Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Little Indie That Could

For those of you who have been watching this blog and waiting...this is the post you've been waiting for.

I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is that I will be disappointing my fans in just the way I promised not to. The final book in the Riyria Revelations, Percepliquis, will be late. After the frustrations with several far more established authors delaying their next book, I was trying my very best to insure that such a thing did not happen with my series. And yet here we are.

I am certain many of you are disappointed to hear this, but I do have an excuse, and I think it is a pretty good one. Which brings us to the good news...

Orbit Book
s, an imprint of Hachett Book Group, the publisher of such celebrated authors as Brent Weeks, Gail Carriger, James Patterson, Stephanie Meyers, Jon Stewart, and according to Publisher's Weekly's 2009 ranking, the sixth largest publisher in the world, made an offer to me for the entire Riyria series.

Royce and Hadrian, have made it to the big time.

The Riyria Revelations will be re-edited and produced as a trilogy, with each book having two parts, and will be released one per month starting this next coming November. The three books, are tentatively entitled: Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, and Heir of Novron. They will have new covers designed by the Orbit Art Department and artist Larry Rostant.

I know this will leave many of you in a bind. You have the whole series minus one book. A series that will remain incomplete. To be honest, this was a factor in my decision as I mentally debated accepting Orbit's generous offer. I really hated the idea of letting down those of you who traveled so far and helped bring me to this point. On the other hand, to come this far and not accept what is assuredly the dream of every aspiring writer felt, oddly enough, like an insult to all those who wished they had this opportunity. It would also be disappointing I think, to all those who had worked hard to promote me--all of the bloggers, reviewers, fans and friends. So while it is unfortunate that the Riyria Series of Six will not be complete, (at least domestically, France will be producing the full set of six books. Russia and the Czech Republic are on track to do the same.) I hope you agree with me that pushing the books to the next level is worth that sacrifice.

Orbit is a wonderful publisher. I don't think I could have picked a better one if I had a list and a year to decide. Not only do they have a very good and growing name in the fantasy industry, they invest a good deal in all their authors, nurturing and building each like fine craftsmen. So far they have made me feel very welcome, and for a man who has spent the better part of the last seven years carefully giving birth to this most precious series, that's not as easy as it might sound. One tends to become attached to characters you've lived with for nearly a decade. Still, I feel that they have all found a good home.

So now (assuming there are no problems with the pending contract) I will be a legitimate, full-fledged, honest-to-God, New York published, author. I will have graduated from self-pub, to the Indies, to The Show. And I have all of you to thank for that. For me the agent-to-publisher route didn't work. I could have given up, but my wife never accepted defeat. We found a home in the Indies, and rose on a tide of readers who took chances reading small press authors. You lifted me from obscurity. You spread the word. You all got together and turned the great wheel of momentum, a wheel too big for merely Robin and I to crank.

It was Scott over at Iceberg Ink that first called me "The Little Indie That Could." He was more prophetic than even he knew.


  1. Great news, Michael. Not for my signed collection of five, but I guess I'll just have to start over again. :)


  2. Wow the internet is fast - both IceBerg Ink and Fantasy Book Critic have already blogged on this deal.

  3. yeah. Awesome stuff for you dude.

    But I guess thats it for me, unless they decide to release them as ebooks in their original format.

    Good luck with the big ink!

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  6. While that sucks about PERCEPLIQUIS being delayed sir....you could not have a better reason!!

    I am so excited for you and your series. I'll be buying all 3 ORBIT volumes naturally, and I will actually feel rather privileged to own copies of the first five in a series that didn't get a sixth because it got moved to the bigtime. That's a pretty damn cool reason! No one should begrudge you this and I least of all.

    I hope my reviews have helped you along the way if only a little. I called you the little indie that could because that is very much how I saw you. I KNEW that this series was going to explode with popularity. How could it not when it is written so well and tells such a wonderful story.

    Again, congratulations in your hitting the bigtime. You deserve it sir.

    Let Royce and Hadrian become household fantasy names.

  7. Oh wow!!! I'm so happy for you Michael! This is like a dream come true, I'm sure. :)

    It's a bummer I wont have another amazing cover from your handy work to add to the shelf, but truly a wild ride for you. :) So glad you are excited.

    Now, I will have to go purchase the whole series again so I have the matched set on the shelf. ;D

    Orbit is such a great name to! I'm so glad the boys, and girls, have made the big one! Congrats and may they live on in many many more homes. :)

    Oh, so we are looking around the end of the year and January 2012 for the books right? Just want to get the dates correct on my side bar. :)

  8. What a pain not to be able to do the last book, but what a great reason not to.

    Too often series don't get finished because publishers give up on them. I've got several like that in my collection now.

    Congratulations on making it to The Show.

  9. Great news! Congratulations. I just finished Wintertide and have been absolutely loving the story! It's no surprise that you got so much attention.

    All the best on your continued success, Michael

  10. Congratulations, Michael! I hope you get all the best out of bigpub and none of the worst. I also hope this means you are still allowed to write funny blog posts. :D

  11. Congrats! I am excited for you and wish you the best.

    I am a bit sad for me though (at a purely selfish level).

  12. Orbit is putting out both the combined and "Percepliquis only" versions of the book - so those that started with he "originals" will be able to finish up the series without buying Wintertide combined. It will of course be sold at a reduced price from the -two book version so you should all get the best of both worlds.

  13. Robin - that totally makes my day! I am so glad to not have to re-buy the whole set (at least not right away!)

  14. I still will want to re-buy the whole new set. But that's cause I am a lush for "sets" LOL!

  15. @Robin: Woot! So I can have a complete set of six. And of course the new trilogy as well. That's fantastic news.

    Will the sixth book still feature Michael's own coverart? Does he already have a preliminary sketch or painting done for it?

  16. Opps I might have given the wrong impression - the "percepliquis only" version was in regards to ebooks (which there are thosands of times more of then the print books). I was glad to see that Orbit was being conscious of those people who don't want to spend money to get a book that they alreay paid 1/2 of. We really have not sold many print copies - so I'm not sure that aplies to it. (The costs for doing a short run would be VERY high). But that being said... I might be totally wrong and the "book 6 only version might have applied to both -- I really don't know. Again it could be they were talking both - I really don't know - I just wanted to bring it up because it shows how Orbit is trying to "do right" by the existing readers.

  17. "What a pain not to be able to do the last book, but what a great reason not to." -- Nathan Lowell

    Couldn't have said it better myself. My initial reaction was elatedness for Michael (and Robin). The thought never crossed my mind that I wouldn't be able to complete the set. That is, until I started reading this blog post.

    But after reading a few more comments, it appears as though I'll also be able to satisfy my purely selfish desires and get Percepliquis to finish my set.

    Congratulations again!

  18. I am irritated that I will not be able to buy Percepeliquis in the current paperback format to complete my set. Also the delay for the omnibus edition, that I will not purchase, is upsetting.

    Just when I thought G.R.R. Martin was the most infuriating author...

  19. I would buy them again. Got Avempartha for free when you had that deal. The rest of the books were at most a couple of $$ each. So, grats to Michael and family for the well deserved break. I had been looking forward to reading the final book in the next couple of months, but to be honest, I can wait.

  20. It would be great news if the 6th book will come in an Percepeliquis only edition, but then you say wait, in e-book. An e-book is NOT a book, it's an electronic file. In my mind - old fashioned as it may be - an e-book only edition is no edition at all. I'm glad for Michael, but bummed for myself and all the others who bought the first 5 books expecting a uniform set.

  21. I will echo the other comments in saying that this is great news for Michael but bad news for those of us with the original 5 signed books...very disappointing on our end.

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  23. I am confused is the Percepeliquis edition coming out in ebook or not? Is it going to follow the later date like the trilogy? I have gotten quite a few of my friends to follow this series,I am worried I might have to listen to some "fussing". Hopefully not as much as when GRRM delayed for the 4th time though.

  24. Congratulations, Mr. Sullivan! As our favorite Indie author, we think you deserve it!
    Your fans at Fantasy Literature

    Our reviews of RIYRIA

  25. We love you Michael! Congratulations! I can't wait to finish the story, even if I have to wait an extra year. I need to re-read 1-5 anyway. What's a matching set anyway? Just vanity. I'll buy and read your books even if they're written on brown paper bags. :P

  26. "What's a matching set anyway? Just vanity."

    This is perfectly worded Meleah! Great comment!

  27. Congratulations!!! I am thrilled that you are realizing your dreams!

    I have to say I appreciate being able to get the final book individually.

    I am surprised by some of the negative comments seen above. I suppose it is a bit of a compliment that people are so involved ;)

  28. I saw your tweet the other and congratulated you. I wanted to way more, but 140 characters doesn't leave much room for proper words.

    I am so very thrilled for you. When I think of the insurmountable odds that you've faced finding a publisher, and another publisher, and another agent, to hear that all the hard work is paying off by having a major publishing house pick you up is wonderful news.

    It is so exciting to see your creativity and hard work get rewarded. I hope that you are immensely successful.

  29. While I am thrilled that the characters that I have come to adore are going to finally get the platform they deserve, I am TOTALLY disappointed that I will have to wait for the final installment of the series.

    I am so happy I stumbled upon this gem of a story as it has already brought me hours of enjoyment. I suppose I'll have some re-reading to do in preparation for November.


  30. I am so excited for you- AND HAVE BEEN COUNTING THE DAYS TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT- Ahhhhh can I stand it????? Ahhh and I had the release date marked on my calendar so I could know what happens to the lads.... another year???
    I love your story and know for an author this couldn't be a better outcome- and I miss them and can't wait to have them back beside my bedside table-

  31. you know, now that Mike has signed a 6figure deal, AND did dirty by the paperbook fans, my "excitement factor" has gone way down.

    I'll be buying the last book in ebook form, but after that, I'm done with this author.

  32. Wow. You folks were so mean that you chased Michael off his own blog.


    This is not a sell-out. To sell-out, you have to make more money. Robin admitted on Kindle forums that they’ll probably lose money in the long run, perhaps to the tune of 6 figures. Money isn’t the reason they’re doing this. It’s legitimacy, access to awards, access to major reviewers, less expensive paperbacks – the things BigPub still gives you that are hard to get for yourself. I know that I could sell thousands of books on Kindle, and my parents would not consider me a real author unless they could find me in Barnes and Noble. That sort of thing shouldn’t matter, but it does. I really does on a gut-deep level. You cannot denigrate someone for wanting that. You just can’t.

    If anyone looks bad here, it’s Orbit. They appear to be swooping in on the last book in a series in order to capitalize on the fan base that Robin and Michael have built from scratch. That makes them look like a vulture – eating what they did not kill. What would make Orbit look good? Buying Michael’s *next* series – something new that they could really get their editorial teeth into and make their own. If they’d done that and left Riyria alone, they would come off all shiny. But BigPub is not into risk-taking at the moment, and Riyria is a sure thing. Of course they went for it! This may be the only way for Michael to get a foot into the door of conventional publishing, where there are real advantages. He can still self-publisher other books. He can keep a foot in both worlds. Riyria may be the sacrificial lamb required to make that happen. He deserves the opportunities it will buy him, and you guys will still get the story.

    So chill.

  33. How will this effect the podcast versions of the books?

  34. Hug Abagail - I could kiss you ;-). But I do have to disagree with Orbit being a "bad guy" they have been GREAT to work with and I'm hoping...hoping...hoping they can get a solution to this even though its going to be a really wierd situation for them (i.e. not what they normally do).

    So...I've written a blog post and am in the process of passing it by Michael's agent so hopefully I'll be able to post it soon. Michael had written a reply but Orbit asked him not to post it. That of course has put him between a rock and a hard place - but I just wanted to let you know that we hear you and we're not just sitting idle - much is happening behind the scenes and as soon as I can tell you anything I will.


  35. I just had to stop by as I really feel bad for the way some people have reacted. I'm really surprised.

    I'm so glad to hear Michael has made the big time. :) The range of people he will be able to touch with his books through this publisher, is just amazing. So many more people will get to love the same stories we are.

    I'm looking forward to the new publications actually. I think it will be neat the way Orbit will be doing it. :)

    I really do send HUGE CONGRATS to you Michael and Robin! You have really worked hard to get here. Amazing!

  36. Robin - aw, hugs back. :) Sounds like Orbit is going out of their way to be conciliatory about the last book, which should improve the way existing fans perceive them.

  37. How is this 'infuriating' and 'disappointing?' An author we have come to know and love is becoming more successful, and you're upset? Seriously?!

    How petty and shallow that a minor inconvenience has turned you off to the writer. Get over it!

  38. Congrats. While I do hope that Orbit does release Percepeliquis as a stand-alone book, I would definitely love to collect the trilogy too :) I hope those are also released as ebooks.

    The delay does not really matter all that much - you wouldn't be the first or the last author to not be able to deliver on time :) The story is worth the wait :)

    Congratulations again, and hope you continue to stay an established author ( *nudge, nudge* she means do continue writing more stories *nudge, nudge*)

  39. I'm uplifted by all the "thatta-boy's" and irritated by the negative reactions to this post. My advice is to feel good about those who are fist-pumping and ignore the insipid hogwash disgorged by the selfish few. Some folks have no tact and they appear to be in the minority among your fanbase. Let them go sling their misery elsewhere. Be proud of your accomplishment with Riyira. You've made the right decision. I, for one, will be very happy to purchase the re-released trilogy, all slick and done up with a beautiful Rostant cover. It's going to look, feel, and read amazingly. Congrats to Michael and Robin.

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