Martin Wilsey Interviewed Me…

David Keener at the Washington DC Cherry Blossom FestivalMartin Wilsey, author of the Solstice 31 trilogy, was kind enough to feature an interview with me on his blog. He does a regular “Fast Friday Interview” feature where he runs interviews with fellow indie writers. You can find my interview on his web site right now.

In the interview, I talk about things like how I became a writer, as well as my mutant writing method that STILL has all of the other folks in my writing group shaking their heads in bemusement. PLUS, I talk about some of my upcoming projects, which I’m really excited about.

So, that’s right, go over to Marty’s site and check out the interview. And, hey, thanks, Marty! I had a lot of fun doing the interview.

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Balticon Schedule

The Program Schedule for Balticon 51 has just been released. I’m pleased to announce that they’ve selected me for six panels, two of which I’m moderating, and also elected for me to conduct a workshop on Sunday.

My workshop is called: “Is Your Setting Strong Enough to Support a Series?” For those who have taken my previous workshops, it was previously known as “Creating an Adaptive Setting.” I last ran the workshop at Capclave in 2015, so I’m looking forward to conducting it for a whole bunch of new people.

Here’s my Balticon Schedule:

Balticon 51 Schedule for David Keener

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Second Round of Proofs for “The Good Book”

The Good Book: A Novelette by David Keener I just ordered a second round of proofs for my new novelette, “The Good Book.” I fixed the (minor) problems that I found in the first draft, plus added in the changes from the second round of copyedits. Many thanks to Donna Royston for all her help. I should get the proofs by May 5th.

Since I’m pretty confident in this final edition, I ordered five proofs, which is the maximum. If all goes well, I’ll be publishing on or around May 5th and probably handing out the extra copies to some of my critique partners.

NOTE: As of May 12th, the book is out! It’s available on Amazon in both ebook and print formats.

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Manassas Reads 2017: A Community Book Festival

Manassas Reads: A Community Book FestivalMy friend, Martin Wilsey, just clued me in that there’s an upcoming community book festival called Manassas Reads. It’s on May 6, 2017, the day after my new anthology, Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders, is going to be published. It’s being held from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Harris Pavilion, located at 9201 Center Street in Manassas, VA.

Now, Marty is basically a marketing guru, and he’s going to be there selling copies of his own books, as well as the new anthology. This might be the first festival that I attend as an author with actual published works. Of course, what I’ll really be doing is learning the fine art of marketing and self promotion from someone who’s refined it to an art.

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Zombie Anthology

Whispers of the ApocI’ve been invited to participate in a new zombie anthology called Whispers of the Apoc, edited by Martin Wilsey. I’m even consulting on the bible for the anthology, because one of Marty’s goals is for the anthology to share a common, consistent background.

For more details on the anthology, check out the notice on Marty’s blog. The book is being published through Tannhauser Press.

For me, well, that short-circuited my (crazy) plan to publish a zombie story in installments on my web site (see Manhattan Zombies, which I’m renaming as SkyriZe). Getting paid trumps free installments on my blog. Um, sorry.

So, bring on the zombie apocalypse!

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Proof of “The Good Book”

The proof copy of the print edition of my novelette, “The Good Book,” arrived from Amazon today. You probably can’t imagine how excited I was to see that slim, cardboard package waiting for me when I got home from my day job (the one that pays the bills).

While I’ve had some of my stories appear in anthologies, this is the first story I’ve shepherded through the indie publishing process personally. I enlisted other the help of others for cover design and copyediting, but I was responsible for the interior layout and final polish on the wraparound cover.

So, it was with some trepidation that I opened that cardboard sleeve. I pulled out the slim volume inside…and it looked good. Real good.

The cover was laid out perfectly. This is always a challenge, especially for a wraparound cover, because you have to account for the width of the spine. And that varies based on the number of pages in the book.

The book looked ready for publication…but then I found two typos that had made it though copyediting. I’ve fixed them, but I’m still having a quick, final copyedit done. As an author doing indie publishing, my product must be professional…as good, or even better, than the products produced by traditional publishers.

I’ll soon be ordering another proof copy. If that meets my standards, then I’ll launch the ebook and print edition of the book simultaneously on Amazon.

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The Good Book

Wooohooo! My novelette “The Good Book” is being published this month by Tannhauser Press, in both print and ebook formats. The full wraparound cover appears below:

The Good Book by David Keener

The print layout and ebook were done by Worlds Enough. The cover was done by Don Anderson, based on an unattributed, public domain photograph.

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Coming Soon: Tranquility and Other Myths

Tranquility and Other Myths, Full Cover

My (very) short story, “Winter Roses,” will be appearing in the upcoming anthology, Tranquility and Other Myths.” The anthology will be published in April, 2017. Here’s hoping you get a kick out of the full cover above, which was put together by John Dwight (including the back cover verbiage).

Seventeen stories of light, night and the writhing shadows. Indeed.

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The Shortest Fight

This is easily the shortest fight scene I’ve ever written in one of my stories. It’s from “The Rooftop Game,” a 16K word novelette of mine that will be appearing in May in the anthology, “Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders.”

The basic premise is “Die Hard, on the roof of a castle tower.” While the King is away, the castle the royal family is staying in is overrun. Unable to escape, Lydio Malik, the Royal Bodyguard for the infant Princess Analisa, takes refuge on the roof of a tower where his enemies will have trouble getting to him.

This is the scene:

   The Kashmal fighter heaved himself over the edge of the roof, lunged to a standing position, drew his sword and took a step towards Malik.
   The fighter’s forward boot slipped on the wet tile where Malik had urinated only a few moments before. He fell forward, audibly cracking his chin as he landed face first on the orange roof tiles. Stunned, he dropped his sword, which slid off the roof, followed almost immediately by the screaming rebel warrior.
   A few seconds later, there was a thud and clatter as the fighter hit the ground below.
   Malik couldn’t help grinning. All of his fights should be that easy.

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Writing Tips: Anthology Roles

Creating a quality anthology is a complex project, especially an indie-published anthology. Through painful experience, I’ve learned that it is most effectively accomplished by a dedicated team. I thought it would be useful to others if I defined the roles that I think are necessary for the production of a successful indie-published anthology.

It’s worth noting that, in addition to these roles, other people may provide services for a project, such as a cover artist, a photographer for author biography photos, an illustrator, etc. In practice, I’ve also found that participants may swap some tasks around a bit. Still, the roles are generally as I’ve outlined.

Project Manager: Manages the anthology as a project, starting with the creation of a project plan that defines the activities necessary to create the anthology and a realistic timeline for those activities. Ensures that all necessary roles are filled on the project. Responsible for ensuring that content contracts are signed and rights are properly secured, by contract or by usage agreement, for other elements such as graphics, photos, illustrations and the cover. Often referred to as the “Chief Cat Herder.” Sometimes functions as the “Bad Cop.”

  • Contracts
  • Timeline
  • Project Management

Editor: Responsible for the content of the anthology, including story selection and editorial input on stories. Also writes the “Call for Stories,” which publicizes the anthology theme, payment plan and submission guidelines. Writes the “Introduction” for the anthology. Responsible for nagging contributors to get their stories or edits “done by the due date or they’ll face the wrath of the Project Manager.” Sometimes referred to as the “Good Cop.”

  • Call for Stories
  • Provides an “Introduction” for the anthology
  • Provides Editorial Input on all stories

Copy Editor: Does an exhaustive scan of the anthology content for typos, text problems, grammar mistakes and other issues that would detract from the content. Also responsible for copyediting related content, including back cover text, blurbs, advertisements and author biographies. Often referred to as “Donna Royston.”

  • Edits content for typos and grammatical issues

Book Designer, Print: Professional-caliber books are designed, especially indie-published books that need to stand out from competitors. The book designer lays out the copyedited content in a pleasing and effective design, which can be painstaking work.

  • Designs the print edition, including layout, fonts, graphic elements, illustrations, photos, etc.
  • Orders proofs from Amazon as needed to verify print quality.

Book Designer, Ebook: The ebook designer lays out the copyedited content in a pleasing and effective design, emulating the print design as much as is feasible due to the limitations of the Kindle’s mobi format.

  • Designs the Kindle ebook edition.
  • Tests the design in HTML, in the Kindle Previewer, the Kindle Reader and any
    Kindle devices that are accessible to the designer.

Marketing: Creates any necessary marketing materials for the anthology, including the back cover blurb, the Amazon blurb, etc. Sets the pricing strategy for the anthology, including pricing for the various editions as well as any pricing for marketing campaigns.

  • Back Cover Blurb
  • Amazon Blurb
  • Pricing, for all editions including ebook, print and audio (if any)
  • Marketing Activities
  • Initial Wholesale Order

Author: There is no anthology without content. Authors provide the content, as well as edits to that content and approval/rejection of copyedit changes. Authors are expected to deliver their stories in a timely manner and respond to editorial input and copyedit changes in a timely manner.

  • Provides a Story
  • Provides an Author Biography
  • Provides an Author Photo (or allows one to be taken)
  • Signs a contract for any content provided
  • Responds to Editorial Changes
  • Responds to Copyedit Changes
  • Assists in promotional activities for the anthology when published
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