Antoine returns and has exciting updates. He has continued to create stories for his series, and has started something new.
The most exciting is that he is in talks with a producer to turn one of his books into a movie! We discuss how this happened and what’s going on with the whole process.
[00:01:31] Stephen: Hey, that was ever Desi. One of my friends that does a podcast. If you are interested in going from a writer to becoming an earth, sorry, if you’re interested in going from being just a reader to becoming a writer, Emma is the one, check her out.
I have a list of hers and other podcasts on my website under recommendation. All right. As we get ready to do the final episode of this year, 2021 and [00:02:00] moving into 2022, I have a second interview with Antwan Mandalay. He was one of the first ones. I think one of the first 10 or 15 people I interviewed very exciting.
His fantasies are about something other than the typical European mythology. And he also has some exciting news about possible movie based on one of his books. So as excited to talk to Antwan, um, I would like to ask again, if you are listening to these podcasts and you’re enjoying them, please check out the books, the authors books, that’s why they’re doing this.
They want to provide entertainment and they enjoy doing it, but without support, they stopped doing it. And that’s not what we. Also, it would really help a lot. If you would pass on to somebody else, Hey, you might enjoy this and have listened to the podcast or go do a review, do a thumbs up. It would really help the podcast a whole lot.
Uh, so here is [00:03:00] Antwan Antwan. Welcome back to discovered wordsmiths. It’s good to talk to you again. How are you doing.
[00:03:07] Antoine: I am doing well, particularly because last night, my softball team and I won the championship at our little rec league.
[00:03:13] Stephen: Nice. Congrats. Very good. So that answers the next question. What are some of the things you’re doing lately?
Winning, winning softball.
[00:03:21] Antoine: That’s like my only outside activity right now. Everything else is publishing or YouTube.
[00:03:26] Stephen: Okay. So let’s dive into that. I want to hear some of the things you’re doing because I think some other authors would be very in. So when we talked about remind us what type of books you
[00:03:37] Antoine: write?
I write fantasy books in particular. Although right now I’m thinking about doing lit RPG. I’m actually having a conversation with a few RPG authors one tonight, and then hopefully another one within the week. But all of my fantasies are based on African or African diaspora, myth and folklore.
[00:03:54] Stephen: Okay. So we talked last time, uh, is not the typical [00:04:00] epic token.
Fantasies something different. One
[00:04:03] Antoine: series is expansive like that. Cause I have two main series, one being TJ young in DOD shows, which is modern day that one’s more akin to Lucy Jackson and area. And then I have son story, which is more of the expensive, big world stuff. So that one’s more like a song of ice and fire or Lord of the rings.
[00:04:22] Stephen: Okay. You’re staying within the genre, but go into different interests within that genre. All right. And I remember you were the first author I spoke with on the podcast that had a store and was selling other merchandise. How is that going? And what have you been doing with.
[00:04:38] Antoine: That only ever sees play.
Usually during my launches, like when my newsletter is looking at it, but other than that, it doesn’t really do much of anything. And maybe occasionally I’ll see like a few sales on there, but not like a super lot. Got it.
[00:04:51] Stephen: Okay. So it’s a, it’s just another stream for you to use, right? Okay. Update us here.
What are [00:05:00] some of the other things you’ve been doing? I know one thing you’ve been doing, let her tell everybody else some of the fun, exciting things you’ve been doing with your writing and your career, just as a
[00:05:08] Antoine: catch up. What was the last thing? Was it by seeing the sky was the last name we were talking about?
[00:05:12] Stephen: pirate stuff. Yes. Yes. That was what was new.
[00:05:16] Antoine: Okay, sweetie has since then book two of the sky prior chronic clothes came out in March earlier this year, 2021, and then book one of my young adult series, TJ young in the came out in June. And right now we’re working on getting the next son story out, which is another story.
Another novella, short novel that takes place in the sky pirate Chronicles. Like literally right now, like my, the author is going to turn in his draft to me. And because he has. As I write my own stuff. I also do work in collaborate with other authors when they write like the short stories or the novellas that are like attached to the world.
Cause I like expanding. Stuff like that. I’m also working on expanding out the TJ young world in which that’s, like I said, it’s like [00:06:00] the Percy Jackson, Harry Potter thing more pretty Jackson, because it deals with mythology, teenagers interacting with the gods. So I have my own world, but I’m also collaborating with other authors who are creating their own meat.
Those like my Celtic author right now, she’s turning in her short story this week and I have other authors, like I have another African-American author. There’s a Norse author. Judaism author is Japanese to Mesoamerican authors. So it’s a big, expansive thing that’s happening right now that I’m collaborating with a whole host of authors, uh, which is really exciting to see how that world will expand out.
We’re trying to create our own MCU basically on that front. Yeah,
[00:06:38] Stephen: that’s exciting. Cause I’ve had a few other authors with similar type of things. So how are you going to, what type of control and what are you doing to get these authors and how are you working with them in your.
[00:06:50] Antoine: We have an umbrella editor.
His name is Callan brown. He’s worked with me for the last seven years. Then I asked him to, Hey, we’re doing this author collaboration where we’re having this shared [00:07:00] universe, shared world with our different mythologies. And he was totally down to be in touch with everyone, essentially. And if you hear something from like one meeting, he’ll say, well, Hey, that’s a really good element.
You can add in your story. Antwan has a talking tree that you’re dealing with right now that you could maybe featuring your story. So yeah, we have an overarching editor. Who’s keeping everything in line. Okay.
[00:07:22] Stephen: And what made you want to start working with other authors to expand the, I didn’t want him to do this
[00:07:28] Antoine: for a while.
Even when I started out around 2017, I wanted to make a summer camp. Now this story that I’m about talking about it was not a fantasy thing, but it was like just like a collect. Summer camp. Uh, if anyone’s familiar with the Canadian show to grassy, it was going to be like that, but like a regular summer camp, just like coming of age story, but that everyone would have their own character that they would follow throughout the summer.
And then the stories would overlap, but that never really panned out, but I’ve always been interested in collaborative and shared universe writing. And [00:08:00] now I finally found a path where that was possible.
[00:08:03] Stephen: Cool. You’re talking about. And I talked about this before your stories are based in African mythology and you were mentioning other people, do you have issues?
Cause I know religion can be a very strong thing for people and their con their country’s mythology and things like that. Do you have any issues when you’re working with people from other backgrounds and other religions? Viewpoints quite the opposite.
[00:08:30] Antoine: Actually, we find that there’s way more similarity.
And that’s like the main thing that I want to got to get across with the series two is that there’s way more similarities between human people groups. And then there are differences. For instance, I have a, a D in my. Based system that his name is , who is the God of thunder. And of course everyone’s familiar with the Norse, God of thunder, who I don’t even need to name because that’s how popular he is.
We got to talking about it. They’re different and the personalities are different in their origin points and stuff like that. But in terms of some of the things that they’re meant to [00:09:00] do, like for being protectors, for instance, there’s a lot of similarities and that happened. That’s happened several times in what.
We’ve been doing, even in the history with some of the, what will be deemed pagan, mythologies, or pagan, how it seems like almost all of our faith systems have at some point been influenced by Catholicism or Christianity. And we all have similar stories about how that happened and how some of those mythologies got misconstrued in the modern Zeit guys.
Like for instance, like the idea for Resha is I can speak to the recess because that’s like my main. That’s why I commission or work with other authors because they, they have their specific things that they look. But for me, like a lot of times Catholicism, when it mixed in with the Resha faith system, they made some of those DDS out to be good or evil or demonic in some way.
But that sort of mentality, that sort of thinking didn’t really exist and doesn’t exist in that face system. It’s a moral kind of faith system, very similar to how it’s tied to nature and that you don’t really say. A crashing [00:10:00] wave against the city is necessarily evil. It’s just, it’s just nature. And that’s like how that system works.
But then when it got mixed in with Catholicism and the more modern day, they started like equating certain DD systems, like the SU, which is the other tricks de. Also the gatekeeper gets misconstrued as a devil. A lot of times when he’s not a devil at all. And I’ve just noticed that sometimes even with a Slavic author that I’m running with now, like I remember I was like, oh, Hey, isn’t like Slavic based on a lot of duology or whatever.
And he’s like, no, that’s more something that Christianity kind of inserted when they started meddling in with those sort of people groups. And then I have another situation like that with Norris and like how some of the depictions of the Norse gods were muddled with because of Christianity and stuff like that.
But yeah, there’s a lot there’s.
[00:10:43] Stephen: So you mentioned, you said, uh, commissioning these. So are you paying the writers to write these and then they’re your stories to sell? Or are you both selling it or how are you working that
[00:10:55] Antoine: that’s so it’s a royalty split the way that works. So it’s just a case [00:11:00] of really, the way I set up with my authors is you get out what you put in.
And that’s how I work with all the authors who work on my imprint. If someone wants to put it in. 80% than I can do the rest of the 20%. And that’s how much, what happened on the backend is really just that simple. Okay.
[00:11:19] Stephen: I take it. You’ve been finding some authors that are excited about this.
[00:11:23] Antoine: Oh, for sure. I think, oh man, let me see if I can open up our like group chat right now, which of course is like not doing, but I think it’s like a rat Williams to Mesoamerican authors, a Judaism’s of a Japanese more than we have the seven.
I think it’s seven right now that
[00:11:39] Stephen: we have. Working with other authors and expanding your universe. What else is going on?
[00:11:45] Antoine: Audio books are huge right now because I started up audio books, maybe. Definitely last year in earnest because I had a author buddy who I was another person that I was collaborating with.
One of those novella pieces I was [00:12:00] doing, this is a good way to just to have more relationships with more authors and people for this various situation. And you’re like, Hey, I have enough. Side story for one of my novels. Do you want to like help write that? So while I was doing the audio, because I produce my own audio books, not that I narrate them, cause I do not like narrating at all.
It takes a long time to do that. You’re telling me that I appreciate, um, narrators for that purpose. But after I done, he was like, whoa, who like, who did your audio book? What is this? And I was like, oh, I did it all myself and I had a friend cause I used to work at, uh, apple and I had him come over and. If you work in Los Angeles, I live in Los Angeles.
By the way, you are always going to have an actor friend or something like that, especially if you’re working in some sort of retail space. And so he came and he did it, and then he was like, oh, this is awesome. Do you do this as a commission? Like for other authors? I was like, ah, I never really thought about that, but I guess I’ll try it.
And so I did, and now I’ve been doing that for full-time for three months now doing audio books for indie authors. And recently I’ve taken on a very big client, which is Macmillan audio, which I’ve been working with for, I [00:13:00] think. A month and a half to two months, I’ve done three projects when I was 8 1, 2, 3, 4 projects with McMillan audio so far.
So I even told him like my, the author free. And I was like, Hey, thank you for telling me to do that because I probably would have never done that. And now that I have a pretty huge client and I have a bunch of clients now who get audio books done through us,
[00:13:19] Stephen: that’s pretty cool, man. It’s an area you didn’t anticipate, but you’ve expand the true entrepreneur spirit there.
Okay. So we were supposed to meet last week, but we couldn’t because you had a different meeting right on that one, man.
[00:13:38] Antoine: The big thing that happened. Yeah. Cause we were scheduled to go earlier, but then something came up because I have for the past two months been talking with a. Producer a movie producer who was interested in attaching himself to some of my works in particular.
He was really interested in the TJ young series of the young adult series and my sky pirate [00:14:00] Chronicles. And so I was going back and forth, like all my lawyer about all the contract and like the agreement that he was going on about. But after we finally did that, I think that really did take two months to do all that stuff.
Literally the week after officially signing with him and him making him an attached bruiser and what that means by the way, for people who might not know if you have an attachment agreement, essentially that’s different from a straight up option, because if you do an option and basically you’re signing away, Right to pitch it a pitcher, but usually it comes with some sort of payment over the course of like 12 to 18 months, which I had been speaking with someone else.
So there was a west African company who was interested in commissioning or optioning. My out of my original works so that they could, uh, pitch it in a, an adaptive, but there’s another option you can do called an attachment agreement. And in which it’s more collaborative in the sense that a producer comes in and says, Hey, whatever project gets.
I will have first priority to be attached as they producer when that actually gets created. Um, so you have a little bit more liberal [00:15:00] room, or at least more collaboration with the producer versus it being like, oh, I’m just telling this off and they can pitch it or not pitch it. And we’ll see what happens with you guys and 12 to 18 months.
That producer just got attached to last week. And then right before the time that we were going to have our recording, he was like, Hey, well, we need to make a meeting because I have three now for, since even that meeting, we had executives who are, who literally have the book in their possession. It’s somewhere in their office, their assistants and everything, or like looking and reading it.
So it’s a very good position to be because the next step after this is when you get offers, once you know, the executive, it looks at it and goes, oh yeah, this is something that we definitely would want to buy. That I’m like literally one step away from having. Potentially an offer an invitation for two of my works, the young adult, and this guy pirate one currently.
And I can say that three of the full executives who are in talks are part of companies that if I named off them, people would know [00:16:00] them. Like it wouldn’t be like a, huh. What’s the, I’ve never heard of that production company before to think so. Right now I’m like, but like keeping, maintaining my expectations a little bit, because it’s not there yet.
Finish line yet, but this is definitely a, like a super, super deep step forward in terms of my author career. Because when I was talking to the producer and he was telling me the potential offering that could happen, I was like, oh my God. And the thing is, most people will hear that and be like, I’m gonna buy this and that.
But for me it’s oh my God. I actually can be a full-time writer and spend all my time actually writing if I could like have some of that happen. Yeah. So, yeah, like it’s super exciting right now. And especially even some of the ideas that we were discussing during our first meeting. Remember, because I have a lot of art that’s tied to my book.
And so at one point when I was looking really at one of my books in particular, at the end of it, I have pictures because, oh my goodness, that person looks like so-and-so actor. And he like knows these people. So he can be like, oh yeah, I could talk to his in her manager. And like, I thought that was like, it was cool to see him get excited as like a producer, like in the same way.
Cause really he was putting that meeting. For me to [00:17:00] explain everything before he went out and did his like talking points and everything. So it was me like excitedly talking about my world-building and like plot lines, storylines. I even told them like future plot lines, stuff like that, because I was like, are you okay with spoilers?
She’s like, know, I’m a producer. I hear spoilers all the time. You know what
[00:17:14] Stephen: I mean? Yeah. I know what the movie’s going to be before it’s made. Exactly. So how has all of this, because this is a lot of, you might say. Stuff. There’s a lot of others that say, oh, I wouldn’t want to be involved in any of that. I just want to sit and right.
Somebody wants to buy it. They could talk to my agent. They can talk to my lawyer, but you’re right in the mix of all of this. And you’re controlling the stuff with your authors and all of that. So how has this affected your writing and why do you choose to do this instead of letting somebody else handle it?
[00:17:49] Antoine: Basically is handling all of it. And that’s something that we discussed specifically in the conversation. Cause I was like, Hey, like this producer stuff and like movie stuff, like that’s totally your lane. And I don’t want to, I really have no [00:18:00] desire to be part of that lane or whatever. I don’t really like when it, like one conversation we had was about like writing, like the screenplay stuff like that.
I was like, I’m not one of those who needs to be like in the writers room, whatever, like once it’s sold or there’s the offer. I trust I’ll have a conversation with you. And then it was up to you as the producer. So how that stuff happened, maybe in the way that whatever feedback I have, which is great so far, he’s given me so much feedback for even when he’s making these look books for the pitches and stuff like that.
But I don’t want to be a part of that. Like I told him specifically, like my priority is these books and that during the meeting, like I sleep, I haven’t all my books there. He slapped my books, as I was saying is like I was saying before, even like the offers that you were just telling me about, like what I see that as is just like opportunity to write more of these books, which I’ll just give to you in that you can do your movie magic or whatever.
I have no desire of necessarily being a part of the production of these things, unless my series are done or something to that point. I don’t want to get myself in the George RR Martin situation where you’re prioritizing and [00:19:00] executive producing something that. Even
[00:19:02] Stephen: finished. I’ve got two books done.
We’ve made movies. I better think about a third. So looking ahead, because this is a lot hap what are your plans now for the future? If you’ve got a movie possibly coming out or you’re working with all these authors, you’ve got your store and that, what are your plans now? Because. If you’ve only got a book or two out your plans are I’m going to write more books.
[00:19:31] Antoine: that’s literally, that is the plan. It’s just the write more books because through these books, that’s how, and this is something that Joanna Penn speaks about a lot and other, any author out there where she says it, building up your backlist is so important, not so much just for the fact of just having those stories out, but because each time you put that out, that’s a new idea.
And that new IP and B you can monetize that in several different ways. And sometimes authors don’t think about that. They just think about, oh, ebook and print, but then they have audio books and they have the adaptations of video games. You have a [00:20:00] TV show, a comic books there’s that IP can funnel to so many different or not funnel, but expand out to so many different, different avenues.
And the basis of that is having the IP to begin with. So yeah, the goal doesn’t change in that. It’s always about creating more stories.
[00:20:19] Stephen: Cool with all these things going on. Do you have anything you could share? What your next. New ideas. Go be not telling us the idea or the story, but it’s something a little hint of the next thing you’re going to be working
[00:20:32] Antoine: right now.
I’m working on book two of TJ young and , um, which is due out next June. I’m also working on that, that novella short novel that is tied to the sky pirate Chronicles that one’s called grace under five. That one’s about like a military campaign against a monastery that has like a. Great natural resource that the conquerors, once you take over, it’s very similar.
If you have watched avatar. The last Airbender is if we actually saw the fire nation, um, attacking the air [00:21:00] temples, and then I have, I need to get booked three of the five pirate Chronicles done to round out that trilogy. And as I’ve mentioned before, right now, Thinking about I’m dipping my toe into lit RPG.
However, it seems like I might not because when I actively spoke to one of my author friends about it and he’s oh yeah, those are like really long books. I thought, obviously I thought they would have been really short books and very like action oriented or just like highly pacing. He says, oh no, they definitely are like bass bass, but it can be up to 250,000 words.
I was like, That’s not, I don’t have time for two, $250. I was looking for a thriller romance, like length of like a 60,000, 70,000 type pig. I was like, no, I don’t have time to just sit down and do a 250,000 word novel, but I’ll see how that goes
[00:21:45] Stephen: down. I love that. You said that that’s very interesting to me, cause I know a lot of authors will hear something newer say see the next shiny thing and jump over to it.
Oh, I’m going to write lit RPG. Oh, I’m going to do this. I’m going to do [00:22:00] that. But. Uh, able to make that distinction and pick and choose why. Uh, that is,
[00:22:07] Antoine: it’s more for me just like completing the thing that you started. It’s really important for me to actually have a trilogy done by having book three sky pirate dining.
And then TJ is really important right now, too, because that one has the most momentum. That’s really the reason I’ve been getting these calls from the producers and that one just really. Uh, really well with people. And I maybe, because it’s just young adult to Morissette, I have to prioritize like that sort of thing.
I can’t jump to the new just because it’s shiny and new, but I thought that lit RBG would have been able to like slot in. And because I thought it would be like a short form kind of a thing, but apparently it’s totally not a short form.
[00:22:42] Stephen: Which is interesting. I thought it was shorter
[00:22:44] Antoine: also, and it might be, and that’s being, I that’s just something I heard from one author and that’s why it’s always good to get opinions from multiple, because I’ll have the conversation with him tonight and then I’ll have another conversation with another one later in the week.
And then I can see, like, by having more of these conversations, what the overall sense of it is. [00:23:00] Alright,
[00:23:01] Stephen: Antwan, it’s been really great catching up with you. You have so much going on. I remember first time talking to you, I remembered. How exciting it was hearing about the mythologies that weren’t the standard in the fantasy realm.
So I’m really glad that you’re still here. You’re still making stories and it’s getting better for you. So that, that makes me happy. Oh,
[00:23:23] Antoine: and that’s the thing too. The getting better part. So, so true, obviously, right? The more books you write in the morning you have, but like each new book release, I see that like monthly thing go up.
He only goes up for that month. A month after, but it’s so true. When, when authors, um, in other, any authors say having a backlist is so important because that’s how you can expand your commission, how you expand your income. Because if someone likes the one book, they’re like, oh, what other things have this person written?
Or is there more in this series? And they do actually go and buy those other things so that each time you do a release, like it gets bigger and bigger. So like this. And
[00:23:56] Stephen: I was going to ask you, do you have any advice for other authors listening? And [00:24:00] that sounds like it right
[00:24:00] Antoine: there. Yeah. 20 bucks at 50 K is legit is a legit thing.
Like just write those 20 books.
[00:24:07] Stephen: I just saw some report, a survey that they did and it backed that same type of thing up. Brooke, the authors up in the stages and stage one has typically this many books and sells this much and writes this long each week. But then stage two has tweet this many books and typically makes this much and writes this Mount each week.
So it was interesting to look at it because I’m an analytical guy. So it’s easy to say, oh, if I’m at stage one and I want to be stage three, here’s how many hours I need to write and how many books. It looks like plain and simple math, which I’m sure a lot of creative authors are like, oh no, it’s not that blah, blah.
But for me, I’m like, okay, I got my answer now. I know what I need right there.
[00:24:55] Antoine: I think that was written word media that put out that a survey was no worries. [00:25:00]
[00:25:00] Stephen: All right, Angela, thank you for taking some time today. Glad we finally got to meet up. We had a few back and forth because of our
[00:25:08] Antoine: schedules. Oh yeah.
That’s right. Even before the, yeah, the meeting stuff. Yeah. That’s so sure.
[00:25:14] Stephen: All right. I appreciate it. You have a really great day and I’ll catch up with you sometime. I want to hear more about the movies once
[00:25:20] Antoine: I get out. I know I’m waiting for that too. All right. You have a good day, sir. Thank you, you too.