In January of 2009, I published my first book: The Story of Gamer Zone. It wasn’t a great book, by any means, but people still buy it from time to time. Let me tell you a secret:
I hate that book.
Oh, it’s not the story that’s the problem. It’s the writing and the editing. It’s horrid beyond belief. Yet, people still contact me from time to time to ask a question, or they just wanted to say they read it. Sort of cool, really. I’m not bogged down with tons of fan-mail or anything, but the fact that people bought it blows my mind.
What’s wrong with the writing? It was my first time writing a book, so that didn’t help much. I decided to self-edit it, which was a poor choice (it’s amazing what you’ll miss when you read your own writing. I’ve learned tricks since then.) I’ve been planning The Story of Gamer Zone 2.0: Extended & Re-Edited, but it’s yet to happen. Sometime, though, it will.
More than once I’ve considered pulling the publication of the book, taking the eBook versions offline, and calling it good. But, that whole part where people buy it prevents me from doing it. Money trumps embarrassment.
Below you’ll find the original website announcement for it – I’ve preserved it, including the “Read Ahead” account stuff (no longer valid), just for the sake of completeness. Even the announcement sucked!
Since then, I’ve moved on to other projects, of course. The Horror Game and The Plastic Army Game are both in print, and sometime in the near future I’m going to finally start what I’ve always said I’d do: I’ll be putting two of my books up as weekly serials (originally I was going to be putting up 5 books as weekly serials, but I’m holding on to two of the projects, and the third missing project doesn’t have enough completed to start queuing up an auto-publish option that I want to do.)
Muse and IZ – the two novels that will be serialized – are two very different projects from The Story of Gamer Zone. I’ve enjoyed writing both of them (each for different reasons), and I’m enjoying the other three that are in progress (the working titles are “Villain,” “Hero”, and “First Footprints”, each a completely different genre.)
But, no matter how much I hate it, The Story Of Gamer Zone was my first, and it will always hold a special place in my heart!
When I sat down to write The Story of Gamer Zone it was supposed to be a long term blogging project. I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take. I wrote on it in my spare time except the last couple of days, where The Muse started pushing for me to finish the job I started. In just slightly over two months, I had written The Story – and discovered I had written a book.
So, The Story of Gamer Zone as it currently exists is the first draft of a 320 page book. Actually, the final version will weigh in just a bit higher than that – there were a few things within The Story that I never found a spot for, and after I finished I found where they belong in the framework of The Story.
I’ve exported the whole thing and have begun the edit process.
The real question in my mind is what form it’s going to take when it ends up in print. I’ve got two options: self publish, or traditional publishing. One day, someone commented that it’s impossible to get a book in print unless you have impressive credentials.
I love a good challenge, so after I finish with my edits I’ll start shopping around for a traditional publisher.
Some obvious points here – since it started as a blog, it had all the horrible writing of a blog when it started. It wasn’t until around 20,000 words (of 80,000) that I realized I was actually writing a book. You can see some differences in writing style as the story goes along. So I’ll have a huge section of The STory to revise to a more book like format.
Some publishers won’t touch it because it’s got some rough language in it (liberal use of the word “fuck” in some places), and some publishers won’t touch it because it’s an oddball item. It’s geeky, but not really designed for gamers. It’s business writing, but not designed for the expert businessman. It’s a little of both, and a bunch of neither. So I’ll have an interesting challenge ahead of me getting it published – but I’m not afraid of a little challenge (as The Story shows many times.) I’m just insane enough to love a challenge.
So how long would it be until there’s a print copy of the book? No idea. If I found a publisher today, it could be on shelves as early as two months, or as long as a year. Even worse – even if I find a publisher, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to run down to your local bookstore and pick up a copy. Publication is no guarantee of wide distribution.
I’ll be updating this from time to time with more information on publishing the book. Or, you can follow me on Twitter (MidnightRyder) as I pop up stuff there from time to time about the process too.
Meanwhile, I’ve started two more books. Yes, I now have a new insanity. I’ll be writing on those again in my spare time – though I’m not certain if I’ll write online again. The Story of Gamer Zone will probably be an anomaly for me, though if I decide that my next things I write are going to be self published, then I’ll probably go ahead and write it online.
Throughout the process I’ve gotten a number of great emails. Thanks to everyone who dropped a line and used words like “interesting”, “honorable”, “fun”, or “compelling”. I never really expected that, and it was amazing to get little morale boosts like that.
As for my next two books – no idea on time frame at all. One is a fiction piece in the super hero vein (with a different twist) and the second is a book on business again. One will be fun, one will be boring. One I’m writing for myself, one I’m writing to try and sell. Surprisingly, the boring one on business is the one I’m writing for myself. Go fig that one!
Thanks for reading The Story of Gamer Zone, and thanks for the two purchases of Read Ahead accounts – that doesn’t fill the car up with gas, but hell, every little bit helps!
Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr
Aka, The Midnight Ryder
December 7, 2008