The Blog Tour Continues, Part Nexter

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Continuing from the previous blog tour link farm

1. Like every writer, I sometimes I have to write a synopsis. It will surprise no one to learn that I have a system.

2. Here’s a post about genres, protagonists and exposition at SFF World.

3. Advice you won’t hear from sensible authors: Always Blame Yourself.

4. The way that studying screenwriting helped me as a novelist, and the way it didn’t.

5. Self-publishing vs traditional publishing, with an agenda to push one over the other.

6. He Always Runs While Others Walk: Pacing in Fiction. My ideas about pacing aren’t what I hear from so many other writers.

7. God is All Loving (Some Exemptions Apply) Religious Magic in Horror and Fantasy. I talk about vampires, crosses, and dehumanized enemies.

8. King Queen and this Three Seasons: ARROW and the Challenges of Long Term Narrative.

9. SF Signal Mind Meld: which series got better after the first book?

10. I Search the Body: What Role-Playing Games Taught Me About Writing Fiction.

11. Helpless in the Face of Your Enemy: Writers and Attack Novels.

— 11a. That Black Gate post was linked at io9. Comments are interesting.

12. The Loneliest Student: Writing as a Subject of Study. Applying education research to the process of learning to write.

And that’s it for my blog tour. It’s Dee Oh En Ee, done. I hope you find these interesting; please share if you do.

The Blog Tour Continues, Part Next

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Continuing from the first post.

Over at the Skiffy and Fanty blog, I wrote an entry for their “My Superpower” series. My superpower is an unusual kind of invulnerability.

“It’s Dangerous to Go Alone” is a post about figuring out why most people didn’t like my old series, and what if anything I should change for The Great Way, hosted by David B Coe.

“Let’s Fail On Our Own Terms” is about making ridiculous creative choices and standing by them, no matter what.

On Nick Kaufmann’s blog, I wrote about The Scariest Part of the trilogy, which is also the longest chapter in the trilogy.

Also, author Joshua Palmatier interviewed me about the series. I talk here about the hardest part of the trilogy to write, among other things.

An amusing review posted over at reddit.

And not to bury the lede, but once again here’s that starred review in Publishers Weekly.

More links in part nexter.

If you found any of that interesting, please share.

The Way Into Chaos reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly

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And it got a starred review!

For those who don’t really follow publishing, that’s as good as it gets, short of an end of the year list. I’m extremely happy about it, and I plan to stick

“This twisty, subversive novel will win Connolly a whole new set of fans.”

all over the internet.

The Way Into Darkness Post

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Today, finally, is the day that the third and final book in my epic fantasy trilogy will be released. The page for book two is right here, and the page for book one, with the introductory synopsis and the links to sample chapters, is right here.

If you haven’t read either of these books, you don’t want to read book three. It’s all one story.

How about a cover?

cover for The Way Into Darkness

The Way Into Darkness, Book Three of The Great Way, art by Chris McGrath, design by Brad Foltz

Amazing, isn’t it?

Spoilers for the story so far if you read the synopsis below. For real, if you think you might want to read these books, stop reading here and check out the post about book one or read the sample chapters.

Or, if you’re a Spoilerphile, here’s the synopsis for the book:

BOOK THREE OF THE GREAT WAY: What was once the Peradaini Empire is now a wasted landscape of burned, empty cities and abandoned farmlands. The Blessing, now more numerous than ever, continues to spread across the continent, driving refugees to the dubious safety of the city walls. Unharvested crops mean that few strongholds have enough provisions to last the winter, although most know the grunts will take them before starvation will.

But hope survives. A piece of stolen magic just might halt the spread of The Blessing if Tejohn and Cazia can find a scholar with the skill to recreate the spell. If such a person still lives.

Unfortunately, they are nearly out of time. The few remaining human enclaves are isolated and under siege. Worse, The Blessing has spread to other sentient creatures. If Cazia and Tejohn are going to strike back at their monstrous enemy, they can not delay.

And there’s another, deeper question left unaddressed: where did The Blessing come from, and why have they invaded Kal-Maddum?

The Way Into Darkness is the final book in The Great Way, wrapping up the story begun in The Way Into Chaos and continued in The Way Into Magic.

If things seemed desperate in the previous books, this one brings humanity to the brink.

Some blurbs:

“One hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners, breathtaking holey moley of a book.” — C.E. Murphy, author of Walker Papers

“Highly recommended, if you want a stay-up-all-night, forget-to-eat, must-have-the-next-book-NOW reading experience.” — CC Finlay, author of Traitor to the Crown: A Spell for the Revolution and editor of F&SF

“Complex world, tight action, awesome women as well as men; Connolly was good right out of the gate and just keeps getting better.” — Sherwood Smith, author of Inda

“Gripping, absorbing, and fast-moving, an epic fantasy for those of us who like it lively” — Charles Stross, author of Halting State and The Laundry Files.

“Heroic in scope, but intimately human, and richly detailed.” — Kat Richardson, author of the Greywalker series.

Here is the page for book one. Here is the page for book two. To order book three, just click below.

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

When Is The Super Bowl? #seo

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It starts at 6:30 EST on February 1st, 2015, although pre-game shows begin at noon EST. (My books.)

This year, the Seattle Seahawks are trying to repeat their championship win by defeating the New England Patriots, and while I’d like to see them win, I personally will not be watching.

For one, there’s this:

For another, I write books. Check out my new epic fantasy series.

#SEO

Exeunt Omnibus

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As of this morning, the last of the omnibus editions have gone out to backers.

Well, not the last last, because someone will come along in July and fill out the address survey, wondering where their books are. But large-scale Kickstarter fulfillment of physical goods is DONE.

It’s sort of amazing how relieved I feel right now.

I still have some books left, and I need to figure out what to do with them. I also have some electronic rewards to finish and deliver. But the physical stuff. Out the door.

The Kickstarter update announcing that, and talking about the next steps, is here.

I may be writing one more KS update. Maybe two. I should get that meatbread recipe figured out.

Omnibus Arrival, A Kickstarter Post

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This is turning into a trilogy of its own. I suspect the last part will be Omnibus Departure, or whatever, after they’ve been mailed out.

But yes, the omnibus editions have arrived, and wow, the truck driver dropped a pallet next to my parking space at the apartment building…

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… and I’ve brought them inside.

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That’s right. With all the busy-ness of these past few weeks–the massive (clean-water, thankfully) flood in our apartment, the prep for my wife’s gallery show, the publication of The Way Into Magic–we still haven’t taken down our Giftmas tree.

As for the books themselves, who likes fantasy maps?

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My point-and-click camera doesn’t do the cover justice, but that’s the cover. There’s no price, no ISBN, no author name, no book title. Not on the outside cover.

It’s the map and only the map.

Here’s the whole thing.

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The names of the books are on the front flap. The Chris McGrath art is on the back flap–the picture doesn’t really capture it, but they look good.

Thing is, the books are shrink-wrapped. I’m supposed to sign them, but it seems a shame to cut off that shrink wrap when it would keep it so nice during shipping. I’m trying to decide if I should leave the shrink wrap on and slip little book plates into the envelopes.

And what’s this last picture?

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This is the bottle of fancy whiskey my wife gave me for Giftmas. I’ve saved that last little bit for this: once we finish shipping all these fucking books, she and I are going to pour ourselves a pair of stiff drinks and toast the (pseudo-*)completion of this project.

*Called “pseudo-” because I still have to finish the game supplements, but they will be delivered electronically, so she won’t have to deal with it at all.

Now… to work!

Imminent Omnibus, a Kickstarter post

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My Fridays are usually spent out at the Starbucks and the library, writing whatever writing needs to be written. But today I’m stuck at home. Luckily, the fam has already scheduled a rare day out for immunizations and Thai food.

Why? Because I’m expecting the delivery of the hardback omnibus editions of The Great Way, the ones with Priscilla Spencer’s map art on the cover.

I have ~26 customs forms to fill out, then I can get back to the short fic that I’m supposed to be writing while I wait for the delivery truck. Will it show up today, as promised? Will it show up Monday???

Today. I’m hoping for today.

Pictures to come, I hope.

30 Day Self-Publishing Trends, with a few numbers

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Jan 16th marked 30 days since The Way Into Chaos went on sale, and I know (because they ask) people are curious about how it’s doing and what effect it’s having on my backlist, aka, the Ray Lilly novels.

Before the graphs, the explanations. First of all, we’re talking about Kindle sales here. Most every other vendor is selling books in the low two digits. Paper copies (added together) are slightly better. But while Kobo, iBooks, Nook, Smashwords, etc, made a decent showing in the first few days after the books were released, they’ve since fallen off. The Kindle is where most of the action is, and these figures are 100% copied from Amazon’s Kindle page.

Next, Book one, The Way Into Chaos, was published on Dec 18. Book 2, The Way Into Magic, was published on Jan 13. However, Amazon treats the release date as GMT. So, once it hits midnight in Greenwich, England, they start delivering pre-ordered books.

For the graphs they show me, though, the sales are attributed to each date according to *my* time zone, which is PST. So from my perspective, my pre-ordered books were loaded onto people’s Kindles starting at ~4pm on the day before release. Meh. It’s not something I worry much about.

Other next, I’ve removed the Y-axis data from some of these graphs. For Twenty Palaces and the short fiction collection, I’ve left the numbers in the Y-axis because each line is one sale and people have asked if The Great Way is giving a boost to 20P (obviously hoping the boost would be enough to revive that series. Spoiler: nope.)

As for the new books, I took them out, mainly because I didn’t want people sitting down trying to calculate what I’m earning, so they can give me advice. This is a thing that happens to me.

So, the y-axis for “All” books is identical to the y-axis for book 2, but not for book 1.

Okay, that was longer than I expected. Let’s do the thing.

Kindle sales for all books.

Kindle sales for all books

Obviously, the first thing you notice is that gigongo spike on the right side. That’s the sight of many many pre-orders being delivered, just after GMT turned over to 1/13, as I mentioned above.

There’s no corresponding pre-order spike for book one at the far left because a) there weren’t many days for people to pre-order and b) it helps when book one is already out.

There’s also an utterly unsurprising dip on Christmas day, with a little bump just before. What I didn’t expect was that the days after the holiday would be even better. I thought the gift-buying effect would be stronger than the gift-card effect, but nope.

Something I like? The way it keeps trending up. In December, the best sales day was the 28th. The sales on that date tied with the worst sales date in the first half of January. Good thing I don’t believe in jinxes.

There’s also a little bump on and after Jan 3rd, but we’ll come back to that.

Here’s the trend for book 2, The Way Into Magic:

Kindle sales The Way Into Magic

Book 2 Kindle sales figures

As I mentioned above, the y-axis for this chart is identical to the one above, so this just proves that the big spike really was all those pre-orders. And yeah, sales have dipped afterwards, but that’s not a big surprise. It’s still early days, as far as I’m concerned.

How about the trend for book 1, The Way Into Chaos:

Kindle sales The Way Into Chaos

The change in y-axis makes comparing numbers sort of useless, but the trend is there.

There’s an odd little dip on Jan 13th, the day book 2 was published. I’m not sure if it’s just the attention book 2 got that day, with it’s own blog post and everything, or if there was something else that made sales dip.

There’s also a nice jump on the third of Jan and after, but it dips again, so I’m not sure what it could be.

By the way, I’ve compared these peaks and valleys to the days I post on the blog, and there seems to be no correlation. Some blog posts come on low sales days, some high. Maybe I could compare tags or something, but it doesn’t seem worthwhile.

Let’s go with the short fiction collection, Bad Girls Die Horrible Deaths and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy.

Bad Girls Die Horrible Deaths Kindle Sales

This time, it’s a 90-Day graph.

As the caption says, this time the graph covers 90 days, because I wanted to show the effect on a backlist item when a front list item came out. Not powerful, is the verdict. As you can see, there’s some effect, but not a lot. Frankly, it’s about what I expected. Ebook-only short fiction collections are not exactly known for burning up the bestseller lists, which is why I released this last July. I was hoping for a little extra in my bank account.

There’s also what looks like the new book dip, although there are other troughs, too, so maybe it’s just noise. The first big spike came on the day I talked about being unable to get my backers to download their books. On the day after, sales were a little lower, even though I posted an apologia along with a note about the short fiction collection’s availability.

The other, slightly larger spike, comes on the third of January again. I’m still not sure what that’s from. I’ve been told that, when a book on Amazon hits 25 (and then 50) reviews, Amazon’s algorithms begin to show it more frequently to readers. On Jan 3rd, I got my 25th review for The Way Into Chaos, and maybe that caused a bump across a bunch of different books.

But it wasn’t a particularly long lasting one. It followed the upward trend, but didn’t establish a new, deeper one. So maybe it was something else. After all, Jan 3 is the day I retweeted this:

Finally, the last chart that shows 90 days of sales of my last book, Twenty Palaces.

90 Days of Kindle sales for Twenty Palaces

90 Days of Kindle sales for Twenty Palaces

Yeah, there’s a bump, but it’s pretty negligible. Part of this is because most of the people buying The Great Way already have the Ray Lilly books. Part is that new readers haven’t even gotten their hands on book 3 yet, because it comes out the first week of February.

So maybe 20P sales will pick up. I hope so. I could use the money, and a bump would take me closer to earning out in my contract with Del Rey.

That’s it! Thirty days.

One thing: I’m sure people out there could look these graphs over and make a pretty good estimate of the number of books I’m selling. Please don’t. It’s creepy.

Last thing: I’m glad that sales keep trending upward. I hope it continues for the next thirty years or so. But I have to say that most of that trend isn’t down to my marketing efforts. Yeah, I wrote the book, and people like it, but I’m not the one spreading the word, making the sales. I’m tweeting to the same people, sending Facebook updated and G+ posts to the same crowd of followers day after day. The real reason new people are trying the novels is because readers are spreading the word.

So thank you.

The Way Into Magic post

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Hey, remember that book I released last month?

Well, it’s time to release book two, The Way Into Magic.

Before I go any farther, why don’t I post the cover?

Great Way Final Cover eBook 2 copy

Gorgeous, right? I love all the covers for this trilogy, but this is the one I love the most. The dragon skeleton, the cool blue, Cazia’s whole pose… It’s just incredibly appealing.

As I’ve said before, you don’t want to read this book without having read book one. This is a continuation of the story, not a stand alone text. That’s why there won’t be any new sample chapters (although you can still read the beginning of the story here) and why the description of the book will absolutely contain spoilers.

So why should you read it?

(Spoilers beyond this point.) Continue reading