Martin Blackbriar: From Big Idea to Published Book

With the release of Martin Blackbriar and the Necronomicon, a new Long Overdue book written by T. C. Pendragon, we wanted to take a look behind the scenes at where the idea began, what the story is about, and how T. C. went from his first draft to a published book.


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From the Author


Twelve years ago, from this writing, I was in high school. I was cautiously optimistic about my future, and nothing seemed to be set in stone. Everything felt far away.


Some days that was good, and some days it wasn’t. However, one thing that was always within reach was my love for literature. Wherever I found a book, there was hope. Wherever I found a book, there was clarity. I knew my whole life that it was my calling, but I didn’t let myself believe it. The scribblings of a troubled teen didn’t seem to belong in the mountain of classics I was reading.


For a while, that seemed to be the dividing line. But then I started this book, among the distance, doubt, and darkest days, every word pulled me further into a world that was still finding itself. It started to draw me in, with a gravitational pull I couldn’t escape. And once I felt it, I didn’t want to resist. Everything I learned came back to that story of a brother and sister discovering magic. Their adventures together and everything they faced and survived together.


Now, after twelve years, the story has just begun. It is my earnest wish that you enjoy it.


About the Book


A LEGACY TO UPHOLD


Martin Blackbriar and the Necronomicon is the story of our generation’s Witch and Wizard,

Martin and Ali Blackbriar. They will wield all the powers that magic can offer, provided they can

survive against the forces that wish to use them, or end them before their journey even begins.


A LOT TO LEARN


Magic has been hiding in the public eye for thousands of years. As parlor tricks, as superstition,

and as urban legends. But true magic is nothing like it is in fairy tales. It’s an art form that

balances ancient teachings with constant danger. If they are going to survive, Martin and Ali will

have to learn magic faster than any Witch and Wizard before them.


A KILLER TO APPREHEND


The Blackbriar siblings are not alone in their struggles for greater power. As they learn of their

destiny and begin their training, a legendary artifact falls into the wrong hands: the

Necronomicon. It gives its wielder the power to kill anybody.


If they’re not careful, there’s no telling what horrors await them.


Going From Idea to Published Book


When T. C. reached out to us here at Long Overdue Books, he had a completed "First Draft" of his novel.


Our definition of "First Draft" is any version of a manuscript that has only been read by the author. So, even if an author has written 25 versions of their manuscript, we'd still call it a first draft until the author opens up the writing room door and lets other readers in (a big and often scary jump to make!)


Feedback Circle

We enrolled T. C. in our Feedback Circle class. The author picks 1-3 of their friends/peers/fans to read the First Draft. They also have 1-2 readers from Long Overdue join their "Feedback Circle" team.


We help the author prepare questions for their readers. Reason for this: Feedback is really hard to give. Especially when the question is broad like, "So, did you like the book?" But as the questions become more specific like:

  • What'd you think of this character's reaction in Chapter 3?

  • How about the opening paragraph, did you want to keep reading?

  • Any parts in the story where you got lost?

Now the reader has a container and can be more helpful and more specific with their notes.


We offer the option to keep feedback anonymous. In that case, we would gather and organize everyone's notes with no names attached. This can be helpful, especially in our beloved Midwest, because delivering negative feedback sometimes feels mean or rude.


Logan not only chose to keep things... un-anonymous (is that a word?) but he actually joined the Zoom call with the Feedback Circle crew. He respectfully listened to everyone's notes and used the guidance back in the shop. Takes courage to do that!


There was also this really cool moment during Feedback Circle when we had Logan (Hope Grad), his friends Lauren Postma and B. Jung (Hope Grad, Hope Grad), Chris O'Brien (Hope Grad), and Annie Cerovich (Hope Grad) all working together (we also had Katie Palazzolo from our team, who we'll say is an honorary Hope grad). It was like a Hope College Creative Writing class broke out in the middle of this project.


Final Draft

From there, Logan made revisions and rewrites in our "Final Draft" class. This is where an author works with an editor to go from their First Draft to a completed manuscript ready for print.


The road is still wide open for authors at this point. They can take their manuscript and send to literary agents. They can self-publish. Or they can keep working with us as their book designer and, if it's a fit, they can bring their book to the world using Long Overdue as their publisher.


But first, a side quest.


Side Quest - Illustrated

Our standard "author journey" includes four classes:

  • Turn the Page - Going from idea to one completed page

  • First Draft - Going from 1 page to a first draft

  • Feedback Circle - Receiving notes and feedback from a group of helpful readers

  • Final Draft - Working with an editor and then a book designer to go from manuscript to finished book

But we offer a few "side quests." One is called "Illustrated." This is where the author takes any illustration ideas they have and we pair them with a professional artist.


For T. C., he wanted to create a map of Detroit to include in the book with important locations listed. We said, "Alright. Done."


Fortunately for T. C., he's friends with an amazing artist who designed the artwork on the front and back covers of the book. We don't think we could've found anyone who would've done a better job than B. Jung did. The book cover looks amazing!


Alright, Back to Final Draft


Getting all of the dimensions right on a cover and making sure the interior of a book looks professional is no small task. It's super detail-oriented work and there's a noticeable difference between doing this DIY vs. having a professional take over.


Our belief: Authors work so hard on their books, sometimes spending over a decade thinking and writing their story, they deserve to have a final professional book that looks right at home in a bookstore.


For T. C.'s book, our Creative Director Annie Leue made sure that the front and back covers (+ the spine) were lined up correctly. She also did the interior book design work.


Publishing the Book