In just over a week, my first professional sale in over a decade will be in the hands of readers. This post is one of a series of articles about the process of writing that book, and others.
The Social Network:
Plots and Fiction
A central theme of Hearts of Iron is “who can you trust.” William Iron Arm and his brothers are Normans, and come from a markedly different culture than the one they find in Southern Italy. Their employer, the Prince of Salerno, understands all too well that their loyalties are largely dependent on mutual advantage, and keeps them well paid and happy.
It’s not that they can’t relate to the people around them, but years of training in the arts of war have given them different priorities. The stern hand of Tancred de Hauteville molded his sons into weapons against the world, and then sent them out to conquer it. They aren’t focused on making friends, but since they are Men of Character ™, they attract the next best things: Trust and Respect.
When the brothers are tasked with an important mission, money isn’t the most important thing on their minds. What they have to have more than anything else is people they can count on. That their network of contacts are also highly skilled mercenaries is a definite advantage in their line of work, and to be perfectly honest, it’s something I myself need for my own mission into the unknown.
While we’re unlikely to face life or death situations in the next ten days, the way is fraught with some difficulty. If people do not buy my book, People ™ are unlikely to Buy my next one. And that’s certainly the goal here, to make money while entertaining.
So, my skilled mercenary friends, it’s time to call out the troops. Hearts of Iron is not high literature, but it’s not meant to be. It’s an fun adventure story about people who fight the good fight in a word where things are not always as they seem. I’ve written a lot in the last few weeks about the process of bringing it to market, and now that it’s almost here I’m going to take what some people might think is a crazy marketing position.
I’m not going to talk about it again until it releases. Instead, I’m going to thoroughly immerse the blogosphere in how incredible the Foreworld is. A fictional universe where anything can happen, where the history you thought you knew has more and darker layers than you’d imagined.
And you’re going to help me.
Next week, I’m writing about exclusively about the other SideQuests and their creators. I’ll be running a couple contests on this site designed to engage people in discussion and debate about their favorites, showing folks how and where to buy into the universe, and attempting to raise the public perception of not only the Foreworld saga, but of the people who make the magic happen.
That may seem ambitious for a website like this one, but it’s not the only resource at my disposal. I started this post with the information that I’ve not published anything in ten years, and for the most part that’s true. I’ve spent those years (and the ten before) networking, and if you’re reading these words you were a part of that important work. I’ve been making games, teaching people how to play them, and traveling the world listening to people, engaging their interests, and learning.
The most important lesson I’ve learned in that time is that we are all influencers. Whether it’s a handful of people, or a network of thousands, there are those who pay attention no matter what you say. And I’d like to thank you for listening to me today, and in advance for what I’m about to ask of you.
5 minutes. I’d like to borrow 5 minutes of your time in the coming week. After reading one of my posts about a SideQuest, please take 60 seconds to forward it on to your network. Retweet, Favorite, Share, +1, or crosspost it to those you think will listen. Tell your influencees about what we’re trying to do, and help me boost the signal on some really great stories.
You won’t regret it. Trust me, I’m in Marketing ™.