May The 24th Be With You

Here I am yet again, a whole year later. Last time I posted on here I gave some updates and shared some previews of The Advent of Shadows, the sequel to my debut fantasy novel. I’m much further along with it than back then, of course, and in all honesty, I could probably release the book this year, but I’ve decided against it for a number of reasons.

The main reason is simply because it’s not necessary. I’ve not done any promotion or marketing for the first book yet, and so I’ve not really given it a fair chance at becoming something by itself. But there’s reasons for that too.

When it comes to self-publishing a novel, usually there are certain things that need to be done in order to give yourself a good chance at success, and two of those things is good marketing (pre & post release) and advertising. That’s the way things are done, and that’s how success is gained and maintained.

I’ve not done those things, and one of the main reasons in all honesty was because 2020 was a bit of a… less than stellar year, and in a lot of ways I simply didn’t put as much energy and effort into things as I should have. However another reason was due to the fact I didn’t want to do the aforementioned things in order to promote my book, because I had a different vision for how I could accomplish what I wanted.

What I wanted to do was create a platform, to become a sort of social media figure first and then through that, direct my audience to my fiction. Now, this is a path less travelled, and only recently is it something I’ve seen more of, but I can tell you that if you manage to do it, the rewards are arguably greater.

The issue is that you have to have the platform and that’s not something everyone can do, and even if you can, it could take a while (but then, what doesn’t?). So, most of last year I wasn’t really doing that, but in November, I began rebranding my YouTube channel to be based around mostly the video game series Kingdom Hearts. The majority of my content consists of theories and discussions where I share my thoughts and ideas on the story so far and where it could be going.

So far I’ve worked my way from around 200/300 or so subscribers in November (2020), to 1850 by today (May 4th 2021). This isn’t a lot of subscribers, but I’ve had a lot of views, a lot of comments and likes, and just overall feedback.

I’ve seen my videos be shared of forums, creating discussion there, and according to my analytics, they’re also shared on WhatsApp, Reddit, Discord and all sorts of other places, so I’m certain there’s a lot of conversations going on around my content that I’m not seeing.

Now, I have to say, I’m very glad to have this level of engagement. I did a livestream back in March when I hit 1000 subscribers, and I was surprised by how many people were commenting and asking me questions in just the first few minutes.

I’d never had that sort of response or interaction before, especially where so many people wanted to talk to me and ask about my ideas and what I thought, as well as of course sharing their own.

I’ve also since been invited on podcasts (one of which I literally did yesterday – another great experience), and received emails from subscribers who enjoy my content and want to share their appreciation or ideas.

I’ve been making content since I was 11 years old. I’ve been on YouTube since 2008. In all my years being on there, I have never truly given myself a fair shot at this. I’ve always been half-assed and never going all the way.

The one thing I worked on and stuck with from the time I started though was my book. It was Fateslayer.

And that’s why even now after all these years, I keep this website going, and I continue to post some updates every once in a while just to let it be known I’m still working on all this.

As I currently write this, Fateslayer is of no concern to anyone but myself and a couple others. But I write these because I hope one day that won’t be the case, and these posts will serve as some insight into my thought process at the time. If not for anyone else, at least for myself.

With that being said, I am happy with how things are going so far with this platform I’m trying to build. For the first time, I feel like I’m being appreciated by others and there’s real recognition of my efforts, but this is just the very early days. I won’t let the praise get to my head, nor let the nuggets of negativity that sometimes get dropped in my comment section discourage me.

I want to begin focusing my YouTube content on more storytelling/writing topics so I can further expand my channel and of course, eventually tie it into my fiction.

I have always been and always will be a storyteller first and foremost. All of this is just building towards my ideal vision of how exactly I want things to be.

I can only hope that someday people are making theories and discussion videos about my stories the same way I am about others.

If nothing else though, I think for the first time in a little while, I’m finally seeing things shift in a direction I’m satisfied with. But I must remain focused, because it can all dissipate in a moment.

Setbacks are a given. Nothing will be perfect and this path will inevitably hold challenges for me, some foreseen and some not. Regardless, I trust myself to handle each as they come.

Who knows, perhaps it’ll all be worth it in the end.

Well, anyway, it’s my 24th birthday today. So, may the 24th be with you, and I hope whoever you are, whenever you read this, I hope you too achieve what you want.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out.

Peace!

The Birth of A New Writing Podcast

A podcast dedicated to the documentation of the thoughts, views and ideas of the young aspiring author, Alexander Thomas as he begins his journey from zero.

I’ve wanted to do a podcast for a long time. When I say long, I mean since I was about 15. Back in July 2011, when I was 14, I uploaded my first ever gaming commentary. This basically just meant I would talk behind a full gameplay (an in-game match that was considered decent/impressive). If you think of most current YouTube gaming channels and Twitch streamers, you will see this is extremely commonplace now, but not as much back then.

One thing I had always spoke to my friends about was making a gaming podcast. I had the idea in my head for ages, and really wanted to make one. I love talking so I knew it was the perfect format for me. Unfortunately, it just never happened.

But the idea never left me. Not too long after my transition from gaming to writing content, the podcasting desire caught up to me. Again, I wanted to do it with other people. All the podcasts I have spent considerable time listening to were mostly enjoyable because they had a group dynamic, with friendly banter and occasional chit-chat. But most importantly, they bounced ideas off one another, or interviewed people of particular interest.

However, I could never get this exact format to exist. The honest truth of the matter is that I have ideas and topics I want to talk about that aren’t commonly spoken of. This would mean the other writers not only need to have a competent understanding of the craft, but also a more specific knowledge of the things I would be discussing.

Those writers surely exist, but I don’t know of them, and I would have to become comfortable with them before I could podcast with them. All of that would get in the way when I could just start the podcast, and literally talk about these things perfectly fine, in a shorter time, in the way I want, whenever I want.

Freedom to do things as I see fit is something I’ve grown to consider rather important in my life of late. Probably a bit contradictory considering I plan on becoming traditionally published, but even then, I expect a degree of respect to my work and control over it. Maybe I can’t choose my cover art, but I decide what words weave my worlds, and if the publisher has an issue with any of it, I have all the power to walk away. Maybe that’s something writer’s don’t like to consider, but to me, the vision is more important than making a quick buck.

And that is a nice segue into the topic of this first podcast. Vision. I discuss what ‘vision’ is and its understated importance in the construction of our stories.

For future podcasts, I plan on speaking on various topics. Some of those topics are: Ethnic and Narrative diversity; Emotive Writing; The Skill of Subversion; Japanese Storytelling; Sex and Violence in Fantasy; Do Writers Need Talent?; Series Lengths, and many more.

The podcast will be released every Friday at 8PM  (GMT), 12PM (PST) and is currently available on YouTube and iTunes.

Since you’re still reading this, I’m going to assume this is of some interest to you. Why not take a listen to the podcast? I spend about 7-8 minutes explaining the purpose of the podcast and how it will work, and in doing so, accidentally give it it’s title. The rest is dedicated to the topic of ‘vision’.

Here is a link to the iTunes version! https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/from-zero-podcast/id1204112738?mt=2

But if you want immediate access, here is the first episode of my new writing podcast, From Zero.


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