My name is Todd Michael Rogers and I have been working on the same novel since August 9th, 2009. Out of all the thing I have made, it is the most important to me—which is saying something, as my tabletop game, “Spell Saga” essentially ruined my life and finances for a period of about five years.
This work is a fantasy—though it probably has more in common a mystery novel. Over the course of ten years, a tiny idea I had in 2007 has grown to dominate my every waking moment, and (quite by accident) became a trilogy of books. I’m just finishing the third draft of book one, which will then be (finally) ready to be submitted to countless agents of personal taste, all of whom will most likely decline my invitation to join me on this quest. And for this I cannot blame them! I wrote the story for me, and not for anyone else.
UNTIL THEN, GENTLE READER: It is at THIS point, I am requesting your honest help. I have the first few chapter and would enjoy as many eyes upon them as possible. These will be up for a limited time only, until the third draft is finished later on this year. If you would like to check out what I’ve spent all of my free time doing, just click the little square I made below.
Necessary Aside: There is nothing worse than a manuscript with a fake cover and justified text. That is the job of editors and publishers. I made this shit for myself because imagining the end product helps me figure out where to go when I’m lost on something. (When I pitched Spell Saga at Gen Con I had a complete mock-up with self-made silver paper boxes and a spiral bound rulebook. I’m weird).
But why share the work at all? And why only part of it? Why not just sell it online with the rest of my wares on the rough-and-tumble landscape of SUBHEATHEN dot com? It’s a very good question. I sell tabletop games I make online. And I sell music from my (three?!) bands too. And so I felt the need to write my thoughts out, in a small manifesto can also be found below:
We as a Society
We as a society have not yet reached critical mass in terms of independent mass market products. It is so easy to make something, and then just publish it. ...but we don’t trust that. And for good reason. Making something good takes a frankly unacceptable (for most) amount of time, craft, repetition, and luck.
An Object must be carved from nothing. It is impossible. Except for those of us with just the right amount of mental illness and discipline. Things take time. That is true for making Objects, as well as enjoying them.
It is for this reason, in our society, we have historically trusted Gatekeepers such a critics, publishers, and the psycho-kinetic blast of advertising to show us what is worth our time.
And though we have (always, effortlessly, every year, every decade) reached an upsetting point of homogenization in our products (everything is either a reboot, or sequel, or an idea anyone else could have had) we are not yet at a point where expected critical Objects can occur regularly in the wild west of online independent media. Beloved moments occur all the time. Yes. And for sure. But everything that jumps out as important, or original, or necessary to the future nostalgia of society is still (with the rare exception) shown to us by the golden-gauntlet covered hands of our gatekeepers.
Is there a chance that the novel I started ten years ago would/could/should turn the tide of war in our culture? If I share my work to the unwaiting masses is there a possibility our world shifts and begins to see the independent publisher with a new keen eye of critical clarity? Sure. But not without me raising a storm of attention and numbers; not without the white hot klaxon of noise that raises those self-same
gatekeepers and publishers awake.
Right now, “independent” is an English word that means (down down, whether you admit it or not) “unimportant”. But the world is changing, and the way it sees things is surely different than the year I started this story.
I hope you enjoy Those First Few Bits. The rest is coming. Soon enough. In some form or another. -mE.