Friday, December 12, 2008


As of right now, I have finished all the edits on my book. I have forwarded the comments to my typesetter who has already updated the proof and sent a draft back to me. This draft had a couple of errors, but the typesetter seems to be able to turn things pretty quickly.


...I am almost at the point where I can announce and lock-down a firm book launch date.

Steps I need to take to finalize a date:
  1. Finalize the proof - Today
  2. Receive final, print-quality proof - 12/16/2008
  3. Get quotes & time estimates from printers - 12/19/2008
  4. Negotiate print job with one printer - 12/22/2008
  5. Get final print schedule - 12/30/2008
  6. Announce book launch date - 12/30/2008
  7. Print the book on time!

Of course, this is far from all I have to do to produce the final book. Beyond those tasks, I have to:
  • Get reviews for the jacket art
  • Edit the jacket art, including adding copy about me, the price, SKU, barcode, new artwork dimensions, and teaser copy
  • Make decisions about the paper stock, cover stock, and hardcover binding
  • Find a system for hidden randomly generated barcodes to work for the "Like this section?"
  • Develop the Create Your Own Story section on the Onyx Sun site ( least two months work)
  • Update Amazon, Goodreads, and personal web site information with correct book data including final launch date.
Still, having this amount of work to finish doesn't dissuade me so much as excite me. Feels good to be making real progress at last.



Thursday, December 4, 2008

What's Taking So Long???

A few people have asked me when my book is coming out, and what the heck is taking so long. While I have been pushing very hard to get my final book out quickly, I have been extremely picky the last few months with my edits. As noted previously, I made 2,500 edits before I sent the "final" manuscript to the typesetter. Then, when I got the proof back, I felt compelled to re-read the book again and I am glad I did. I found twenty more grammatical errors.

Yikes! :)

Anyway, I know even professionally produced books have errors, but since I am self-publishing the Onyx Sun, and self-published books are generally frowned upon as "low-quality", I am being a *tad* obsessive about finding and eliminating any element of my book that makes it anything less than top notch.

The good news, is I am VERY close. I have proofread 200 of the 314 pages and am able to do about 50 pages a day lately. Which means hopefully by the end of the week, I'll have this done.

I don't want to commit to a date yet for the final book launch, because I have before, and I ended up breaking those promises. So, at this point, please know I am working as fast as possible, and I remain committed to developing a quality piece of fiction first and foremost, even if that means it takes a little longer.

Thank you all for your patience! In the meantime, please check out some of the exciting new feedback I have been getting from early reviewers by mail and on The word is spreading!



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Letter Back to My Recent New Fans

So, as noted in my previous entry, "Great Letters from Recent Fans" I have gotten a bunch of letters from a 4th grade class in New York about my book. They were very considerate to write me and tell me what they thought of my book, and I thought I'd share with everyone here my appreciative response.

Mr. Titus’ Class
Sherman Elementary School
50 Author’s Avenue
Henrietta, NY 14467

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dear Mr. Titus and class,

Wow! Thank you for your letters! I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts on my book, The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun. I enjoyed each of your letters and shared them with my friends and family. Everyone commented on how well written each letter is and how insightful your feedback is. As an author, nothing makes me happier than hearing from readers like you. Your feedback about what you like and don’t like gives me just the insight I need to perfect the final book and to write even better sequels!

Many of you asked if the book will be made into a movie. I hope so one day! Between us, I always had George Clooney in mind when I wrote the Commander Chase character. Wouldn’t it be great to see him in an Onyx Sun movie! Professor Goodspeed, Zack, and the other characters were more a mixture of different people I know or characters I have read in other books. I even took a bit of Grandfather’s wackiness from Doctor Brown in the movie Back to the Future. Do you guys know that movie? That’s the funny thing about being an author: as you write, movies, books, and even real people you know find their way into your story. In some ways, Zack is actually me when I was about your age. I always wanted to find a spaceship hidden in my backyard. Who do you guy find interesting from books, or movies, or your own life? How would you put them in a story? What would those characters do? Would they be weird, or funny, or sad, or athletic? What unique traits would they have? The number one thing people like to read about are people that interest them. That’s why I was so happy you liked the strange, funny, adventurous characters I created!

Several of you also mentioned that you enjoyed the Mech battles. Those were fun chapters for me to write. I’m not sure where I got the idea for gigantic robots, but I know a few video games I’ve played in the past had similar robots. I took that idea and changed it to make it unique and reflect ideas I had. It’s funny when you write that often you don’t know how things will turn out as you are writing. I generally have a broad outline beforehand, but often ideas pop onto the page as I am writing! That is a fun experience because then I surprise myself and get to live the adventure too as I am creating it!

A couple of you mentioned that I should put more pictures in the book. I agree! When the final version of my book comes out this February, it will have thirty-six original drawings: one for each chapter and a special, large picture of the Citadel Spire on the title page. The final book will also have an epilogue called The Dawn of War, which previews the action coming in the sequel. So far, I have only written seventy pages of the sequel, The Wicked Adversaries of the Onyx Sun, but I spend time each day working on it. For now, I have included in this letter a sneak preview of some of the pictures that will come out this winter with the final publication of my first book. The included pages are called “folios” since they are loose drafts of the final pages of my book. Right now, I am reviewing these folios and finalizing the images and text. Since many of you seemed to enjoy the Mech battles, Moon scenes, and struggles with Machvel, I picked folios that match your interest. You can see more on my web site at

I notice your school is on Author’s Avenue. That seems like a quite a coincidence for a class that is clearly talented in reading and writing! I hope you enjoy the enclosed materials, and we can keep in touch about your future readings and writings. Thank you again for your wonderful letters.