Well, I did it. I went and wrote a book. Published it, made paperbacks, and gave one to mom. She hasn’t read a book since the 70’s, but she read mine. That was the one thing I wanted to take away from it, even if I didn’t sell a copy. Luckily I did, so that’s just gravy on Mom’s potatoes.
It was a fun book to write, I gotta say, but didn’t go as quick as I would have liked. When you work 55 hours a week in a restaurant and have a beautiful wife to pay attention to, that’ll happen. Luckily, I quit my job. No I didn’t sell 100,000 copies, but I have some money saved up, the job market’s good, and I was way underpaid at the place where I was at. I’m going to take a month off, do some camping, do some writing on SWA2 and some other projects, and just relax.
I pantsed the hell out of book one, and I think it shows in spots. I learned a buttload though, stuff I plan to use in book two through four and the other projects I’m working on.
I gotta say, I dunno if I could have gotten that first one out if it wasn’t for Royal Road. The rush of getting another chapter up, getting the feedback, getting the ratings. It kept me at a good pace of 15-20K words a week. Not professional feedback, but the readers will let you know if you got something wrong or contradicted yourself somehow.
The community built up around LitRPG and GameLit is incredibly dynamic. I don’t like having to call it by both genres, and I hate the politics of it, but I understand why it needs to exist like that. I just try to keep my head down for the most part. Type away, type away. And if someone really bugs me, as Chaucer said in a Knight’s Tale, “I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.” But so far nobody has bugged me that much.
About the character names. A few have special significance for me. Jacob was my adopted brother. He had cerebral palsy, couldn’t walk or talk. One of my first chores was feeding him through his stomach tube. He passed away when I was about twelve. Honeybucket is my pet name for my wife, and also a little game we play on the road. Banjo is my parents’ annoying-ass Lhaso Apso. It was funny – they were watching when Jeff Hays read a chapter on SWA live and every time Jeff said Banjo’s name, the dog would bark.
Well if you’re reading this, chances are you liked the book, so I thank you. I wonder where this journey will end up. I try not to get my hopes up, but sometimes you need to.