One-Eyed Jack: Progress Report Zero

A couple of years back I was advised that traditional fantasy wasn’t selling as well as it used to, and the hot trend was urban fantasy. Well, I’ve always liked urban fantasy, so I decided to give it a shot. The result was a dark urban fantasy called One-Eyed Jack, first in what I intended as a series about a guy named Gregory Kraft who’s been cursed — literally — with psychic powers he can’t control and doesn’t really understand.

I finished it some time ago, and my agent’s been trying to find it a suitable home. A couple of publishers are interested, but frankly, I’m not thrilled with the terms they’re offering, and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve wanted to experiment with self-publishing. So a couple of days ago I asked my agent to pull it off the market; I’ll be publishing it myself, under the Misenchanted Press imprint.

I’m still working out the details, though. For one thing, should I serialize it? I’m thinking I should, just as advertising. The whole thing’s written, so I don’t need encouragement to finish it, but I’ll be interested in reader reaction, and feedback from a serial may result in some tweaking and editing.

I will not be promising donors a copy of the finished paper edition, though. I’m not sure whether I’ll have a minimum amount required before I post a new chapter. I will let people donate money either because they feel like it, or to advance order the e-book edition, but it won’t take $25; I think $10 should cover it. (I won’t just send them the e-book immediately because (a) I won’t have the cover ready right away, and (b) there’s that tweaking and editing I mentioned.) The eventual list price for the e-book will be less than that, but your $10 means you’ll be one of the first to get it.

So right now I’m looking for feedback — serialize it, or don’t bother? If serialized, how often should new chapters be posted? Since it’s all written, there’s no need for weekly spacing; I could do two or three chapters a week. Heck, I could make it daily. There are twenty-seven chapters and an epilogue. Should I require a certain amount of money before posting a new chapter, or just assume that sales of the finished book will cover everything?

Should I, perhaps, not post the last few chapters, no matter what?

Talk to me, folks.


The Unwelcome Warlock: Progress Report Forty-Five

Latest word from Wildside is that a limited run of The Unwelcome Warlock should be out in September or October, so that copies can be sent to donors, but the regular edition is being pushed back to allow time for a new distribution deal. The new target date for the generally-available edition is February.

Cover price will probably be under $15, despite the novel’s length — ebooks have put some serious downward pressure on book prices — so I’m thinking of including a chapbook of “The Frog Wizard” with each donor copy.

Never heard of “The Frog Wizard”? Or if you did read it and remember it, you don’t see what it has to do with Ethshar? Well, that’s because I originally wrote no fewer than six variants of the same story, and only one of the six is an Ethshar story. One of the non-Ethshar versions was published in the January 1993 issue of Science Fiction Age, but the Ethshar version has never been published before.

This does not mean, however, that only donors to the serial of The Unwelcome Warlock will see it. It’s included in an upcoming collection of short Ethshar stories. Wildside has sent a contract for this collection; we’re fine-tuning the contract, but it should be signed soon. The collection will include all the short Ethshar stories — well, unless I forgot any; I only remembered to include “The Frog Wizard” at the last minute. Chapter One of The Unwanted Wardrobe will be there, with a few notes on some of the references.

And here’s where I’d like some feedback. I submitted the book as Tales of Ethshar, but Wildside accidentally sent the contract for The Book of Ethshar — which is a pretty good title. Now we’re trying to decide which title to use. Got an opinion?