Saturday, August 24, 2019

3 of the Top 5 of all time


We are less than 48 hours into the Age of Death Kickstarter, but already it's moved up to the 5th most-backed Fiction Kickstarter of all time!


What's more, my Kickstarters have 3 of those top 5 spots. Isn't that amazing? It's only 168 backers away from overtaking The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter for spot #4.  Will it eventually overtake #2? It will need another 646 bakers to do that, and I think we'll be able to reach that goal in the next 17 days. But what about #1? Well, that would REALLY take some work because it would need more than 2,762 more backers, and currently, it only has 1,907. Still, strange things have happened, so I'm not going to rule anything out.

So, if you've read Age of Legend and are itching for the next book.  Or haven't started Legends of the First Empire and are looking to find a good excuse to start, please stop by the Kickstarter and consider backing it.

And for the more than 1,900 people who already have, Robin and I thank you for your support.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Age of Death Kickstarter Launching on Thursday


At 12:00 noon EDT on Thursday, Aug 22nd, I'll be pushing the Age of Death Kickstarter live. To find it you can go to the page posted at this link, and press the graphic. Doing that right now does nothing but on Thursday it will take you to the Kickstarter page.

HINT: You can also find the page by going to Kickstarter and searching for Age of Death or by looking for projects created by Michael J. Sullivan ;-).


So what are we offering through this project?

Well, for the most part, it will mirror the Age of Legends crowdfunding, with a few notable exceptions.

  • First, we have doubled the number of early-bird specials (100 rewards will be 20% off), but I still expect them to go fast.
     
  • Second, we won't have any "Nights in Avryln." There are still too many people who haven't yet had their visits, and until we get those knocked out, I don't want to add to that backlog.
     
  • Third, we've significantly reduced overseas shipping. Basically, we've taken a big cut out of our profit margin for those who live outside the United States: $20 (for 1-book rewards) and $46 (for those who buy all 5 books). We have applied these discounts to reduce the shipping costs charged to backers. Now, if we get enough overseas orders, we can do shipping locally from overseas fulfillment companies, and we might be able to recoup some of that sacrificed profit. We won't know if that is possible until after the Kickstarter is over and we know the number, weight, and volume of all the packages.
     
  • We are using BackerKit for fulfillment. This will provide an easier way for us to distribute electronic content, and it will also aid the process if people want to "trade up" to other reward levels after the Kickstarter has ended. This will also allow us to take pre-orders for people who miss the Kickstarter.
     
  • By popular demand, we'll be bringing back Robin's Tip Jar. So, if you want to help get her a little something special for the work she puts in, consider backing at a slightly higher amount then your reward level, and you'll be able to tip her in BackerKit when the project is over. She'll use the tips to get "something special" and she'll share with you what that is.
     
  • Unfortunately, we can't offer the audiobooks as those rights were sold to Audible Studios, and only they can distribute those files, but we have made a low-cost pledge ($5 - SOUND ADVICE) so people can get their names in the printed books and receive digital rewards such as the screensavers and any other electronic files that become available through stretch goals.
     
  • We are also discounting the hardcovers ($25 rather than $27-$28) and allowing you to get 1, 2, 3, 4, or all 5 of the existing titles. If you want to ensure a full hardcover set, I highly encourage you to get these copies through the Kickstarter. Age of Swords is already out of print (although we have a large shipment in our warehouse), and both Age of Myth and Age of War was on their way to an "out of print" status when I convinced Del Rey to do one more small press run for the Kickstarters. My guess is once those are gone, there won't be anymore.
Okay, so that's what is new, but what's the same?
  • Have you ever wanted to see your name in print? Do you want to show off to your friends (and the rest of the world) that you helped to make the hardcover edition possible? Well, all backers (unless they opt-out) will have their names listed in the acknowledgments of both the print and ebook.
  • The ebook is still offered at retail price, so you'll be paying the same whether you are preordering through the Kickstarter or buy it through online retail sites. The difference? You'll have an actual electronic copy (which can't be erased from your device), it'll be DRM-free, and you'll put a higher % of your money into our pocket by cutting out the middlemen. In addition, you'll get to read the story months before the retail release.
     
  • All reward levels that have a physical book will be signed.
     
  • All reward levels (except SOUND ADVICE)  will get the ebook in late October (a full three-months) before the retail release. So, if you are chomping at the bit to see what happens next (and I know many of you are), then you'll want to be a backer.
     
  • The hardcovers will match the existing books, and once more we are using Marc Simonetti for the amazing artwork.
If you are wondering why we are doing a Kickstarter, it's a subject I've talked about in the past, but maybe you missed it. You see, we sold the audio rights for the entire series long, long, ago. When Del Rey purchased the rights to the first three books, that wasn't a problem and they licensed just the ebook and print rights.  A few years later, when it came time to negotiate for books #4 - #6, we found out that there had been a corporate policy change with Penguin Random House and they no longer let Del Rey sign any contract that doesn't contain audiobook rights. Well, with those rights already gone, that meant Del Rey couldn't sign the rest of the books.

For a while, we worked on getting another publisher to do the books, but we weren't happy with the release schedule they wanted, nor certain clauses in the contract. So we decided to self-publish the book. That said, we know how important it is for readers to have all their books in a series be consistent so we use the same printer, paper, size, and even the same font, for our versions so the last three books will match the first three. But doing a print run is expensive, and by using the Kickstarter we hope to fund half of the production costs.

There is a lot more information about the Kickstarter, too much to go into here, so here is preview link, that will let you see all the details before it goes live.

We're pretty excited about this Kickstarter, and we hope you will be as well. It's always a fun and hectic time when we have one going on, and it's so great seeing everyone's excitement toward the project. I hope you'll join us!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Goodreads Featured New Releases in Fantasy


It's been a good launch for Age of Legend, not only did it make several of the top bestseller lists (New York Times and USA Today), but it is also being featured in Goodread's New Fantasy releases.  Here are some of the other top titles that have recently come out!


So far 18,527 Goodreads members have shelved the book, and I'm cautiously optimistic that it'll be nominated for a Choice Award in a few months. Part of the criteria that wins a book its nomination is the number of shelvings, so thank you to everyone who has added it to their shelves!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists - again!


I was floored when Age of War hit the New York Times bestseller list. To be honest, I never thought I would ever make this amazing distinction. So, imagine my surprise when Age of Legend did so as well!


Now, that's an indication that the audiobooks sold well, but how about the print and ebooks? Well, I'm proud to say that we also made the USA Today Bestseller list (which doesn't take into account the audio sales).


Of course, this really isn't my accomplishment, it's all of you who showed so much support for the book and bought them as soon as you could get your hands on them. Robin and I greatly appreciate your support!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

It's a wrap!


We have now officially finished with the Age of Legend Kickstarter, and boy did Robin and I have a good time! And based on the messages and emails we've received, it looks like others did, as well. This project was hugely successful (#2 most-backed & #5 most-funded fiction projects of all time).

Pre-ordering direct through the Kickstarter has a lot of advantages. The price is the same (or lower) than the retail copies, the physical books are signed, people get to read the story 3 months before the official release,  and they receive bonus materials such as bookmarks, short stories, screensavers, and much, much more. For us, we earn a great deal more money per purchase (retailer middlemen take 30% - 60% of the price the reader pays), and the backers make hardcover copies possible.

Here's some data on the Age of Legend project:

  • 2,406 people received the ebook 3 months early (April rather than July)
  • 2,748 signed hardcover copies of Legends of the First Empire books were sold
  • 1,453 people received a set of 4 custom-designed bookmarks (one of which was signed)
  • 2,553 people received a free full-length bonus novel
  • 2,553 people received bonus material such as short stories (3), screen savers (6 designs), t-shirt graphics (3), music (10 files), graphics for posters and puzzles (12 files), video Q&A recordings (5)
  • $9,100 of savings was passed onto readers (books sold at $25 or less rather than $27 - $28)
And, yes, the Age of Death Kickstarter is coming soon! Robin is working hard to get it set up, and we hope to launch next week (the week after that at the latest). The only remaining issue relates to shipping non-US packages. She's in discussions with fulfillment partners in Europe and Canada. 

And yes, people will get the story more than 3 months early (end of October rather than early February). So, if you can't wait for the next installment, please consider joining us for our next Kickstarter! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Riyria Revelations Box Set


No, this isn't about the limited edition hardcovers, and yes those are still in the works. This post is related to Orbit's paperback boxset of the Riyria Revelations, which is coming out on September 24th. Now, I love boxsets, but I like them even more when they are signed.  So, I've ordered a bunch, and I'm taking preorders at this link, and offering more than a 20% discount. That comes out to $31 which means just $10.33 a book which is much less than the individual prices of $16 - $17 each. Once I have stock in hand, I'll be adding it to my store, but for now, the above link is the only way to get signed copies. Plus, Robin is going to make a custom-designed bookmark that I'll sign. We'll add that to the buy direct orders. Now how much would you pay! ;-)


I know it's still summer, and people are focused on back to school rather than Christmas, but for just a little more than a $28 hardcover, you can introduce a loved one to ALL of the Riyria Revelations books, and since they'll be signed, that'll make them an even more special gift. I hope you'll pick up a set! And as always, Robin and I thank you for your support.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Audio preorders are up, reserve yours now!


Has the ending of Age of Legend left you wanting to know the rest of the story?  I'm sure it has because even though I hadn't mentioned it before, the next two books are #2 and #3 in the Bestselling Epic Fantasy category for books that are coming soon. If you've already pre-ordered, thanks for the support! If you haven't, well here is a friendly reminder, and maybe we'll hit #1 sometime soon ;-)

Here is a link for Age of Death, and another for Age of EmpyreAnd while it doesn't say, Tim is (and has been for months) booked for the gig, so, no worries. He'll be recording them. Originally, we had planned on recording the two books back to back, but scheduling conflicts with one of our copyeditors meant they couldn't get to Age of Empyre in time. We didn't want to lose her, so we asked Tim for his next available slot. It was a long way off, February, in fact, but that still gives the post-production people enough time to work their magic without changing the release date.

The train and our hotel are booked, so we'll be heading to New York in the middle of October. We'll both be "sitting in" with Tim during the recording and take him out for a nice dinner.

And for the non-audio listeners, we haven't forgotten about you. The Kickstarter for Age of Death will launch this month (hopefully next week).  And just like Age of Legend, those that pre-order through it will get the story before the retail release.  We'll be sending ebook copies as soon as we get out of the studio because we sometimes make minor adjustments as Tim reads.   That means you can get the book in October, more than 3 months ahead of the official retail release.

Robin has been reading my implemented changes from her comments, and deemed them "really good." So we are hoping to get the book into beta reading next week.  If you've signed up but not heard, no worries, Robin hasn't made her selections yet, but I'm sure she will be soon.