Many of you have noticed the shifting dates on when to expect The Garden of Fire's release. For that, I am very sorry. To be honest, the first dates were idealistic goals from a perspective that was sorely lacking in real-world experience. I have since learned that the process of editing and publishing a book takes far, far longer than I originally anticipated. My first and second drafts are finished, and my third (hopefully final!) is pending, as I need to be connected with a professional editor to complete it. Any further edits that I make on my own are limited to my own perspective--which, as we've covered, is lacking--and I acknowledge that I can go no further in the direction that I want to go in without the aid of a professional.
This new world is exciting and a little scary, but I am feeling very up to the challenge! I've spent a long time in the shadows, perfecting every string behind the scenes that I could get my hands on, and now it's finally time for me to bring the entire show into the daylight.
Before I go any further, I want to take a moment to mention how utterly amazing it is that you are reading this. I have spent my entire life with so much to say, and I've always had to bounce between people with whom I could let it fly--always feeling like a burden--and my greatest escape was always writing. Google docs has never seemed too busy for me! So, to be able to post my thoughts in a place where even one person might read it voluntarily is just mind-blowing to me. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day and your busy life to be here with me in this moment.
Okay, sap is over. Thank you for attending my Ted Talk. Let's move on: this process is much different than I had expected. For instance, I had done extensive research (or at least attempts at it) on the publication process, and I came up with only grains and morsels of information compared to the real thing. Authors always told me to watch my word count--but nobody explained that it was because editors typically charge by the word! I imagined it was just because, as a debut author, publishers wouldn't be interested in a manuscript so massive. That also has some stock to it, but if you're ever considering publishing in the indie route, know that every word counts.
For the record, I do not plan on publishing independently, but I do plan on hiring an editor before I continue to reach out to publishing houses, so my manuscript is in as perfect shape as possible. Is that extra? Maybe. I don't really know; it's my first time publishing. All I know is that this is my baby and I will do whatever it takes to make it shine.
So, really, what's taking so long?
Well... Funding, heh. I have a lot of expenses that I need to take care of, and that is not very conducive to affording the editorial fees that are usually due within a single month. As well, I have discovered after consulting with a potential partner, that my manuscript really is too long. I had everything planned out for the sequels so meticulously that this news breaks my entire organizational structure. Book 1 was supposed to follow Apollo and Artemis all the way through, where Books 2 and 3 acted as companion novels, and Book 4 carried the story on linearly from there. As a supplement, I planned to have a side-story (novella-length) for each novel that followed the main story. These novellas would zoom in on various cities and places in the world that we don't get to really experience through the fast-paced, war-ravaged lens we view the story from. These stories are great examples of depth and culture in the world of Ayrus, and I can still have a story for each, but the news that I should split Book 1 into Books 1 and 2 (effectively rendering it Story 1) makes it harder to consider exactly what story I want to tell. I have three of these side-stories plotted so far, two of which already have words on paper--since if I do not keep writing while building up my finances to take the editorial hit, I will go crazy--and I could easily split it up such that these side stories take place within one year of the many-years-long story. I'm not wholly worried about those so much, as they really are just supplemental to the main story, but splitting Story 1 into two books really does throw off Story 2 and Story 3's timing, as the point was to jump to different protagonists each time, until they all converged. Story 2 and Story 3 do not have nearly the same amount of substance being forced across each page as the first one, and thus, I can write them in a way that keeps my manuscript length in a healthy position. I do not want to go the route of stuffing filler into the stories such that they can keep my goal of bouncing from protagonist to protagonist. Now, to some, it may seem like a simple solution: just bite the bullet and keep the first manuscript long; that way, you can keep your organization in place, and readers don't have to suffer through meaningless fluff.
Well... The thing is, I did realize the pitfall of my manuscript's length on the back-end of my book, and rushed through some very important plot-points, relationships, and character arcs. Saving those pages didn't help much in the end in the way of word count, and I feel like some of my favorite characters got robbed of their rightful, amazing arcs.
So, to clarify, I am fully intent on re-structuring my order, and expanding on that second half of the story. Those characters deserve it, because I fell in love with them for these stories that I know all about, and if I don't deliver that to you, you will never get to truly understand who they are.
I'm open to suggestions! Please feel free to let me know any ideas you may have in the comments, and I'll consider them with what I already know!
If you're just dying to get a taste of the Garden, you can support the process by subscribing to a monthly payment plan for as little as $1 a month (seriously!) or just by purchasing any merchandise available on our shop. Those profits, unless listed otherwise, go straight to an account directly meant for funding all things Garden of Fire.
In terms of a realistic release date, I would expect it to come closer to 2024, unfortunately. Trust me, I can't wait to get on the market. When there is further news, I will undoubtedly share it with you. Thanks for reading! I'll be back next Thursday with another blog post, so make sure you sign up as a member and subscribe to our newsletter!