08:00:19 am on May 31, 2012 |
MEET DANIEL KOEKER:
A brand NEW series of interviews, guest blogs and more for Thursdays!
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Currently, Daniel is a writer and editor. He is one of the owners of Manuscript Magic, a company dedicated to assisting writers prepare their book for publishing. He is primarily an author of science fiction and fantasy novels aimed at young adult readers. His current books include Guardians and Dark Beginnings, Petals of Intrigue and The Dream Sanctum with more to come. You can view his books HEREHow exciting, so did any of your self published books stem from your #NANOWRIMO time? Tell me a little bit about that.Actually, only my second book — Petals of Intrigue — is true NaNo material. I wrote the first before I even knew what NaNo was, and I wrote The Dream Sanctum on my own time because I was too impatient to wait for NaNo to roll around! That seems to happen with me a lot. I am saving up some ideas for this year, however.
You have three self-pub books, how long did each book take you to write, then edit?They really varied. Guardians and Dark Beginnings took about four years to write; it was my first book, and I started it when I was about 14, so I kept reworking it over time. Petals of Intrigue actually took only two weeks to write, that was a crazy experience. The Dream Sanctum took about a year, what I think might be about my average. Editing took a few months for each book, and I was lucky enough to have friends helping me for all three. Publishing actually was very simple; because I self-published, all I needed was my cover art (more work graciously done by a friend of mine) and some formatting, then it was on its way.
Which out of the three was your favorite to create?Without question, The Dream Sanctum. I have various levels of attachment to all my books, but this is my pride and joy, something that I really put my heart into and felt a connection with. The world itself is fun to write and has so many possibilities, and the characters are diverse and so, so very fun to write as well. It started off a little rocky, but after that it just went on so wonderfully and I enjoyed every minute of it.It’s a contest between Kwin from The Dream Sanctum and David from Guardians and Dark Beginnings. The former is a sadistic child prodigy, and the latter is the fourth-wall-breaking class clown who exists almost solely for comedic relief. David actually makes a cameo in each of my books, which is fun. He and Kwin are overwhelming favorites for most readers I’ve asked, and I can’t help but adore them. David is more funny, but in Kwin’s case, I also feel that I relate to her on a number of levels; much of the entire subplot for The Dream Sanctum came up completely unintentionally because of her on an issue that’s very personal to me, so that only strengthened that.Per the photo on the left, looks like some of your friends have a favorite character as well! You’re getting FAN ART!What made you decide to self-pub instead of traditional?I tried going the ‘traditional’ route for each of my books. I sent countless emails to agents, mailed copies of my books to bookstores, etc. No luck. Then I realized that I’d probably have a much easier time doing it myself, so I just went for it. I realized that even if I did get a publishing deal, I’d still have to do most of the advertising myself, so why not publish it myself and make it that much more convenient? I haven’t regretted it for an instant, and in the future I probably won’t even try to go the traditional way.
What was a mistake you’ve made in your publishing adventure that you would do over and why?I think it has to be the methods I used to promote. I tried various ways to build up hype before release and continue advertising after release, but I didn’t do well enough. I could have been emailing blogs and doing more giveaways and the like. Promoting is difficult, and that’s where my real weakness is. Not too many people have read my books, and it’s a result of me not doing as well as I could promoting my own works.
Do you have a publicist, if not what has shown the most improvement in sales with your own promotion strategies?I don’t really have anyone but helpful friends. What helped the most was social networking and promoting that way. I’ve done a number of giveaways, shared concept art, wrote bonus content, etc. The key to any small success I may have had just dealt with getting people intrigued, and that was mostly through social networking and finding people with similar interests.
Any advice for all those people trying to decide between self pub and traditional?First and foremost: self-publishing is not an admission of defeat, nor a sub-par method. It’s a perfectly viable option, and people do quite well with it. Traditional publishing is no longer the untouchable behemoth it used to be, and self-published authors can still find success and a reader base. Don’t get into writing thinking that the only way you can succeed is through a publishing house or agent. You’re an author, so be creative!
What is an entertaining story about your writing adventure so far?The first thing that comes to mind is when I showed Guardians and Dark Beginnings to my friends. Almost the entire cast of the book is based off many of my real life friends, so it was entertaining to see their reactions. Another moment was when the cover art for Petals of Intrigue was unable to be completed, so I ran out in the middle of the publishing process to take a photo and slap it on the book, and most people said it was their favorite cover. As for The Dream Sanctum, it’s not very silly, but much of my planning was done while dreaming. I’m a natural lucid dreamer, so I spent much of my sleeping time recreating the world of the book inside my mind so I could get everything perfect and try to make my descriptions as best as possible.
The best accomplishment and the most rewarding thing I can think of is giving people something they enjoy. I had a few people tell me that The Dream Sanctum was one of the few books ever to make them cry, and I have to admit that made me feel like I had finally done a good job.
OKAY! HERE IS THE FIRST SENTENCE HOOK TIME!
So what are the first sentences to your books?
Did you spend any amount of time rethinking the first sentence like a poet would every word?
Or did it just come to you in a dream and WHAM, TA DA insta-noodle sentence?
I honestly didn’t spend any time at all thinking up the first sentences. When I want to start a story, the right place to start just comes to me, and I go from there. I do try to make sure it’s a bit of a hook, though most of the hook comes from the first paragraph or so as a whole. Honestly, I’ve never put too much thought into the beginning or the end, they seem to start and end by themselves in just the right places.
The Dream Sanctum
A young man knelt alone in the center of a vast, golden hall. Lining each side of the wide room stood armored guards, standing perfectly still in organized rows.
Right away we know we are following a man and though surrounded by rows of guards their statuesque nature leaves him alone… kneeling. Why is he kneeling? Why is he in this hall of guards? Why is he alone? … mysterious indeed. And why wouldn’t it be in a world where you are only limited by your own imagination? In the dream world there are rules… and with rules there are rule breakers! It is up to Kai and Lindsay, along with the child prodigy Kwin to save the dream world… from those who would turn it into a nightmare.
Petals of Intrigue
Everyone knows about cherry blossoms. The white and pink petals that always fall from the cherry trees during the right time of year, the way they smell, and the way they flutter down around you in the perfect breeze. It’s a thing of perfect beauty to walk down a path lined with cherry trees when they’re in full bloom.
These first few sentences are very poetic and definitely intriguing but I’d have to say, personally I would want to be more grounded in where I am in the story for the first few sentences. Am I looking at cherry blossoms right now? Or is this story a first person and I’m in the mind of the main character thinking about cherry blossoms? I would probably read on the rest of the first page based on poetry but that’s because I am a poet at heart. Beautiful imagery for sure.
“The magic of Enture Island has always been regarded as a curious wonder by all who live there. It has always been the shield that protects everyone from illness, pain or suffering. It prevents the storms from causing any damage, and as an interesting side effect, keeps the island’s cherry trees in bloom all year long.
Kay Erra is the island’s newest resident, and is fascinated by the island’s magic and everything it provides. However, when strange things start to happen across the island and the people living there begin to vanish without a trace, Kay feels compelled to figure out the truth behind the island’s magic before the entire island, and everyone on it, is lost forever.”(first sentences)
The streets of the World of Dakryus were dark, and the cobblestone roads which were wet with a recently abated rain hardly reflecting the light that came from the lamps on either side of the street. They glowed a dark yellow, and seemed to serve no other purpose than to prevent people from walking into them if they ventured down the street.
Ooo, cobble stone roads. I like the world being created here already. So it sounds kind of like a dingy place that the street lights don’t even quite light the way. And as this is a Fantasy novel, I understand there is world building involved along with character development, but I think I would have liked to know at least who the main character is in the first paragraph. Either way the synopsis below does sound intriguing, yes?!
“The Erathas Miror, a group of five young magicians, are called out to assist in the keeping of the peace, but soon find that this war is threatening to destroy everything they have ever known.”
OKAY Peeps, that about wraps up the Author Interview this week, I hope to see you next time and take a moment to explore more about Daniel at his website: http://danielkoeker.com/books.html
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