Friday, January 15, 2021


In trying to give authors encouragement to keep going after many rejections, people will often cite that Harry Potter was rejected 12 times before it was picked up.  Anyone who would make such a statement doesn't realize the TRUE reality of the publishing business.  I was reminded of this when looking at twitter today when I found this tweet from @findmeediting.

Amanda is right. 12 - 16 rejections is nothing in the life of an aspiring author. But to give Amanada (and others some hope).

  • In my first attempt at a writing career, I wrote 13 novels, queried 7 (or was it 6 I forget), over the course of 20 years and received about 200 rejections.

  • When I returned to writing 10 years later, it was only on the condition that I wouldn't seek publication (because that way let to the dark side).  So my wife gave it a try and she received about 100 rejections.

  • Since this is my blog, I'm not going to cite all my successes since finally publishing in 2008, (if you are here you know that I've done well). So I just wanted to point out that persistence can pay off.  Robin has a saying, "The only way to guarantee failure is to quit trying."  
To provide some further incentive, (or maybe some will find it demoralizing) here are some other people who responded to Amanda's post:
  • @cyberwar: Was just on a call with an author who went through three agents and 11 years before finally getting published. Sold 100K books in six printings.

  • @hcor - Book 1: 15 agents, 5 full requests, 10 rejections, 1 R&R with no response - shelved book.  Book #2 55 agent quiers - 24 requests - 31 rejectiosn, 1 R&R no response - 1 publisher submission >> book deal.

  • @melisskhavas - I started querying in college and it took me 7 books and 200+ rejections to get signed. Spent a long time feeling embarrassed by it (thinking I really must have been the worst writer ever if it took so long), but I don’t think it’s that unusual, just not talked about.

  • @sharpegirl - While I did query 6 books over 7 years before my debut (debut was manuscript #16) I’ve gotta admit I never got more than 25 rejections per book because that’s about how many agents I was interested in.

  • @DianaUrban - *Cracks knuckles* Here are my stats prior to getting a book deal for All Your Twisted Secrets: - 3 agents - 4 times on sub to publishers - 5 editor R&R requests - 120+ editor rejections - 130+ agent rejections -- Never give up

  • @Heroes_Get_Made - I was rejected more than 100 times by agents and more than 20 times by publishers. I eventually got accepted by a publisher after submitting directly. Then that publisher went out of business. I got a different publisher, which published my entire seven-book series.

  • @JMCwrites - 290 queries until my first agent. 5 books went on submission to editors before one sold. My debut was the tenth manuscript I wrote. I'm not a bestseller, but hopefully that helps a little.

  • @AnnaLeeJuber - It took me 7 years before I sold my 5th completed manuscript. Probably close to 200 rejections, if not more. But it sure was fun to burn the paper ones (I started querying right at cusp of switching from paper to all electronic) once I had a publishing contract.
  • @KrisRey19 - I queried for 5 yrs (plus sporadically another 7 w/PB's before that) til my 5th novel which got 3 offers & my dream agent. I've send over 500 queries & must have as many R's. This job demands patience & serious guts.
  • @AllieLarkin - I think it took me a full year of rejections to find my first agent. I’m sure it was over 100 rejections, and a few of them were gratuitously mean.

  • @Kate4Queen  - 5 years of querying, 142 rejections. Finally sold books 4 and 5. Have now been published for 15 years and written around 70 books. :) And I think I'm doing okay :)

  • @katierus - Saaame! I had over 150. Eek, maybe more, it's been so damn long since then. I submitted for like 2 or 3 years I think. And even after I signed w/ my agent in 09, we got rejections! 

  • @BritneySlewis - This makes me a little emotional. Goodness. I queried for 10 years before I found the right agent. I don't even wanna share how many queries I sent out or that were rejected. Maybe 300??? Maybe over that? 

  • @KateQuinnAuthor - I was querying agents from age 17. 9 years of rejections and 7 novels consigned to a drawer before I was picked up, and I wouldn't say that's a huge amount of rejections, either.
  • @SSCav - James Lee Burke's The Lost Get-Back Boogie was rejected 111 times over 9 years. A small press took it on and it was nominated for a Pulitzer. There are many great authors who struggle for years to catch a break. I happens for some.

  • @brngreenwood - 122 agents passed on my novel that made the NYT bestseller list. And that’s just the rejections for that one book. Prior to that book, I clocked 400+ rejections for 6 books over the course of 9 years.

  • @laurcunn - I received somewhere around 80-90 rejections over a 10 year period (for Adverse Effects alone; I had at least 50 additional rejections for other books I had written) before I found my agent and subsequently my publisher.

  • @JasonRLady - I queried for 13 years before finding a publisher. I lost count of the rejections.

  • @triceretops - 17 straight years--shorts and novels--been rejected 1,500 times at the very least. It took 400 rejections before I got my last agent.

  • @barbaralongley - Raising my hand! I could've wallpapered my living room with rejection letters. I kept at it. Now I'm hybrid. I have 13 traditionally/agented published books, and 3 self-pubbed.

  • @sandraruttan - British thriller writer Simon Kernick received hundreds of rejections and he's been very successful.

  • @AuthorKatM - Querying from 2008. I didn't sign with an agent until 2017, and even then I didn't sign my first book deal until a month ago. I've received more rejections than I can count, but it helps knowing THAT'S NORMAL.

  • @HopeBolinger - Totally hear you! I think I've gotten somewhere near 1000 rejections for various works. I'm multi-published now in the traditional market, but still get constant rejections

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Winter Sale - Save 15% to 70%

This year's shipping season was so crazy that we couldn't guarantee the arrival of packages for holiday gift-giving. So, we've morphed our annual holiday sale into a Winter Sale and added a number of free items.  Also, all physical books are signed (and limited editions are numbered).

Also, because we had so many issues getting access to sign books at our fulfillment center during COVID-19, we bought a building and brought all shipping in house.  In doing this, we found a number of items that we thought we had sold out long, long ago.  But supplies on these items are extremely limited. Here are some examples:
  • Hardcover First Editions for Age of Myth (remainders), Age of Swords, and Age of Legend, Death of Dulgath, and The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter 

  • LIMITED EDITION hardcovers for Death of Dulgath and Disappearance of Winter's Daughter

  • Tote bags (Montemorcy (black) & Legends of the First Empire (white)) - people who have received them as part of the Kickstarters LOVE these large, high-quality bags.

  • Legends of the First Empire Black T-shirts (both Men's and Women's Styles in various sizes).
  • NOTE: In going through all our stock, we found a few copies whose dust jackets (or covers) are not 100% pristine (no tears but minor signs of wear). We've classified these as "hurt books" and are selling them at a significant discount (50% off) just to free up space. These are not "used books" (no one has owned them before), but due to the minor imperfections on the dust jacket or covers, we don't want them sold at list price.

  • We also picked up (on the cheap) a number of remainders (books that are new but have a small dot on the edge of the pages (indicating they have been returned for credit by a bookstore and can't be sold at full price).  All of these, are deeply discounted (40% for first printings, 50% for all others). We'll only make $1 or $2 dollars on them, but it's high time we started clearing them out for more space.
A few other things I should note:
  • Although we have a fair number in stock, the Ingram warehouses (the place that distributes to large bookstores both online and brick and mortar) are essentially out of the hardcover editions of Age of Death and Age of Empyre. This means we are near the end of their print runs, and once they are gone, only mass-market paperbacks will be available. So, if you want to ensure a full collection of the hardcovers, now is the best time to pick those up.

  • When ordering books from the Ingram warehouse, we received some "hurt books" from the Grim Oak Press product line. It's too expensive to ship these back, and our other choice is to burn them (which we absolutely don't want to do), but they are taking up A LOT of space, and we have to get rid of them somehow. So we have hardcover copies of Unfettered III for just $9 (70% off the list price).  This is an amazing anthology of 700+ pages with 27 short stories by the likes of Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson, Terry Brooks, Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik, Mark Lawerence, and many more. There really isn't a better hardcover anthology deal than this one!

  • All ebooks that I've self-produced are on sale at 50% off.

  • Over the years, I've created a number of bonus materials as part of Kickstarters and to introduce people to my stories.  I'm making every short story (and a full-length "making of" ebook) available for free as part of this sale.

  • One last thing. We also received a few hurt copies of Terry Brook's Sci-fi novel Street Freaks (some of them signed). And to get them out of our new space, we're offering a FREE HARDCOVER COPY(while supplies last), for anyone who purchases at least one other book from the sale.
I hope you'll check out the sale, and if you want to see more before you do, a full list of the items and their discounts/prices are below.

All told, there are 64 items on sale. Here is a complete list:

Friday, January 1, 2021

Editing Rant

Hey all, Robin here. So we have received the edits back from Laura Jorstad, for Nolyn. She is one of the two copyeditors we've worked with over the years because she (a) really knows her stuff (b) is familiar with some of the common mistakes that Michael makes, and (c) is a great Goldilock's editor - meaning she "is just right" - not too heavy-handed or to light on the touch. 

One of the things I do for Michael is handle the bulk of the "heavy lifting" on copyediting reviews.  Generally, it's a bunch of hitting accept or reject and anything that requires rewriting I highlight and send his way.  Now, as some may know, I'm an ex-engineer (my degree is in Electrical Engineering), and as such, I'm very analytical. Also, I have a high attention to detail -- which is good when editing.

One thing I've learned over the years is there is a lot of disagreement within the grammar community when it comes to (a) compound words and (b) hyphenation.  That's why you establish a set of references that you adhere to. One of the important tasks when going over edits is to stay consistent with your selected benchmarks.  For us, we use the Merriam Webster Dictionary, and because it depends on what edition you are working with, we use the on-line version because it's the most up to date.  

In going through some of the edits, I found something that enrages my "analytic mind."  Notice the following use of hyphens:
  • back-to-back
  • hand-to-hand
  • face-to-face
Makes sense, right?  But imagine my frustration to learn that shoulder-to-shoulder is WRONG based on Merrian's. In this case, there shouldn't be any hyphens and it is written as "shoulder to shoulder." The engineer in me resits breaking the "pattern," but my belief in adhering to the "bible" tells me I must.  It doesn't mean I can't be mad about the fact. 

NOTE: For those who are interested, I think it's because shoulder to shoulder is considered an idiom while the others can be an adverb or an adjective.

Maybe only I stress over such things.  But I found it interesting.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Good Riddance to 2020!

Well, we've just about made it.  Less than 12 hours from where I sit until 2021 rings in. It's been a terrible 2020 but hope springs eternal to a better New Year.  I hope all of you had a great holiday season, and that we can all see a return to normalcy in the new year!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Age of Legend and Audible 2 for 1 sale

Are you an Audible member and want to stretch your credits? Right now (and for the next 6 days) Audible has put a number of titles on sale in their annual 2-for-1 post-holiday sale.  I'm pleased to find that one of my titles (Age of Legend) has been included:

That book has been very well received (6,407 ratings with an average of 4.7), and the good news the last two books of the series are already released, so there is no long wait to finish up The Legends of the First Empire tales.

As to other works in the sales, there are only 68 titles in the Sci-fi and Fantasy category, and authors that are featured include George R. R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, John Scalzi, Andrzej Sapkowski, R.A. Salvatore, N. K. Jemisin, Gene Wolfe, Anthony Ryan, Miles Cameron, Seanan McGuire, Sarah J. Maas and many more.

In the Fiction category, there is even a selected set of short stories read by Neil Gaiman. If you've never heard Neil narrate, it's well worth 1/2 a credit to pick it up. I did.

Here are some of the titles that caught my eye that you might enjoy as well.

I hope you do pickup some titles during this great sale, and if one of them is Age of Legend, thank you for the support, and be sure to let me know what you think of it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

9th Goodreads Choice Nominee!!

Our thanks go out to everyone who did a write-in for Age of Empyre for the Goodreads Choice Awards. Due to your efforts, I'm pleased to say we received our 5th nomination in a row and our 9th since 2010!

The full list of the semi-final round includes the following titles:

Here's a bit about each.

  # ratings  
Michel J. Sullivan
Jim Butcher
Rebecca Roanhorse
 Andrea Stewart 
R. F. Kuang
N.K. Jemisin
Naomi Novik
S.A. Chakraborty
Nghi Vo 
Mark Lawrence
Sarah J. Maas
T.J. Klune
V.E. Schwab
Alix E. Harrow
Susanna Clarke
Jim Butcher
Brandon Sanderson
Patricia Briggs
Joe Abercrombie
Will Wight

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Goodreads Choice Award 2020

It's time to vote!  No, I'm not talking about the 2020 Presidential Election, we've already done our civic duty there. I'm talking about the Goodreads Choice Award!  I have two books eligible this year:

Neither made the first round, booo!  But due to my amazing fanbase, a number of my past titles have made it into the second round through the write-in process. Having two books eligible means that they might split the vote making neither one eligible, so if you are thinking of writing one in, please choose Age of Empyre as I think that will be the one that most people will be selecting (since it is the last in the series.  

But if you are going to try to help to get it to round #2, you have to hurry - today is the last day for voting! As always, you help would be greatly appreciated!