I’d like to introduce Kevin D. Aslan, a debut author who is self-publishing his fantasy novel Encore as a serial. Encore follows Leo Melikian, a smart but naïve 25-year old in the south of France who discovers he’s suddenly living each day twice: Monday followed by Monday, Tuesday by Tuesday, and so on. Kevin agreed to participate in my occasional series of posts under the heading “Five Questions.” Thank you, Kevin! If you have any extra questions for Kevin, post them in the comments section below.
Do you remember the first character you created? Tell me about him/her/it.
It was a dueling squirrel called Keil, who was leading a rag-tag group defending their land against an army of beetles. I was 10 and heavily influenced by the Redwall series. I never did finish that book, although I wrote over a hundred (mostly unreadable) pages. But I ended up connecting with him so much that I used his name as my online handle for years afterwards.
How did you feel when you saw your work in print / electronic form for the first time?
There’s a sense of pride, followed by immediate fear. Before, my work was hidden deep inside my computer, accessible only to those I personally vetted. Suddenly, it was up there for the world to see. What if it wasn’t good enough? Any mistakes suddenly became glaringly obvious and I was sure everyone would just stop reading as soon as they saw them.
What is your favorite piece of advice for new writers?
What would you like to read? Write that. I feel like too often we forget that it’s the story that matters. There’s something beautiful in putting words to paper and conjuring up images, sounds, sensations and fantastic emotions – but at the end of the day, the most important thing is always the story.
What would you like to read? Write that.
It’s like someone trying to figure out the tone they’ll use on a speech without having written it yet. You need the content first before you can set the words in motion. I’ve seen terribly written stories that I kept reading to the very end because the idea was so compelling, and ones with magnificent prose that I had to put down as they simply weren’t going anywhere interesting. Ideally you want both, but the story is always the most important.
If you were king, what would you change about the publishing world?
I’d love to see a digital marketplace where readers could express interest in book pitches / ideas / authors (à la Kickstarter, but without the financial backing) and let the publishing houses treat directly within those.
Authors can approach today’s market one of two ways: bottom-up or top-down. Bottom-up means you start by creating a readership base, and grow that bit by bit until you are either able to reach mass while self-publishing or somehow manage to attract the interest of publishing houses. Top-down means you reach out to agents, then editors/publishers, and a few years later, you let them push your work onto the market. How about a place where you’re able to have both? Build your platform on which both readers and agents/publishers interact?
What is your next project? Timeline?
Right now I’m publishing my first fiction novel, Encore, as a weekly serial. Each Wednesday I post a new chapter, both in text, e-book format and audiobook (yeah, I do my own recordings 🙂 ).
Encore follows Leo Melikian, a smart but naïve 25-year old who discovers he’s living each day twice: Monday followed by Monday, Tuesday by Tuesday, and so on. Leo’s a bit of a blank slate when this starts, stuck in a dead-end white-collar job, and he proceeds to use this power to completely change his life, not realizing that the power is also changing him.
Bonus question: If you could reincarnate as another writer, living or dead, who would it be?
Shakespeare. Just to figure out who he actually was, and if it really was one person writing so much and so mind-blowingly well, or a group of people as some theories tend to indicate.