Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Winter is Coming: Featured Pre-order for the Next Riyria Novel

The audio book for The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter is coming in just 20 days! And Audible has made it a featured pre-order.  There's already been several thousand people adding it to their library making it the second highest best-selling fantasy epic pre-order on the store. And look at what's the third ;-)

If you're a Riyria fan, please consider pre-ordering the book. Early sales is one of the driving factors behind the marketing push a book receives, so ordering it now will be a big help to me. And if you've not yet read Book #3 (The Death of Dulgath). I highly recommend you pick up the kindle version for free and add the audio for just $1.99. That deal and a half!

I'm pretty exciting about the coming release, and I hope you are too.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Free: The Death of Dulgath and The Making of the Death of Dulgath

A couple of years ago, I wrote a companion book to The Death of Dulgath that explains quite a lot  about:
  • How I come up with an idea for  a book
  • My writing process
  • How I use Scrivener
  • The beta reading process that Robin puts my books through
  • And a bunch of other things related to publishing and editing of my books
It's a great resource for aspiring authors, and as such it's a nice thing to give to people doing NaNoWriMo. The problem is that much of the content makes no sense without access to the novel, and that normally runs $9.99.  Now I didn't write the "making of" to drive sales to the novel, nor do I have any desire to make money off of aspiring authors (you have enough to worry about). So, I'm going to make the novel free for three days so you can get a copy for nothing. Then, when you are done with NaNoWriMo, you can read the book. Once you're finished, email me to receive a copy of the "making of" (I don't want you to read one before you read the other), and I'll send one your way.

So how do you get this free copy of The Death of Dulgath? Well there are two ways.
  • Pick up a copy during Nov 14 - Nov 16 at Amazon (you'll find that it is free rather than $9.99). When buying this way, you can also add on the audio book for just $1.99 -- which is an exceptional deal and if you've not heard Tim Gerard Reynolds narration, you really MUST!
  • Request a copy from me and I'll send out DRM-free versions that can be used on any reading device (.epub for Nook, Kobo, and ibooks; .pdf for computers, tablets,, and smart phones, .mobi for kindle and kindle apps). That link will also provide you the ability to give it to a friend if you think they may like it. 
I hope your NaNoWriMo is going well. We're not quite halfway through and there is plenty of time left to catch up if you are behind. And I do hope you'll take me up on the free book opportunity. I do think that the "making of" will be quite educational.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

NaNoWriMo Tip: Write For Yourself

Today's NaNoWriMo tip is to write the book that you want to read.  When I was in my twenties, and a stay-at-home dad, I tried to fulfill a lifelong dream of being a novelist. Over the course more than a decade I wrote 13 books. Most of them weren't meant for publication, they were me teaching myself how to write. But I was also trying to write books that I thought had a good chance of being published (based on other books "out there.") I learned two things during that time.
  1. I didn't enjoy writing as much as I would have liked.
  2. Trying to follow publishing "trends" is folly.
For me, I eventually quit writing altogether. At the time I thought I would never return tot the keyboard but a decade later something happened. I picked up a copy of the first Harry Pottter book (for my dyslexic daughter). Sarah didn't read the book, but I did. And it reminded me how much fun a great adventure with characters you love can be. I decided to write again, but with two important differences.
  1. I wouldn't seek publication, as that path led to the dark side 
  2. I would write a book that I wanted to read, and one that I hoped Sarah would like.
That's when I wrote The Crown Conspiracy (the first book of the Theft of Swords Omnibus), and the rest, as they say, is history.  Sarah didn't read that book either...well not until it was published -- apparently reading manuscript on 8 1/2 x 11 paper was frustrating for her dyslectic mind. And Robin picked up the thrown down gauntlet and took it upon herself to get the books published.  I learned a lot from that experience, and it only took me twenty-five years to learn the importance of writing for yourself. 

Hopefully, you won't take as long as I did ;-)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Goodreads Choice Awards: Semifinal Round

I need to take a little break from the NaNoWriMo posts because Age of Swords made it to the Semifinal Round of the Goodreads Choice Award!! There are still two more days to vote and here are the 20 fantasy books in the final round:

If you haven't vote yet, pease do so now. I don't need you to vote for my book, simply choose the book you like the best from this list.

  # ratings  
Age of Swords
Michel J. Sullivan
Assassin's Fate
Robin Hobb
The Bear and the Nightingale
Katerine Arden
City of Miracles
 Robert Jackson Bennett 
A Conjuring of Light
 V.E. Schwab
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
Darynda Jones
Etched in Bone
Anne Bishop
Fantastic Beasts
J. K. Rowling
The Fate of the Tearling
Erika Johansen
  Karen Marie Moning  
Kings of the Wyld 
  Nicholas Eames  
The Land: Raiders
  Aleron Kong 
Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman
Brandon Sanderson
One Fell Sweep
Ilona Andrews
Red Sister
Mark Lawrence
Silence Fallen
Patricia Briggs
Sins of Empire
Brian McClellan
The Stone Sky
N.K. Jemisin
The Witchwood Crown
Tad Williams

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Writers and Goodreads

There are many social networking sites out there, and authors use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr to tell the world about their books. But I'm always amazed that so few authors are active on Goodreads--a social networking site that is 100% dedicated to books!

Robin (my wife) and I have given plenty of lectures on Goodreads and writers and it would take more than I can easily write about here to go into all those details. But I do want to highlight just a few things.

  1. You can add your book to Goodreads even before it is published. This means you could have months (or years) of it "out there" for people to find it and get excited about it's release. When I started Rhune (the first book of The Legends of the First Empire which was renamed to Age of Myth before release), Robin added a page for the book. And by the time of it's release, more than 10,000 people has already shelved it. So tip #1 is start early, and get your book listed as soon as you start working on it. Don't know the title yet?  That's okay you can put in a placeholder and change it. As I mentioned above, Age of Myth was originally called Rhune, and all the people who shelved it as Rhune came over automatically when it got it's new title.
  2. Be a reader first, and author second. When interacting with others on Goodreads, don't go around yelling "Buy my book! Buy my book!" It doesn't work on Twitter and it doesn't work on Goodreads either. But what does work...being a member of the community, helping others to find books they like (even if it's not yours) and being nice and friendly to fellow book lovers. They'll eventually discover you are a writer, after all your profile says that you are (and lists your various books) but let them come to you rather than the other way around.
  3. Goodreads Choice Award Nominations can really help a book get noticed! As of today I can proudly say I'm a six-time nominee for the Goodreads Choice Awards. That's because Age of Swords was added to the semi-final road as a write-in. I'm honored by my reader's support and I wanted to share with fellow writers what kind of impact a nomination can have.
On Goodreads, people put books on their shelves for books they've either (a) read, (b) have sitting on their too be read pile or (c) have heard of and may be interested in them at some time. If you are trying to read the tea-leaves to see if your book is getting traction, you need look no further than the number of people who have shelved your books.  Goodreads even tracks this information for you (for a certain time keep this data you have to save it off yourself which Robin does for me).  

Here is a graph that focuses in on the last part of 2016 and the first month of 2017 for Age of Myth (the first book in the Legends of the First Empire Series). 

Before its nomination the book was receiving about 42 shelvings per day. But look at the spikes during the various stages of the Goodreads Choice Awards. It went up to 1,230 on the day the nominations were made.  That's a huge increase. But what's even more interesting is that in January, after the awards were wrapped, the books average shelvings went up to 108, a 250% increase as before the award.

So, how do you get nominated?  The selections are made based on the following factors:
  • Books released during the eligibility period (which usually run from mid-November of the previous year until mid-November of the current year).
  • Number of people who have shelved the books
  • Number or ratings/and reviews the book has received
  • Overall rating of the book
The first fifteen books are selected based on this criteria (and some editorial analysis by the people at Goodreads), and then 5 more books are added based on write-ins during the first round of voting. Later, the field will be narrowed to 10 books for the final round of voting and the book with he most votes across all the voting periods win.

I doubt I'll ever see my book as a winner, competition against people such as J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, and Brandon Sanderson, makes that all but impossible. But to be one of 20 books selected from the thousand of fantasy titles that come out?  Heck, yeah, I'll take that, and I'm honored for the nomination.  

If you want to cast your vote for your favorite fantasy of 2017, voting is open for the semi-final round. You don't have to vote for my book, just pick the one you liked the best.

Monday, November 6, 2017

NaNoWriMo AMA with Michael J. Sullivan

The moderators at the /r/fantasy reddit site have asked me to do an AMA on November 8th.  I, of course, said yes. The focus of this AMA will be on writing related questions since this is National Novel Writing Month, but, of course, I'll answer questions on any and all subjects.  I'll make the post early on the 8th and be in the sub at 7:30 PM (EST) to answer them. If you put in your questions earlier in the day I'll have time to work on them before posting come game time.

For those who aren't familiar with the /r/fantasy sub of reddit. Its a fabulous group that has grown at astounding rates. There are over 207,000 members and it includes not only readers, but a good number of fantasy authors drop in as well.  So, if you have questions...I hope to have the answers. Stop by on Wednesday. I hope to see you there.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Winter Is Coming

Michael J. Sullivan & Tim Gerard Reynolds

In October, I had the pleasure of working with Tim Gerard Reynolds recording my new book The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter. Given that I’m putting out three books in close succession (Age of Swords, Winter’s Daughter, and Age of War) Robin and I were working right up to the deadline. Tim—who is wildly popular these days, and in great demand— scheduled us for a week in October, so we had to meet that. Robin and I were editing on the train to Newark, where some of the Audible Studios are located. Luckily we were not in the quiet car as we also debated various aspects of the text. People might have thought us insane, but hopefully not rude. 

Alex recording Tim whose face is hidden behind the mike's spit guard.

During the day we monitored the live recordings, on hand to explain pronunciations, answer questions, and on occasions request a different emphasis on a given line. At night, Robin and I continued to edit trying to stay ahead of Tim. At times we live edited as Tim was reading. He would make a “mistake” misreading my text—but I liked it. We would then alter the text to reflect the change. 

The biggest problem we encountered was lingering too long at lunch. The cafeteria at Audible Studios was like a really nice high school. Tim, Alex (our engineer), Robin, and I filled our trays and sat at long tables eating and chatting far too long. But this was as much fun for us as it was work. 

So Winter’s Daughter was recorded and is undergoing (audio) edits. And as always, Tim was fantastic. 

Thanks, Tim.