Friday, June 24, 2022

Another Farilane Contest


The winners for the last Farilane giveaway were announced and Robin has come up with a cool little idea for the next contest.  Guess the number of downloads!

You see, each month Audible tells us the total number of audiobooks sold, and if you can guess how many that are you can win.  What will you win?

Well, a fan had a great idea to do some really cool custom puzzles - they have Marc Simonetti's artwork on the front and Sarah's Limited Edition Design on the back (on a blue background with a silver foil).

We purchased some of these puzzles and we'll be using them for giveaways.  So, when we get the numbers for the end of June, whoever comes closest (and yes you can go over) will win:

  • One of these exclusive puzzles
  • A download code to get the audiobook of Farilane
Now, if you already have the audiobook of Farilane, no worries, you can give it to a friend and introduce them to the amazing narration of Tim Gerard Reynolds. And if you aren't an audiobook member, you can still win the audiobook - in other words, no membership is required.

So, go to this link,  enter your guess, and maybe you'll win.  We will close the poll on July 1st, and announce the winner once the numbers come in from Audible. Oh, and here's some data to help you with your choice:
  • At the end of May we had 4,735 downloads
  • We got as high as #27 across the entire store upon its release
  • We are now at #131
  • Robin's guess is 15,000
Good Luck!






Thursday, June 23, 2022

Update on Farilane Hardcovers

Well, it's been a little over two weeks since Farilane's ebook and audiobook were released, and we've been getting a lot of emails about when the printed books will start shipping. I guess it's time for an update on that.  Let me start by stealing a bit from my wife's post on the Farilane Kickstarter.

To fully explain this I have to talk a bit about the state of printing in 2022.  Back when we started printing books there were many options for printing (well maybe not "many" but certainly more than there are now.  But over the last decade, a lot has happened. 

  • Many publishers either went out of business altogether or at least filed for Chapter 11
  • One printing organization has "gobbled up" many of the remaining smaller printers.
  • Publishers delayed a number of book releases during the pandemic such that the publishers have long "wait queues" that new titles have to wait in before they can get on the press.
  • There is only one binder in the entire United States that can do "hubbed spines" and they do a lot of other "premier binding" work so they are quite busy.
Okay, so in late April the book was pretty much done (we were still gathering names for the Kickstarter Backer area) but we knew how many pages the book would wind up at so we could get printer quotes - let's go!
  • Printer #1 - who has printed Age of Legend, Age of Death, Age of Empyre, and Nolyn. Came in with a price about 70% higher than I've had to pay in the past, which is a bummer but the real problem was the earliest press time they had was November 4th.  And that date is heavily dependent on paper availability - which is something they have been struggling with a great deal.

  • Printer #2 - bought up the printer that created the Death of Dulgath and The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter.  Their first quote was astronomical.  So they tried "running" the numbers from a different plant that "might be a better fit" and they got better, but still about 50% more than I usually pay. Their "wait time" was better - 60 days, but the special binding would be harder to predict as the one and only binder who pretty swamped so its almost impossible to know until after the books are printed and shipped to them how long they will be sitting and waiting.

  • Printer #3 - I've never used them for printing and binding a book - but I have had dust jackets printed from them. They wouldn't even quote a "full book" production because their queue is just too long and until they get some of their current jobs in.
Okay, so none of those are good options, but I had been contacted by an offshore printer who looked promising. Not only could they do the hubbed spines "in-house" but being in the country where the paper is manufactured means that paper supply isn't nearly as big of a problem as it is for the US companies.  But I worried about the quality.  The good news, is the company was willing to create samples using the exact stock that the books would ultimately be created in. So I thought, let's give it a try.

Now things like the dust jacket and the foil stamps for the spine of the book can't be made until the printer is selected because the "width of the spine" will depend on the paper used. I also wanted to do some "upgrading" (using higher-end papers) because that would help ensure a higher quality book, and if "low quality" was a concern (which it was for Robin), we might as well use "the good stuff" in the hopes of getting a better product.

So, while the samples were being made and shipped to us Robin and I went off to our long-planned vacation of white-water rafting down the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  After we hiked our way out and flew back home on June 6th the samples arrived the next day. And here they are!


The quality was excellent! Even better than what I've received from the other printers I've used previously.  And since they could get on and off the press in a fraction of the time as the other printers it made total sense to add this new printer to my list of places I can go to for books. So that's exactly what we did!

Now switching printers did result in a little bit of a delay because we had to layout the book a bit differently. Why? Well, these books are "Smyth sewn" rather than "adhesive bound." A sewn book is always better than a glued book and they have the added benefit of "laying flat" when you read them. When you layout an adhesive-bound book you leave a larger margin on the right side of the left-hand page and the left side of the right-hand page. In other words, you leave "more space" near the spine. And because we had intended to do adhesive-bound books, that is the way our original layout was. But when looking at the sample, that extra space wasn't needed so we had to move everything a bit.  This took us about a week to do and proof, but it was time well spent to get a higher-quality binding.

So, the books are due to come off the press on July 25th.  Once they are done, they have to ship to us, and that will take longer than shipping within the US. But even with that extra step, we will get them earlier than printer #2 would have been able to deliver and MUCH earlier than printer #1.

We'll be back with more updates as they get closer to us.  If you want to get the books as fast as you possibly can, I suggest buying them directly from us. Here's why.

  • Right now, our store is the ONLY place you can do a pre-order. The pre-order for the stores won't go live until we can guarantee our distributors when they'll have books in hand and then they usually set the pre-order date about 60 days after they have the books. 

  • Both our warehouse and the distributor's warehouse will get the books at essentially the same time,  but we can ship ours as soon as they are in hand and the "retail books" have to get "checked in" at the main distributor, then he pre-orders have to be made, and THEN the books start traveling to the retailer's warehosues and they have to get checked in there And only after that can they start fulfilling their pre-orders

  • All books bought from me will be signed!

  • All books bought from me will have a matching bookmark (also signed)!

  • When buying retail, approximately 80% of the amount you pay goes to other people: the printer, the distributor, and the retailer.  When you buy direct that goes down to about 10% because all we have to pay for is the printer, the credit card company, and pay the labor to package and ship the books. So if you would rather have 90% come to the writer of the tale rather than 20% - then please buy direct!
And that's where we stand. I can't wait for people to start receiving these beautiful books. But supply chain issues are a big problem right now - and probably will be for some time to come.






Monday, June 20, 2022

Esrahaddon - Most Popular Book of July 2023

Now that Farilane is out of our hands (audiobook and ebook released, hardcover with the printer and waiting for it to come off the press), we turn our attention to Esrahaddon (the last book of the trilogy.  For those that don't know, it's my longest work yet.  Usually, I write 110,000 - 140,000 words per novel but Esrahaddon is 275,000 words long - so it'll be twice the fun, right?

Robin is going through her alpha read of the book now, and so far so good. She's noted a few little "minor tweaks but nothing earth-shattering. The plan is to have the book released next summer - so the clock is ticking.

It looks like a lot of people are excited about this one, we have more than 2,100 people on Goodreads who have shelved it.  That's enough people to make it the #1 most popular book to release in July 2023 month.


And that works out to be the 69th most popular book for the entire year. Not too shabby. Now, as other books posted, we are sure to slide from those enviable spots - but if you happen to have a Goodreads account, please go here and click "want to read" and that will help us help other people find out about the book.



Saturday, June 18, 2022

Farilane hits the Top 10 List

I actually saw this news a few days ago from the Associated Press (and picked up by a bunch of other outlets like the San Francisco Chronicle and ABC News), but I didn't have time to post about it.

Anyway, Farilane hit the Top 10 Bestselling Audible Books for the week of June 12th!

Robin and I would like to thank everyone who pre-ordered Farilane or picked it up during its first week on sale. That's how this kind of thing happens.

As someone who has been a bit of a trailblazer when it comes to embracing audiobooks in general, and doing so as an indie author in particular I want to note that there is a good crop of indies in this group, including the #1 book - which is absolutely killing it.  Craig Alanson's latest in the very popular ExForce series has 2,552 ratings (as compared to Farilane's 445, so people are just gobbling that book up!

Anyway, if you like supporting authors who blaze their own path and are going the independent route, here are some in the Top 10 to check out:

  • #1 - Match Game by Craig Alanson
  • #8 - House of Blades by Will Wight (which is free, you don't even need a credit)
  • #10 - Farilane by Michael J. Sullivan
Also, Colleen Hoover is on the list. This particular book is published through Amazon's Romance Imprint, so not a true "indie, (and she is also publishing these days through a Simon and Schuester imprint) but Colleen was also a trailblazer of the indie author movement so it's worth giving her a shout out as well.


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Winners of the Farilane Audiobook Giveaway

 Hey all, Robin here.

Our thanks to the 259 people who signed up for the drawing to win a copy of the Farilane Audiobook.  The winners are:

  • Suzanne from New York
  • Ella from Arizona
  • Russell from New Jersey
Each of you has been sent a download code to redeem your copy.  Check your email for the subject: Congratulations, you one an audiobook of Farilane.  And, yes I now realize the typo in that but when I was typing the subject I was thinking "you are one of the winners" - sorry about that.  My mind is not what it used to be.

For those that didn't win.  No worries, we will be doing a few more drawings in the coming weeks, so you are still entered.  

If you didn't enter but want to be eligible for the next drawing, here is the link.  As you can see from the screenshot above, people enjoy the book.  A 4.9 rating with 335 people weighing in!

Here are some of the things that people are saying:

WOW!   •  I have no words. Just read.

An absolute joy   •  SUPERB!

Amazing!  • Heartbreakingly Spectacular

Exceptional  • One of his best works yet

It was emotional, funny, and entertaining  • PERFECT!



Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Author Interview



As part of Farilane's release, Audible conducted an interview with me.



In it, I answer the following questions:
  • Do listeners need to be familiar with Nolyn to enjoy Farilane?
  • What was your favorite part of the story to explore and to write?
  • Many early listeners have told us that Farilane as a character is especially compelling, and she has exceptionally lively dialogue. How did she come to you during the writing process?
  • Tim Gerard Reynolds, who narrated Nolyn, returns to voice Farilane. What made you choose him to perform this series?
  • What do you hope listeners take away from Farilane?
  • I love the Teshlor, now the Teshlor Knights. Will they be in the final story of the trilogy?

If you want to enter a drawing for a chance to win an audio download of Farilane you can do so here. The drawing will be tomorrow at midnight.

And last but not least...here is the marketing copy for Farilane to whet your appetite:

SOME TRUTHS ARE DANGEROUS, CERTAIN SECRETS BEST CONCEALED,  
AND ONE STORY NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN AT ALL.
Being an unwanted twin in the Imperial line of succession, Farilane became a scholar, adventurer, and in a time when reading was once more forbidden - a book hunter. Her singular obsession is finding the mythical Book of Brin, a tome not just lost but intentionally buried. Respected and beloved by the Teshlor Knights, not even their legendary skills can protect her for what she finds is more dangerous than what she sought.

From the three-time New York Times best-selling author Michael J. Sullivan, Farilane is the second novel in the Rise and Fall Trilogy. This latest set of stories sits snugly between Legends of the First Empire and the Riyria books (Revelations and Chronicles). With this tale, Michael continues his tradition of unlikely heroes who must rise to the call when history knocks, demanding to be let in. This series will conclude in the summer of 2023 with the release of Esrahaddon, the final piece in a narrative that began in 2008 and contains 19 full-length novels spread across four series.
And if that's not enough to give it a try, check out some of the comments from recent reviews:

This by far is my favorite of ALL his works   •  Fantastic!

WOW!   •  I have no words. Just read.

An absolute joy   •  SUPERB!

Amazing!  • Heartbreakingly Spectacular

Exceptional  • One of his best works yet

It was emotional, funny, and entertaining  • PERFECT!

Awesome  • Heartbreakingly Spectacular



Friday, June 10, 2022

I have the coolest fans ever - here's why

 

I'm always amazed by the generosity of people who read my books. There are many examples of their big hearts. Here are just a few:

  • The fact that so many people "buy direct" means that I keep a higher % of what they pay (since all the middlemen are eliminated).  We are just a few days into Farilane's release but more than 4,000 people have bought the book directly from me (either through the Kickstarter or the pre-order store). The result is an "advance" that is greater than a publisher would pay me -- by a LONG margin. It also means that a large number of people take it on faith that I will provide them with a good read, and this trust in my work is extremely appreciated.

  • The BEST thing people do is recommend the books to others. It's been over 15 years since the release of The Crown Conspiracy (Book #1 of The Riyria Revelations and now published under the omnibus book Theft of Swords). Because of this "word-of-mouth" advertising, my books have had amazingly long legs.  What does that mean?  That even after all that time, the early books are still selling extremely well. Every six months I receive royalty checks from my "backlist," and even if I never wrote a single new word, I could live comfortably on this "residual income." But don't worry - I have no plans to stop writing new stuff. Yeah, I'm getting old and books take longer than they once did, but creating them is what I love to do the most.

  • Speaking of the backlist. It's also apparent that I have extremely "faithful readers" - people who aren't just "one-and-done," but those who discover one of my books and then go on to buy all the others - even though it means jumping into new series with different characters than they first fell in love with. I won't lie, it was a risky pursuit to step away from a proven winning formula rather than writing exclusively Royce and Hadrian stories. But these days I have just as many people starting with Legends and going to Riyria. When I receive letters from people who say they will buy anything I write, it tells me they like me, they really, really like me. And while I'm always focused on "writing a book I want to read" it's good to know that my scribblings have connected with others.

  • People who leave reviews on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, Audible, and Barnes and Noble. My wife has in the past (and is starting to resume again now that things are starting to get back to normal), taught courses to authors on the business of writing. She does these for free - her way of helping others receive the success that I have benefited from. One of the things she emphasizes is how important independent third-party opinions are to a successful writing career. There are many people who are not willing to be the "guinea pig" so they wait to hear what others are saying about the book.  After seeing a number of positive reviews it gives these people the courage to stop sitting on the fence and give the books a try. Any review, yes even the negative ones, is a help. People know that individual tastes are subjective, but a book with no (or few) reviews is even worse.  With each release, we sit on pins and needles as the reviews slowly trickle in. 

  • People who reread the books - more and more I'm hearing from readers who haven't just read the books once, but multiple times.  This is a huge time investment, and I personally think my stories are even better the second (or third) time around. Why?  Well, there are a ton of Easter eggs and secrets woven throughout - and even across the series. A first reading (before you know where the book is heading) will miss many of these little "winks and nods to people in the know" and re-reading (once everything is revealed) will give a much richer experience and shed new light on scenes. Writing in these interconnections is one of the things I enjoy the most, but it's only those who take the time to do a re-read who will notice them. Finding out that so many people are willing to spend the extra time lets me know that "added effort" was not a waste of my time.
  • People become invested far beyond anything I would have expected. Recently I received an amazing stained-glass window. It's a one-of-a-kind work of art, and it took hundreds of hours to produce (and not a trivial amount of money in materials).  Tammie and Mike even delivered it (and Tammie has spent uncountable hours as a beta reader for my books).  While this is amazing in its own right - It's not the only instance. Above our pellet stove is a beautiful piece of antique wood that has an engraving with a favorite quote from my books.  I also have received a framed silk screen of my "author logo" that hangs behind my desk, and I hand-blown hourglass made by a master glass-smith.  To list all the amazing gifts would take far too long - this is just a small sampling and it indicates that people love the work so much that it inspires their own creative pursuits - and what's more they are generous enough to send them to us!  And no, this isn't a plea for more gifts - but it's just one of the reasons why I appreciate my readers so very much.

All of the above is just a preamble to what I really came here for.  Yesterday I ran across a book trailer that was created by a fan. It's...well...amazing! 

 

It's just one of many videos on the channel Riyria Explained.  If you aren't already a subscriber - please join.  The above video is so professional! And what's even better are the other videos that provide a deep dive into the books and pick out many of the little connections that I spoke about earlier. All the work that has gone into these videos is tremendous - and they are well worth your time if you are that avid reader that has picked up all the books - but if you haven read widely - be warned - there are tons of spoilers in the "non book trailer" videos.

Well, those are just some of the reasons I'm so grateful to you all. I'll do my best to keep the books coming and hopefully you'll continue to rea them.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Farilane hits #1 Epic Bestseller List!


I'm pleased to report that Farilane is the #1 Bestselling Epic Fantasy Audiobook! Thanks all for the early support.  You can pick up a. copy here!



To celebrate its release, we're doing a drawing for a free audiobook download code (you don't have to be an Audible member to use it.  You can sign up for it here. The winner will be picked from a random drawing which will be held June 15th. Right now you have a one-in-119 chance to win - and I may end up giving away a few at a time depending on how many people enter.

If you can't wait for the drawing, then you an pickup a copy with an Audible Credit. And while you are there, check out the trailer which was filmed at my house in Luray - you'll get a glimpse of my office so you can see where Robin chains me to the desk.

Even better the reviews coming in are fantastic! Here are some snippets:

"Absolutely fantastic from beginning to end. Micheal J. Sullivan never fails to impress and has once again delivered a literary masterpiece."

"This by far is my favorite of ALL his works."

"Michael Sullivan is a genius author."

"An absolute joy."

"Sullivan Delivers."

"Best yet."

"Wow - just finished my first listen and I'm speechless."

"M.J.S. BEST WORK EVER!"

"Another great story by Micheal j Sullivan"

"Fantastic Story"

"This book took my on a roller coaster of emotions."

"Farilane is one of the best books I have ever read."

"Another great tale from the world."

"One of Mr. Sullivan's best works."

"Was absolutely amazing!!
"WOW!"

"I have no words. Just read."

"Loved it!"

"One of my favorites!"

"Powerful and humorous, you get attached to the characters in a short span and the ending has one of the biggest emotional kicks I’ve ever gotten in a novel."

"I agree it might indeed be Sullivan’s best work yet. Character development with Farilane is well done and I love her wit."

"I would give more than 5 stars if I could."

"Amazing"

"Just ... wow."

"Best one yet."

"I was captivated by Farilane from the very beginning."

"This is the best book Michael J. Sullivan has ever written. Full stop." 

"Exceptional"

"Another Character that I Fell in Love With"

"Awesome"

"Possibly Sullivan's best work yet"

"Such a great story from beginning to end!

"I couldn't stop listening!"

"Ten stars!"

"In my opinion, it’s the best book he’s written so far."

"SUPERB!"

"The book is captivating and moving."

"I found myself laughing so hard and so much and I want to be her!!"

"Wow! One of MJS's best!"

"Amazing - I loved this book! The story is gripping and emotional."

"This one will hit you in the feels."

"Farilane is an outstanding addition to the world of Elan."

"Cannot put it down."

"Wow! What an emotional ride this was!"

"One of his best works yet."

"Sullivan does a masterful job of weaving in elements and creating a story arch that is worth reading and then reading again to find what you've missed."

"Fantastic!"

"Loved it. Best yet in legends Series! Can't wait for next one."

"It was emotional, funny and entertaining."

"It has an amazing main character and her arc is so spectacular that I listened to the whole book in one shot."

"Michael never disappoints"

"This was the book in this new series I was least excited for and it has been the best book in all of his series."

"PERFECT!"

"Heartbreakingly Spectacular"

"Best EVER!!"

"His finest work to date."

"There are no words to prepare you for what comes at the end."

"As a huge fan of Michael J Sullivan’s works, this book did not disappoint."

"Farilane is so incredibly lovable as a character."

"More more more"

"EPIC Story, Superb Writing, MUST READ."

"Emotional and Character Driven.

"The ending gave me goosebumps, and I'm so eager for the next book to come out."

"It was a fun ride and a story with a powerful ending.



Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Farilane Book Trailer and audiobook giveaway!

Hey all, Audible just posted a book trailer for Farilane - This was filmed in my house in the Shenandoah Valley (and you can see my officer and where the magic happens). Check it out!



Oh, and while I have your attention, you can enter to win a free copy of the Farilane audiobook from this link. You don't have to be an Audible member to win, and you won't be required to join any plan to listen.

Good luck on the drawing!

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Farilane Release Day!

Today is the release date for digital versions of Farilane (Book #2 of The Rise and Fall).  That means you can get the audio and ebook of it now!  Until today, you HAD to get the book directly from us and more than 3,500 people did exactly that!

As for the hardcover...well, we are still waiting for it to come off the presses, but you can pre-order a signed copy from our website.  And we have both limited faux-leather hubbed-spined limited editions ($75) and regular hardcovers ($30).  No matter which one you choose, they will be signed and come with a custom-signed bookmark.

If you want a copy of the ebook, you can get a copy from the following places: NOTE: The Riyria Enterprises link is a purchase directly from us and it is the same price as through retailers but 100% of your purchase comes to us by cutting out the "middlemen."



The above Kindle button is for Amazon US, if you are outside the US, here are the links to various international Amazon sites.



As for the audiobook, it's available only from Audible, and you can pick up your copy here.


It's doing very well in the rankings. It has hit #1 on the Audiobook Epic Fantasy List on Amazon.com.


And on the Audible site, it's in the top 50 Bestselling Audiobooks - currently at #33!


I've said it before, but it's worth repeating, I think Farilane is the best book I've written to date. Yes, Percepliquis (2nd book of Heir of Novron) took a long time to be unseated.  Both have an incredible emotional impact, but Percepliquis had the advantage of being the cumulation of the five books that came before it. Farilane is largely standalone, so pound for pound it wins the prize.  Here is a bit about it from the marketing copy found on the back cover:

SOME TRUTHS ARE DANGEROUS, CERTAIN SECRETS BEST CONCEALED, AND ONE STORY NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN AT ALL.

Being an unwanted twin in the imperial line of succession, Farilane becomes a scholar, an adventurer, and—in a time when reading is forbidden—a hunter of books. Her singular obsession is finding the mythical Book of Brin, a tome not just lost but intentionally buried. Although she is respected and beloved by the Teshlor Knights, not even their legendary skills can protect her, for what she finds is more dangerous than what she sought.

From the three-time New York Times best-selling author Michael J. Sullivan, Farilane is the second novel in The Rise and Fall trilogy. This latest set of stories sits snugly between the Legends of the First Empire series and the Riyria books (Revelations and Chronicles). With this tale, Michael continues his tradition of unlikely heroes who must rise to the call when history knocks, demanding to be let in. This series will conclude in the summer of 2023 with the release of Esrahaddon, the final piece in a narrative that began in 2008 and contains nineteen full-length novels spread across four series.



Monday, April 25, 2022

Huge Audiobook Series Sale

Audible is having a major sale on series with prices in the $4 - $6 range (significantly below the $15 a month credit fee).  I have not one, or two, but ten, yes 10 titles in this sale. Each is narrated by the amazing Tim Gerard Reynolds (multiple Audible Award nominations and several Earphone Awards). \

 With Farilane coming out in June, I highly recommend digging into the Legends of the First Empire (the series that precedes the Rise and Fall Trilogy).

Here's what is on sale:

Legends of the First Empire (Books #1 - Book #4) - $21 for four books

  • Age of Myth $6
  • Age of Swords: $5
  • Age of War: $5
  • Age of Legend: $5
Riyria Chronicles (All Four books) - $20 for all four books

  • The Crown Tower: $6
  • The Rose and the Thorn: $4
  • The Death of Dulgath: $5
  • The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter: $5
Riyria Revelations (Books #1 & #2) - $9 for 2 books - but each is a 2-book omnibus so that is actually 4 books total.
  • Theft of Swords: $4
  • Rise of Empire: $5
If you've tried just one of my series and enjoyed it, then now would be a great time to try one of the other series.  I hope you do pick up some of these titles at these amazing prices.  But you have to hurry the sale ends April 29th!


Monday, March 21, 2022

What everyone is missing regarding Brandon Sanderson's Kickstarter


 

Brandon Sanderson's Kickstarter has been huge! $32.1M and counting - making it the highest-funded Kickstarter of all time.  A lot has been written about it. Some are asking if this puts a death-nail in traditional publishing? Some (bitter authors eating sour grapes), are lambasting it due to white privilege. Others wonder why someone so rich needs to do a Kickstarter. Here's a hint - Kickstarters aren't always about "need" but they always provide a more personal buying experience between creator and buyer.

Brandon did an excellent post that addressed some questions and provide some answers as to what he was trying to accomplish.

In it, he mentioned how he feels like there is a gun to his head.  85% of his income comes from Amazon, and if something were to happen he could see his whole livelihood vanish. But as someone who has been doing Kickstarters for a decade, I want to mention something that Brandon didn't spend much (or any as I recall) time on.

Here's the BIG secret of why Kickstarters are so important. Shhhh, don't tell anyone.  It's the emails stupid. I say "stupid" because I feel publishers have been exactly that in relying on retailers to sell their books. Amazon makes a ton of money, but their most valued asset is the millions (maybe billions) of emails they have collected over time. Why, oh why, haven't publishers understood this? It's one of the reasons Amazon rules and traditional publishers struggle.

Brandon will have the email addresses of 134,500+ readers--each one of which is willing to open heir wallet to give him money. These are fans so loyal, that they'll buy something even without knowing what it is!

It's not the 32.1 Million that is keeping the gun from Brandon's head - it's the fact that he can reach out -- personally - to his fanbase at any time and tell them, "Hey, guys/gals. I've written something new - would you like to support me to get it?" 

That's why I got into Kickstarters. I LIKE having that personal connection with my readers, and I know that if publishers, Amazon, and all the other "middlemen" disappear. I have my own little list (much less than 135,000) where I can reach out, and my bills will get paid.

I don't see anyone else talking about this, but when I recommend to fellow authors to do Kickstartarters, this is a big part of the reason.  

Oh, and I want to give a big thank you to Brandon for pointing out my own longevity in doing Kickstarters. At the end of his blog he writes:

"This is a step I could take.  It’s something I’ve wanted to try for years.  I’m certainly not the first to try it–not even the first bestselling fantasy novelist.  (Michael J. Sullivan has been using Kickstarter for almost a decade now to indie publish books.  He’s an excellent writer, and recently had a very successful Kickstarter of his own that deserves attention.)"

If you missed my Farilane Kickstarter, you can still join the fun by coming through the "backdoor." We can manually add you to the project if you tell us what you want at this link. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Author's helping authors - Will Wight's Kickstarter


I've been trying to get Will Wight to do a Kickstarter for years now. He has a HUGE fanbase, and I knew he would kill it. I even predicted he'd blow me out of the water.  Well, he finally pulled the trigger - with a little help from my son, James, who has taken over running my own Kickstarters. I was right:

  • Currently, it's raised over $445,000 in the first six days.
  • It became fully funded in 6 minutes.
  • It hit $100,000 in 1 hour and 45 minutes (it took Farilane 11 and a half hours to get there)
  • It blew past Farilane's $200,000 funding limit in 6 hours
  • It is the third-most funded fiction Kickaterter (right behind the other two Brandon Sanderson projects)
Will is a clever and funny man, and just before launching his project, he posted this video.  Anyone who knows about Brandon Sanderson's record-breaking Kickstarter (largest ever in Kickstarter history - currently at 27.7M) will recognize the brilliance of this video.


Yesterday, "the man" himself (Brandon Sanderson) shared this video on Twitter and Facebook, and that gave another shot in the arm to Will's Kickstarter. It's just one more example of authors helping authors. Brandon didn't have to do that - but the fact that he did shows what a "good bloke" he is as well.  With so much cynicism floating about in the world today, it's nice to see. 

I hope you'll join me and Brandon, and give Will's Cradle Kickstarter a look-see, and if you like what you find, please consider backing the project.


Friday, February 25, 2022

Farilane Kickstarter - 7 days left!

 

Wow, how time flies, and the Farilane Kickstarter continues to do well. It moved up a bit in the rankings and it is now the 9th most-backed and 9th highest-funded Fiction Kickstarter of all time.  Of my nine Kickstarters, it's in second place (based on funding) and only surpassed by Nolyn (Book #1 of the series.

The project is now over $150,000 in funding which makes it one of only nine fiction projects to reach that level.  And we've cleared a few more stretch goals which will provide the following bonuses:

  • $111,000 - Matching Bookmark (see below) - UNLOCKED
  • $137,000 - Online Bookclub Read - UNLOCKED
  • $150,000 - Afterword to be written by Robin
The next stretch goal is $153,000 and it will mean that people with physical books will not only get the Farialane bookmark, but the Nolyn one as well:


Thanks, all for the continued amazing support. Please check out the Kickstarter, and if you like what you see, please back it.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

Kickstarer Loves Farilane!

We are pleased to announce that Farilane has been selected by the Kickstarter team as one of their "Projects we Love" - thanks Kickstarter! They give this distinction to projects they think stand head-and-shoulders above other projects.  And I'm proud to say we've gotten this badge of honor many times!


And it looks like the backers of Kickstarter are also in love with the project. In its first two days it has reached the following milestones:
  • Most popular fiction Kickstarter project.
  • Fully funded in 18 minutes.
  • First stretch goal completed - all books will have matching bookmarks,
  • Crossed the $100,000 mark in 11.5 hours (only 15 fiction projects have ever earned that much).
  • And it's in an all-time Top 10 fiction project both in terms of the number of backers and funding reached. It's even beat out a bunch of my prior Kickstarters!

We thank everyone for your continued support, and if you want to check out (and hopefully back) the Kickstarter, here is a link!

    Tuesday, February 15, 2022

    Big Kickstarter Day!


    Well, Farilane's Kickstarter launched at noon today, and it was funded in just 18 minutes!  Thanks, all, for your continued support. But what makes me even more excited is that there are THREE great Kickstarters running right now by either myself or authors I've encouraged to get into Kickstarters.

    Here are the links and a bit about each:

    • Farilane (Book #2 of The Rise and Fall Trilogy) - ebooks, regular hardcovers, limited edition hardcovers
    Some truth are dangerous, certain secrets best concealed, and one story should have never been written at all.
    Being an unwanted twin in the Imperial line of succession, Farilane became a scholar, adventurer, and in a time when reading was once more forbidden - a book hunter. Her singular obsession is finding the mythical Book of Brin, a tome not just lost but intentionally buried. Respected and beloved by the Teshlor Knights, not even their legendary skills can protect her for what she finds is more dangerous than what she sought.

    • Mother of Learning  (The first ARC in the serial bestseller) -  paperbacks and regular hardcovers
    Zorian Kazinski has all the time in the world to get stronger, and he plans on taking full advantage of it.
    A teenage mage of humble birth and slightly above-average skill, Zorian is attending his third year of education at Cyoria's magical academy. A driven and quiet young man, he is consumed by a desire to ensure his own future and free himself of the influence of his family, resenting the Kazinskis for favoring his brothers over him. Consequently, Zorian has no time for pointless distractions, much less other people's problems. 
    As it happens, though, time is something he is about to get plenty of. 
    On the eve of Cyoria's annual summer festival, Zorian is murdered, then abruptly brought back to the beginning of the month, just before he was about to take the train to school. Finding himself trapped in a time loop with no clear end or exit, he will have to look both within and without to unravel the mystery set before him. He does have to unravel it, too, because the loop clearly wasn’t made for his sake, and in a world of magic even a time traveler isn't safe from those who wish him ill. 
    Fortunately for Zorian, repetition is the mother of learning…

    • Fatemarked - (Book #1 in the 5-book Fatemarked series - #1 Bestseller in 10 Amazon categories) paperback, regular hardcover, and limited edition hardcovers  - ENDS IN JUST 3 DAYS!!

    They are the Fatemarked. Misunderstood. Worshiped. Hated. Murdered at birth. Their time to step into the light has come.  
     
    An ancient prophecy foretold their coming, the chosen few who will bring peace to a land embroiled in a century of mistrust and war. When kings start dying, that hope and belief swiftly turn to fear. Roan Loren is one of the fatemarked, but he has hidden his mark of power his entire life, fearing the damage it might cause to those around him. A great evil is coming, and he can't hide anymore.

    For this Kickstarter, the project will be run by my son, James because we have twisted his arm into doing this as a business (mostly so that Robin can scale back what she does).  He is also running the Kickstarter for the third project - Fatemarked. It's a book I've read and recommend highly. So if you want to find another great fantasy to get into, stop over and back it.

    The other project, Mother of Learning, isn't something I've read, but it's a serial sensation (found mostly through Royal Road).  The Kickstarter is being run by Wraithmarked - a company run by Bryce O'Conner and Dyrk Ashton - both are great friends and they are talented writers in their own right. I hope you'll check out that project as well!

    Thursday, January 27, 2022

    Fatemarked Kickstarter

    I belong to a small group of indie authors, and we get together at my house here in Luray for little mini-conventions in the summer.  They are a talented group, and I'm thrilled with seeing so many indies doing really well. One thing I've been trying to do is help in taking them to "the next level" which basically means utilizing Kickstarter, doing print runs (rather than print-on-demand books), and selling directly to readers.

    As some have heard (via our Kickstarter updates), Robin is having to scale back because of decreased cognitive ability. The good news is our son James is stepping in to fill those really large shoes by making a new company called JMS Book Logistics. James will run my Kickstarter campaigns going forward, but he'll also be available to help out indie-authors who want to do Kickstarters but don't have the time to do so.

    Well, James launched his first project a few days ago and it's for David Estes' Fatemarked. one of the authors from the group I spoke about. Now, I've not read books by all the authors in my little group, but I did read this one, and it's very good.  Those who know what a tough critic I am, realize that's really saying something.  I don't recommend books often, but I feel confident doing so for this one.  

    Here's a bit about the book.

    THEY ARE THE FATEMARKED. MISUNDERSTOOD. WORSHIPPED. HATED. MURDERED AT BIRTH. THEIR TIME TO STEP INTO THE LIGHT HAS COME.

    An ancient prophecy foretold their coming, the chosen few who will bring peace to a land embroiled in a century of mistrust and war. When kings start dying, that hope and belief swiftly turn to fear. Roan Loren is one of the fatemarked, but he has hidden his mark of power his entire life, fearing the damage it might cause to those around him. A great evil is coming, and he can't hide anymore.

    If funded, the Kickstarter will produce:

    • Limited edition faux-leather hardcovers $65
    • Regular hardcovers with dust jackets $25
    • Trade paperbacks $15
    Fatemarked is the first in a completed 5-book series:


    David has sold more than 346,000 copies across the series (120,000 of which were for book one). The ebook has been a #1 top-seller in 10 categories including Epic Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Military Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, New Adult & College Fantasy, Coming of Age, Myths and Legends, Arthurian Fantasy, Medieval Fiction, and Historical Fiction. That's doing a lot better than any of my books did!

    So, if you are interested in a really good classic fantasy tale, I hope you'll stop over to the Kickstarter and grab a copy.  All books are signed, and just like with my Kickstarters, you can have your name printed in the book (or a loved one's name).   Here's the link.

    Saturday, January 22, 2022

    Mark Your Calendar - Farilane Kickstarter Launches 2/15!

    Our 10th Kickstarter has been approved, and it will launch 2/15 at noon EDT.  You can preview the Kickstarter now from this link, and even read the pre-copyedited first chapter of the book. Or, you can use this link to sign up to be notified once the Kickstarter launches.  


    SOME TRUTHS ARE DANGEROUS, CERTAIN SECRETS BEST CONCEALED,
    AND ONE STORY NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN AT ALL.

    Being an unwanted twin in the imperial line of succession, Farilane became a scholar, adventurer, and in a time when reading was once more forbidden - a book hunter. Her singular obsession is finding the mythical Book of Brin, a tome not just lost but intentionally buried. Respected and beloved by the Teshlor Knights, not even their legendary skills can protect her for what she finds is more dangerous than what she sought.

    Like the Nolyn Kickstarter, we will be creating a faux-leather limited edition version with
    • Hubbed spine
    • Full-cover foil stamp designed by Sarah Sullivan
    • 4-color end sheets with art by Marc Simonetti
    • Limited print run
    • Signed by the author (numbered and dated)
    • Built-in ribbon bookmark
    This is what the Nolyn book looks like. Farilane will be similar but probably with navy blue faux leather and silver foil stamp.
    We are offering a wide variety of reward levels and most of them come bundled with the ebook which you will receive several months before the retail release date of June 7, 2022.  Here is a breakdown of the reward levels.


    If you missed getting a copy of Nolyn, you can add that to your order by choosing the DOUBLE DIGITAL DELIGHT or the DOUBLE TROUBLE reward levels (and we've provided a discount for multi-book purchases).

    This Kickstarter will also provide discounted add-ons for the other books in my series including:


    Calculating overseas shipping (especially if add-ons are selected), can be quite tricky, so we've setup the shipping of physical books ONLY in the United States. But non-US residents can still participate through a "manual add" process where we will calculate shipping to your location based on total product weight. If you are outside the US, you can use this form to have the postage calculated for the rewards you are interested in.

    And last but not least, our son James is going to be stepping in to manage the Kickstarter and work with our daughter Sarah for the shipping process. This will free up Robin from having so much on her shoulders.

    So, go take a look, and if you have any questions, you can provide feedback or pose queries right on the Kickstarter site.  And don't forget to mark your calendar so you can be there on day #1. It's usually a pretty exciting launch. We hope you'll join us!



    Thursday, January 6, 2022

    Winter Sale - Save 15% - 50% off

     

    It's that time of year again when we deeply discount our books.  Just a reminder, all physical books are signed and all ebooks are DRM free (and come in .mobi (kindle), .epub (nook), and .pdf (phones and tablets without readers. Here is what's on sale:

    • ebooks: 50% off
    • Nolyn hardcover - 25% off
    • Individual hardcovers - 15% off
    • Individual trade paperbacks - 15% off
    • Riyria Revelations 3-book set - 20% off
    • Riyria Chronicles 4-book set - 25% off
    • Legends of the First Empire 6-book set - 25% off
    We also have done a second printing of slipcases for the Legends of the First Empire hardcovers and while these usually cost $40, you can get them for just $31 when buying the books as well. 

    We also have a bunch of ebook short stories for just a penny including:
    • The Jester (a Riyria short and comic editions)
    • Pile of Bone (a Legends of the First Empire short)
    • Little Wren and the Big Forest (a Legends of the First Empire short)
    • The Game - a LitRPG short
    • Burning Alexandria - a homage to Ray Bradbury
    • Autumn Mists - an homage to one of my favorite songs from my youth

    The sale is running now through January 21st!