Thursday, April 23, 2015

Riyria Chronicles #3 News


For some time now, I've been saying I'm going to try to get the third Riyria Chronicle out by the end of the year, so no new news there. But something has changed recently, and it's worth doing an update.

As people may know, I've finished writing my new series, The First Empire, which has been picked up by Del Rey and will be coming out in the summer of 2016. When arranging this deal, I'd been working under the assumption that I had up to April or May of 2016 to get the third chronicle book done and on the market. Turns out it's gotten a little more complicated. You see, Del Rey is going to put a big marketing push into the new series, and so they don't want any Riyria book hitting the streets in 2016. What this means is rather than "trying" to get the book out by the end of the year, it HAS to hit the streets before December 31st or it turns into a pumpkin.  Okay, so it won't actually become a pumpkin, but it will have to sit in line behind the release of the initial three books of The First Empire, and that would mean a long wait.

Because time is so short, I won't be able to release this book through Orbit or any other traditional publisher. The ONLY way to meet the deadline is to self-publish. Going that route isn't a concern. We've done it before and can do it again. But it will mean a lot of hard work on both mine and Robin's part.

With The First Empire now finished and behind me, I can concentrate 100% on this next Royce and Hadrian tale. I've already been developing ideas, but now I have to take all those bits and pieces and weave it into a cohesive story. Having done this a few times my confidence level is high. Still, until it's written and through alpha testing (Robin's read), I'm never entirely sure if I'll have a winner or a dud.

Speaking of testing, I'm going to be needing some beta readers for the release, but time will be short. Robin figures there will be only three weeks for people to read and provide feedback. If you are interested in being a beta reader, then here is a form where you can sign up.  The beta will probably be hitting somewhere around September, so for college folks take that into consideration when signing up.

Another thing that will be keeping Robin busy is a Kickstarter for this book. We are working with a partner that should be able to get the books into bookstores and libraries, but to do so we'll have to do a print run of at least 5,000 hardcovers, plus cover costs for warehousing and distribution. All told, we anticipate the production of the book will cost about $33,000.  We're going to finance the $4,400 for cover design and editing and also throw in another $2,600 for printing, but that means we'll still need to raise $26,000 for the printing. Given that the Hollow World Kickstarter funded at $30,000+ I think this should be doable. The good news is if we don't hit the goal, the book still comes out. The only difference is  there won't be a hardcover edition, and it won't be sold in stores.

We want to reward avid fans, and so we'll have some "early bird" specials for the Kickstarter, but you'll have to be quick to grab them. For instance, a number of  early backers will get their rewards at a  discount, and there will be bonus content for those who sign up in the first two days. If you want to be put on a list for notification, here's a link.

Here's also a preview of what we'll be giving away and the price points for each. (Click on the chart to see a larger version).


Notice the (D)Early Bird, (P)EarlyBird), and (H)Early bird are the digital only, paperback + digital, and hardcover + digital rewards but at a savings of 20%. Also, we're going to have three different versions of the hardcover.

  • A rare limited edition - only 50 books produced
  • An affordable limited edition - only 250 books produced
  • A standard edition
We're also going to be having a number of "add-ons" such as posters, t-shirts, and coffee mugs. So you'll be able to get some other cool perks if you are in on the fun.

One last thing that the Kickstarter is going to be able to provide is a helping hand for authors that could use a little boost in getting people to read their work. I'm going to open a contest and publish someone's short story along with my book in the hope that they can get some additional readers.

 Here's how it will work.
  • Writers can submit a query letter just like they would send to an agent or editor
  • I (and/or Robin) will evaluate each query, and ask for full submissions from worthy candidates. Everyone will get a critique of their query even if not selected.
  • From that candidate pool, we'll pick a winner and help them by providing structural editing/coaching and copy editing to turn the story into a finely polished piece.
  • We'll be paying them twice the "pro-rate" for short stories  (because the "pro-rate" is ridiculously low).  So, they'll get $0.15 a word rather than the $0.07 that most paying fantasy magazines and anthologies provide.
Even those that don't get selected will get query letter feedback, which I would have loved to have "back in the day." Hopefully, the person that  get selected will receive a little more exposure for their work.

So, that's a lot of news, and hopefully a lot of people will be excited about this. The Kickstarter will provide the best means for pre-ordering the book, and those people will get it before it's available through the retail chain.  If I don't make the December 31st deadline, the Kickstarter backers will be "grandfathered in." They can still receive their books in 2016 because they were purchased in 2015, but everyone else will have to wait until after the third First Empire is released. Hopefully, that won't be an issue, but doing the Kickstarter allows me to hedge my bets and make sure that at least some people will get the book earlier rather than later.  

I hope you are as excited about all this as I am. We'll keep you updated as the project moves along.

18 comments:

  1. For the writing part of the Kickstarter, is there a cut off date? Are you looking for certain genres or are any acceptable?

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    1. Thanks for asking. I would prefer the submissions to be "speculative fiction" as that will appeal best to my audience - but a good story is a good story so I'm not going to say "no" to anything.

      Yes there will be a cut-off date - but people can start writing their queries now. Basically I hope people will start writing their queries now, or at the latest when the KS launches, and I'll need them in within 2 weeks after KS is over in order to do the judging, pick a story, edit it, and get it released in time.

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    2. Sounds great! I'm assuming there will be a word limit, any idea what it will be yet? I'm the kind of writer who wants to know all the parameters as early as possible, and this is a great opportunity. Thank you so much!

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  2. Will this book be released as an audiobook this year? I really really like the audiobooks!

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    1. It will! I signed the audio contract for this contract last year - so the publisher is standing by as is the narrator, Tim Gerard Reynolds.

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  3. Good news in a way Michael :) I believe you can do it!!

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  4. Great news I am so excited!!!

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    1. I am too! Thanks for being equally excited.

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  5. I don't see a link for the kickstarter project. Is it not up and running yet? Or just "in the works"?

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    1. Just in the works at this point. Because it has some "early bird" components the only "actionable" thing right now is to sign up to be notified when it goes live. Here is the link to sign up:

      http://michaeljsullivan.polldaddy.com/s/riyria-availability

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  6. This is incredibly exciting, and I can't wait for the Kickstarter! For the queries, are you looking for something specific or should we just follow the standard guidelines?

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