Thursday, December 1, 2016

Release schedule announced


People often ask me why my Legends of the First Empire novels aren't being released quicker since the entire series is written. Well, the quick answer is there is a big difference between "written" and "done." The longer answer requires some knowledge on the steps required from the time I finish writing until it is released to the public.  Here's the condensed list:

  1. Alpha reading by my wife, Robin, who generally finds issues both large and small that have to be addressed,
  2. Editing based on #1 above.
  3. Copy and line editing in preparation for beta reading.
  4. Beta readers weigh in and more adjustments are implemented.
  5. Another round of copy edits for any thing added in #4 above.
  6. Book is sent to the publisher and my agent.
  7. Structural changes implemented from #6 implemented.
  8. Another round of copy and line editing in preparation for "final submission."
  9. Book is turned over to the publisher for their copy editors work to begin.
  10. Copy edit changes are accepted/rejected.
  11. A last read through of the book is given before submission for layout.
  12. Book is laid out, last proofing before printing.
  13. Book is read by publisher's proof-reader, only minor changes at this point.
  14. Reading and sign-off of print-ready version.
  15. ARC (Advanced Reading Copies) are produced and sent to reviewers and bloggers.
  16. One last check before mass press run.
  17. Book is printed.
Whew, that's a lot of steps. And each of the remaining books are at various points in that process. In fact, book #2 sat idle (until recently), while I worked on the conclusion of the series.  You see, after reading all the books, Robin had very few changes to book #1, #2, and #3. But she did have some important suggestions regarding how the series ended. One of her biggest problems was that it felt rushed, and she was right.

So, after getting Age of Myth ready for release, I spent about a year reworking the end of the series, and in the process it expanded from 5 books to 6.  There had been a natural stopping point in a particular area, and in many ways one of the books was actually two stories "smooshed" (a technical writing term) together. The rewriting proved my original instinct was correct, and now the series divides nicely between two major story arcs (books 1 - 3 & books 4 - 6). 

With that major rework completed (and deadlines easier to predict), I could give Del Rey a better feel for what to expect when. Because I write so quickly, a book a year was going to produce a tremendous backlog. So, over the last few weeks we've hammered out various options for release schedules. Complicating the issue was a non-compete clause in my contract. I wanted to continue to release Riyria books, but I was also respectful about not adversely effecting the sales and marketing of Del Rey's releases of the Legends series. Here is what we've come up with:

  • June 2017 - Age of Swords (book #2 of Legends of the First Empire)
  • Oct/Nov 2017 - Untitled (book #4 of the Riyria Chronicles)
  • Jan/Feb 2018 - Age of War (book #3 of Legends of the First Empire)
  • June/July 2018 - Age of Legends (book #4 of the Legends of the First Empire)

So, the books will be coming out more frequently -- three books over the span of about a year in fact! Plus there will be another Royce and Hadrian book thrown in as well.  Now, I should mention a few caveats to this schedule.

First off, the new Riyria book will NOT be available through the retail chain. You'll ONLY be able to get books through (a) the Kickstarter (b) buying directly from my site (c) audio versions on Audible.com and iBookstore. There are many reasons for this, which I will go into in a future post, but if you want to read the next Riyria book, be sure to sign-up here to be notified when and how you can get your copy. NOTE: After some period of time (at a minimum six months), the print and ebook WILL be available through on-line stores but we'll likely not have brick-and-mortar sales.

The other thing I should point out is that technically speaking book #4 of Legends isn't under contract. Because of how the storyline breaks I want to keep book 1 - 3 and 4 - 6 with a single publisher. My contract with Del Rey is for 4 books which are: the first 3 books of Legends, and "some" book based in Elan.  There are several possibilities for what that remaining book will be, and my hope is Del Rey will buy books #5 and #6. If that happens, then that 4th book will indeed be #4 of the series. Why don't we know right now? Well, it's just too soon for Del Rey to make a commitment to the rest of the series. If they don't pick up the ending, it won't be a problem. I'll self-produce those novels just like I have with The Death of Dulgath, Hollow World, and the first five books of the Riyria Revelations.

So there you have it. The books will be coming out faster now that I have the ending of the series fixed, and fans of Riyria won't have to wait until all of he Legends books are released in order to get their next Royce and Hadrian adventure. I hope you are excited as I am about the books that are coming soon.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the comprehensive post, and all the updates! There is much to appreciate here. As well as with many of your past posts, which I don't want to gush about every time, so I often refrain from posting, but thanks there as well.

    As a print-only buyer, then I'll definitely be looking forward to the "future post". Also, I understand that you have to do what's best for you, and (very likely) the majority of fans, even if that sadly includes keeping the book out of brick-and-mortar stores.

    There are those of us with OCD who appreciate our volumes looking the best that they possibly can (okay, I can speak for myself, perhaps there are some others?). Along those lines, if it is at all possible, I'd appreciate it if you might look into an extra secure packaging option? In the same way that the wonderful Grim Oak Press uses a sturdy box with lots of support to keep the book(s) as mint as possible, then I'd *love* a shipping option beyond bubble mailers. The bubble mailers can work, but I'd prefer to be able to pay a fee for something more secure. Maybe something like an extra $5-$8 for a box rather than a mailer? I don't especially *want* to pay extra, but in the end the book is worth it, and with the bubble mailers I do worry. Again, I don't know how many (if anyone) else might feel similarly, but if it might be feasible to explore a more secure option such as a box then I'd really appreciate it. I will buy the book regardless.

    Thanks very much for hearing me out, and I wish you and your family a Happy Holidays and an even more successful 2017!

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    1. Thanks! It's always good to hear people are reading the posts. Shelving space in brick-and-mortar stores is getting harder and harder to come by. My latest book, Age of Myth was put out by Pengunin Random House (the largest publisher in the world) and I noticed they started to remove it from shelves after about 4 months - which is considerably longer than most books, but still a really short time in the grand scheme of things.

      When it comes to shipping, I use both boxes and mailers. Multiple books almost always come in boxes. Single books, generally do well in mailers. If you buy direct and put a note on your order that you want a box rather than a mailer I can certainly do that.

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    2. You're welcome, and of course thanks for the reply. :)

      I've observed a similar pattern of a few months for most titles in the B&N near me (the only bookstores left). It's definitely a shame, but for my needs a lot better than the alternative. And I can't speak for other print buyers (of course), but that's helped encourage me to buy release week, or soon afterward. Buy it while it's new and available, rather than the many months-to-years long wish list system that I've sometimes used in the past.

      I appreciate especially the info and offer on the boxes and mailers. I've only ever ordered a single book at a time from you, so that explains why I've gotten the mailers. I'll look to put a note for the next Kickstarter, when the Riyria Chronicles becomes available. Thanks again.

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  2. When do you plan on releasing the hardcovers for the first books?

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    1. Still have some contract issues on that one. Robin is pretty busy at the present time with coordination of editing on Age of Swords so until that is 'put to bed' she'll not have much time to devote to it.

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