New Pricing / Amazon Releases

So everything is finally set up on Amazon, even if some of their cover art jpegs have not updated since 19-dickety-2. It breaks down thusly:

Amazon.com

  • Purge of Ashes on Kindle: $5.08 USD
  • Purge of Ashes in lovely paperback: $15.95 USD

Amazon.ca

  • Purge of Ashes on Kindle: $6.49 CAD
  • Purge of Ashes in lovely paperback: $20.21 CAD

We managed to drop the price of the physical copy, mostly in an effort to make a sane price for the book in Canada. This is added incentive for anyone who has been on the fence about a purchase. It’s a great deal on a great book.

As well, to illustrate the above statement, I have added a ‘Reviews‘ section to the site that can be found here.

JM

Advertisements

My Book is Out…

…and what a feeling it is.

Anxiousness.

It was supposed to be joy, right? Bliss? Balming relaxation? Squeaky giddiness?

Nope, just anxious. My publisher imploded a week before the release. Everything was late. All my traction from my efforts in the months prior fizzled like the lit fuse of a dud grenade while I scrambled around getting the job done instead of celebrating the victory. Even now I wait on a proof for the final version to arrive, certain it is great but unwilling to assume again based on the digital copy alone. Eventually it shall be as it was meant to – but the span where the iron was hot came and went with more than a few sleepless nights.

It has been rough, what should have been wonderful. The only fortunate aspect was that the novel itself has not been harmed and remains as it was: a debut sweat for.

Going forward I shall do as suggested me by author Graham Austin-King. Get on with writing Grip of Dust, read, and let the traction sort itself out. Anxiety and authorship were never estranged to begin with.

JM

The Last Book of Realmwalker Publishing Group

Mine was the last book published by Realmwalker Publishing Group.

It came out April 5th, about a week and a half after the company imploded over a series of business fall outs and other concerns. Keeping up with a jam-packed schedule of releases led to a build-up of pressure akin to the leakage of gas, while problems with payroll provided the incendiary match. Everyone could smell the sulfur, everyone could hear the hiss – but when the fireman among you says not to worry, your worries dissipate. They creep back later when the intrusive sensation persists, but for the moment you are placated. After all, they are the fireman. This is what they do.

By the time of launch all my rights were returned to me, and while my novel gives publishing credit where it is due, I essentially was and am now a self-published author.

Not the kind of thing I envisioned upon signing. The requisite time to produce my debut properly was divvied to newly-acquired authors whose re-releases could theoretically be republished in short order and with less effort. With the principal cover artist on holidays for March, a replacement was found who hailed from Brazil. Some miscommunication went down between he and RPG, and after two weeks he had produced nothing but the .PSD of a pre-existing picture of his. Company president James Drake was sufficiently horrified as to not let me even see it. With two weeks to go I had no cover. I enjoy the grit and fanfare of the cover I have now, but it would be a lie to say it was not a last minute thing.

When the whole community went belly up a few days later, there was lots of driftwood and silt to sift through. My book vs. the outrage and confusion of a whole body of newly published authors. It did not stand a chance at seizing the time necessary to be properly produced. With the release date looming, Drake and I worked an inordinate amount of hours–From the morning of Sunday, April 3rd, to midnight on April 5th, I was awake 58 of 60 hours –to no avail. In the end Purge of Ashes mostly missed its release date, took yet more time to get a softcover online, and then had some last minute issues still being resolved. Oh, and because of this the shipment of softcovers inbound for my book launch spent the party in a cargo container at Pearson Airport in Toronto. I called every company involved a billion times, but UPS was incapable of getting them for me on a Friday night and refused to work Saturday. Not one deadline hit.

The release of Purge of Ashes was an unmitigated catastrophe. Any momentum I had built through posting my 30 Days of Balance articles and hoopla over on Twitter was erased by the miasma of confusion over if and when the books were available. This was rotten. With tales like these one might imagine me fuming and irate – but that’s not me, and what’s more there was plenty of good that came from the mess of the last three weeks.

  1. For one, James was good on his promise to work diligently on my book regardless of the status of Realmwalker. While there was a foreboding sense of ‘too late’ hanging above everything we did, he did produce a book for me which has a solid cover and looks GREAT in the interior. He listened to my many questions and included lots of my suggestions, even for little things like the imbalance icons for the page count. He spent 56 of those 60 hours awake as well, doing most of the actual work. And as a pardon for the payroll flames of yester-week, did so entirely for free.
  2. Things could have been A LOT worse. The book did, in fact, get finished. I did not lose any money. I did not have to explain to everyone I know about why I actually wasn’t going to have a book in under a week. RPG could have fled with its tail between its legs and left me stranded, instead of admitting defeat and facing the fall out. A small consolation given what happened, but a consolation yet.
  3. I take being an author much more seriously. When I first got in contact with RPG Imbalance had been collecting dust. I was torn between pushing for representation and self-publishing. I was part of no communities. I was just a guy who had spent the better part of his free time for seven years completing a works. Now, in the process of promoting my release, I have met a cool cadre of authors, read a lot about the publishing industry, and dealt with much of the ever-present flak of being a newcomer. Everything has worked to aid me in better managing the project. Six months ago I had no such insight.

My only real concern is that fantasy aficionados who follow the ins and outs of the industry will look at RPG’s broad collection net and decide that, by virtue of being a new author hired in such a sweep, my novel is but krill.

While this concern is real to me, it is likely unfounded. From what I can tell experienced authors have seen it all before and offer guidance instead of scorn. Other authors pushing the self-publishing Sisyphus boulder raise their fists in solemn salute. To their credit, Realmwalker held off branding Purge of Ashes with the company logo to help ensure the novel did not suffer by association. This was a venerable act that further indicates the tragic nature of the implosion.

How much was smoke and mirrors? Somewhere more or less than we authors all thought, no doubt.

But I’m pretty proud of the accomplishment of the fellow I see in the mirror, and to the Purge go the smoke and ashes.

JM

BEHOLD!

Front Purge of Ashes Cover

You can now purchase Purge of Ashes for your Kindle (and we think other eReaders work fine, too)

Could not be more proud. Epic cover epic content… what’s not to like? If you stumble upon my little corner of the net, please take minute to think to yourself: “Do I need to buy the big container of spinach? It will cost $5 and probably go bad.” Then think to yourself instead: “No, I will spend the same money on a novel that WON’T go soggy” – and then buy my book. It’s that easy.

And hey, it’s got a cool cover, right?

JM

One Step Backward, Two Steps Forward

Yeah, we got a wicked cool banner up there now – but alas the Birth of Imbalance will have to wait another day while issues with the cover are repaired. Not what I had in mind, but necessary in the grand scheme of things.

Dear everyone! Thanks for all your enthusiasm today. Producing books is an exhausting and tricky business – or so I am finding – but producing a novel with a cover that doesn’t make me grin ear to ear is doing the book a disservice, and I would rather put off the fanfare for another day than commit myself long term to something that does not make me proud.

As such, Purge of Ashes is now slated to be released… tomorrow. After a touch more polish tonight. In the meantime… enjoy the banner!

JM

30 Days of Balance #27: The Wait

So I fell a bit short of my 30 Days challenge. I had the capability to go the distance, but with the publication of my book in jeopardy my priorities switched. I imagine I touched on most important subjects in the last two months. I will finish the 30 Days tomorrow in a big lump so as to be true to my word in the end: 30 posts in 30 days.

Tonight, I wait.

I chose writing as my ideal medium because it was a solo pursuit where you did not need anyone to create something exactly how you like it. But that’s not entirely true. By the end of the process you need a whole bunch of other people involved – good friends as mentioned before, but also editors, publishers, eyes in the sky. Things got messy and went down to the wire like an alighting bird. They still are even as I write this. My book comes out tomorrow yet work remains to be done. It helps having people in your corner who are nearly as dedicated to the proliferation of your book as you yourself.

The delays have cost me in promotion time. There are numerous places where I cannot promote because of missing art and a lack of an Amazon pre-order page. Unfortunate, but not soul crushing. Soul crushing is not doing the book properly and having to live with it for all your years, wondering how and why you could not have spent more time cultivating.

Tomorrow I will release the cover art AND the book itself all at once. For tonight I am dozy from a combination of explaining my unique circumstances and going to bed at 4am yesterday in an effort to hasten production.

JM

 

Best Practices

…to borrow a phrase from my teaching background.

This post was popular on my Facebook page, so I thought I’d repost it here:

Lots of people want to know how to best help me out as there are numerous manners to acquire the novel.

For starters, picking up the book ASAP is the most important thing as ‘frequency of purchases’ is what pushes a book’s ranking on Amazon. The higher the ranking, the more likely strangers are to find the novel when searching – and more likely a novel will show up on Amazon’s search algorithm. These both mean more sales, which then pushes a book even further. The week of the book’s release is the best week to accomplish this ascension because the initial pointed interest spikes sales numbers. It’s about getting launched as high as you can and then retaining momentum. Here is a purchasing breakdown for what helps me most:

1. Buy a physical book ($19.95) at the Release Party or from Amazon come April 5th. It will be quite pretty I assure you.
2. If you’d RATHER read an eBook but still want to support my fledgling efforts, when you purchase a softcover you ALSO get an eBook version for (I believe) the Kindle for FREE.
3. Buy an eBook ($3.99) from Amazon come April 5th. If you don’t know me so well / are hesitant not to physically shelf a book you’re not SURE you love, this is still wonderful. The cost of a burger and it won’t gnaw at your bowels!

No matter how you acquire the novel, one of the most helpful things anyone can do for an author is write a review of their book, typically on Amazon. Reviews mean a lot to people online who know nothing but the author’s pitch. They assure people what they are buying is not garbage. Even better are reviews that take the time to explains their reasons – lots of reviews with barely any content implies they’re ‘bought’ reviews more or less.

If the book does the trick, this part is very honesty and easy.

JM

30 Days of Balance #26: Writing vs. Worldbuilding

What do you value in an author, craft or story? When I was a teenager my favourite fantasy series was without doubt The Wheel of Time. I read and reread books 1-6 until I knew every inch of the map, every obscure Aes Sedai. I never thought twice about the writing – I was so focused on how cool 13 evil mages called The Forsaken were.

When I was a teenager I also read The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. I did not care for the premise. Real people sucked into fantasy worlds never appealed to me. It made the other world small. Then the story had Guinevere and Lancelot in it and… nope, not for me. How could it compare to The Wheel of Time with so much less worldbuilding?

Well, there was Kay himself. His prose was smooth like silk, and brought emotion to the fore. It did not hide behind tropes or long drawn out teenage awkwardness. It elevated the text itself, elevated the ideas it presented and elevated the reading experience. My father never read fantasy – he found Jordan fun but Kay art. I didn’t quite know how to engage with this at the time. I had no register upon which to compare writing ability. All I knew was action, story, monsters, heroes. Kay’s works since The Fionavar Tapestry are books I have not given enough of my time, but if The Lions of Al-Rassan is any indication, as I imagine it is, he has improved upon his earlier works – in content certainly while I’m not sure how room there is above his formative style to begin with. The Fionavar Tapestry (I had an omnibus edition) is still the only fantasy novel to make me cry.

So Writing vs. Worldbuilding. Where do you fall on the spectrum? Are you a Kay type, literary and leaning towards immaculate works of high language and high emotion, rich in vocabulary and deep in subtlety? Or are you a Jordan type where you can withstand any amount of braid tugging to enjoy the concept of a Myrddraal, the trappings of the Forsaken, or the powerful mysteries of the Aiel Waste and Shadar Logoth? I often see a writer’s craft as being a gift, some ephemeral quality that has been with them forever, while their worldbuilding stems more from dedication. Of course, some authors, like Erikson, are so much of both they break the graph.

Here is an imperfect layout of how I rank the authors I have read most. If authors push left or right, it’s not really a critique of what they can’t do but rather an emphasis on where their strength lies. Sorry for ditching on Sanderson.

Author-Graph

JM