The Next Step

I mailed the manuscript of The Vondish Ambassador to the editor yesterday.

No contract as yet, though — Wildside was not happy with sales of the trade paperback of The Spriggan Mirror, which complicates matters.  (None of the big chains wanted to carry it.)

The regular-sized paperback from Cosmos Books is just now shipping, and we’ll see if that helps.

We’re Getting There…

I’m sure many of you are wondering what’s happening as far as getting the finished novel done and delivered into your eager hands. Well, I’m working on it.

I had two other books under contract, which took priority. One of those, The Summer Palace, has now been completed, delivered, and accepted and will be published in 2008. The other, a non-fiction project, is written, but it still needs some updating — but for technical reasons I can’t do that updating until September.

Which means I’m midway through the second draft of The Vondish Ambassador. I should have it done in a couple of weeks, whereupon I will send it to my chosen editor and negotiate a contract with Wildside Press. (Yes, I’m using my own editor, as well as theirs.)

I’m sorry it’s taken so long.

Incidentally, there have been a few latecomers donating money toward The Vondish Ambassador, as recently as this past Saturday. I’ll probably send them copies of the finished book, but if you give me money at this point there is no guarantee you’ll get anything for it. All further donations are entirely at your own risk.

And donations directed to The Spriggan Mirror at this point receive nothing but a thank-you e-mail and my sincere gratitude.

In other Ethshar news, The Spriggan Mirror is still available in trade paperback and e-book editions, and the limited hardcover edition wasn’t yet sold out last I checked. The rack-sized paperback from Cosmos Books is scheduled for September.

The new Cosmos Books paperback of The Misenchanted Sword is scheduled for January 2008. No dates yet on any other Ethshar books.

The next Ethshar serial — and I may do a non-Ethshar one first — will probably be The Final Calling, just to get it over with. I’ve recently worked out a lot of plot details on it. I have no idea at all when I’ll get to it, though.

Thanks again for all your support!

News & Updates

First, no, I haven’t written the final draft of The Vondish Ambassador yet. Haven’t even started it. We were traveling out west for a week and a half, and I’ve been working on The Summer Palace, third and final volume in the Annals of the Chosen, which is very late.

But I will get to it soon.

Wildside will get The Vondish Ambassador out in a print-on-demand trade paperback edition as soon as possible once it’s finished, and the regular offset edition will appear several months thereafter. Yes, a mass-market paperback edition is planned for somewhere a year or two down the road.

You can still claim a copy of the first edition by donating $25, but this offer expires April 10th.

Meanwhile, Wildside has also decided to publish a limited-edition hardcover of The Spriggan Mirror. This will be a 500-copy edition, $35 a pop, not signed or numbered. It wasn’t my idea; it was a whim on publisher John Betancourt’s part, as enough people had asked about one that he thought it would be worth doing.

I believe a mass-market paperback of The Spriggan Mirror ought to be out some time in 2008.

The next serial is still undetermined — don’t know what it’ll be, or when.

Anything else anyone wants to know?

Chapter Twenty-Six has been posted

Chapter Twenty-Six is up.

The current system is that the remaining two chapters will be posted as soon as they’re paid for, and the epilogue will be posted with Chapter Twenty-Eight.

I have $65.95 toward Chapter Twenty-Seven; another $184.05 will do it. $434.05 will finish the first draft.

However, even if I finish posting the whole thing tomorrow (which seems unlikely), I will continue taking donations and counting them as advance orders through March 31st. $25 will get you a copy of the finished book if you’re in the U.S., and $30 will cover it anywhere else, and all donors of any amount will have access to the two bonus maps.

In other news, I’ve talked to the publisher at Wildside Press, and we have a verbal deal for Wildside to publish The Vondish Ambassador. This won’t be final until there’s a signed contract, of course, but it’s a start. We’ve also agreed that rather than me doing a privately-printed first edition, Wildside will do a small first edition (maybe print-on-demand) as quickly as is practical, and then release their regular edition next year — they really don’t like the idea of a non-Wildside edition existing, but they need about a year of lead time for their regular one. This means a lot less hassle for me, and I hope will suit everyone.

Wildside should also be offering their e-book edition of The Spriggan Mirror fairly soon; they have the rights now.

Thanks to all of you for your support!

Chapter Twenty-Four has been posted

Chapter 24 is up.

As I said two posts back, I’m no longer waiting for specific days or times — when enough money comes in, the chapter goes up, which is why I’m posting this before midnight.

I have $65 toward Chapter Twenty-Five. Another $935 will complete the novel. The first draft is entirely written.

And speaking of first drafts, you’ll notice there’s a note in this chapter about that; that obviously won’t be in the final draft.

I don’t think it comes up in this chapter, but there’s also a correction that’s been made to the manuscript but not the chapters I’d already posted — the Empire of Vond has eighteen provinces, not seventeen. I’d miscounted because I was working from a list of the countries Semma annexed, and it didn’t include Semma itself. D’oh.


Additional Notes & Comparisons

Some people have wondered whether I could justify charging 2.5 times as much per chapter this time as I did for The Spriggan Mirror; well, it’s only this past week that The Vondish Ambassador has finally taken in as much money as the serial of The Spriggan Mirror did. That first serial brought in far more than I’d expected.

Both serials came to about 82,000 words; The Spriggan Mirror gets that by rounding up, The Vondish Ambassador by rounding down.

The final draft of The Spriggan Mirror ran a little over 90,000 words; The Vondish Ambassador feels a little rougher to me than Mirror did, so I expect it to run a bit more than that.

Am I going to do more serials? I don’t know. Not right away; I need to concentrate on stuff that pays better, and I want to incorporate some lessons I’ve learned and not do such a rush job next time. I do hope to tackle more eventually, and not just Ethshar, but sequels to some of my other work where there are marketing reasons to not try to sell them through the major publishers — such as my science fiction.

Specifically, I’m considering offering serials of the third War Surplus novel and the second Carlisle Hsing novel — the working titles are respectively The Exile and the Empire, and Realms of Light. I also plotted a sequel to Shining Steel long ago that might be worth a shot, and a prequel to Denner’s Wreck.

And as for Ethshar, I know a lot of you want to see The Final Calling next, but I’m not sure how much I want to write it, so I am not promising it’ll be next. There are several other candidates.

Comments on all these subjects are welcome.

News & Updates

As of 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 19, I only have $105 toward Chapter Twenty-Four.

The first draft is now entirely written — twenty-eight chapters and an epilogue, coming to very slightly more wordage than the first draft of The Spriggan Mirror.  The epilogue will be posted simultaneously with Chapter Twenty-Eight, whenever we get that far.

I see no need to drag this out; the remaining chapters will be posted as fast as they’re paid for, with no weekly schedule required.

I’ve made up a couple of maps — one of Ethshar of the Spices and one of the Empire of Vond and its neighbors — that I’ll be posting to a private website.  Donors will be given access.  The general public will not.  Donors will also, of course, be informed of each new chapter’s posting, and anyone in the U.S. who’s donated $25 will eventually receive a copy of the privately-printed first edition.  Foreign donors of $30 or more will also receive copies.

I don’t know when that first edition will be available; what’s being posted here is first draft, and it needs to be revised, rewritten, edited, and copy-edited before it can go to publication.  Not to mention acquiring cover art and getting the whole thing properly formatted.  I’ve made preliminary arrangements with a printer, but can’t finalize them until I have the cover art and final text.

My best guess is that the first edition will ship late in the summer of 2007 — assuming the online serial is done before that.  If the serial isn’t yet complete, I may hold off until it is.  Then, and only then, will I talk to small press publishers about doing a regular edition.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported this venture.