I would have to admit that my road to the publication of The Shaman and the Rose was anything but average. The framework of the novel came about from two self-published titles where I explored the depths of Dante’s Inferno. Those first two books were a valuable learning experience. The most important lesson that I was taught was that as an author I had a great deal to learn about publishing and writing. I discovered that working with an editor can be a godsend to any writer. My editor opened my eyes to flaws in my writing that I never would have been aware of without her help and guidance. One of the most important lessons to be learned is that writing is a form of self-expression; an art form while publishing is a business. They exist in a sort of symbiotic state, each dependent on the other but with different rules that govern each one. I decided that since I wanted to explore my writing within the context of art that I would continue to self-publish even though I understood the pitfalls of that choice. For my third entry into the self-published field I took the time to research various companies, to go over sales figures and marketing. I signed with Outskirts Press for my novel and discovered many aspects of the business that I was unaware of beforehand. One important factor that I did not know was that bookstores ask for at least a fifty per cent markup while internet locations such as amazon.com only ask for twenty. I discovered that is the main reason most bookstores don’t carry self-published titles. The second reason is that bookstores need a return policy which when you think about it, is understandable.
I enjoyed writing and crafting The Shaman and the Rose was a pleasure. One of the main things I had to do was to cast my ego aside and look very hard at what worked and didn’t work with my first two books. Some reviews were great, others were quite the opposite but most importantly readers seemed indifferent to the series. I had aimed my first two books at the horror market. I knew by the reaction to the second book that my decision was a mistake. My horror was too light; it lacked the blood and gore that populates most horror titles today. It isn’t easy admitting when you are wrong, I found it difficult saying to myself that I needed to start over but that is exactly what I did. For nearly three years I studied various mythologies and how I could employ them in a fantasy setting. Working with various mythos taken from both the Norse and Haudenosaunee I developed a novel that explored these marvelous ideas along with various elements from the Book of Revelations. Writing is and should be a learning experience for both the author and reader. Whether I sell a hundred copies or a million, I know I’ve done my best.