E-books are being delivered

I’ve written some Ruby on Rails code which is invoking all sorts of complicated eldritch horrors (I’ve learned several new flags to ‘zip’, and know more about the internal format of .odt files than I really want to), but the upshot is that about every 15 seconds an email is going out to a kickstarter backer, giving links to .epub files prepared for them.

I’m working from the top down – the script started with the $1k backer, and is just about done with the ten signed-edition customers, and is about to start in on the hardcover folks.

Thanks for your patience.

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e-book support thread

I’m getting close to sending out ebooks, in both .epub and .pdf formats.

If people have any problems or questions regarding the ebooks, please ask questions in the comments here.

I will both respond in the comments and (potentially) update this post to turn it into a FAQ.

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“I missed the kickstarter! Can I buy it on Amazon?”

Several people have asked me “I missed the kickstarter! Can I buy it on Amazon?”.

The short answer is: no, but you will be able to buy copies again…some day.

The longer answer is:

When the kickstarter closed at over $18,000 – putting it in the top 5% of all kickstarter publishing projects ever – I was contacted by two publishing agents.

I signed with one of them and the book is currently being shopped around to major publishers.

Part of the deal with major publishers is that they don’t want to RE-publish something. This limited kickstarter release is OK, but my agent cautions me against doing anything more.

…so I won’t. If a publisher wants the book and makes me a sufficiently good offer, I’ll go that route. If either no publisher wants to take a chance on 1,300 pages of talking dogs and 25mm rifles used in space combat, or one of them does, but comes up with an insultingly low offer, I’ll self publish on Amazon.

So, either way, we’re in a blackout period now. If you missed the kickstarter, you will get to read the book eventually…once it is either published by a real publisher, or once I decide to ignore them and pull the self-publishing trigger.

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Limited edition prequel short story

The 10 lucky folks who pledged at the “signed, limited to an edition of 10” level will also get copies of this trade paperback prequel short story, explaining how John and the Dogs escaped from Earth.

In the future I hope to write two more sequel novels, and a host of prequel short stories.

I also want to write more in the Timetraders series (which starts with Firefly Season 2).

We’ll see what the future holds.

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Books are shipping!

My wife (and very talented graphic designer) Jennifer revised the covers of the two books, and I’ve uploaded those images, plus the final proof-read text to Lulu.

All of the books that need to get signed by me ($999 tier and $250 tier) are on their way to my house. Once they get here I’ll sign them and turn them around ASAP.

All of the other books have shipped as well! …with the exception of those going to the 9 people who never filled out their kickstarter surveys. I’ve sent those 9 emails, so You Know Who You Are.

Lulu says that printing takes 3-5 business days. Being pessimistic, that means books will be printed next Wednesday (26 July). Shipping takes 2-6 business days. Again being pessimistic, books might arrive around 4 August.

Ebooks will go out soon; I intentionally pushed on physical books first so that I could achieve some parallelism while books were in the physical queue.

Thanks for your patience. This has been a project of 6.5 years (I started writing the novels on 1 January 2011), and it’s amazing to see it crossing the finish line.

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Proof copies have arrived

Proof copies (that I ordered ~10 days ago) have arrived.

First off, they look amazing!

Second, I am now hard at work, reading through all ~1,500 pages, word by word, looking for typos, spelling errors, any thing that needs to be corrected with a last minute editorial change, etc.

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We did it!

Thanks so much

I didn’t think that there was any realistic chance that we’d break $18k, but we did it! I’m thrilled with the money, of course (hey, it’s not every day someone gets to earn $2.90 per hour for 2,000+ hours! 🙂 ), but what really makes me happy is that a story that I worked so long and hard on is of interest to so many people. It’s a great tale, and I think you’re really going to enjoy it. And speaking of enjoyment, I’ve got pride-of-craftsmanship flowing right now: this is the story I wanted to write, and I wrote it the best way I knew how, and I took a full five drafts to really get it right. I’ll probably never climb Everest, but this is something I worked hard on…and I think when you read it, you’ll be able to tell.

What comes next

It is my understanding that it takes 14 days for funds to get released. In parallel with this I will send out surveys, asking people for details on their order (does the $100 pledge want one set of hardcovers, two sets of trade, or what? …and each of the ten collectors edition hardcover pledges gets to specify a name for a minor character!).

Also, during those 14 days, I will be reading the proof copies which should be arriving imminently, and making any required changes.

Once the funds release I will go to my printer and start cranking out orders, to direct ship to backers. I will also be sending out e-books at the same time.

Printing and binding takes ~5 days.

Shipping takes ~5-7 days.

People who pledged for the collectors editions hardcovers will be getting signed and numbered books, so those will ship to my home, and I will turn them around within a day or so.

Here is the best possible case schedule:

  1. KS ends: 18 April
  2. funds released to me: 2 May
  3. books purchased from printer: 2 May
  4. books shipped by printer: 9 May
  5. books arrive at pledge backers: 16 May
  6. 10 collectors edition sets arrive at my house: 16 May
  7. I sign and reship 10 collectors edition sets: 17 May
  8. 10 collectors edition sets arrive at your home: 24 May

There is also one person who has signed up for the “lunatic edition”, which will be bound in leather.

I do not have a precise schedule for that yet.

N.B. that the above is the best possible schedule. Any number of things (known unknowns, or unknown unknowns) could happen, causing one or more 1-2 day hiccups.

I will proceed as quickly as possible, aiming to hit the above dates…and I will keep you in the loop if there are any noteworthy deviations.

Thanks again

Once again, I really really appreciate your support!


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Firefly Season 2 available at Amazon

This is a fun little short story. It’s got twelve 5-star views. Check out Firefly Season 2.

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The books are finished and ready to buy!

Please check out the kickstarter ! E-books starting at just $6.

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Act I Problems / a Five Year Writing Project

Writing a novel isn’t always a team exercise, but it can be.

While I’m doing 100% of the labor and 99.99% of the decision making on this novel, there are a few trusted voices I’m listening to:

  • a writing coach I’ve retained for a few hours of consultation
  • a line editor
  • a friend and fellow writer who’s working on her first novel

Recently I’ve started to realize that Act 1 of book 1 is slow. It’s not terribly slow. I like big vast worlds and multithreaded books (e.g. Lord of the Rings, Directive 51, etc.) and these kinds of books often do start slow. It’s almost inevitable: a motorcycle can rev and be doing 60mph in a few seconds, but a 200 car freight train takes a bit longer to get up to speed.

…but that said, something to draw the reader in in the first ten pages is good, drawing him in in the first five pages is better, and capturing his attention on the very first page is best.

A few people told me that the book started well enough, but “well enough” wasn’t – well – well enough for me.

So the four of us put our heads together and came up with this.

Facts / Problems

  • the pacing problem is largely in Act 1
    • the Earth governments don’t burn the lunar satellites until 15,000 words in (60 pages)
    • the Earth governments don’t hijack a expat ship until 33,000 words in (132 pages)
  • the book is dense with long-fuse plot elements, most of which are lit in Act 1, but don’t pay off till late in book 1 / middle of book 2
  • Mike’s personality is mostly defined by his reactions to long fuse plot elements, so he becomes better defined late in book 1 and in book 2, but because there ARE no short fuse plot elements in act 1, Mike has nothing to push back against and is rudderless as a character
  • much of Mike’s drama is sitting in a boardroom writing memos and arguing with people, which (a) is not suitable for a man of action, and (b) doesn’t show the reader that he is a man of action

Action Plan

  • we need to speed things up in the first 33,000 words
  • …via need a short-fuse plot that starts, builds, and resolves in 33,000 words
  • it should involve Mike, so that
    • we see that he is the hero of the novel
    • he gets a chance to demonstrate his personality
  • the short-fuse plot should be out in Aristillus, not behind a desk
  • some hand-waving ideas on how to work in the new short-fuse plot
    • make room
      • cut up to 10% of the scenes in Act 1
      • condense the word count of the remaining Act 1 scenes between 0% and 33%
    • insert plot
      • add up to 10% new material to 5 existing scenes
      • write 5 new chapters

In addition to all of this my line editor has come up with a list of about ten other issues. She was very kind, telling me that this is the best thing that she’s edited in a long time. That’s good for the ego, but does not change the fact that I’ve been laboring over this project for 3.5 years and had hoped to have it finished before the calendar turned to 2015.

It’s now looking like that won’t happen, and the book will spill into a fifth year.


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