Saturday, October 9, 2021

Out of Print: The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter

The fourth book in the Riyria Chronicles is now officially out of print.  As such, the marketplace retailers are price gouging their few remaining copies (currently new copies run from $43 - $60.99, and used copies are priced at $59.99). That is completely ridiculous!  

The good news is we still have copies available directly from us (and they come signed and with a matching bookmark).  And the better news is we aren't marking them up at all, so you can still get them for just $17.00.

If you want to buy an entire set of the chronicles before our copies run out, then we'll offer all four books at a 25% savings ($51 rather than $68 a savings of $17).  That's four books for the price of three!

Once our supply runs out, we'll probably shift this over to a print-on-demand version and the books will be available through retailers once more. The only problem is it will be slightly taller than the other books which were produced by Orbit. The first two books of the series are 8.25" in height and the print-on-demand version (once printed) will be 8.5".  So if you are someone who wants all your books in a series to "line up" - buy directly from us now while supplies last.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

New York Times Bestseller!!


So when I started this whole writing thing, I hoped—but never thought it would be possible—to call myself a New York Times Bestselling Novelist.  Well, lightning has now struck three times and Nolyn joins Age of War and Age of Legend on this prestigious list.

Nolyn is #11 on the Audio Fiction Bestselling List - which is a difficult list to land because it compiles data for an entire month whereas the print/ebook list just has to sell well for a single week.

My thanks go to Tim Gerard Reynolds (my long-time narrator, Kristin Lang (my acquisitions editor), and Esther Bochner (Senior Director, Content Marketing) for all their faith, talent, and hard work to make this possible.

If you haven't picked up your copy yet, you can get them here: Audio | ebook | Hardcover 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

End of the Summer Multi-author ebook sale

It's that time of year again. Summer is coming to an end, and fall is quickly approaching. Before too long we'll be off the beaches and campgrounds and curled up by the fire with a good book. So this makes it a perfect time for savings. All novels on this multi-author sale are just $0.99 from Aug 30th to Sep 6th. That's 75% to 90% off the regular prices! And to make this sale even more special, one of the novels is a new release and another is a three-book omnibus. At these savings, why not get all 6? It'll cost you less than $4! And you just may find a new favorite author to follow.

Here's what's on sale:

 Reg Price 
 Amazon Ratings 
 Dragontiarna Omnibus #1 
3 Books - 1 Low Price 
4.6 - 293 reviews
 4.7 - 272 reviews 
4.7 - 266 reviews
New Release
 4.7  -  46 reviews 
 The Death of Dulgath
NYT Bestselling Author
 4.7 - 896 reviews 
I Was Legion
First in a New Series
4.3 - 557 reviews

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Amazon Editor's Pick - Nolyn!

It's been two and a half weeks since Nolyn hit the retail shelves and the rollout continues with its strong momentum.  Today I took a look on Amazon and was pleased to find it's been selected as an Editor's Pick.  But what is even more important is what readers think about the release.  Here are the current recent stats:

  • Amazon: 4.5 stars with 129 ratings
  • Audible: 4.7 stars with 985 ratings
  • Goodreads: 4.6 stars with 814 ratings


In other news, finishing up Esrahaddon is going well. I have a long runway for this book (releasing in the summer of 2023), so that lack of pressure really helps me to take my time and wrap this series up in a really spectacular way.  I'm up to 155,000 words and still have a ways to go, so it's likely to end up being my longest book yet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Nolyn #3 Bestseller for Fiction Audiobooks for week ending August 6th

So, Nolyn has officially hit the street, and we knew it was going well, but we didn't realize just how well until the Associated Press announced the Audiobook Best Seller List for August 6th.  Nolyn landed on it, and at #3!  Here are all ten titles that made the list.

And while that is exceptionally good news,  I have hit that list a few times in the past. But what I've never done in my 13+ years of publishing is "charted" on Amazon -- until now!

But the best news of all is that people seem to be liking the story.  At least according to the ratings/reviews that are coming in:
It's been so very long since I started writing this book (because all like to write all books in the series, and while you hope that it will be well received, it's an anxious time when a book "rolls out" - I'm thrilled with how it's going so far.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better

 So, two days ago Nolyn "hit the street." As you might imagine, I was anxious to see how it would do.  When the audiobook made it into the Top 10 Bestseller list, I was thrilled. But this morning I woke up to this:

Number 2?  Is that really number freaking two? And how can I possibly be sitting next to a new Stephen King book that was released on the same day? That's beyond Surreal.  I know I express my gratitude all the time, but my thanks to everyone picking up a copy CANNOT be overstated. I do hope you'll all enjoy the listen.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

A very good start


Well, we are now at release day + 1 and the launch of Nolyn went VERY well.  Here are some of the positive signs we noticed. It was one of ten Science Fiction and Fantasy books picked by Amazon editors as the best of August 2021.

Currently, the audiobook is #10 in the ENTIRE Amazon store for bestselling titles:

And that Top 10 ranking puts it #1 in fantasy - step aside Harry Potter!

But the even harder bestselling list to get on is is the one that takes into account all book formats: audio, kindle, hardcovers, paperbacks. And Nolyn is #1 in fantasy there as well!

This type of added exposure is a direct result of so many people pre-ordering and buying the book on release day, so our eternal thanks go out to everyone who jumped on the Nolyn bandwagon so quickly!  Robin and I thank you for your continued support! 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Release Day! Nolyn

 It's finally arrived! 

So I started this book on April 11, 2017 and today given the August 3rd release date that's 1,573 days (more than 4 years in the making). I can't wait to hear what people think about the first book in this new series, so if you do give it a read, please consider telling me what you thought about it at this link.

While getting exact numbers is difficult the best intelligence we have is that 16,400+ have purchased the book so far.  That includes: 

  • 3,972 Regular Hardcovers
  • 1,136 Limited Edition Faux Leather books
  • 5,868 ebook
  • 5,489 audiobooks.
You can pick up your copies at the following places:
Haven't heard anything about the book?  Here's the back of the book blurb

After more than five hundred years of exile, the heir to the empyre is wary about his sudden reassignment to active duty on the Goblin War’s front lines. His mission to rescue an outpost leads to a dead-end canyon deep inside enemy territory, and his suspicion turns to dread when he discovers the stronghold doesn't exist. But whoever went to the trouble of planning his death to look like a casualty of war didn't know he would be assigned to the Seventh Sikaria Auxiliary Squadron. In the depths of an unforgiving jungle, a legend is about to be born, and the world of Elan will never be the same.

I hope you'll give it a try!

Friday, July 23, 2021

Preorder Excitement Continues to Build for Nolyn


Look what's #1 on the "Coming Soon" list for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Yep, it's Nolyn. I'm so pleased that so many people are excited enough about the new release that they are pre-ordering. This ensures you'll have the audiobook waiting for you on August 3rd.

If you haven't picked up your copy yet, you can do so here. And the first chapter and the Author's Note is already posted there so you can listen to them now!

Robin and I thank you for your continued support, and we'll do our best to keep the stories coming.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Nolyn: Moving and Shaking


We are a bit less than 2 weeks away from the retail release of Nolyn. Are you excited? I know Robin and I are.  It looks like some other people are as well because the rank is rising massively.  So much in fact, that Nolyn is #6 on Amazon's Movers and Shakers list (which is updated hourly and shows the biggest change in rank over the past 24 hours. It won't be long now!

Friday, July 2, 2021

Novel Notion's Top 10 Fantasy of 2021 (so far)

Petrik at Novel Notions just completed his top 10 Fantasy Picks for January - June 2021, and I'm thrilled, honored, and thankful to have a book on his list: The Crown Tower.  For those that don't know, this is the first book in the Riyria Chronicle and it details how Royce and Hadrian met and the first job they did as a team (later to be known by Riyria).  Here are all ten titles.

I hope you'll check out some of these amazing titles and find a good summer read!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Anticipation Mounts!

Hey all, we are just a tad less than 1 month from the retail release of Nolyn, and we're starting to see a lot of excitement building.  For instance, the book has made not just one but two Most Anticipated lists.

First, there's They selected Nolyn as one of only a handful of titles to get their Most Anticipated Books of the summer approval.

And while I'm at it, I just want to say I'm thrilled that David Estes (a friend and fellow indie author) also made the list - so you might want to check out his book KingFall as well. If you haven't yet pre-ordered your copy of Nolyn please do so now!  Oh, and while you're on that page, check out the first chapter read by the amazing Tim Gerard Reynolds and the author's note read by yours truly.

As for the other list, we've just received an email from our book distributor that Canda's Largest Bookstore is adding Nolyn to its Most Anticipated Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books list.  This is especially good news because it comes with great savings. From July 5th to the 11th Canadian book buyers can receive Nolyn at 30% off the list price.

So if you are in Canada, wait a few more days and pick up your deeply discounted copy here.

Another positive sign that people are interested in Nolyn is the larger number of people who has entered our  Goodreads Giveaway.

So far more than 6,700 people have signed up for a chance to win one of the 10 free SIGNED copies. If you haven't yet signed up - please hurry. This is the last day to enter and there is only a bit over 18 hours left. 

And our last indicator comes from NetGalley where almost 200 librarians, booksellers, educators, and reviewers have grabbed their free complimentary ebook editions of Nolyn.

If you are a NetGalley Professional Reader, then please request your free copy.

Here are some comments from early NetGalley reviewers

"Nolyn was a beautiful story that broke my heart and made me grin in equal measures. I will think about these characters long after having put the novel down, and I look forward to seeing what's next in the series."

"I have always felt that Sullivan's books have great climaxes/conclusions and this book was no exception. I really loved how all the storylines tied together towards the end and the little clues and hints from throughout coming together. I also felt like this was really satisfying to read as a standalone, and felt like an end for the characters we are following whilst still managing to have some subtle setup for the other two books in the trilogy - and it's safe to say I am very excited for those!!"

"I am sure that anyone who has read Sullivan’s works before probably won’t be surprised by how good this book was. I am a first-time reader and I loved it! Sullivan has written a top-notch story and I for one will be diving into his previous works so I can get some more!"

It's a bit difficult to know "exactly" how the sales are going (especially when there is a third party between me and the data (which is the case with print copies and audiobooks), but it's encouraging to see that Nolyn is on Amazon's 100 Best-selling New Releases in Epic Fantasy list.

We'll be watching the data over the next few weeks and hope to see that rise even higher!  As always, Robin and I thank you for your support.

Monday, June 28, 2021

An Aniversary and Some Good News.


It's been exactly 5 years since the hardcover edition of Age of Myth came out. One always hopes that a backlist title will continue to sell well after the initial release, but only a very small % of books do. When sales remain strong over an extended period of time it is referred as "long-legged." In many ways, this type of title is even better than one that hits a major bestseller list (such as the New York Times or USA Today).  Why? Because bestseller status just means a book has had at least one really good week (or month in the case of audiobooks) worth of sales.  In most cases, a book that sells for many years will out-perform those "one and done" bestselling titles.  

Another aspect of book sales has to do with when the hardcover goes out of print. After the publisher's warehouses go bare they have a choice to make: Do they print up more, or do they put that version out of print? In the case of Age of Swords, the first print run sold out at a good clip, but the second print run wasn't flying off the shelves. Storing books in the warehouse is expensive, so not only did they put that title out of print, they also decided to "remainder'" the copies they had.  This usually means the books are sold for a few pennies a pound and the author receives no money on copies sold that way.  As an author, you DO NOT want your books to be remaindered.  In our case, there was a silver lining to the Age of Swords hardcover going out of print . . . all because Robin is a savvy business person.  She added to the contract the condition that before a book is remaindered, we get the chance to buy the excess stock.  Which we did.  I can't remember the exact number of books we purchased, but I think it was around 4,000 or so.  Since receiving them, we have been selling them directly to readers (which gives us a much higher % of the money paid because there is no publisher or retailer involved -- and we bought the books at a much higher discount than the standard 50%).  I'm pretty sure we have sold about 2/3 of them and have around 1,000 left.  

Why did I mention that? Well, an email arrived today from Penguin Random House announcing that Age of Myth's hardcover has gone into its 7th printing!  That means there are more than 23,000 copies of that version "in print!" So we have two things to celebrate today.  For most books, the hardcovers "run their course" in the span of 9 months to a year, but as far as Age of Myth is concerned, its hardcover is still going strong a full 5 years from its release.

According to the numbers we get from the author's portal it looks like this book has sold about 389,000 copies across hardcovers, paperbacks, audiobooks, and ebooks.  That's amazing!  Robin and I thank all the people who picked up a copy of this book. Here's hoping you are one of them. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Nolyn Audiobook Sale - 3 days and counting


It's about 6 weeks until the retail release of Nolyn, which is great timing because there is a sitewide sale going on at  They priced the book at 50% off which puts it about 17% lower than the price of a credit. 

I'm so excited about this release. Starting a new series doesn't happen often around the Sullivan household (2008, 2013, 2016, 2021) and this is the first time in thirteen years that we own and control the release - which is VERY exciting.  If you aren't yet familiar with this release. Here is some information about the book:

After more than five hundred years of exile, the heir to the empyre is wary about his sudden reassignment to active duty on the Goblin War’s front lines. His assignment to rescue an outpost leads to a dead-end canyon deep inside enemy territory, and his suspicion turns to dread when he discovers the stronghold does not exist. But whoever went to the trouble of planning his death to look like a casualty of war did not know he would be assigned to the Seventh Sikaria Auxiliary Squadron. In the depths of an unforgiving jungle, a legend is about to be born, and the world of Elan will never be the same.

From Michael J. Sullivan, the New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post bestselling author, a new adventure begins with the first book in The Rise and Fall trilogy. Although this series is set in the same world as the Riyria novels and the Legends of the First Empire books, it is a standalone tale. As such, no prior knowledge of the other works is required to enjoy this tale to its fullest.

NOTE: The sale ends in about 3 days and 9 hours - so get your pre-order in by then!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Rise and Fall Artwork

Well, we are dangerously close to having the presses roll for the printing of Nolyn.  All the interior files are approved, I'm waiting on just three minor changes to the dust jackets, and the foil stamps for the limited edition copies were approved a few hours ago.  

If you are anything like me, knowing how the books will look when lined up on the shelves is an important aspect, so I thought I would share with you the spines for this series.  We wanted to do all the covers up "first" so that we could ensure a consistent "look" across the three titles. So here they are:

As soon as we get the three minor changes in for the dust jacket, we'll share the front and back for Nolyn as well.  

Monday, May 10, 2021

Oh how the times have changed

So, it's a little less than 3 months until Nolyn will be released through the retail chain, and I was interested in seeing how the pre-orders for the audiobooks are going. So, I set my filter for "coming soon" and navigated to the "epic fantasy section. Here's what I found:

Nolyn is #3, and I'm very pleased about that. But what I found most fascinating is the books that are doing even better are all self-published titles. It wasn't all that long ago that people were saying "You can't make any money in publishing if you're not with a traditional publisher.  Well, these three titles buck that conventional wisdom. And I'm so glad to see that indie authors continue to do so well. There are many viable paths to publishing these days. If you want your stories "out there" then there has never been a better time than now for those that self-publish.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Release Day! Age of Empyre Mass Market Paperback

The mass-market paperback of the final book in the Legends of the First Empire series is finally at hand! I think originally we had this version slated for March, but COVID-19 and getting press time made that date slip. But today is April 20th, so the book is officially shipping! For ease of purchasing, here are some links.

  Buy Direct  

In other news, there are very few hardcovers left in the Ingram warehouse (27 to be exact). And once the Amazon and other retailer's warehouses are empty that version of the book will be out of stock. We have bought up a fair number before stock ran out, so we do have some signed copies available.

My daughter is a HUGE fan of the mass market paperback edition, so she was thrilled to complete her set. I hope you all will be, too!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

An important message for Nolyn Kickstarter Backers


Hey all, Nolyn will be hitting the press in less than a month, and one of the cool perks of being an early supporter of the project is having your name included in the acknowledgments. You can also use a loved one's name, and we even have one person who has a marriage proposal in their entry!  But you can't have your name included unless you finish your PledgeBox survey (which is how we know what you want to be listed. Today was the "cut-off" day for answering your survey, and while almost 3,000 people already have, we still have 827 who are either (a) In progress or (b) haven't started. 

So, we're extending the survey deadline to Monday, March 22nd. If you can't find the email with your survey invitation, you can find it by doing the following:

  • Enter the email address associated with Kickstarter
  • Click "Request New Invite"
Within a few minutes, you'll receive an email with a link to your survey.  If you have problems finding this email, check your spam folders or th "Promotion or Update tabs in Gmail.  Here is some information about the email that should help you find it.
  • From address:
  • Subject: Nolyn Kickstarter Survey
  • Text to search for "We need your response!"
The survey only takes a few minutes to complete, so please don't miss out on this important perk for early backers of the novel.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Book Nest's 2020 Fantasy Award Short list

I'm honored that BookNest has nominated Age of Death for their shortlist of best fantasy awards of 2020! We've been so busy here that we missed the "compilation of nominees" phase - but I guess enough of you did know about it that we made it to the shortlist.

Now, what I'm about to ask may sound a bit unusual, but here goes.  First, I should say that Robin and I already know you love the books - your emails, reviews, and comments prove that. So, I'm asking you to DO NOT VOTE for us in the final round. Why?

Well, now that we have moved back to self-publishing, the book is in the "Best Self-Published Novel" category and since I've been at this whole publishing game for a long time (and published through two of the biggest publishers in the world) I'm kinda a big fish that could easily take attention away from many authors who need more attention than I do. So to. have one of the other worthy nominees get this award will give them a significant boost to their careers, and I don't want to deprive them of that.

The full set of nominees are:
  • Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Along the Razor's Edge by Rob J. Hayes
  • Black Stone Heart by Michael R. Fletcher
  • Black Tie Required by Craig Schaefer
  • Dragon's Reach by J.A. Andrews
  • Flesh Eater by Travis M. Riddle
  • Incursion by Mitchell Hogan
  • Paternus: War Of Gods by Dyrk Ashton
  • Shadow of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire
  • The Torch that Ignites the Stars by Andrew Rowe
I know many of these authors, personally, including Rob Hayes, Michael Fletcher, Mitchell Hogan, Dyrk Ashton, and Andrew Rowe - they are all talented authors and I'm pulling for each one of them. 

So, please to go vote, but not for my book - let's see if we can get one of these authors a big "shot in the arm" (can you tell vaccines are on my mind), by having me step aside. Voting ends March 24th, and you can vote here.

Thank you so much!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Line Editing


This week, Robin and I started going over the last pass of edits for Nolyn.  The first set of copyedits came in from Laura just after Christmas, and after incorporating her changes, a new manuscript went to Linda. 

This is a milestone for us. In times past, deadlines became constrained such that both editors worked off a single manuscript at the same time. I can't begin to express how difficult it is to edit that way. There are many ways to skin a cat (an expression I never understood...who would do something so despicable?  Well, maybe a "dog" person, but I digress), and trying to evaluate the various pros and cons of each change and come up with a single definitive manuscript has always been challenging.

Adding to this, I'm going to be doing a panel on editing as part of Write Hive's Virtual Writer's Convention, and I'm also spending a bit of time each week editing work for a small group of authors I've been mentoring. Needless to say, the Sullivan household is all edit, edit, edit at the moment.

Anyway, while editing was on my mind, I thought I would spend just a minute talking about editing in general and line editing specifically. In the future, I may come back and do detailed dives into the other types of edits, but for now, I'll just explain each one briefly.

  • Structural edits - these are done first. For me, I get my best feedback about these types of changes during the alpha read phase. This is when Robin gets a book for the first time, reads through it, and provides a list of things that need fixing.  They address "high-level" problems. Examples include plot holes, poorly defined characters (or characters acting in a way that they normally wouldn't), things that were in my head that didn't get on the page fully - which leaves the reader lost because they have only half (or less) of what they need, or horses I beat too hard (wow, what's with all the animal cruelty in this post?)

  • Continuity edits - these are when you go looking for inconsistencies.  Did you mention a person was eight years old early on in the book and then later talk about their tenth birthday? Did someone leave a room but still participate in a conversation? Did their eye or hair color of a character change mid-book? And the one that has to be examined most closely -- issues with the timeline. Some timeline errors are addressed in structural edits (things being out of sequence).  But it's worth it when the entire manuscript is finished to go back through things and plot what is happening on which day, and by all means, if you speak about the past (and mention how old someone was then), make sure their ages align with their birthdates.

  • Line edits - have nothing to do with the story...okay, they have a little to do with the story, but when working on line edits you aren't concentrating on "what" you are saying but rather "how" you say it. For fiction, the first duty of a good line editor is to polish the writing, elevate the style of the work, and make the prose as pleasing, engaging, and readable as possible. For those who write quickly, it's likely that your work could benefit from several passes of line editing. While there is no doubt that the quality of self-published works has risen over the years, there are still too many indie authors who don't spend enough time in this important part of writing. Moreover, if you are seeking traditional publishing, it's essential not to "skimp" when it comes to line editing. For either path, when you take the time and effort to apply the additional layers of polish of line editing, it will make an incredible difference in how brightly your work shines. So, no matter which path you plan on persuing for publication,  I highly suggest you work on strengthening your line editing skills.

  • Copy edits - do two things. The first is to ensure that the entire work is following adhering to a single style guide (more on this in just a minute), Second, the copyedit is performed to correct grammatical errors such as run-on sentences, incomplete sentences, noun/verb disagreement, and fixing problems such as dangling modifiers, pronoun confusion, and using the wrong word -- is it few or less?  Now, a style guide may be a new term for some of you. It was for me the first time I hired an editor, so let me just take a minute to explain that further. The English language is complicated, and there is vast disagreement on many subjects regarding what is "correct." This is a fact that drives Robin crazy because she is an analytic person (an ex-engineer) and she enjoys math where the is always a single answer to an equation and there is never any disagreement. Style guides are the referee that set the rules.  They cover subjects such as whether to use the Oxford comma? (You an look that up on your own if you don't know what it is). How many words are considered a "short introductory phrase" (where a comma is eliminated), and lays down a number of rules about capitalization, hyphenation, and even whether a number should be written with numerals or spelled out. Once a style guide is selected, the copy editor is going to make sure that the rules of "that" guide are followed. There are two major style guides (Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Style Guide), but there are also companies that start with one, but then make slight exceptions from them which become the new "bible."
Okay, that was longer than I expected, but I think it's important to set that stage before digging in further. As the post's title indicates, today I'm going to talk about line editing. Generally speaking, I say that you should do all your line edits BEFORE starting copy edits, although many editors will do them at the same time. The reason I say this. Is while doing a line edit, you may inadvertently make a grammatical error, so you want the copy editor to come along behind you and "clean up."

Anyway, what raised this subject today was a piece of my writing that Robin worked on in our "final pass," which was brought to her attention by incorporating copy edits. Here is the passage:
He was still feeling queasy. His legs were weak, his balance off, and his stomach cursed him both for eating and going without. Like a spoiled child faced with suffering for the first time, there was no pleasing his stomach. As with any petulant child it needed time to vent frustration and perhaps a nap.

Okay, so the copyeditor looks at this and sees several problems, including a big 'ole dangling modifier right up front and a missing coma from an introductory phrase, and a few missing words. So they suggest the following changes:

He was still feeling queasy. His legs were weak, his balance off, and his stomach cursed him both for eating and going without food. Like a spoiled child faced with suffering for the first time, his stomach could not be reasoned with. As with any petulant child, it needed time to vent frustration and perhaps take a nap.
An improvement, to be sure.  And Robin could have left it at that, but there were several things that bugged her.
  • Starting any sentence with "It was, he was, they were,  or any number of these types of combinations is a red flag that a boring sentence is coming. And is this little snippet of four sentences I did it twice, and in a row! So, she couldn't walk away from both "He was" and "His legs were." These should have been addressed during a prior line edit, but, hey, you don't catch everything.

  • Pronouns are necessary, but if you don't keep a close eye on them, they can run amuck. There are four pronouns in the first 17 words of this snippet--far too many!

  • It felt "choppy" and didn't flow as effortlessly as it could have. Usually "choppiness" can be corrected by combining sentences or moving a parenthetical phrase from the middle to the start of a sentence. 
  • Doesn't "cursed him both for eating and..." make you stumble just a bit?  Doesn't switching "both" and "for" flow better?  As in "cursed him for both eating and..." I think so, but is that really the best we can do? It's not "just" that he was cursed with two things - but that the two things were equally bad.  Maybe we can work that aspect in?

  • Is "faced with suffering" really the best choice of words?  "Suffering for the first time" sounds good, as does "facing adversity for the first time" but "faced with suffering"? That just isn't as good as the other two options.
Then there were issues that became apparent because of the copy edit
  • While many of us have been taught to avoid contractions (except in dialog), I write in "close third-person," which has an additional layer of intimacy not found in "third person limited." As such, much of my writing sounds like it came from the character. So if contractions are avoided,  the narrative can sound a bit formal and stilted. The editor wasn't considering this aspect when offering her suggestion--why would she--her job was to fix the error, and her change did that. So when she added "could not" it would be better written in this manuscript as "couldn't."

  • By adding food, a spotlight is now shining on an area of excessive wordiness (one of the biggest problems I see with new writers). Why tire your readers out with three boring words such as "going without food" when one word, "abstaining," says the same thing more succinctly?

  • Also, by fixing the dangling modifier problem, the copy editor has used the word stomach, which is fine.  But it was already used (and nearby) so now we have a repeating word.  These can be particularly annoying when listing to an audiobook.  What your eyes gloss over, your ear picks up. Again, this is a common problem with new authors and something to look for when you are doing your own line editing. But not only that, if we take a step back and look at the snippet as a whole. We can see something else wrong. Why do we have something relating to the stomach tied to his legs rather than joining it to the next section which is already dealing with his mid-region?
So, with all that said, hopefully, now you can see what a true mess these fifty-eight copyedited words were. Or maybe you saw the disaster even before the breakdown.  In any case, now you know why Robin couldn't just hit "accept icon" and move on. 

So, what did we end up with?  Here is the corrected version:
Still feeling queasy, his legs were weak and his balance off. Like a spoiled child facing adversity for the first time, his stomach couldn’t be reasoned with, cursing him equally for eating and abstaining. As with any petulant brat, it needed time to vent its frustration and then take a nap. 
Let's go over it.

  • Excessive pronouns in the first 17 words -- fixed --we are down to 2 rather than 4.

  • Sentences starting with "xyz was/were" -- fixed -- there were two and now there are none.

  • Choppiness -- fixed -- a short sentence followed by two small phrases separated by commas were split apart and better distributed.  

  • Excessive words removed -- check -- "going without food" replaced by abstaining.

  • Word choices examined -- check -- "equally" brings more to the table than "both." And "facing adversity" is better than "faced with suffering."
I should note that while there is only a 7-word difference between the two, the second one seems so much "lighter."  Why? Elimination of the dastardly "xx was"  and "xx were," which are nothing more than filler that tire a reader out.  And better attention to the flow of words.  The revised version doesn't feel like a "slog."

So, that's today's lesson.  Does this take a lot of time? You betcha.  Is it worth it? I think so. If you are a writer.  Grab a few sentences out of the middle of your current work in progress and look at it independently of the story being told.  How could you improve it? Feel free to post some of your examples.

Okay, enough distraction. I have to get back to my final read-through. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Just 5 hours left!

Well, it's been an amazing 2 weeks, and the Nolyn Kickstarter has surpassed all my other Kickstarters both in the number of backers and the total funds raised.  

Currently, we are at $163,061 in funding from 3,608 bakers with just 5 hours to go.  But if you miss the Kickstarter, there will be a "backdoor" that we can get you through so you can still participate. Because we cleared our last stretch goal, the faux-leather deluxe edition will have hubbed spines (and yes the other two books will as well).
For those who are interested, we'll have a little zoom meeting this evening just before the Kickstarter ends it will only allow 100 people in, so come early!  Here's the information:
  • Topic: Kickstarter Celebration Meeting
  • Time: Feb 23, 2021 06:50 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
  • Meeting ID: 926 619 0491
  • Passcode: 6LTjqq
Our thanks to everyone for all the amazing support. Next step, getting the book on the press!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

What an opening day!

So, our latest Kickstarter launched less than 48 hours ago - and what a wild ride we had!

We had some initial technical difficulties with the "early bird" specials not showing up right away, but Robin got them up and running and extended their deadline to 1 hour (from the original 15 minutes). It appears that most people were able to change their initial pledge to those early birds, but if you were one of the people that missed yours, send us a message from within Kickstarter and we'll refund you the difference once the project funds.

As I write this we are at...

  • $129,413 from 2,972 backers!!

This was by far our best "out of the gate performance."  We were fully funded in just 6 and a half minutes, and we hit $100,000 in just a few hours.  By the end of the first day this had surpassed all but one of our Kickstarters (and I'm sure this will take the #1 spot as we are only $7,000+ away and need just another 610 backers.

To put this into perspective, here are some stats from our other Kickstarter (all of which were hugely successful).

  • The Death of Dulgath fully funded in 2 days
  • The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter funded in 54 hours
  • Age of Legends took 3.5 hours
  • Age of Death took 25 minutes
  • Age of Empyre took 50 minutes
As for crossing the six-digit threshold, we've had four projects do this:
  • Age of Legends took 20 days
  • Age of Death took 14 days
  • Age of Empyre took 5 days
  • Nolyn sprinted past the finish line at just 3 hours and 45 minutes!
This will be a very short Kickstarter (ending at: Tue, February 23 2021 7:00 PM EST), just 2 weeks in length. But if you do happen to miss it, we have a way to add you after the fact. The full details of that will be posted after the Kickstarter ends.

As always, Robin and I thank you for your support, and we'll start posting some stretch goals soon!

Monday, February 8, 2021

Preview: Kickstarter Video

Tomorrow we launch the Kickstarter for Nolyn.  I'm so excited, and so it seems are some other people.  Currently, 646 people are following the project.  Below is a preview of the video so you can learn more about the project. 

Please keep in mind that the "early bird" specials are ONLY available from noon to 12:15 PM EST, so you have to back early to get them. Here are the specials being offered:

  • D(EARLY BIRD) - $8 rather than $10 for the eBook only 
  • H(EARLY BIRD) - $28 rather than $35 for the eBook + regular hardcover
  • R(EARLY BIRD) - $60 rather than $75 for the eBook + limited edition faux-leather version
While we are still working on the cover designs this is what we have so far. As always, the cover illustration is form the amazing Marc Simonetti who did all of the Legends of the Firs Empire artwork, and a good number of the foreign language versions of the Riyria stories.

As for what the book is about, here's the back-of-the-book marketing copy:

After more than five hundred years of stagnation, the heir to the empire is suspicious about his sudden reassignment to active duty on the Goblin Wars’ front lines. His first assignment to rescue an outpost leads to a dead-end canyon deep inside enemy territory. Suspicion turns to dread and then sinks to despair when it’s discovered no such stronghold exists. But whoever went to the trouble of making his death look like a casualty of war didn’t know anything about the Seventh Sikaria Auxiliary Squadron to which he had been assigned. In the depths of an unforgiving jungle, a legend is about to be born, and the world of Elan will never be the same.  

If you've not read any of my other books, no worries, you can dive right in with this one. Each series is based in Elan, but they are self-contained.  That being said, if you do read all the books you'll get a wider view of the past, and possibly even the future of my world.

My past Kickstarters have been huge successes. I'm looking forward to this one being equally good.  Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Nolyn Kickstarter: Launches 02/09 @ 12:00 Noon EST

So, as many of you may know, I have a new series coming out! It's called The Rise and Fall and just as Legends of the First Empire shows the First Great War between men and elves and the founding of The Novronian Empire, this series will focus on three important points in the history of Elan that will give you the inside scoop on how the empire rose and eventually fell.  I sometimes call this my "bridge series" because it fits between the Legends of the First Empire and the Riyria tales.

Unlike most series where you follow the same cast of characters from start to finish, these books will span large amounts of time and each book will be self-contained and focus on one or two important characters from history.

  • Book #1 - Nolyn - the son of Nyphron and Persephone
  • Book #2 - Farilane - the historian and author of The Migration of Peoples
  • Book #3 - Esrahaddon - the origin story of the mysterious wizard from the Riyria books
Nolyn will be released through the major retail market on August 3, 2021, but for people who pre-order through the Kickstarter, you'll receive the book 3 or 4 months before everyone else. As for the other books in the series, they will be released at one-year intervals - and each will have its own Kickstarter.

Like all our prior crowd-funding projects, we offer early-bird discounts where several of the most popular reward levels will be discounted by 20%.  Now, in the past, these levels have sold out in mere minutes, even though we increased the number available for each project.  This time, we are doing things a bit differently.  The following reward levels will be open for the first 15 minutes of the campaign (noon to 12:15 PM).  So, you still have to be quick to nab one, but not nearly as fast as in the past.  Here's a list of them:
  • Digital Early Bird - $8 instead of $10 for ebook only
  • Hardcover Early Bird - $28 instead of $35 for ebook AND regular hardcover
  • Rare Early Bird - $60 instead of  $75 for ebook AND limited edition faux leather hardcover
Reward levels vary from $5 to $100 and this chart explains what is in each level:

While we are still working on the final design of the covers, this is what we currently have.  The regular hardcover will have a dust jacket with artwork from the amazing Marc Simonetti. The rare edition will be faux-leather with one or two color foil stamping.

How many copies of the limited edition will there be? I'm not sure. I'm going to print fifty more than are ordered through Kickstarter (to account for possible damaged books or books lost in the mail).  These will NOT be reprinted, they will be numbered and dated, and they won't be sold through retailers (you'll only be able to get them from the Kickstarter or directly from us (for the leftovers).  I suspect there will be less than 500 copies made.  The hardcovers will be printed in quantities of 10,000 - 15,000 copies and there may be multiple printing of them.

Okay, so what is this book about?  Well, here is the copy we've come up with for the back of the book:

After more than five hundred years of stagnation, the heir to the empire is suspicious about his sudden reassignment to active duty on the Goblin Wars’ front lines. His first assignment to rescue an outpost leads to a dead-end canyon deep inside enemy territory. Suspicion turns to dread and then sinks to despair when it’s discovered no such stronghold exists. But whoever went to the trouble of making his death look like a casualty of war didn’t know anything about the Seventh Sikaria Auxiliary Squadron to which he had been assigned. In the depths of an unforgiving jungle, a legend is about to be born, and the world of Elan will never be the same. 

Buying through a Kickstarter puts significantly more of your money into my pocket.  When books are bought through retailers 75% - 80% of the money you pay goes to others (our distribution partners and the retailers).  But you also get things that retailers can't provide such as:

  • Signed physical books.
  • Your name in print (if you so desire) - your name will be listed in the acknowledgment as one of the people who helped bring this project to life.
  • Receiving the story months before the rest of the world.
  • Digital artwork of Marc's illustrations (for screen savers).
There will also be various additional bonuses added as the project goes on, assuming we hit various stretch goals.  In the past, some of the things we've done include:
  • Custom created bookmarks (usually signed)
  • Bonus short stories
  • Behind the scenes insights into the creation process
  • T-shirts, tote bags, and posters
  • Embossed signature pages
Well, I think that's enough for now. Remember to mark your calendar and show up between noon and 12:15 to get an early-bird discount. Here is the link (which will go live) on 02/09.  If you use it now, you can sign up for an email notification in case you forget.  I hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

TBRCON21 - A virtual convention with 85 authors and 16 panels

With COVID-19 still raging, Sci-fi and Fantasy conventions have had to go virtual, which in many ways is good because they are (a) free, (b) don't require travel costs, and (c) can accommodate a lot more visitors than the average hotel or conference hall.  Coming up this week is TBRCON21 (hosted by FanFiAdict). It runs from January 25th to the 30th and features 16 Panels with more than 85 Authors. I'll be on one of the panels (Saturday at 1:00 PM EST).  But here is a rundown of all the programming.

Monday - January 25th

  • 3:00 PM EST: Global SFF - featuring Gautam Bhatia, Yaroslav Barsukov, Deck Matthews, Robert V.S. Redick, Andrea Stewart & Luke Tarzian

  • 5:00 PM EST - World-Building & Your Place In It - featuring Brian D. Anderson, Angela Boord, Dale Lucas, Travis M. Riddle, J. Rushing & Angus Watson

Tuesday - January 26th

  • 11:00 AM EST: Experiential Inspirations - featuring Christian/Miles Cameron, Sebastien de Castel, John Gwynne, Jeannette Ng & Scott Oden

  • 2:00 PM EST: No More Heroes - featuring Graham Austin King, Brian Naslund, Mike Shackle, M.L. Spencer, Mike Shel & Phil Williams

  • 4:00 PM EST: But, What Scares YOU? - featuring M.R. Carey, Lee C. Conley, Andy Davidson, Jonathan Janz, & Tim Meyer

Wednesday - January 27th

  • 11:00 AM EST: Thrills That Pay the Bills - featuring Emily Carpenter, Hank Early, Josh Malerman, John Marrs & C.J. Tudor

  • 1:00 PM EST: Sensory Detail in SFF - featuring Mike Chen, Scott Drakeford, Ryan Van Loan, Marina J. Lostertter, Megan O'Keefe & Gareth Powell

  • 3:00 PM EST: SFF Fight Club - featuring David Dalglish, Alexander Darwin, Sam Hawke, Rob J. Hayes, Michael Mammay & Jeremy Szal

  • 5:00 PM EST - The Joys (or Lack Therof) of Editing - featuring Alicia Wanstall-Burke, Shelly Campbell, Nick Martell, Michael McClung & David Wragg

Thursday - January 28th

  • 11:00 AM EST: The Intersection of Neurodivergence & SFF Writing - featuring Elisa A. Bonin, Sunyl Dean, Essa Hansen, Sonora Reyes & Alex White

  • 1:00 PM EST: History in SFF - featuring Katherine Arden, Alina Boyden, Christian/Miles Cameron, Sebastien deCastell, Daniel Kelly, & Evan Winter

  • 3:00 PM EST: Writerly Advice - NOT - featuring Stephen Aryan, R. J. Baker, Nicholas Eames, Anna Stephens, & Adrian Tchaikovsky

Friday - January 29th

  • 1:00 PM EST: Grim, Dark . . . or Just Fantasy - featuring Ben Galley, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, G. R. Matthews, Peter McLean, Adrian Shelby & Holly Tinsley

  • 3:00 PM EST: The Future of Fantasy - featuring Peter V. Brett, Steven Erikson, R. F. Kuang, Devin Madson, & Evan Winter

  • 5:00 PM EST - SPFBO Finalists - Justin Lee Anderson, Zack Argyle, Alexander Darwin, Robert Fleming, Suzannah Rowntree, Patrick Samphire & Rachel Emma Shaw

Saturday - January 30th

  • 1:00 PM EST: Gods, Goddesses & Demigods OH MY! - featuring Dyrk Ashton, Jusin T. Call, Michael R. Fletcher, Tom Lloyd, Michael J. Sullivan, Jordan Loyal Short & Jonathan Wood

  • 2:30 PM EST: LIVE D&D - featuring Justin Lee Anderson, Gareth Hanraham, G. R. Matthews, Steve McHugh & Anna Stephens
I hope you find something (or several things) that pique your interest. Enjoy!

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