As an indie author I love the freedom I have to publish what I want, when I want. I’ve been building my platform as a fantasy author since 2015, but when we first went into lockdown in March 2020 I found myself drawn to the more light-hearted escapism of romance. This new direction has been an exciting change and I’m now planning to publish a 7 book romance series.
As I get closer to completing the first book, I’ve begun to wonder what to do about publishing in this new genre. Should I stick with Suzanne Rogerson or come up with a new name so my fantasy readers won’t mistakenly buy my romance?
I would prefer to keep all my writing under the same name, but I’m interested to get some advice from you guys. So, please take part in this twitter poll and comment in the post with your thoughts.
Thanks very much.
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and romance
Ok, so I had planned to post this at the beginning of January but due to lockdown and its various issues I haven’t been able to focus much on my writing. It’s still great to have a plan, even if it keeps changing and evolving so here’s the original post I planned for January with some changes to my writing and publishing goals.
The start of a new year is always a great time to set some new goals. As usual I have a head full of ideas and not enough time in the day to work on them all. But I thought if I set out my plans here then it might help me keep on track.
As I shared in my post Books I’ve read in 2020, I have been reading some how to books on writing. In particular romance and series writing. This is a whole new direction for me and one I am very excited about.
What started as an idea in the March 2020 lockdown of a woman turning up in a quaint seaside town has steadily grown into a series. The original idea was nine novellas, but I have condensed these ideas into 6 longer books and a Christmas special. I can’t wait to get these books written and out into the world.
It’s exciting times, but I have to learn to curb my impatience as I want to have several books written before I publish anything. It’s going to be tough, but I hope it will be worth the wait.
Here’s the working blurb for book 1 – let me know what you think.
Will Evie’s dreams of a seaside escape turn out bittersweet?
Songwriter Evie Rose lives in the background, her confidence knocked by a past trauma that keeps her from the limelight. When her creativity dries up, threatening her livelihood, she heads to the seaside town of Lowenporth hoping to find inspiration.
Lowenporth’s lush sandy beaches and dramatic seascapes are just what burnt-out Evie needs. She adores the quirky charm of The Mermaid Hotel and is soon intrigued by another guest. Brooding William Bristow could be just the man to help her find her muse, but Evie’s sure he’s hiding something from her. And his secret could threaten everything. Can Evie write herself out of the slump and find the confidence to star in her own life? And will William be there by her side, or will the secret he’s keeping come between them?
The Starlight Prophecy series is another project I want to finish and publish asap. I know what to do, it’s just getting around to finishing it. The structure of the series has a dual timeline so I’m desperate to get my beta readers opinion on how it works. Again, I’m so excited but I want the first two books finished this year and published, whilst working on the third. I have a plan, but with the new lockdown and kids home schooling time for writing is not something I have a lot of.
I also have another fantasy series I would like to start planning. The characters have been in my head for years and are eager for their time in the limelight. There are also other story paths I’m eager to explore in particular with my Silent Sea Chronicles series.
My big plans for the first quarter of 2021
Finish book 1 of The Mermaid Hotel Romance Series.
Complete draft of book 2 in MH series.
Plan book 3 in MH series and try to draft it.
Plans for second Quarter of 2021
Finish the extra scenes for book 1 of The Starlight Prophecy.
Work on the end of book 2 in The Starlight Prophecy.
That is plenty to work with, but the sooner I get things finished, the sooner I can get them into beta readers hands.
I will review my progress at the end of March when hopefully life at home (and for the rest of the world!) is more normal.
Wish me luck!
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy
The strange days we are living through have had a big impact on me emotionally. I’m constantly moved to tears by the kindness of strangers and the sacrifices people are making to get us through the epidemic.
The lockdown hasn’t impacted my life as much as others. I write from home anyway and my writing has kept me sane and helped me escape the gloom of the real world. I have fallen far behind on my original plan for 2020 but in these times we all have to adapt. I am now focused on 1 major project, though it does have 3 parts. It would be wonderful to complete the whole project by December 2020, but I won’t pressure myself just yet. There are still seven/eight months left – now that is actually beginning to sound impossible! Let’s see what happens. That has become a motto for me lately.
Publishing Plan for 2020
End June – publish prequel novella.
The odds of me completing on time? Not sure. I had though it was almost ready, but after a beta read I know I have a lot of work to do. With the kids home both doing live lessons and needing access to my laptop, it can get awkward.
There is also the pre-order issue to consider. I haven’t found it makes a huge difference to sales, but I would like a short pre-order period. That means I need to buy the cover and sort out the blurb asap – time to start panicking!
End September – publish The Starlight Prophecy
This books is probably 80% written. I know the end and what needs to happen, I’m just not yet sure how it all comes together. It has a dual timeline element like Visions of Zarua and I’m hoping it works. Again I will be relying on my beta readers for their verdicts. I already have the cover and I am really excited to start sharing information about the story, but I have to be patient for a bit longer.
December – publish sequel novella
A few weeks ago I had the wonderful idea of following on the story 6 years after the end of The Starlight Prophecy. Ideas have been flowing and I’ve even drafted quite a few scenes, but I have to be patient and finish the main book first!
I hope to write some more short stories this year. Over the weekend I’ve written two that I’m really happy with and I’d love to keep up the momentum. I find I am most inspired first thing in the morning, sitting in bed with a notebook, a pen and a cuppa.
I have hardly reviewed any books over the last few years and I think that’s a shame. As an author I love getting reviews and I want to share the love for other books too. I’d love to make another author’s day so I’m determined to write a few reviews this year. I’ve already started with books 1 & 2 in the Firewalker’s series by Emma Miles. Here’s my review.
Audiobooks for Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy.
I’m hoping work will start this month on book 1 The Lost Sentinel. My narrator has been reading the trilogy and making notes on all the characters. This is a huge project and I admire him for taking it on. I can’t wait to start listening. Maybe I’ll even get to share a sample at some point…
I have plenty of other projects and books waiting to be written but I don’t want to put any more pressure on myself this year. I’ve a feeling things are going to get worse before they get better here. My husband is self employed and has no work. When the lockdown lifts we hope that will change, but I think my writing is going to be even more important than ever to my sanity.
I’ll leave you with a picture of my new writing companion. She’s a neighbour’s cat who keeps sneaking into the house and is trying to adopt us.
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy
The Lost Sentinel Silent Sea Chronicles #1
The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel.
The Assembly controls Kalaya. Originally set up to govern, they now persecute those with magic and exile them to the Turrak Mountains.
Tei, a tailor’s daughter, has always hidden her magic but when her father’s old friend visits and warns them to flee to the mountains she must leave her old life behind.
On the journey, an attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He entrusts her into the care of the exiles and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession.
Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles search for their new Sentinel who is the only person capable of restoring the fading magic. But mysterious Masked Riders are hunting the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.
This is just a quick note to say that I will be taking a break from blogging, not that I have been the most prolific blogger over the last year anyway.
I will be doing my best to avoid obsessively checking my book sales, kindle unlimited pages read, reviews and all forms of social media. This will be cold turkey for me and I expect tears and tantrums!
I haven’t written properly for months, so starting now I have to commit to finishing The Sentinel’s Alliance and getting a publication date set for this year. I also have to prepare for the Winchester Festival and perfect my first chapter and synopsis, plus I have been speaking with a narrator regarding the possibility of producing an audiobook for Visions of Zarua! I feel like I have so much going on that I need to step back and just focus on the writing.
I will be back in April with some books reviews, and hopefully more news on the book front.
Please message me if you want to get in touch and I will respond as soon as I can.
The picture below is where I need to be in my head, writing until my fingers bleed!
Suzanne Rogerson – Author of heroically epic fantasy
2018 has been a major year for me and it’s been good to look back over the highlights and have the opportunity to share them with you.
The year started off with a huge bang when I was approached by Albatros Media, a major publish in the Czech Republic. They are publishing a Czech translation of my debut novel, Visions of Zarua in the fall this year. 2018 saw one of my dreams come true and I earned (and spent) my first ever advance! I hope to be able to share a cover reveal with you very soon, I think the czech cover is perfect.
I received my first full MS request from an agent. This was a huge high point, though I’m very sad to say that I haven’t heard back from her since.
I published book 2 in the Silent Sea Chronicles – The Sentinel’s Reign at the end of June 2018 and it’s been seeing quite a lot of action on Kindle Unlimited, but unfortunately reviews are very slow to follow.
Please check the blurb and reviews on Goodreads and feel free to get in touch if you would like a copy to review.
In November I celebrated the 3rd birthday of Visions of Zarua with a birthday blitz hosted by 25 blogs and organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. It was a great day and I highly recommend Rachel’s services. I received 10 new reviews and had so much fun answering questions, writing guest posts and sharing extracts. Click here if you want to see the tour hosts involved and for Rachel’s info. I also posted about the day here part 1 and part 2.
I went to the Gollancz Writers’ Day. It hasn’t led to any breakthroughs with agents or traditional publishers, but it was a lot of fun going to an event centred around my genre. I spoke to other writers, bestselling authors, editors at Gollancz and a top agent. I feel more confident about attending days like this in the future. Here’s my review of the day.
I dusted off some of my favourite short stories, had them edited and beta read and then entered some competitions. So far, nothing has come from it but I have been inspired to produce my own short story anthology at some point in the future.
On a non-writing related topic, I lost 2 stone with Slimming World and feel so much happier about myself. I’ve tried dieting on and off for years, but it was only joining a group that really helped me reach my target weight and keep to it. I recommend it if losing weight is one of your new year’s resolutions.
In conclusion 2018 was a slow writing year, but I plan to change that in 2019. I hope to share the new technique I’m hoping will increase my output once I’ve tested it fully.
Join me next time where I will post about my plans for reading, writing and life in general for 2019. See you then.
This week I’m attending a Writers’ day in London hosted by Gollancz and with a special guest agent I’ve always wanted to meet.
It’s my third time attending a writing event in London, but this one is extra special as it will be focused on SF, Fantasy and Horror. For once I won’t be in the minority and I won’t feel inferior because I’m a genre author!
I’m both nervous and excited about the day ahead. I’ll hear about the life of a book from a publisher’s perspective, learn about marketing, publicity and sales, meet some Gollancz authors and of course there’s the chance to meet the agent at the top of my list, Juliet Mushens. What a day!
There is an opportunity at the end of the day to practice our pitches, something I don’t think I will ever be any good at. I will do my best to hand out business cards to everyone I talk to though. I want to make some new connections, something I’ve failed at terribly in the past. Maybe knowing the other authors at the event like my genre will give me the confidence I’ve been lacking.
All going well, I shall share my experience with you next week. If you are attending let me know; it would be great to meet some fellow bloggers in person.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be interviewed on Lynn’s Books. Lynn was the judge tasked with reading The Lost Sentinel for SPFBO this year. Though The Lost Sentinel didn’t make the cut, she had some great things to say in her wrap up post and it was a pleasure to be interviewed by her. Please head over to read it now.
My review of ‘How to write a fantasy book description’ will follow, but first take a look at the blurb.
Do you find it difficult to write the blurb for your book? Do you hate writing book descriptions?
If your synopsis always comes out bland and boring, with no chance of leading to more book sales, then this guidebook is for you.
How to Write a Fantasy Book Description is a step-by-step approach. It lays out everything you need to know in five simple and effective steps.
Learn how to hook readers by:
Writing incredible taglines that grabs attention
Escalating the tension throughout your blurb and captivate readers
Using spellbinding words to dazzle customers
Learning how to avoid meandering into subplots and instead make your blurb a joy to read
Understanding how long your blurb needs to be and how to use cliffhangers effectively
Discovering easy methods to format your blurb before uploading to online retailers like Amazon
In addition, you will find bonus chapters on how to write book descriptions for series, box sets and non-fiction.
If you like easy to follow instructions, sprinkled with helpful examples, then How to Write a Fantasy Book Description is for you.
Jesper Schmidt is a fantasy author. He is the creator of several how-to books, like the bestselling Fantasy Map Making and Twitter for Authors.
I follow Jesper Schmidt’s newsletter and when he asked for people to join his launch team for this book I jumped at the chance of an ARC. I have read both his other How to books and found them very helpful. Here’s my review of Twitter for Authors.
Fantasy Map making is a book I plan to use in the future and I will review it once I have created the world maps for my Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy.
I find writing book descriptions very difficult and with the publication of my second book looming, the timing of this how to guide was perfect. Mr Schmidt starts with how important book descriptions are and gives 5 common mistakes authors make.
He then talks us through 5 steps to creating a great blurb including tag lines and character introductions. He uses examples of current blurbs on Amazon to showcase his points and there are task lists at the end of each chapter to help you keep focused.
What I found really helpful was the author using his own fantasy book blurb and walking us through the process of how he came up with his killer blurb, including his mistakes.
After helping you draft your blurb, the book focuses on the editing stage and gives you areas to check like repetition and boring middles.
There are a couple of extras which are handy – blurbs for box sets and series, formatting and an appendix of words relevant to fantasy.
The whole process of writing a book description feels much less daunting when following these steps. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy authors out there.
On a personal note – I used the knowledge from this book to update my blurb for The Lost Sentinel before I ran a kindle countdown deal on Amazon. I’m glad to say that I sold more copies than I had with previous promotions!