Long Overdue Update + Other Stuff

Hello, friends!

It’s been months, I know. The silence has been long, yes, but it’s also been productive. As of today, I have finished the initial draft of the second novel in my to-be-released series. The fact that today is also my 33rd birthday may or may not be a coincidence. A year closer to inexistence! Wooooooo!

But let’s get down to business. The rapid-firing of samples at agents didn’t seem to go so well, though I happen to think the samples are really good. This may be due to the sluggishness inherent in traditional publishing, the agents not liking the sample I used, or a number of other reasons. Regardless, if no one is reading the full manuscript by the end of July, I will officially declare that path closed and start making arrangements to self-publish that book. For now, that includes getting a great (as opposed to good or passable) cover, and scheduling a number of promotions for a good launch.

A great cover of course, demands a better artist. So I will need some time to find and hire one, and for them to finish the work. Therefore, if nothing changes for me in the trad publishing department, Brotherhood of the Worm should see release by late September or early October. As for scheduling launch promos and trying to ride the algorithm wave, there is one notable complication: that of me not being in Kindle Unlimited.

It’s no secret that I have no love for KU. But as far as breaking out goes, Amazon my best bet, and books that aren’t in the system tend to drop much faster in bestseller lists. If I don’t enroll Brotherhood at launch, I will effectively be shooting myself in the foot. But then comes the question of how much money would I lose from Brotherhood rents that never translate into rents of the Nameless Chronicle due to it not being enrolled. Maybe a lot. Maybe I suck and I’d lose nothing, because no one would willingly read more. No way to know without trying.

This isn’t easy for me to say, but it seems that I will have to put the Nameless stuff back into KU. It only makes sense, given that this would be the most resource-intensive launch of my career. Not trying to maximize my exposure on the (sadly) only platform that counts, while also earning additional money, would not be smart. I will think more about it in the meantime, but it’ll likely need to be done. Whether or not I remain in the system afterward, will depend on how kind it ends up being to me.

TL; DR: Trad publishing dabble either failing or frozen in place. If this doesn’t change, will likely self-publish first new book by early October. Nameless stuff possibly going back to KU in order to maximize effectiveness of moneys spent on launch promos.

That’s essentially it. I will now give myself a couple days to rest my brain, then proceed to iron the manuscript for the newer of my two unpublished books. This will of course lead to the usual beta readers => editor steps, then the release.

Hopefully this time around, I will see more success.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

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Outline Polished, Rolling Forward

Hello, friends.

The reason for my absence has (for a change) been justified. I’ve not only polished what I wrote, ironed out the outline for the rest of the book, but have also been working consistently at turning into a manuscript.

I am now at about 42k. Very displeased by my speed, but at least the act of writing is no longer arduous or stressful. Mentally, I am back where I was a year or so ago; eager, consistent, and no longer prone to grumbling at the sight of my computer or a pen.

As for my search for a publisher, no luck yet. Will keep sending out emails. I’ve had a bit better luck with money recently, so if all else fails, the prospect of making a good self-published launch somewhere in the latter half of the year now seems possible. If not likely.

Yeah, this isn’t news, but I likely won’t be posting in the following couple months. Next time you see me here, I hope to have a finished first draft.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

Exhausted But Still Kicking

It is done!

Brotherhood of the Worm is finished, refined, polished, and ready to be shown off to agents and potential publishers. I have a lot of confidence in this book. My ability to consistently keep pouring my energy into writing rests on its performance.

I’ve said it before, but let’s summarize for the sake of everyone’s time: starting tomorrow, I will start trying to get a decent publisher. If I fail to do so within half a year, then I will most likely launch it out of pocket, and properly. Meaning an expensive cover, promos right out of the gate, etc. If I have the next book in that series ready by then, I will consider releasing them both simultaneously if I can afford it. We’ll see.

I will now give myself a couple days to cool down, then continue with working on the next book, for now called Apex Predator. Hopefully it won’t be as much of a development hell.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

Overdue Updates

Long absence. Sorry about that. I’ve been more than a little busy.

First off, I’ve been re-reading the edited version of Brotherhood of the Worm’s manuscript. I expect to have that done within a couple days.

Second, I’ve been writing up some necessities I will need for that book. Agent letter templates, sales pitches, long and short summaries, the blurb (in case I do end up launching it out of pocket). I’m not going to need all these things immediately, but I thought it best to do it while the book is fresh in my memory.

Third, I’ve been writing the next book in that series, Apex Predator. I’ve had to stop at about 35k words due to Brotherhood being an overdue priority, but I think I am about a third done.

So, after I am finished with points one and two, I can start going for publishing channels. I will then also reread what I’ve written into the next book, iron it out a bit, and finally continue, hopefully with no distractions until the end.

I will keep you all posted.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

Farewell to 2018.

Ah, 2018. I expected great things from you, but (as this tends to go), got mostly disappointment. Instead of being the year of me shooting up into the stars, you ended up being the year of me cleaning and tying up loose ends. Despite being exhausting though, this isn’t bad in and of itself. Dealing with clutter is a necessity, even when it takes a whole year.

Other than wishing everyone a happy new year (and other holidays), I can’t say much. I had temporarily paused working on the next-next book in order to fine tune the outline, and will likely resume writing within a couple days. Brotherhood of the Worm is still in editing, so no hassling potential agents yet. Though who knows.

All in all, rest time. Hopefully soon to become full speed writing time.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

More Book News, Some Writing Notes

Today was eye-opening for me. Granted, it was a lesson I thought I’d learned long ago, but no matter. Something like this is worth relearning.

Believe it or not, there is a reason for my infrequent updates. I have already started work on my next-next book, and am about 9k words in. I’ve also had my least productive day in a while: after clearing up my schedule to write like mad, I’ve only managed to produce some 1.1k of usable material within the last 24 hours. This is beyond bad, and annoys the hell out of me. Oh, I’ve had slower days before, but never slow dedicated days.

But as night fell and I prepared to lay my laptop to rest, I reread what I wrote and thought, “hey, this is pretty damn good.” Even better, I seem to have tossed a couple nifty hooks in there that may, with proper planning, develop into something I can make great use of somewhere down the line. I admit, most of the time I felt like throwing up, even started doubting my capacity to keep doing this for a living, but once that unpleasant, slow part of the text was over and done with, I snapped right back to normal. Eager to continue and give it my all.

Giving up the fight, any fight, is a dead end in every sense. Conflict and tension aren’t things to shy away from or fear. It is only through facing adversity that we grow in strength and reach greater heights.

Incidentally, the main character of my upcoming Culling series has also learned this lesson. In fact, he has internalized it, and in doing so became… estranged from his own humanity. The best (and easiest) parallel might be drawn between him and another, infinitely more famous monster hunter: one Geralt of Rivia.

A good while ago, before I ever got around to reading the man’s work, I ran across an interesting quote by Mr. Andzej Sapkowski. It went something like, “This world doesn’t need a hero. It needs a professional.” Edgy, catchy, and to the point, yes? It would be, if it were applicable to the character of Geralt, his protagonist.

But no matter how many times he insists otherwise, the eponymous Witcher  is no professional. He is an idealist at the very least, and many people (myself included) would argue about him being every bit the hero that his own creator insists he isn’t. Aside from some early installment weirdness of him starting a fight in which he decapitates a man only to get the king’s attention, nearly every decision he has ever made was more moral than utilitarian. And by the point where Ciri enters the picture, he loses his last drop of venom.

I am not here to argue the quality of Mr. Sapkowski’s books. The success of his work speaks for itself. But what I am here to do, is assess that in a world overrun by monsters and filled with difficult choices, a man making decisions based on values and emotions is likely to get killed. He may be superhuman. He may be led by fate. But I will tell you what he is not. He is no professional.

Getting tossed into a meat grinder tends to do one of two things: it either breaks a person or makes them stronger. Sometimes it does both, which is also excellent story fodder. Bottom line, human beings, not normally wanting to go through that experience, tend to minimize their daily amount of unpleasantness. But what happens when said unpleasantness cannot be avoided? When there is so much of it that a market has sprung around dealing with it, so regular, saner people don’t have to?

You get your professional, of course. Your person whose job consists out of happily jumping into the meat grinder, again and again, for money, services, pleasure. But what kind of person would that be? Who would agree to get broken/stronger, again and again and again? Moreover, who would they become with time and endless repetition?

The answer is simpler than you’d expect: they’d become the main character of The Culling series. A cold, calculated killer who lives for his work, who always picks the most efficient option, and whose displays of affection are few and far between. Granted, not all monster hunters are the same (that would be boring), but I particularly wrote this man to fully embody what I think a human would become after a lifetime of horror scenarios.

“But where is the story in that?” I hear you ask. A protagonist who fears nothing isn’t all that exciting, I agree. This is why I have a multitude of characters, one of which is not only the most normal person in Brotherhood of the Worm, but also has the highest number of POV chapters. It is through her wide, terrified eyes that I will let you see the monster hunter. It is through her questions and assumptions that I will let you learn his story (or what little of it he is willing to share). And it is through her struggle that I aim to make the monster hunter’s fight your own.

This is all incredibly vague, yes, and perhaps even a little bit pretentious. I get that. It comes with the territory of immersing oneself into a world crafted from nothing but one’s thoughts. Creation is never an exact science, but neither is it completely a work of passion. Rather, I believe the best stories are made by the careful tempering of an intense fire. Balance is key. So I will stop myself now.

TL; DR: Brotherhood of the Worm will have several main characters, two of which will provide points of view. One of them would be considered extremely sociopathic by polite society’s standards, so I have the other one there to balance him out.

A cathartic rant if there ever was one. Funniest thing is, it consists of almost as many words as I wrote into the manuscript today. This is why I rarely update.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

Book News – Name and Some Setting Details

Alright. This will be kind of touchy.

So my upcoming book will (surprisingly) be the first in a new series. The series will be called The Culling, while the book’s work title is Brotherhood of the Worm. Both may be changed with time, though for the moment I see no reason to do so.

The Culling takes place in a fictionalized version of 18th century Europe, where various kinds of monsters roam free, and the eponymous organization employs mercenary-like hunters to deal with them. What I essentially plan is to have a bunch of mostly stand-alone novels, all centering around a single hunter, which will slowly reveal more about the world and keep moving the metaplot forward. For now I’m not set about the number of books, but the more successful I am with selling it, the more I will be willing to expand. As always, the keypoints and ending have been planed in advance.

Like I said, the setting was crafted to resemble the Enlightenment period, but the introduction of threatening inhuman creatures had altered the world’s history so radically that it only resembles ours. The calendar is different. Religion is different. The countries, despite being made to evoke existing ones at that point in history, are different. And then we have the Culling organization; a superpower in their own right, playing the dangerous game of balancing effectiveness with political neutrality.

I will start the series by focusing on a single country: Teutonia, an equivalent of Prussia or Austria. Brotherhood of the Worm takes place solely on Teutonia’s soil, and the majority of characters have German-sounding names. Foreigners do appear, but most of them are hunters. The Culling may not care about one’s background, but the same cannot be said about sovereign nations.

As for the monsters themselves, I will only reveal what is currently known in the first book: nothing. No one knows what they are, why they are impossible to fully exterminate, or what makes them so inherently hostile to other forms of life. They come in all shapes and sizes: humanoids, beast-like creatures, parasites, humongous monstrosities (think dragons, the Tarrasque, etc.), and even things like ghosts, though the last one would be significantly difficult to explain. Most are animalistic. Some are intelligent. All are very alien, and human-monster communication almost never happens, though it is unknown if that is due to their inability to communicate or through conscious intent.

Aaaaand I’ve kind of reached the point where I should stop. Given that I structure each book so that the reader keeps learning more and more as they go along, I don’t think spilling more about the world would be the way to go. For that knowledge, one would have to actually sit back and read.

Until the next time, when I plan on saying a few very, very vague words about my main character, and why he is likely to be a divisive figure. Assuming that anyone ever reads the book. Heh.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller