First, I’m glad to report that the first volume’s Kickstarter campaign has been funded at 147%!

This is huge, and it’s going to help me defray some of the enormous costs of self-funding the editing, beta-reading, and illustration solicitations I’ve done using freelancers from the platform.

FIRST FULL draft progress

Now that the first full draft is COMPLETE, it needs some feedback. Just finishing the book has been quite a task, because for whatever reason the final chapter (chapter 6) of about 4,700 words was about three times as difficult to write as the next-most-difficult chapter, which was probably chapter 3.

I’m proud to have finished it, because as Brandon Sanderson and other authors note, “finishing” is a necessary but insufficient condition to selling. And, of course, there are revisions on the finished book.

Next Steps

Okay, so, what comes next? Well, interestingly, managing this project is similar to what I do for my academic projects. But given that this is a hobby and not my “real job”, I need a slightly more extended schedule than I’d take if it were a work project.

So, here are the next steps:

  1. Beta readers and feedback from my editor(s) (now through Dec. 15)
    • Some are getting back to me by December 13
  2. Read/Digest the feedback and decide what to revise (estimated Dec. 16-18)
  3. Revisions of the completed draft (estimated Dec. 19-24)
  4. Recording / editing / posting the audiobook (estimated Dec. 27-31)
  5. Release the PDF and audiobook files on January 1, 2021.

Beta readers

As it stands, I have 7 beta readers who’ve committed to read the book and 2 more yet to formally accept the “job”. I’m paying them because I want to demand certain things from them, rather than going the “just get a buddy to read it” route.

These are paid at less than the usual copyediting rate (about 1/10 the rate) because they don’t take nearly as long and require a different kind of editing. In fact, it’s not really editing at all, but more of a kind of “general feedback” (at least in terms of how I’m using my beta readers).

I’m using folks with an array of experience levels and backgrounds, although most have at least some editing experience and most are fantasy fiction fans.


One of the purposes of this Kickstarter campaign was to fund the necessary expenses for recording the audiobook. I noticed that several people explicitly mentioned to me that they prefer reading a text version of a book rather than listening to an audiobook. That was news to me, since I have “read” about 98% of my “fun reading” books via Audible, over the past several years.

So, given this feedback, I’ve elected not to go the “buy time in a professional studio” route and instead I’ve gone the “buy a $39 podcast microphone for home recording” route. If you’re curious, the mic I bought is here. It’s cutting in and out on my Macbook, but it seems to work fine on my PC, so we’ll see how that goes. #fingerscrossed


Here is the latest cover art. I solicited several versions of the art itself, and chose this one because it matches the rustic / apocalyptic feel of the narrative. I basically just popped it into PowerPoint and added text on top of it.

Picking the font took a little while, and I came back to it after a few days, settling on “High Tower Text”. That’s one I hadn’t seen before. Of course, I’m not a professional cover artist, but those folks are expensive. So, since that’s not a priority for the first release and the actual text is the focus, I’m just doing it myself, for now.


I had other possible versions of the cover as well, and these are provided below. I think that both of these are great for separate reasons, but I’ll probably use them for something different.

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