After three rounds of editing and feedback from selected friends and family readers, I'm pleased to announce that I've completed the manuscript for The Punishments of Talon. I've worked it into the standard manuscript format (instead of the ebook submission format that I find easier to write in) and have started reaching out to agents for representation.
Why an agent instead of self-publishing as I did for the Bladesmen Lords series? It's a good question, and one I find difficult to answer coherently even now. I enjoyed how the Bladesmen Lords series went. Writing, self-publishing, doing book signings at local bookstores - it was a blast. But with my day job, I never found the opportunity to push it up to a wider level than "local" - and at the end of the day I just came away slightly unsatisfied from the experience. Self-publishing needs a ton of self promotion to work well, self-promotion of a type that I'm still learning how to do properly.
Don't get me wrong - even "traditional" publishing these days involves a lot of work and self-promotion. Even if The Punishments of Talon gets picked up by an agent and a publishing house, there's a ton of work that will be expected of me as an author. It's a different sort of work, though, and comes with guidance I look forward to receiving. Having tried the one route, I want to give agent representation and traditional publishing a shot with this one to see how it goes.
Anyways, I'm having some delicious cherry hard cider tonight to celebrate as I start submitting my manuscript. Wish me luck!