Why don't you start us off by telling us a little bit about "Prince Kristian's Honor:"
Prince Kristian's Honor is an epic fantasy novel with elements of horror published last September. Kristian, the not-so-well respected Prince of Erand, has to marry to seal a treaty with a neighboring kingdom. The prince does not want to get married but his feelings begin to change once he meets his future bride, Allisia. He also starts to realize that he is not the man or prince that everyone expects him to be. His enemy, a sorcerer-king bent on reviving an ancient religion, raises a demon from Hell to destroy the ruling families and kidnap Allisia – his way of preventing the survivors from attacking him. Kristian rushes across the continent to rescue her and demonstrate his nobility and honor. Things go horribly wrong and Kristian will have to work hard to regain everyone's trust and save Allisia. Kristian will have allies on his quest, but they may not be up to the task of killing a powerful sorcerer. Together, they must overcome their fears, distrust for each other, and Ferral’s vast army of creatures. Only together can they hope to defeat their enemies.
I noticed on your Facebook page that you've done some book signings, how did those go?
My first signing was at a local Barnes and Noble store and I can’t imagine a better first experience for a new writer. The staff was supportive and experienced. I had a great time meeting interested readers and learned a lot about representing the book and myself. At the end of the night, I sold all of the books and had five more pre-ordered. I know what some may be thinking and, no, they were not enthusiastic family and friends :o)
Since that first signing, I’ve done three more: an airport Borders bookstore on the East Coast, a convention, and a college campus bookstore. None of them were as successful as my first signing, but I learned from each experience and created blogs to share my lessons learned with other aspiring writers.
What is Wheatmark? Were you satisfied with their service?
Wheatmark Publishing is located in Tucson, Arizona. I would classify them as a small, but professional Print-On-Demand and Limited Run Publisher. They take the time to consult with all of their clients to determine what the project’s end result will look like. They have graphic artists, editors, publishing consultants, and marketing experts either on staff or on-call. Wheatmark also goes further than many POD companies and makes sure the book is registered through Ingrams and Bertram and carried through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I was very satisfied with their service. I am extremely proud of my book…and not just because it’s a great story. It’s also professionally packaged and available through major retailers. That said, my one disappointment with POD is the retail cost. It’s hard to compete with the mass publication capabilities of traditional publishing firms. The only way to stay competitive in the POD world is to make sure your book will be discounted to a price range comparable to the rest of the genre books available. I urge all new writers to conduct thorough research on the cost of printing per page and what that will mean for the retail price. This will be one of the decisions you will have to make as a self-publishing author.
Does Weatmark do extensive editing? If so, what was the process like?
Wheatmark performs an editorial analysis of the manuscript as part of the “novel package”. This gives the author an idea of where they stand (on a scale of 1-10) compared to today’s standard writing conventions and grammar. The author’s project advisor will then prepare them a quote for the cost of editing to bring the manuscript up to a level where it can compete with its peers on the market; this could mean anything from a major re-write and coaching, style editing, technical editing, to copy editing. Obviously, the more editing that is required, the more you’ll pay.
I had gone over the manuscript so many times that I scored an 8.9 out of 10, but I still want a second person to edit the story. It was very important for me to put out a product that was as professional as anything else published in the Fantasy genre. The editor took three weeks to perform a copy edit and then the book came back to me for a final proofread. A month later the book was published!
What have you done to market/promote your book?
All of my marketing/promoting has been trial and error. This is the one area that I urge all new writers to make sure they do a lot of research on well in advance of the book’s release date. I’m involved in Twitter, GoodReads, a few author website forums, and Facebook. I also have my own website. My false assumption was that viral media marketing would do all of the work for me…Wrong! I’ve received a lot of positive reader reviews, but that does not mean that large numbers of potential readers are going to buy my book. On the other hand, I love updating my fan site on Facebook and my author website. I’m trying to make those sites interactive and fun by including artwork, meaningful photos that I’ve taken from across the world, reader discussions, new writer blogs, and reviews. I’ve even started a short, background story on one of the characters from Prince Kristian’s Honor. I plan to update the story every day up to the release of the next book. I hope these types of activities will draw readers interested in the storyline and me, as a writer.
I noticed that "Princie Kristian's Honor" is "Book One of the Erinia Saga," are the other volumes coming out soon?
Yes! Prince Kristian’s Honor was only the beginning. Ferral’s Deathmarch Army, Book Two of the Erinia Saga, is with an editor now and will go to publication soon. I expect it to be released at the end of the summer, 2010. The third book is also finished, in draft form. I hope to publish Neope’s War in 2011.
Are you going with Wheatmark again?
Yes. I don’t think I can find a more professional company, especially with all of the services that they include. I also like the cover art theme they developed and want to stick with that. It’s very moody and symbolic, which fits perfectly with The Erinia Saga’s themes.
What is your background as a writer?
This was my first book. I know I am still growing as an author and my style will change and improve as I continue on my writing journey, but I also think my novel brings a few things to the genre that have been missing for a long time: emotion, allegory, and story depth based on true-life experiences. Most readers tell me they like Prince Kristian’s Honor because the characters seem real; there are no perfect characters or god-like heroes in this series…just people dealing with major challenges in their lives (like most of us).
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I was a soldier and an officer in the Army. The last seven years of my career, I was in Special Operations Forces and deployed to numerous countries to combat terrorism – including two tours in Iraq. I received two Bronze Star medals. I am now a senior advisor to the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group and am currently deployed in Afghanistan…I just donated ten copies of the novel to American, Canadian and British troops at Kandahar. I was really nervous but it was fun.
I have a quote at the beginning of my book: “Stories of Fantasy are nothing more than the retelling of our own triumphs and sad, sad tragedies.” I truly believe in that. Prince Kristian’s Honor isn’t all about me, but there are definitely pieces of me and those I have served with written into the story. The book is also about our own society and the major challenges we have faced over the last decade.
I encourage all interested readers and writers to check out The Erinia Saga on Facebook and my author website, www.TodLangley.com.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I wish all new writers the best of luck on their projects! Tod