Novel Progress and the State of My Blog

Introduction

I have been very busy as of late. Between raising two children, working a full-time job, and working on my book, I have had little time to work on my blog. Things are really picking up as I head for the finish line with my book and get my publishing company, Infinite Worlds LLC, up and running. That said, I thought I would take some time out to give another update on the status of my novel (that’s right; I said “novel” … I’m upgrading it from a novella. More on that in a moment) and the status of my website and business. Plus, I am putting out a call for volunteers. There is a lot to get to… so let’s get started.

Novel Progress    

Editing Stage

As I mentioned, I upgraded my book from a novella to a novel. The feedback I received from my editor was quite insightful and spurred me to add some chapters to the book. Along with the additional chapters, I have been going through and rewriting all the chapters one by one, sometimes changing them quite a bit. Some reasons for the changes are because of the new chapters; information and characters that are now introduced earlier, updates, expansions, and changes to the world building, etc.

Where my initial manuscript came to about 29,000 words, the rewrite is on par to break 50,000. Light for the genre of science fiction, but still beefy. Because of that, I likely not include the short story that I intended to but save it for an anthology down the road. I haven’t decided yet whether that anthology would be just my own works or whether I would accept submissions by other authors to include. That is something that I want to do, so if you are interested in publishing a short story, please contact me. Pu the subject line “Writing” or “Short Story.”

So far, I like the changes that I have been making and feel that it is fleshing the story out nicely. I look forward to how it is received when all is said and done.

Release Target

I have planned my target release to be by the end of summer. That is looking less likely, as I have a lot left to do. I now think that I could get it out by mid-October. Since the book has horror elements, I figure that would be a suitable target thematically. I would like to have at least a couple months during this year where my book is on the shelf. Of course, I will update as soon as I firm that up.

Road to Release

That said, I have some tentative plans going forward regarding the preparations for release. I am in the middle of the first edit phase. With the expansion of the story, I am currently working in the middle of the story. I hope to complete this current draft by sometime next week. I was targeting the end of this week, but that is not likely anymore.

Once that is done, I will go back and do some touch up before resubmitting to the editors. By the way, I am using bluepenbooks.com for my editing needs, and they have been very helpful. Anyway, if all goes well, the editing process should be completed by the end of August as I estimate.

The cover art is still pending. I have an artist picked out, but I know she has been very busy lately with other matters. I will be checking in with her soon. Hopefully, I can release the cover art by August.

I also plan for August to be the month where I start ramping up my premarketing. A sample chapter or two should be released around that time and I will likely start taking preorders.

Future Plans

New Directions

So, last month, I ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise some money. Unfortunately, it was a bust. Things as they are, it is understandable. I mean, I am no Brandon Sanderson. So, I have been thinking of ways that I can increase my brand.

I realize that I am behind in the times. I started this blog a little over a year ago. I know… blogs are so 2003. I must get with the times. I am brainstorming ideas for a YouTube channel… several, actually. They won’t completely replace my blog. I’ll still post from time to time. Not to mention I will use my blog to promote my channels. But they will be a way to increase my brand.

One channel will be geared toward a younger audience. That is because it will feature my daughter. She has long been wanting to do YouTube. When she is playing I always here her saying “Please remember to like and subscribe.” Before the naysayers interject, I understand what that will mean. That is why I will be with her. It will be a daddy/daughter channel. I’m still working on what we will actually do on that channel. Maybe some educational activities, general discussions, and other fun stuff.

She has developed an interest in countries and geography recently, so I thought… maybe I can introduce her to Civilization over summer break. I will record game sessions and post them. It would be interesting to see how she takes to the game and a great educational moment.

Another channel would be my main channel. That would me more of a “PG-13” (maybe up to lower “R” audience level). Not that it would be a lot of cussing or explicit or anything. But it may deal with more mature content and discussions geared for older audiences. It is where I will promote my books and the like which can have some themes geared to older readers. Anyway, I haven’t worked it all out, it is still in the preplanning stages.

As I said, it will not replace my blog. I am a writer, after all. But it will supplement it and is a way for growing my audience.

Website Redesign

That said, with my debut novel on its way to publication, I will have to focus on the business side of being an author. Not just my publishing business, but also my author brand itself. That would include a redesign of this website. I will have to prep for my novel info site and there is just a lot to do.

New Fundraiser

Of course, with all of this going on, that requires money. As I mentioned, my Kickstarter failed. I’m still new to all of this, so while I am disappointed, I am not surprised. Still, I realized that a big part of it is that I don’t have as much of a base. I am not giving up, however. Part of the above changes are geared to generating incentives for people to donate. Since my novel is still in production, I am unable to share too much regarding it currently. I need other means to generate revenue. So, I will be starting a Patreon and rerunning my Kickstarter Campaign. More details will be coming. If anybody has any suggestions as to what I can offer as rewards and other incentives, please reach out to me (or comment below). If you email me, for the subject line, put “Incentives.”

Calls for Volunteer

Help Wanted!

So, that leads me to the big ask! I am placing the call out for volunteers. If anybody is willing to lend a hand in any way, I would be more than grateful. Email me with the subject line “Volunteer.” If you are interested in investing and/or “partnering up”, that is even better. (Subject line: Invest). I am currently wearing so many hats between the business and my writing, not to mention my personal life, that it is becoming overwhelming. But I am committed to seeing this through.

If you have any of the following skills, I will certainly want to hear from you. (For the subject line, put “Volunteer: ‘Relevant Skill’”):

  • Business Management
  • Marketing
  • Social Media Manager
  • Website design and maintenance
  • Art
  • Fundraising
  • Graphic Design
  • Creative Assistant (basically, somebody to help me with parsing information from my books, alpha and beta reading, and general administrative tasks related to the book)

There are likely other areas that I could use help on, but those are the major areas. There are perks to volunteering. If you are a beginner in any of these areas, it will be a bullet that you can add to your resume. But more than that, it could be the chance to start in a business from the ground up. If you are starting out or changing things up, this could be a chance to start your path for success.

Potential Future

When I can start hiring for my business (and maybe author brand) I will look at any volunteers first. Those first roles will eventually take on executive positions as the company grows.

Authors who offer their help might also get the invitation to write in any world that I create, especially if you contribute to them. My goal for my publishing company, Infinite Worlds, is to create an independent publisher that is a hub for creativity. To connect authors and artists, and other creative types so that the process of publishing your work is much easier.

In either case, if you are willing to play the long game, roads will open to allow great things for all involved.

Conclusion

Exciting things are on the horizon. I can’t wait to get my book into the hands of the public. I hope to hear from some of you soon, especially if you are hoping to join my team. This is a pivotal time in the writing and publishing industry. Doors are opening, but we have to have the courage to go through. Let’s go through together.

Links

Home | Infinite Worlds (infiniteworldspub.com)

Blue Pen – Editing & Book Design (bluepenbooks.com)

Premiere Novella from S.J. Serio by Salvatore Serio — Kickstarter

Civilization® VI – The Official Site

Contact and Social Media

Email – serious77@sjserio.com

Facebook – Salvatore Serio | Facebook

Twitter – S. J. Serio (You can call me Sal) (@GetSerious77) / Twitter

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/serious1977

LinkedIn – Sal Serio | LinkedIn

TikTok – Salvatore Serio (@sjserio) TikTok | Watch Salvatore Serio’s Newest TikTok Videos

Book and Business Update

A quick update on the status of my book and some other things…

Introduction

 The past month has definitely been busy. I have had a lot on my plate. Personal and family life aside (that has been quite active as well), many wheels have been turning as things move forward. With that said, let’s get into it.

Infinite Worlds, LLC (a book publisher)

First, if you missed my last post, I have founded my own publishing company. Infinite Worlds is in the beginning stages of life. For now, it will be a vehicle for publishing my own works. However, I plan on opening it up to others as an option as well. Basically, if you are going the route of self-publishing, but don’t want to deal with all the hassles of the actual publishing part, I want Infinite Worlds to be that option. The protection, “prestige,” and help of having a publisher, without the foot-dragging and control of a traditional publisher or the scamming and thievery of a vanity publisher.

I would also like to expand it beyond just novels. Graphic novels, children’s books, and even supplements like role-playing games would be ideal. Also, I wouldn’t mind delving into other media, such as independent video games. I have a few ideas for some.

My Book Status

Of course, it all starts with my debut book. Currently, it is in the hands of editors. I just got the development feedback, so I will probably be busy in the coming weeks completing the edits. If all goes well, I hope to have it launched by the end of summer. I will update on the progress as regularly as I can. With that in mind, I do plan on setting up a newsletter. I also hope to have a sample chapter or two posted online within the next couple of months. Things are really moving and I am getting excited. Still, there is a long road ahead.

I am also in the planning stages of my next works. The outline for the sequel for my debut novel has begun to take form. I have also been working on some worldbuilding for future projects and series I intend to release.

Fundraising

With that in mind, I am working on a fundraiser to help get things done. I am finding out that it is costing a lot of money. From editing, to cover art, to formatting, there are a lot of factors that go into it and much of it requires money. Therefore, I am starting a Kickstarter to help get it in gear. It should go live within about a week or so. The tier rewards are being worked out. I have little to offer at this time, but I am only targeting about $4,000. I mean, I don’t expect anywhere near Brandon Sanderson numbers. Basic expenses are what I’m looking to cover. Anything extra will probably go towards marketing and my business, which will give me some capital to expedite publishing the works of others who are interested.

Lastly, if anybody would like to volunteer, contact me at serious77@sjserio.com. I have a lot on my plate and could use some help in certain areas so that I can focus on certain things. This mostly applies to friends and family who may want to lend a hand.

Conclusion

In the end, it looks like I will be very busy in the coming months as well. I am excited… and nervous. Regardless, big things are coming.

Links

Infinite Worlds – Home | Infinite Worlds (infiniteworldspub.com)

Kickstarter Campaign – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005671473/premiere-novella-from-sj-serio

Brandon Sanderson – Surprise! Four Secret Novels by Brandon Sanderson by Dragonsteel Entertainment — Kickstarter

My Newborn / The Wheel of Time / My Book Status

It’s been a while… here is an update on what’s going on with me.

Life has been busy. It has been over a month since my last post. Since then, I have been spending time with my family (especially my newborn and older daughter), working on getting my novella ready for publishing, and being overwhelmed with excitement for the upcoming The Wheel of Time TV series, as well as the Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie premiering the same day. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it…

MY NEWBORN

My youngest daughter Sophia Marie

It has been a little over a month since my second daughter was born, and we brought her home from the NICU. While it is a wonderful event, I have to say… It has been an adjustment. Afterall, it has been 6 years since the last time we had a newborn in the house. She has been adjusting well, despite developing a little cold a couple weeks ago. Her sister, Savannah, adores her. Still, it has clearly been an adjustment for her as well dealing with a crying baby all the time. We have been doing our best to check in on her feelings and to ensure her that we love her too, despite all the attention baby Sophia is getting. That has been the greatest challenge, perhaps. But I feel that things should be settling down by the holidays as Sophia begins to get more control and moves out of the newborn stage.

My daughters… Savannah and Sophia

THE WHEEL OF TIME

Another excitement that has been sweeping over me. The onslaught of marketing for Amazon’s The Wheel of Time has been making me giddy. The trailers, clips, posters, spotlights, and more that has been pouring out is a constant reminder that the days are ticking closer until the release. When news that they were hosting premiers on the 15th in select theaters around the states, I took a shot at the closest to me… Silver Spring, MD. Alas, I was too late as the registry was already filled by the time I got signed in (about a half hour after the announcement).

So, I suppose Monday evening, I will be following Dragonmount, The Dusty Wheel, Daniel Greene, and the other lucky content creators who are heading to London for the world premiere. Still, with just more than a week away until the official release, I will be checking in as soon as I am able to. I do plan to do a review of sorts here on my blog. I haven’t decided whether I will do one entry per episode (there are three episodes dropping on the 19th) or react to all of them. Whatever the case, I will likely record my thoughts after each episode and before starting the next one. Maybe I’ll do a spoiler-free look at all three with a spoiler free deep dive into each episode (perhaps released a day or so later).

Red Carpet Coverage for The Wheel of Time Premiere

Also, look for a review of Ghostbusters: Afterlife that weekend too. I am planning on taking my daughter on Friday. I have been very excited to see this movie and I am hyped by the reception that it has already received. I also feel that it might help Savannah feel a bit special to have a daddy/daughter date after she gets out of school that day.

MY BOOK STATUS

And finally, the status of my book is that it is coming along. It has been in a “beta-read” status since I completed the first draft at the end of August. I have made several revisions already thanks to the feedback that I have received from several beta readers including Glenda C, Robbie Seal, Robert Young, Norma Garcia, and Shannon Casey. They have provided a lot of great feedback regarding the grammar, structure, and content of the book. I have also been pleased by the responses, so far, to the story itself.

I was planning on ending the beta stage at the end of October. However, I am extending it as I go through the story for continuity. I have been working these past couple of weeks (and I am still in the process) of extracting information from the book for my worldbuilding “bible.” For this, I am utilizing several programs and outlets, including MS Excel (for quick lists), Campfire Write (formerly Campfire Blaze), and World Anvil. I am also looking into a couple other tools. Look for reviews on how these tools work for me as I hope to do a worldbuilder feature blog soon.

Other aspects of the book are still a work in progress. I have reached out to an artist for the cover art, though I know she has a lot on her plate at this time. Also, the business aspect of founding a publishing company is in the works and I hope to have the foundations laid out by sometime in January. With all of that, I anticipate (and plan for) officially releasing my novella in early Spring. Look for more details of it after the New Year. I would like to do a cover reveal, preorder, and at least a sample chapter.

It has been a busy month and the months ahead are loaded with trials and challenges. But I look forward to them all. Happy Veterans Day to all my fellow veterans.

Links

Watch The Wheel Of Time – Season 1 | Prime Video (amazon.com)

News – Dragonmount.com

The Dusty Wheel – YouTube

Daniel Greene – YouTube

Ghostbusters: Afterlife | Official Website | Sony Pictures

BetaBooks: Reader management software for authors. | BetaBooks

Campfire – Tell Your Story (campfirewriting.com)

World Anvil Worldbuilding tools & RPG Campaign Manager | World Anvil

My First Draft is Complete…

I have finished the first draft of my novella and I am ready to move onto the next step. That is proving a little more difficult than anticipated…

On the morning of August 31st, I wrote the last word in my manuscript. Final word count came to 27,800 words. It has been a great feeling. Since then, I have been researching how to go about my next step in getting it published. That step is recruiting beta readers and distributing the manuscript to them. It’s not a straight forward process and leaving me at a bit of a stalemate.

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as asking several random people to read it and give me the feedback. Through my research, it is suggested not to use people that are close to you as they might not provide the best feedback. That is understandable, though I do have a couple people in mind that I do trust to have a critical eye and to give honest feedback (my brother, for example… especially when it comes to grammar).

That said, I intend to find about 5 to 10 beta readers (plus a few select ones… like my brother). For those that I do not know, there comes another issue. Security! While I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, I have been burned before and have seen others burned as well. Giving a complete stranger (or even an internet acquaintance) my manuscript comes with risks.

I saw on a reddit thread where an author asked about NDA’s for their beta readers. They were immediately attacked for being egotistical and made fun of with comments that their work was not “good enough” to be stolen. Only one comment was helpful to the author’s inquiry before the thread was locked to commenting. I personally believe that anybody, no matter their product, has the right to have their work protected. I have certainly considered this method myself. I am not saying that my work is the next best thing, but I still want to protect it before putting it out there.

Along similar lines, another consideration is the process of distributing the manuscript to potential beta readers. Should I print out manuscripts and mail it out (the word document… at double spaced 12-pt Times New Roman… is at 91 pages) to potential readers physically? Or would some sort of online distribution method be better? If the latter, how can I ensure that only the people that I want to have access can see it?

Well, that is where I am at currently. If anybody has any recommendations or solutions that I can pursuit, I would be greatly appreciative. Hopefully, by the end of the week, I will be able to move on with this step. My goal is to have all feedback from beta readers by the end of October. Then I can do my revisions make my manuscript ready to send to an editor. I would like to be at that step by the end of the year. Ultimately, my goal is to publish the book in the spring.

Feel free to comment with any suggestions that you may have. I look forward to it. This is quite a learning process… and a journey.

An Ode to Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy has had great impact over the years. It’s stories have made a difference in my life, for certain, and could be labeled as the source of my inspiration in writing and the fantasy genre in general.

I have long loved the fantasy genre of fiction. Whether books, movies, or video games, I find myself pulled into worlds of mystery and magic. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, The Wheel of Time is one of my all-time favorite series in the genre (and of all time, for that matter). As a kid, I watched and enjoyed movies such as Legend, Star Wars, Labyrinth, and Willow. I can quote many lines from The Princess Bride (I consider it fantasy, even though there is little “magic”). But I never really grasped the genre until I played a little game called (ironically) Final Fantasy.

Admittedly, it has been a while since I picked up a Final Fantasy title. Aside from dabbling in some of the offshoots (Final Fantasy Tactics) or using the characters included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, I have not really played any of the games much. I have a couple of the classics on Steam, yet I haven’t really dived into them yet. Actually, I haven’t really picked up a Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy IX on the original Playstation. I guess a big part of it is that the series seems to have slipped away from what I loved back in the glory days.

It’s not that I hate the Playstation Final Fantasies. When FF VII was released, I marveled at the FMVs that carried the story along. I enjoyed FF VIII despite its challenge. I actually liked FF IX the most of the Playstation FFs even though I never finished it (largely due to life and circumstance). But there was something missing in those entries that I could not just get. Perhaps that is why those iterations don’t really resonate with me like the earlier entries in the series.

One of the biggest moments that everyone sites from Final Fantasy VII [SPOILER WARNING from here on out] was when Aeris was killed by Sephiroth. I admit that I was shocked at that moment too, but I think I was more mad than anything. I spent so much time leveling up and powering up the character for her to be gone not even half way through the game. The emotional resonance just was not there as strong for me.

Those who site Aerith’s Death as the most impactful obviously did not live through the sacrifice of Palom And Porom who turned themselves to stone to save the party. Sure, they were restored at the end, but it still stung when it happened. Then there was the moment when Celes, stranded all alone after the world broke, threw herself from a cliff in desperation because all hope was seemingly gone. And while she did so, a version of the song she sang at the opera played sorrowfully in the background, adding to the raw emotion of the scene. It was a masterpiece.

No, nothing beats the glory days of the SNES Final Fantasies. I stand by that statement! Final Fantasy IV and VI (2 and 3 as I remember them) were the real games that got me into the genre of fantasy and, also, inspired me to become a writer. From the moment that the airships are flying across the screen, the story of Final Fantasy IV pulled me in and never let go. Sure, it had some moments of cheesiness, but often that cheesiness added to the narrative in a delightful way (I’m looking at you, “Spoony Bard”). It was an epic battle of Good vs Evil with characters coming and going that elevate it to the Lord of the Rings of video games. It was amazing what could be accomplished with 16-bit sprites.

If Final Fantasy IV was the video game equivalent of LotR, then Final Fantasy VI could easily be equated to Game of Thrones. I mentioned before the scene where one of the main characters attempts suicide. But that is just one of many impactful scenes. The number of impactful, sorrowful, or just plain emotional scenes could fill a book. It was story telling at its finest.

Despite the more steampunk setting, FF VI had the pivotal impact that drove home my desires for my future. I just didn’t know how to get there at the time. Since that game, the phoenix has resonated with me. I feel it is because of the scene where Locke (who I always assumed as myself when playing) attempted to raise his lost love through the power of the phoenix. Now, I have a tattoo of a phoenix on my back. Perhaps it is because no matter what hardships I go through, I keep rising back up to face new challenges.

Whatever the case, Final Fantasy has clearly had a great impact on me and my life. I will always remember the trips I took along the way. Whether it was flying to the moon or taking an airship into the earth and dealing with Dwarves or defying a tyrant by “riding” a castle into the sand or spending a night at the opera, the fondness of those memories will carry on forever.

With that said, I have been working on a project over the last few weeks that would bring my own game to life. Utilizing the program RPG Maker MZ (a tool designed for making games similar to Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest). It is a game dedicated and for my daughter, Savannah. As of this moment, I am about halfway through the outline for the story, and I have found many scenes and elements that are reminiscent of those old Final Fantasy stories. The theme of crystals has popped up in my story and I have quite a few little homages to the series. I find it fitting.

In the days and weeks to come, I would like to share some of the development of this game, and eventually, when I complete it, share it to the world. While the story is more lighthearted and a bit tongue-in-cheek (it IS for a soon-to-be 6-year-old), some deeper elements are seeping in. That is OK. I would be happy if it grows with her. Ultimately, I hope that, years from now, it causes the same feelings for her that I feel for those classic Final Fantasy titles.

Conclusion I’m far from the first person to point out the irony of the use of the word “final” in the title. Not just because the games are still being made, but because of how long even the earlier ones have endured. For me, it was not final, but a beginning.