Published on June 26th, 20130
Author Pitch: The Emaneska Series by Ben Galley
25-year-old Ben is the author of The Emaneska Series, a fast-paced fantasy trilogy that he describes as the “love-child of Lord of The Rings and Sin City”. He also runs a popular advice site, Shelf Help, where he offers tips on writing, publishing, and marketing.
Tell us a bit about yourself:I’m Ben Galley – I’m a young indie author from the sunny south of England, and owner of Shelf Help, a website dedicated to helping other indie authors in their quest to publish. I’m the author of the epic fantasy series – The Emaneska Series. I’m a zealot when it comes to self-publishing. As owner of Shelf Help, I provide honest and detailed advice on writing, marketing, and publishing, promoting affordable and yet professional publishing.
What are your books about?
There are four books in The Emaneska Series: The Written, Pale Kings, and Dead Stars Parts One and Two. It’s a dark blend of epic medieval fantasy, twisting mystery, and blistering action. Combine that with vast Nordic landscapes, deep mythology, and an emotionally driven plot, and you’ve got The Emaneska Series.
Tell us more about the main character:
The books follow the story of Farden, a solitary Arka mage, a Written, blessed with incredible power and yet cursed with a dark temper, an even darker drug addiction, and a past he’d rather forget. Farden’s story begins in The Written, when a strange book is stolen from the ancient Arfell libraries. When his country summons him back from the wilds of Albion, Farden finds himself tasked with catching this thief. It’s a task that will take him halfway around the world, battling politics, betrayal, dragons, death, and his own dark problems. As the mystery unravels, as does his own life. Farden soon finds that he is more a part of this plot that he’d ever imagined, and that the stakes are higher than ever. It’s this mystery that unfolds through the other three books.
Where did you get the idea for the series?
It’s clichéd to say that it just materialised out of thin air, but aspects such as the names Farden and Emaneska really did. The real genesis for the plot was the concept of what Farden was — a Written, a mage that undergoes a three-day process of having an entire spell book tattooed into his or her back. I had no idea what to do with Farden at first, but I knew that he had to be this stubborn, morally ambiguous character that could redefine what the classic hero could be. The whole Series was developed around him. His actions effectively drive the books.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
I see self-publishing as a revolution. A shift of monopoly from the traditional to the entrepreneurial indie. I chose to self-publish because I had serious concerns and doubts about the trad route, and whether I would ever be successful via it. I wasn’t ready to accept that my book was destined to gather dust in a drawer or shelf for the rest of its life. Thankfully, technology has given any and all writers the chance to reach readers directly, through avenues such as Amazon, ebooks, and Twitter. We now have a choice besides the trad route – one that provides better royalties, agility, and one that means that you keep your own rights. Sure, you forego the weight of a trad publisher, the advance, the ‘stamp of quality’, but that suited me perfectly, and it still does.
Imagine your ideal reader: which authors do they enjoy?
I write like a reader in many ways. I write what I would enjoy reading, and what I want to see in a book. I also know that a lot of what I read influences my writing style, so I imagine my readers would enjoy books that are on my own bookshelf – Neil Gaiman, Joe Abercrombie. JRR Tolkien. Markus Zusak, Robin Hobb. Homer. Brandon Sanderson, and so many more.
If you had to sum up your books in a “Hollywood pitch” (eg Harry Potter meets Twilight, or Julian Barnes meets Jodi Picoult), how would you describe them?
‘Lord of the Rings meets Sin City’ – it’s my tagline for the series.
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