the pleasure of reading). Can you share the
journey The Man in the Cinder Clouds took to publication? Was there a singular moment when you decided
“Yes, I’m going to self-publish this story”?
much waiting as hard work. While I had
my chapter book, RUDY TOOT-TOOT on submission, and while I was between jobs, I
cranked out the first draft in about 6 weeks.
(This was in spring 2010…seven years after the premise first popped into
my head. Thankfully I kept thinking
about the story so when I finally wrote it I had a pretty clear picture of what
was going to happen.)
communications for six months.
Naturally, as a writer, I am totally self-conscious and quickly determined
that she hated the book and was so upset I sent it to her in rough form she
never wanted to talk to me again. In
reality, her parents took ill and she had taken on too many clients too quickly
and was simply overwhelmed and had never read it. When she finally explained this to me, she
promised to read it. She didn’t. She asked for more time. I gave it to her. Twice.
Eventually I realized she was not the agent for me and we both agreed to
my options. In May of this year I
realized that to find a new agent and go the traditional publishing route, this
story would not meet its audience until Christmas 2013 (maybe 2012 if I was really
lucky, but probably 2013). I’ve been
watching friends self-publish in print and ebook formats, and realized I could
go that route and have a quality book out before Christmas 2011.
you have in the works? Do you think you’ll stick with middle grade?
to clear is the budget for illustrations.
I have stories outlined for two additional Rudy books, and I’m outlining
a sequel to THE MAN IN THE CINDER CLOUDS.
I’m not going to give up too much about that right now, but I will say
that there is one very famous Christmas character that didn’t make an
appearance in the first book because he wasn’t born yet. And I have a couple surprise twists to throw
paranormal thriller titled FATE’S GUARDIAN.
It has a good story behind it, but as all first novels go (that I am
aware of) it is deeply flawed in its current state.
titled EARTH’S END, which is the one I’ll probably finish next because that’s
the one my wife wants me to write, and when she’s happy, we’re all happy
😉 Plus it’s a fun one to write, but
definitely not a kids’ book.
Clouds just came out recently, but what do you think of the self-publishing
experience so far? Is it meeting your expectations?
I’ve learned a lot about formatting, copy editing, and interior design. And I am also very lucky to have a diverse
group of critique partners who helped me to see the strengths and weaknesses in
the story so I could revise it and make it shine.
met. I tried to be realistic, and while
I dream big for the future, my plan was for a soft summer launch to gain
support of a core group of readers and get some reviews logged on
Amazon.com. I’m planning a more formal
marketing push as we get closer to the Christmas season, so we’ll have to wait
and see how that goes…
considering self-publishing in the near future?
If you hope to sell a ton of books and you want to self-publish, it’s
possible, but you must be prepared to take on the role of publisher and
promoter, not just writer. You are the
sales and marketing department, the administration and finance department…basically
the CEO of a start-up company. You will
need to set aside a budget for cover art, promotional copies, and marketing. It will take time and money. If you try to self-publish just because it’s
fast and cheap the end result will reflect that.
available for your family and friends, please take the time to make it a
quality product. The worst book I’ve
ever read was a self-published ebook (I read it several months back. I won’t reveal the title, but it was an adult
murder-mystery that was so bad it was almost, but not really, funny). There is a stigma about self-published books
being slushpile vanity projects, but the tides are turning, and there is
opportunity for those who are willing to take it seriously and put the time and
money into it.
sharing your path and your story with us today!
anyone has any additional questions.