It’s December 1st, with BREACH ZONE finally hitting shelves at the end of January. The 5th draft of GEMINI CELL is with my agent, awaiting final approval before going on to my editor at Ace. I’m 20 pages into the outline for JAVELIN RAIN, the working title for my 5th contracted novel. I also have 50,000 words of a manuscript (and an outline for the rest, what we call a “partial” in this business) with my agent. The working title is THE FRACTURED GIRL, a dark medieval fantasy with a young girl protagonist. Oh, and I almost forgot, I have a novelette coming out in a future anthology edited by the distinguished John Joseph Adams. More on that as soon as I’m cleared to talk about it.
So, yeah. Lot’s of irons in the fire.
This isn’t surprising. It’s because I work from the second I open my eyes in the morning to the second I close them at night, 7 days a week. And I don’t sleep a whole lot.
Part of this has to do with how difficult it is to be comfortable, let alone survive, on this archipelago of the super-rich we call New York City.
But can I be honest with you about the other part? I’m terrified.
I hate showing my white underbelly on the Internet. It took a supreme act of will to publish my essay on PTSD (but MAN am I glad that I did. So many people have told me it was helpful to them and I’m enormously gratified).
But sometimes the only way to get help is to ask for it. This is the age of kickstarter, where traditional business models are turned on their heads and the economy of kinship is finally overtaking the supply-and-demand model I thought was immutable as death, taxes and Internet outrage. Well, I’ve learned a thing or two about immutability lately.
So, yeah. Terrified. Here’s why: I have dreamed my entire life about being a fantasy writer. It is the dream of my heart. It’s the thing I coddled and nurtured and hoped for and never dared to believe would come true. I slaved and sweated and bled for a decade and a half, and finally I *did* it. I am paid to write fantasy novels. And people read them. And some of you even like them.
So you can guess the fear: That I’ll lose it. That the day will come when the red on the publisher’s P&L sheet reaches the point where they throw up their hands and wish me luck with my promising career in law enforcement and national defense.
There’s no danger of that happening tomorrow, but *every* novel is your debut. *Every* author is one bad book away from the end of their career.
So, now I have a book about to be released. And it’s the conclusion of a trilogy.
I have been asked by friends and family and fans again and again, “How can we help you? Does it make a difference if we buy a paper copy or digital? Does it make a difference when we buy it?”
I’ve always demurred in the past, but this time I’m going to answer.
Here’s what you can do to help:
1.) First week sales of a novel are CRITICAL. Rightly or wrongly, they are the thing the publisher sweats the most. They are the thing that puts you on bestseller lists. Even if you have one of the most glorious long tails in the history of publishing, it’s the first week numbers everybody remembers. This is what publishers consider most strongly when they’re thinking about whether or not to give you another book contract. This is what influences their decision to push marketing money your way. *Pre-orders count toward first week sales* BREACH ZONE’s official release date is January 28th, 2014. So:
– If you’re planning to buy BREACH ZONE and you can afford it, please pre-order it. If you can’t pre-order it, please buy it during the first week of its release. Paper copies are preferred, and I always encourage folks to support brick and mortar bookstores by buying from them, but digital is fine too.
– If you think my work might make a good gift for someone, or if you were thinking about recommending them but were waiting for the right time, BREACH ZONE’s first release week is it.
2.) If you’re on the fence about the series, maybe waiting for me to finish the trilogy, here it is. The SHADOW OPS series is concluded. GEMINI CELL and JAVELIN RAIN are in the same universe, but a completely different story line.
– Sales of prior books in a series usually spike during the first week a later book’s release. The publisher is also watching these numbers. If you’ve been thinking about trying out my work, and have just been waiting for the right time, (and if you can afford it), please dive in during BREACH ZONE’s first release week.
3.) If you’ve read any of my books, please consider reviewing them on amazon.com and/or goodreads.com. As silly as it seems, the number of reviews does make a difference in how books are categorized and prioritized and on the willingness of folks to click on them.
I *love* writing novels. I have sworn by my sword arm that I will keep writing them as long as a publisher is willing to pay me to do it. If you’d like to help contribute to making sure that continues on into the future, this is the best way you can help me.
Thanks so much for your support. I can’t repeat enough how grateful I am that I get to do this for a living. I never thought I’d ever publish one novel, and now my third one is about to hit shelves and I have three more under contract. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do.
You gave me the chance to do it. Thanks.