The Way Into Chaos post

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My new book, first in a new trilogy, is on sale now. Let me start with a blurb.

“It’s Epic Fantasy that reads like a Thriller” — Kat Richardson

Here’s the description from the back cover:

The city of Peradain is the heart of an empire built with steel, spears,and a monopoly on magic… until, in a single day, it falls, overthrown by a swarm of supernatural creatures of incredible power and ferocity. Neither soldier nor spell caster can stand against them.

The empire’s armies are crushed, its people scattered, its king and queen killed. Freed for the first time in generations, city-states scramble to seize neighboring territories and capture imperial spell casters. But as the creatures spread across the land, these formerly conquered peoples discover they are not prepared to face the enemy that destroyed an empire.

Can the last Peradaini prince, pursued by the beasts that killed his parents, cross battle-torn lands to retrieve a spell that might—just might—turn the battle against this new enemy?

Several free chapters start here. Go forth and sample.

And here’s the cover itself:

Cover of The Way Into Chaos

Art by Chris McGrath. Design by Brad Foltz

God, I love that cover. Spoiler: the art on the inside is gorgeous, too.

Let’s have some backstory. When I announced that poor sales numbers meant I was not going to be writing any more Twenty Palaces novels, I kept telling readers “I hope you like my next series just as much.”

Well, no pressure on me, but the next series is here. Anyone who’s been following this blog knows it was written as part of a homeschool project with my son. I tried to find traditional publication for this book and the two sequels, and when that failed, I turned it into a successful Kickstarter.

Hold on, let me just post this to see if I’m tired of looking at it yet.

Nope. Not yet.

It has a map by Priscilla Spencer, illustrations by Claudia Cangini, and the paperback was designed by a professional (who uses the pseud “thebarbarienne” online).

Anyway, the original working title for this trilogy was Epic Fantasy With No Dull Parts, which everyone thought was funny but few understood was mostly aspirational. Most epic fantasy has a slack, touristy feel to it, and I wanted to try for something different.

But I like to think this is more than just a thriller. It’s also about empire, and how it feels to live in one, and how you come to identify with it even if you hate it.

It’s also about being invaded. In fact, one of the NY publishers who turned the book down explicitly complained about this: a portal fantasy where the enemy is magically transported to a new land? Apparently, that’s Doing It Wrong. Portal fantasies are supposed to be about protagonists invading other places, not being invaded.

Please read the sample chapters. If you like the books, please tell your friends.

| Amazon (print & ebook) | Apple iBooks (ebook) | Barnes & Noble (print & ebook) | Books-a-Million (print) | CreateSpace (print) | IndieBound (print) | Kobo (ebook) | Smashwords (ebook) |

Packaging for Kickstarter Fulfillment (with pix)

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After being six months past the “there’s-no-way-these-books-will-take-longer-than-this” deadline, I finally ordered the trade paperbacks for my new trilogy, The Great Way. The expected delivery date from UPS was last night, and I rescheduled a bunch of work so I would be ready when the boxes of books arrived (16 of them) and could slip them into the already-addressed and sorted envelopes.

Then, on Tuesday morning, I double-checked the UPS tracking numbers and realized the books had been bumped a day, to Wednesday. Sure, the boxes had arrived in Seattle before 3 am on Tuesday morning, but apparently UPS needed 30 hours to get them on a truck.

Do I need to say I was disappointed and angry? I griped about it on Twitter, and a UPS help account encouraged me to email their customer service department with the tracking numbers and other details to confirm that they were actually sitting in a warehouse down in south Seattle.

The customer service rep confirmed it. My books, which had been delivered to Seattle the night before, still had not been unloaded and sorted. I’d have to wait for them to be delivered the next day.

Three hours later, sixteen boxes of books arrived.

My son, to my great surprise, believed me when I said I needed his help. He got off his computer (not a small deal) so he could slip bookmarks into books so I could turn to the title page quickly and seal envelopes. When my wife got home at 9pm after a long day of physical work, she cheered to see us working together, then chipped in.

I started alone at 5:30. We sent the boy to bed at midnight. My wife and I didn’t finish until almost two am. This morning, we got up early, called a cab, and transported all the books to the local post office to mail them out.

Pictures behind the cut. Continue reading

There’s a reason THE WAY INTO CHAOS is available for preorder on Amazon

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Yep, The first book of my new trilogy is available for preorder.

Great Way Final Cover eBook 1 copy

Why, when the ebooks haven’t even shipped yet?

Well, because I’m close. Uploading the first book was part of the formatting process, because Amazon, B&N, and Apple found issues with it, as expected. I have a lot of emails to send, obviously, and I’m looking at a new program to handle it.

The trade paperbacks are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, Tuesday (knowing UPS, it’ll be Tuesday night). A friend has offered to drive me to the post office the next morning. The envelopes are already addressed and sorted. All I’ll have to do is sign them and slip them into their bubble mailers.

The hardbacks won’t be ready to ship until sometime in late January or early February. Sorry, omnibus orderers. It takes longer to print really fancy books.

So, yeah. I’m close. I’ve also been working from wake to sleep every day, and it’s exhausting.

But, if you missed the Kickstarter, you can pre-order the paper version (pub date is being corrected) or the ebook from Amazon right now. It’ll be available from other vendors as soon as they list it.

You can also check out sample chapters for this book right here:

Progress!

News about my upcoming epic fantasy trilogy

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Curious where things stand with my upcoming fantasy trilogy, The Great Way? Well, I just did a Kickstarter update laying out the details. Short version: I received the proofs for the trade paperbacks, approved them, and placed the order for backer copies.

Which means they’re being printed right now.

I’m just waiting for the proofs for the omnibus cover and, assuming that’s all correct, I’ll order those, too.

In other words… SOON.

The Way Into Darkness cover art reveal

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The September Kickstarter update just went out, but you don’t have to click through to see the unveiled cover art by Chris McGrath. Why, just look
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here:

Cover art for The Way Into Darkness

There’s a progress update, too, but you’ll have to click through to read it because I don’t want to type all that out again.

First week self-pub book sales: the numbers

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It’s been one week since I released the ebook of Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths And Other Tales Of Dark Fantasy (aka BLGDHDAOT oh, forget it) and I thought it might be interesting if I shared sales numbers. If you aren’t a regular reader of the blog and just like sales numbers, there’s more detail here, consider picking up a copy. It’s only three bucks.

First, we have the Kickstarter backers. There are 1166 people who pledged at $12 or above and who should have already gone to the download page and snagged a copy of this book. According to Google Analytics, there have been 1665 page views of the download page, and only 729 730 unique views (good job, late visitor). IF YOU BACKED THE KICKSTARTER AT $12 OR MORE BUT HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE DL LINK, CONTACT ME THROUGH MY KICKSTARTER ACCOUNT. You deserve to have your first book. Come and get it.

On a side note, releasing BAD LITTLE GIRLS… prompted eight unique views to the page where backers could get a copy of Twenty Palaces.

But what about readers who wanted the book but couldn’t/didn’t back the Kickstarter? Well, as you’d expect, Amazon generates the most sales. For this first week, there were 41 total sales: 16 on that first day, low numbers over the holiday weekend, then another 13 on Monday, when I posted an updated announcement post and a reader linked to the book on reddit/urbanfantasy. Later that day:

Broke 100 in Dark Fantasy

Hey, I’ll take any excuse to celebrate.

Using Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press, I’ve sold six copies. In Smashwords: three copies. Apple iBooks: one copy.

Of course, it took several days for me to get my book on Smashwords and iBooks. Those went on sale much later than the others, Smashwords because their formatting requirements are so complicated and iBooks because they take a long time to approve the books for their store. In fact, iBooks just made Bad Little Girls available yesterday, so that’s only one day’s numbers. If you’re an Apple partisan with an iPhone or iPad, you could swing over to iBooks yourself and bump their numbers. (Any benefit to me would of course be incidental.)

Other sales channels like Kobo, Oyster, Scribd, etc will be fulfilled through Smashwords’s distribution channel, and that hasn’t happened yet. Still, from experience I know those sales channels will be pretty thin.

Anyway, as expected, Amazon is readers’ preferred choice when it comes to buying and reading ebooks. I know short fiction collections don’t generally move a lot of copies, but I’d hoped the numbers would be higher. I received quite a few tweets and emails from people who had missed the Kickstarter and wanted to make sure they could get the books, especially the Twenty Palaces story BAD LITTLE GIRLS…. How to reach those people, though? I hesitate to send out a newsletter because I anticipate sending one in August for The Great Way. Few things will make people drop a newsletter faster than feeling that they’re getting too many emails. I’m planning to combine those newsletter announcements into one.

On top of that, there’s… what? Ads on reddit/r/Fantasy? I’m told reddit is one of the few places that ads will work. Maybe I could add comments to the five-star reviews on the other 20P novels, letting readers know there’s a new story? (Nah. Bad idea.) I’m planning to organize a blog tour for The Great Way, so I can’t do an extra one here.

In short, I wanted BAD LITTLE GIRLS… in my backlist when The Great Way came out, but I don’t want to do so much promo for it that people are sick of hearing from me when my trilogy comes out.

Fingers crossed.

I’m looking at map art for The Great Way

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I can’t share the actual images, because they’re just sketches and that’s not fair, but they are genuinely awesome and amazing. My wife and son have to help me choose between a beautiful traditional map and one done to look like a mosaic, which is very different and very cool.

The map is being created by Priscilla Spencer, who has done maps for Jim Butcher, Myke Cole, and Saladin Ahmed, among others.

I can’t wait for a finished version to share.

How I planned my Kickstarter and why I think it worked out so well

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So! As many of you know, last September and October I ran a Kickstarter for my new epic fantasy trilogy. My goal was $10K, which was barely enough to cover the cost of cover art, interior design, a map, printing, copy editing, etc. In my original budget I had about $80 worth of wiggle room, which I figured would be safe enough; if costs went over, I could cover them with the Twenty Palaces POD edition which is coming out soon.

Then this happened:

The project hit its goal in about 8 hours and doubled it the next day. This post is going to be about what happened, why it happened, what I did right and wrong, and what I learned from it. Continue reading

Roleplay Twenty Palaces!

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Last night my Kickstarter hit 925 backers, unlocking Stretch Goal: Monitor, the second to last stretch goal. This morning we reached 1000 backers, which unlocked Stretch Goal, Mask, the very last one.

So I created something new: Stretch Goal: You. I encouraged backers to create their own stretch goals so they could create anything they wanted and share it with the other backers, if we hit their goal.

Already we have an indie composer who has promised 20P music, and…

Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue have promised that, if we reach 1200 backers, they will expand on the Voidcallers section of the FATE Toolkit to let people role play in a Twenty Palaces-style setting. See here.

I’ve said before that there was no need for me to create a 20P supplement because Voidcallers is already it. But if you want sample stunts, special character creation rules, the whole deal, you probably want to join in on this.

We’ve already gone far, far beyond anything I had a right to expect. Can we manage to hit this goal, too?

I have to run out for a meeting, if you can believe it, but I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

And if you have something you want to share with the other backers, please do.