Unlike previous year in review posts, I'm going to skip the usual blog stats breakdown. I used to get a kick out of seeing how many people stumbled onto my posts, read them, and possibly even left a comment. But I think the tone of this blog has changed to the point where while I still get a kick out of those things, they're not so much at the forefront of my focus. I'm ecstatic that this blog has posts which have been read well over 100,000 times now (the top 3 actually account for over 100,000 just by themselves), but my focus is more and more on my writing, so that's what this review is really about.
2013 was a great year for me. I released the first two Assassin Without a Name stories, with a third in the works presently.
Also, I finished up and released the second book in The Alchemancer series, The Nullification Engine. Initial reviews are positive, though few, but I have many more coming as review copies continue to go out. I'm really looking at the long term with my releases rather than trying to make a hard impact right from the get-go. The series continues to pick up new readers every day, so I'm happy about that.
On a related note, I'm really proud of The Nullification Engine. It's my most complex story to date, with five (or is it six?) viewpoint characters all going about their own business but also all tied together by the underlying storyline. My original plan for this series was five books, and I don't think that's changed. I'm outlining the next/third book now, so might start writing it in February. Having just gone through the whole beta/edit/proofread process, which spanned a couple of months just by itself, I'm hoping I can make some adjustments to help streamline it without losing any of the quality it brings.
My last major accomplishment was releasing the second edition of The Hall of the Wood. This was a book which, in simple terms, got released before it'd been given the proper editing treatment. The second edition resolved that. It's not selling as well as the Alchemancer books, but I sleep better at night knowing it's been raised to an acceptable level of quality, of which my readers absolutely deserve (and of which I expect of myself if I'm to continue publishing novels).
So that's that. Another year has come and gone. I've learned a tremendous amount about the writing business and what it takes to have staying power in the industry. I've also established some great relationships with readers, some of whom received advanced, finished copies of The Nullification Engine just because. I hope to make many more such relationships in 2014.
Carrying on the tradition of listing out my favorites reads of the year (here are my favorite reads of 2010 and 2011; apparently I skipped 2013—some tradition, huh?), I give you the books I found most enjoyable in 2013.
You can see all of the books I read in 2013 on Goodreads.
Other "Best Of" Lists
One of the challenges of selling any product is making consumers aware of it. eBooks are no exception to this. As an author, there are myriad ways to get my books in front of people. One of the best ways is to let someone else do it. Even better if this middleman (or, in this case, middlewoman) 'sells' to people who requested a pitch. In this case, the request takes the form of a reader signing up to receive an email containing information about books to buy.
The key to success here, though, is for the sender of the email to provide a curated, filtered list of eBooks based on reader preference and selection. Enter The Fussy Librarian.
They're a new outfit in town, still growing their list and extending generous advertising terms to authors such as myself, but they're doing everything right so far, which is a pretty good first step.
Not only am I using their service as an author, but I also use it as a reader. When signing up to receive an email from them, I like that I can specify which sub-genre (Steampunk and Epic Fantasy for me, of course) from which to pull books for me to see. They also let you specify what level of language you're comfortable with in your books, as well as violence and sexual content. It's another way to narrow down the books you'll see each day.
I'd like to see The Fussy Librarian do well, both as an author and a reader. We need more services like this. Not ones that will hurl a barrage of titles at you each day, but ones that curate what they're sending so we can avoid some of the you know what.
The other side of this is that without more services like this certain ones (Bookbub) gain a stranglehold on the "good" advertising venues.
So do us all a favor and go check out The Fussy Librarian.
Last time I revealed the regional map which goes along with my new steamfantasy novel, The Nullification Engine. Now, it's time to take a look at the second map.
I give you, the city of Brighton.
Brighton is a city where three rivers—the Silvercross, Whitecrest, and Highbrook—converge. Its residents took full advantage of this by re-routing the rivers into waterways which flow throughout the city. It should come as no surprise that Brighton contains a great number of bridges and, much like our own real world Venice, finding your way around its streets and alleys, when you have the additional obstacles in the form of rivers and waterways, can make for a difficult time getting around, especially for newcomers.
Aaron, Serena, and Ensel Rhe arrive at Brighton's gates fresh from their ordeal in The Five Elements. As one might expect from my writing, right away things go south for them. I'll say no more, other than that you can pick up a copy of The Nullification Engine at all major online retailers. I hope you'll give it a read.