This has been a true epic.
I don't mean the book or the series, I mean the publication process. Here's a brief account of what happened since we started in November of 2013.
Initially, there were three of us working on this: My wife--as editor, my daughter Clara--who is getting her degree in communications, and me. In retrospect, I can't help but wonder how we thought we could do it by ourselves. Granted, there are those more talented than I, who are able to write a story that requires minimal editing and minimal marketing.
I admit, I'm not like that. I needed help, and the three of us were simply not enough for the task at hand.
So Clara spoke to her friend, Jessie, who knew a thing or two about Facebook. Jessie agreed to take care of the Facebook page for Ahiram and soon after, Jessie's mom, Melanie became a co-editor. Melanie has a degree in journalism and a passion for the written word that makes it a joy to work with her. Her help proved essential for the success of this project and complemented quite well the work that another close friend, Carol, is doing. Carol, who had proofread the manuscript prior to this endeavor, helps the editing team with the most obscure aspects of the rules for comma usage. As if this was not enough, another friend, Katherine, agreed to act as proofreader. Katherine reads each chapter forward and backward. I am amazed how much work the editing team has done, and embarrassed when I think how much work I have created for them.
Meanwhile, our friend Rich is the project manager and in charge to keep us focused and on target in our many endeavors. He also has read the earliest version of this story years ago, and has offered to do the audible version of the book. Rich has been reading fantasy novels out loud to his children for years. He knows the proper tempo and his voice matches this book very well.
Maria, a professional graphic designer, came aboard to help us with the cover, and her husband, Josh, who is a metal artist, actually crafted the dart on the cover of the book. It's a beautiful piece of metal work that is displayed on our bookshelf. Maria's insights are invaluable to the group.
Zachary, a talented young man of 15, ran with the book movie trailer and his work proved instrumental to the creation of the current book trailer. Recently, he and his brother, as well as John, Jessie's brother, filmed our first documentary in preparation for our Kickstarter project, which we will tell you about soon.
Meanwhile, four talented musicians ages 16-24, Mariam, Mary, John, and Bobby took on the task of composing and producing five musical pieces, one for the movie trailer and four songs we will be releasing soon. More songs are being prepared. Sean Wittman recently joined the team and is the singer for one of the songs.
Hannan, 15, is the secretary for our meetings. Her organizational skills and attention to details come in handy.
As if this were not enough, an ex-marine, Sonny, and William, a very talented young man who created the banner of Ahiram, helped us organize a small marketing campaign where we distribute nine thousand drop cards during Comic-Con in San Diego this past month.
Team Ahiram waiting for the tram on their way to Comic-Con
Team Ahiram--mostly all volunteers--meets every Friday where we review what has been done and what is to be done. There is a singular commitment to the publication of this story that surprises me in many ways. I wanted to write an inspiring story but did not expect it to inspire others to help me publish it.
To top it off, we have had a group of fifty readers who read an early version of the manuscript and provided detailed feedback via an anonymous survey we set up for them. Many provided us with detailed commentary and one reader, amazingly, sent us the equivalent of thirty pages of detailed notes. Amazing.
Their feedback was essential. I might think I wrote a good story, but I'm the author and what I think of my book doesn't matter. What matters is what readers think. Fifty readers is not a statistically valid figure, but it's better than trusting in my own intuition. These readers provided dozens of important suggestions which we have implemented. Most of them dealt with clarification, tightening of meaning, and corrections. Also, we changed the title from "Games of the Mines" to the "Age of the Seer." Even though the "Games of the Mines" was written fourteen years ago, long before the "Games of Thrones" and the "Hunger Games," we changed the title to help a potential reader know that this story has very little in common with these two titles.
Admittedly, this is a long post, but it barely does credit to the amazing work that Team Ahiram has accomplished. Before working with the team, I hoped that the book would be a success because, well, that's what every author wishes.
Now, I hope it is a success because...well because I am an author surrounded by dedicated friends and a shared success is far more enjoyable than a lonely success.
To the entire Ahiram Team: Thank you.