Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for Arthur, and IWSG for April

Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.

I decided to start with a myth many of us are very familiar with: Arthurian Legends.

Although many believe the character of King Arthur is inspired by a real Roman-British king who beat back the Saxons, the stories are pure myth. But it's an enduring one. The images of kings and queens, knights and quests, chivalry and duty...they all come from Arthurian Legends.

The first official story of Arthur goes back to the 1100s by Geoffrey of Monmouth's "The History of the Kings of England." Here, the book traces its roots all the way back to Aeneas, Prince of Troy. Later, we have Sir Thomas Mallory's version "LeMorte de Arthur."

Mallory's version was the first real effort of bringing together all the various British and Celtic
An African or European swallow?
legends into a single narrative. It's from this 300,000 word book where we get the sword in the stone myth, the Round Table, the Lady from the Lake and Excalibur, the Quest for the Holly Grail, and the rift between Sir Lancelot (who was supposedly descended from Jesus Christ) and Arthur.

Arthurian Legends continue to endure and inspire. From Disney cartoons (The Sword in the Stone), to musicals (Camelot), and other books and movies (Merlin, Mists of Avalon, and even Star Wars), it seems we still can't get enough of these stories.

Insecure Writer's Support Group for April

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

I know you're all sick of me talking about book sales, but I've reached a new milestone.

For thirty days straight, I sold ZERO books. Nada. Nothing. Zip.

My sales have been slowing down, especially since I haven't really invested in any kind of marketing, but I at least sell 3-5 a month at the very least. But no sales for an entire month?

It's depressing.

What's keeping me going is knowing that I've got some big events coming up. I have some big events/cons coming up this year. I tend to do well at these kinds of venues, as my audience attends these conventions. Interestingly, the people who dress up all steampunkfied DON"T buy my books. I know. Weird.

My third book in my steampunk series, The Mechanica Wars, will hopefully be out in time for all of these big events in May, although it seems my audience is dwindling.

Oh well. I'll just have to keep trying and then reevaluate my second full year being on this crazy writing/publishing journey.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wild that Arthur never existed.
Don't give up, Jay. Plan for some big stuff for you next release. Try a Thunderclap campaign. And let us help you spread the news.

Sarah Foster said...

I was hoping there'd be a Monty Python reference...
Don't get too down about the books. Hopefully those events will give you a good boost to get back into marketing.

Chrys Fey said...

I always loved learning about Arthur. It's strange that he never existed. Him and his story seems so real.

A little secret...I haven't sold any books in about as long, if not longer. My rank is horrendous. This happens. Even with all of our efforts. Those events you have coming will definitely help.

Nick Wilford said...

Wasn't Arthur Pendragon the real king? Druids are big on him.

As Oscar Wilde said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. It's the scariest part of publishing for me. I hope you do some good networking at your events.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Myths? Great topic.

And don't be depressed. Write on!!! I hate the number zero unless it means how many pounds I gain at Christmas.

Robin said...

I love the Arthurian legend stories. Have you read Dianne K. Salerni's Eighth Day trilogy (only the first two books are out as of now)? It's based in Arthurian legend and very enjoyable.

I'm sorry about those book sales. The good news: nowhere to go but UP!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I may have mentioned it before, Jay, but it was my eighth novel that finally kicked off my sales. Keep going.
My daughter and I loved the TV show, Merlin. Probably because of the cute guys in it. She took a literature course in college about the legends and had to read LeMorte de Arthur.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I've always loved mythologies. I think Greek was always my favorite, but Japanese is a close second.

David P. King said...

Awesome choice! Makes me sad that Merlin had to be canceled. Loved that show. Timing the release of your next book with these events is a smart move. You'll see sales again, I'd wager. :)

Pat Hatt said...

Arthur and Merlin are always favorites, they sure endured even fake.

Yeah sales can be a pain in the arse, the only thing that keeps me getting a few here and there is I have so many.

Pat Dilloway said...

Bernard Cornwell's Warlord trilogy about Arthur are three of my favorite books. I'm sure your sales will pick up once you get the third book out. Last month I only sold 1 book on the Nook platform for a whopping $0.40 profit.

Anna Soliveres said...

Now that is a fantastic theme! I'm going to bow out of A-Z'ing this year, but my heartfelt salute to all you troopers out there. I'll be bouncing along seeing how ya'll are doing. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Just keep attending live events. I know what you mean about steampunk people not buying books. I don't do many writer's conferences now because writers don't buy books either.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I don't know what the magic trick is. I know my husband loved your book. I thought I bought your second book for him in March...maybe I didn't. Maybe it was February.

Jenna Howard said...

I love the Arthur legend.

As for not selling books, you're doing amazing with live events. I could never do that. For one it takes talking to people and that's not my strength.

Shawn Griffith said...

Just remember, "What is your quest?" Seriously though, just keep trying different things until you find what works for your books. Best of luck to you. Thanks for sharing the A-to-Z challenge with us. This is my first year to participate. Drop by and leave a thought or two if you like.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

I have loved Arthurian legends for a long time, and I am ridiculously picky about adaptations (T.H. White kinda put that bar very high). I am reading an epic now for my theme (for T) which is very similar, but German.
Happy A to Z!

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

Gina Drayer said...

Sorry you're in a sales slump. Jan and Feb were horrible for me too. Here's hoping April will bring in more sales along with warmer temperatures.

K. Ferrin said...

My Z to Z theme involves mythology as well... though of a darker variety. Try not to think about the sales themselves (I know this is hard!). Just try to focus on getting the next book out there.

Patricia Lynne said...

It doesn't surprise me that the Author myth is 100% myth.

If it makes you feel any better, I'm in the same boat with sales. Only recently have some because of a new release. I put another on sale to go along, but haven't gotten a single bite for that one. It can get pretty depressing.

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

Sarah Zama said...

I've always been fascinated by the Arthurian legend. What fascinates me the most is their abitlity to recreate themselves always in a new vest that we can understand.
I always enjoy seeing how authors from so many different walks of life reinterprete the myth.

T. Drecker said...

Who knows why books sell or don't. Here's wishing you a turn around in the furture. (I personally love steampunk)

M. J. Joachim said...

There are so many versions of King Arthur, many of them extremely creative. Life is full of ebbs and flows. When things slow down, enjoy the break, trusting and knowing they will pick up again in time. said...

Best of luck with your books, Jay. I enjoyed your post on King Arthur!

Holly Jahangiri said...

It is depressing when your book sales dip so low for so long. But take heart! You're not alone. Okay, we can all be depressed, now. :) And then pick ourselves up, dust off, and redouble the marketing efforts. Tracing the origins of storylines is an interesting way to look at history and humanity.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Good post on all things Arthur! Best of luck with the book. Enjoy the Challenge!
Life & Faith in Caneyhead
I am Ensign B ~ One of Tremp's Troops with the
A to Z Challenge

dolorah said...

Arthur's legends seem too enduring not to be real accounts. Can you imagine having your writings endure for thousands of years?

If I tried marketing I would really suck at it. Book sales is a daunting topic.

Alex Hurst said...

Another blog also chose Arthur for their A post, and 'll repeat what I said there... I'd really love to see a modern book that is faithful to the original, but makes it a bit more "digestible" than 300,000 words, haha.

Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
Out of Print, Fiction authors and their shorts

A-Z Blogging in April Participant

farawayeyes said...

Believe in your dream, believe in yourself and never, never give up.

I love all things mythological, so I'll be lurking about to see what else you come up with.

Jo said...

I thought Le Morte d'Arthur was written by a Frenchman. As I said in your B blog, a lot of the Arthurian tales could well have stemmed from Beowulf.

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