Today we’d like to introduce you to Derek A. Kamal.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I’ve always been taken with fantasy in particular, in creating my own worlds. As a late teen, I discovered Tolkien and that was that — his stuff is the Rolls Royce of fantasy. I knew I wanted to make worlds like that, and I think I still do. So I wrote throughout my twenties and made an effort to shop some of my manuscripts around to agents and publishers, to little avail.
A few years ago I found my way into the realm of independent roleplaying games and learned that most of these small companies make and publish their own stuff. I thought I would like to do that and so I did, writing and publishing a game called The Dig in early 2016. Rather than just publishing as myself, I founded Shoreless Skies. Once The Dig was out I saw no reason not to publish one of those books I was sitting on and so Homes, a novel set in the same world as The Dig, was released that summer.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Were this to be a full-time occupation it would not be smooth as there’s not much money in self-publishing. But apart from slim profit margin, it’s been a fun ride. Writing and making books come rather naturally to me, but marketing is a struggle. It’s a flooded market, less so with roleplaying games, and that makes it hard to make one’s voice heard when there are so many shouting.
Luckily I’ve found very helpful connexions. People, especially with indie games, recognize that we’re all in this together and so they’re quite willing to share their expertise. This takes the sting out of learning new things, including Kickstarter!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Shoreless Skies Publishing – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Shoreless Skies Publishing really exists to put my own writing out there. I have big visions of one day taking on other writers and helping them with their own stuff, but that will be a long way off if it happens at all. The mission is to make new worlds to explore and to stay true to an independent spirit.
Simply having this company and putting my stuff out into the world is cause enough for a little pride.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Future plans include, I hope, more output! I recently released a demo of some songs I’ve been working on, so perhaps Shoreless can incorporate both the literary and musical mediums. Short of that, I hope to get back to fiction and make that a focus. I love making games, but in my heart, I am a fiction writer.
Focusing on that in the form of sourcebooks that can be used with any game engine is something I intend to do in the near future, which would be a change from full games. There are enough game systems out there. Resources to make game night more fun and accessible are what I see as more of a need. Besides, big books full of cool and interesting worlds wonderfully illustrated is, to me, what RPG publishing is about.
Another dream would be to publish an annual, illustrated collection of writers that are doing weird, awesome stuff. Who knows what the future holds!
- Website: ShorelessSkies.com
- Email: ShorelessSkies@gmail.com
- Instagram: @ShorelessSkies
- Twitter: @ShorelessSkies
Jacob Hunt, Justin Snavely