Friday, September 13, 2019

A heartfelt thanks for the amazing support



Another Kickstarter is in the history books. Robin and I want to thank all the people who helped make the Age of Death project such a huge success. With that out of the way, the final production begins. The manuscript has gone to the copyeditors and we expect to have their changes back in early October. For those that backed the Kickstarter, that means you'll get your ebooks next month. Robin has started doing the layout for the book so we can get cost estimates and schedule the print runs. Once all that is done, we'll know better about the shipping date for physical copies, but you'll certainly get them before the Feb 4, 2020 release date.

So, how did the Kickstarter go? Really well!

  • Our most successful Kickstarter to date.
  • 3,120 backers  - 567 more than Age of Legend.
  • $119,337 raised - $8,471 more than Age of Legend.
  • 2nd most-backed and 4th most-funded fiction Kickstarters of all time.
Here's some data about the past Kickstarters.



People are already asking when the Age of Empyre Kickstarter will launch, and normally I would have said 3 months. But that would land it right in the middle of the holiday season, and I'm not sure that would be a good time. So, Robin's current thought is early in January. We'll keep you posted.


Lately, Robin has been talking to a number of authors who are considering Kickstarters. We think this is great as the one-on-one interaction and special perks that Kickstarters provide make it a great experience for readers and writers. Hopefully, we'll see some other authors bumping us out of the top ranks.

Oh, and if you missed the Kickstarter, no worries. You can still participate via the BackerKit pre-order store. Robin is still setting it up, but it should be ready soon. We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Montemorcey Tote Bag added to Kickstarter


Well, it's been a fun ride, but we are getting near the end. There are 55 hours and change left for The Age of Death Kickstarter.



We've had a good run, and if we raise another $2,667, we'll surpass the Age of Legend project and become the 5th most-funded fiction Kickstarter of all time! (We've already surpassed Legend in terms of number of people supporting it, and it's currently the 2nd most-backed). Even if we don't reach that last stretch goal, we can be proud of having 2 of the 6 projects that exceeded $100,000 in funding. Thanks, so much for all the continued support of my work.

Oh, and I should mention that one of the things we added to the Kickstarter, is a Montemorcey tote bag.

This was a popular item from a Riyria Kickstarter, and we are happy to bring it back. If you are already a current Age of Death backer, just add $25 to your pledge (includes US shipping). When the Kickstarter is over, you'll be able to attribute that "excess money" to purchase the bag.

If you aren't a backer and want the tote, you can pledge $25 without a reward, and you'll be able to attribute that amount to the bag from BackerKit after the campaign is over. Or, if you'd rather, you can pledge $30, and select the SOUND ADVICE level, which will make you an official backer. Doing so will grant you other rewards like screensavers, having your name included in the acknowledgments, and free short stories.

One last thing. If we do meet that final stretch goal, Robin and I will be making a 30 - 60 minute video where we discuss the making of Age of Legend. It'll be a little behind the scenes peek at the creative process, and it'll be available to all backers. If you have any questions, please be sure to let me know.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Tracking the Kickstarter


There is a site called Kicktraq, which Robin uses to track how the Kickstarter is going. The widget shown below will be updated in realtime. So, if you've been watching the Age of Death project and anxious to see when new levels are reached, check back here. I suspect things will be calming down for a while, but hopefully, we'll get another burst toward the project's end. That's what generally happens.

Fantasy Novel: Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan -- Kicktraq Mini

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!