Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Last of the First Edition & First Printing

Age of Swords
Hardcover First Printing 
Signature Options:
Dedication Name:

Hey all, Robin and Sarah spent the weekend organizing our new shipping department in the carriage house we built out in the valley.  In doing so, we now have all our books organized and categorized. For those who have been asking about first printing and first edition copies...no, we don't have any Age of Myth left. The only copies we have here are 4th printing ;-(.

But...we do have 22 copies of Age of Swords 1st printing. Since there are just a few of them, we have set them aside and you can only get them from this page.  All future shipment of those books will be the most recent printing (which I think is on it's third printing)

We also have a VERY few copies of the original paperback editions of Riyria self-published books (including 8 "full sets" and a few extras here and there. If you are interested in getting any of those books, send us an email and we'll coordinate with you.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Advice from the mailbag: Write bad books

People often email me asking for advice about writing. I answer the questions directly, but as I do receive similar questions, it makes sense to post some of them in the hopes of helping other authors, published or aspiring.  Here is a paraphrased question I received recently:
I'm struggling with writing fiction. I find planning a book extremely difficult let alone a series of them. I have abandoned more than a few projects in the past, frustrated that I couldn't come up with good enough plot twists or how to satisfyingly end the book. Any advice?
Here is how I responded:
It is hard to remote diagnose, but my advice in how to avoid being discouraged about not coming up with good enough plot twists or a satisfying end, is to not try to write the perfect book. One of the biggest obstacles for aspiring writers is to think what you create must be great. All too often writers make impossible goals and when they fail, grow discouraged. It is highly unlikely that anyone can hit a home run the first time they step up to the plate; one does not make a symphony after their first piano lesson. 
What separates writing novels from brain surgery, (or more accurately one of the things)  is that no one dies when you screw up a book. It can take from eleven to seventeen years to become a good surgeon. It took me twenty years to become a decent writer, and that doesn't include the first ten years where I wrote three complete novels, dozens of partials, and a dozen short stories. That's what I did  between the ages of thirteen and twenty-three. I doubt too many kids get to practice medicine at the age of thirteen. 
Writing is insanely complex. All literate people can do it, so it appears easy, but while most people can whistle a tune, few can compose a jingle much less an opera. Even after thirty years, and more than thirty novels, I still learn all sorts of new stuff every day. Why? Because good fiction writing has so many facets, but at its heart is how you think, and how you communicate this using words. There is an infinite number of ways to do this, and as a writer you need to make millions of decisions, many of which will make or break a book. Only through trial and error, only through committing to your sub-conscious and muscle memory of the basics, can you hope to master enough of the complexity to get it right enough to succeed at making people love what you write. 
So don't sweat it. Write bad books. Write awful books. Make lots and lots of mistakes. That's how you learn. And never, ever, aspire to become perfect. To be perfect is to give up. Concentrate, instead on constant improvement, on learning, on doing better on the next novel you write. Give yourself the freedom to fail and you will learn to write.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

3 days left to save on Age of Myth

Thank you Del Rey for putting the ebook of Age of Myth on sale. This is making now a perfect opportunity to jump into the Legends of the First Empire, especially given that book #3 (Age of War) is just a few months from releasing. If you haven't picked up the deal yet, you need to hurry. It'll go back to $9.99 in just three days.  

And thanks to the thousands of people who have already read, and loved the books. I can't wait until you get Age of War, and I'm anxious to see what you think of the next installment.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Smashwords is running it's annual ebook sale where for 7 days various books will be either Free, or 25%, 50% or 75% off. I have two books at Smashwords and both can be read independtly of my other works. Here's a bit on each that is in the sale, sample chapters, and discount calls.

The Death of Dulgath: $2.50 Save 75% from $9.99 regular price (USE CODE: RAE75)
Three times they tried to kill her. Then a professional
was hired. So was Riyria.

When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and the cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start life as rogues-for-hire. Things have gone well enough until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.

Hollow World: $4.00 Save 50% from $7.99 regular price (USE CODE: RAE50)
Award-nominated sci-fi in the tradition of Heinlein, Asimov & Wells. He wanted to escape his problems. He wanted to see the future. He never considered what the future wanted.

Confronted with a painful death from cancer, Dan Sturges foregoes treatments to try an idea of his own. With nothing to lose but a few months of pain, Dan builds a time machine in his garage and pins his hopes on a future where his disease might be cured. How could he have known that what happens after he presses the button is more shocking than the eighteen car batteries he connected himself to?

Friday, March 2, 2018

Age of War is coming, and Age of Myth is on sale

Age of War (coming July 3rd) is just a few months away, and to entice readers into the series, Del Rey has lowered the price of Age of Myth to just $2.99.  That's 66% off the regular $9.99 regular price. I think if you've enjoyed the Riyria tales, you will like the Legends of the First Empire as well. I'm not sure how long the book will be on sale, I actually just stumbled over it today, but if you've not tried the new series set 3,000 years before the events of Riyria, now is a perfect time to give it a try.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

2 Days Left to Get Theft of Swords on Sale

As part of their "First in Series Sale" Audible.com has Theft of Swords on sale for just $6.95. If you haven't started listening to Riyria on audio, this is an excellent chance to give it a try.  This volume is an omnibus and so you will receive two full-length novels (The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha) for less than $3.50 each. But you have to hurry the sale ends 11:59 PM tomorrow (Sunday)!

Tim Gerard Reynold's narration really shouldn't be missed. If you're not sure if you want to take the plunge. You can check out either of these free short stories. They are a great introduction to the world of Riyria (and Tim as the narrator) so you might want to listen to them first. Each is right around an hour and you can access them by clicking on the covers below.

Several years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start their thieves-for-hire organization better known as Riyria. Things have gone well enough for the team as they do "jobs" for various nobles throughout Elan. Usually that means stealing something, but when a young heiress asks them to steal her…well, that's a first for the pair. All is not as it seems, but Royce is determined to get the bottom of what's actually going on. After all, he has his professional integrity at stake.

Originally released in the Blackguards anthology published by Ragnarok Publications, this is a standalone short story of 10,800 words (1 hour 18 minutes listening time) . No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for existing fans to spend a little more time with old friends.


Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens to them is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.

This is a standalone short story of 7,200 words (54 minutes listing time) . No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Riyria veterans to spend a little more time with old friends. The Jester is a story of adventure, bonds of friendship, and a recognition that the choices we make dictates the future we find.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Age of War Audio Recording Begins!

On Sunday, Robin and I returned from a little vacation in the Caribbean (St. John was hit last year by two massive hurricanes - one direct hit from a Cat 5 and a glancing blow from a Cat 4 but it's "back" and we couldn't wait to go visit it again).

While we were there, we were busily reviewing the printer proofs for Age of War (more on that soon). In addition, we had the recording of Age of War (yes, Tim Gerard Reynolds will once again be doing the narration) line up.  Recording was supposed to start on Monday, but it was delayed a few days due some family emergency issues with Tim...thankfully everything turned out better than originally expected.

We made it through the first 13.6% so we're off to to a good start.  Recording continues in just a few minutes, and it's great to be sitting in on the process. Normally, we would go to New York and be in studio, but with the travel to St. John we didn't book back-to-back travel.  We'll let you know how it's going, and in the meantime, if you haven't pre-ordered your copy of Age of War please consider doing so.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Proud Father of a Nine Year Old

I can't believe I missed an anniversary!! Luckily it wasn't with Robin, or I'd be sleeping out in the cold. I recently looked back to see when I started my blog and low and behold it was January 9th, 2009, so this post is one month late.

Before I was published, or actually just after, no one would listen to my advice or comments on publishing. I didn't blame them because, well, what did I know? More recently, aspiring or newly-minted authors still refuse my advice, but for a different reason.  They claim my techniques only work for me because I'm established, and I know nothing about the trials of being an unknown author lost in the wilderness that is the publishing world. Apparently these folks assume I, like Athena, sprang fully formed out of the head of Amazon, fully armored and ready for battle.

Not so much.

When I wrote my first post, I was newly settled in Washington, DC, recently publihsed, forty-seven years old, and had just obtained my first iPhone. I also had recently joined my first writer’s group, was playing Fallout 3, and reading Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth. My wife of almost thirty years told me I had to start a blog because she thought writing blog posts once a week was just the thing to get me noticed.

At the time, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but was consoled by the assurance that no one would ever read my blog. A few months later my website had 64 total views, and 14 members, which in Internetese translates to silence. This is what I came up with for my blog’s maiden voyage:

 The Proud Father of a Three Month Old

The Crown Conspiracy is three months old, and I have no clear idea of how well it is doing. This being my first published novel, and not knowing any other published authors, I have no idea if this is typical or disturbing.

The reviews on Amazon look good (as do the reports I am seeing on Goodreads). Readers appear to genuinely like the novel. My only other data point is how well I’ve done at book signings, but I can’t imagine that every reader, every buyer of TCC, has obtained it through my hands. At least I hope not. I trust there are people out there who have read it on a lark, on a dare, out of boredom, or because they happened to see a review somewhere that struck a chord and were so pleased that they felt compelled to spread the word. “I just read this incredible book…” is how I imagine the multitude of conversations beginning, or maybe, “Have you ever heard of The Crown Conspiracy by Michael Sullivan?” I suppose the day you can ask that second question and not be certain of the answer is the day I will need to take a great deal more care in what I write in this blog

Around that same time,  I read Raymond Feist’s forward to his revised edition of The Magician. In it he wrote, how it marked his tenth anniversary of the book, and how it had been in print continually all that time. I read his comments about how he considered himself blessed to be a full-time author, and I couldn’t begin to imagine what that might be like.

During those first few months I went on a poor-man’s book tour, meaning that I did book signings at all the local bookstores that would have me. Eighteen did.

Robin handed out bookmarks advertising my novel outside the front door to the store. Inside, I stood for hours at a desk with a stack of my books, and a sign we had printed up and glued to a foam board. On a good day I sold seven, on a bad day, two.

By that January I began to notice a few emails trickling in. My first fan mails:

Hello Mike, Two months ago I bought The Crown Conspiracy. Honestly when I bought it I had doubts. (No offence.) I started reading it, and reading it, and reading it, until I was so engrossed in the book that I would stay up at night reading it even when I was dog tired. (…) You probably don’t remember me but I was the teen in the gray sweater who you caught walking out of Borders Express.

Mr. Sullivan, This past Saturday I wandered into Border's in Manassas to look around. Walking in I received a bookmark for your book, The Crown Conspiracy. As soon as I walked in the store, I noticed you standing at the table to the left and was intrigued. Thank you again for such a wonderful story.

Somewhere around that same time, I was online in a writer's forum and ran across some less-than- positive sentiment. My fellow writer wanted to let me know that my books were awful (even though I'm sure he never read them), I was a hack, the entire fantasy genre was for losers, and that in ten year's time no one would know I existed. He went on to tell me that he was a real writer, as evidenced by the fact that he'd never been published because no one appreciates his geinus.

Well, the first book of The Riyria Revelations was published on October 1st 2008. So this autumn I'll cross that decade milestone. I’m crossing my fingers that people will still be reading my work, so that, if nothing else, it'll prove that guy was wrong. It doesn't matter that he'll never know because I will.

And now, it would seem, that I must take greater care with my posts. While I'm sure the question "Have you read Michael J. Sullivan's books?" will still produce the response of "Who?" more often than any other answer, I suspect that from time to time the reply comes back, "I've heard of him, but haven't read anything yet." There may even be a few times when someone says, "Yes, I have." Hopefully the statement that follows that is "And I love his books."

One last thing I should mention...you can probably expect more nostalgic posts as the anniversary draws closer.

You’ve been warned.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sold out...well almost

If you've been looking for copies of the hardcover edition of The Death of Dulgath on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite bookstore, you may have noticed it's out of stock. That's because the warehouses are bare and all that's left is a few boxes I have at my house.  Our original print run for the books was 5,000 regular hardcovers and 500 limited edition versions, and when these are gone, there won't be no more printed.  Here's what the covers look like:

I should also note, that we have finally come to an agreement with Orbit to print hardcover editions of  Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire, Heir of Novron, The Crown Tower & The Rose and the Thorn. Quantities on those editions will also be limited, so if you plan on getting them (and haven't picked up your Death of Dulath hardcover), then you better hurry or you'll be missing one book in the set.

So what's the difference between the two? Well, the biggest is that the limited edition is, well, limited. Only 500 copies were printed, the cover stock is linen with gold foil stamping, the signature page is embossed with my personal seal, and of course they are signed, numbered, and dated.  Due to the rarity the limited edition are twice the cost of the regular hardcover ($50 verses $25).  If you purchase either edition from my store you can have them signed and/or dedicated.

I'm thrilled that we sold out, or nearly have, the print run for this book. Usually a self-published book utilizes print-on-demand technology, and that can make the unit costs really high...too high to offer economically in bookstores. But due to the Kickstarter, we were able to use a distribution partner and that meant getting the books into bookstores, which certainly helped it sales.  I do hope you'll be able to grab one of the remaining copies, and as always thanks for your support.

Friday, February 2, 2018

And it's name is...

People are always asking me what I'm working on. Usually, that's difficult to say because I'm often working on more than one thing at a time.  Presently,  I'm....
  • Waiting on printer proofs for Age of War
  • Revising Age of Legends based on alpha feedback and getting it ready for a beta read.
  • And up until recently I was starting work on my new series. Which now has a name.

No, I can't tell you what it's about.  Well, I could, but then I'd have to kill you, and tracking everyone down would be quiet time consuming.  What I can say is this new series falls between Legends of the First Empire and The Riyria Chronicles. I'm about 50,000 words into it so far, but for now it goes back into hibernation because others I was waiting on (Del Rey for production work on Age of War, and Robin for alpha feedback on Age of Legend) have moved their balls back into my court. The good news is I did wrap it up in a nice stopping place before returning to Legends of the First Empire. So it's sitting there all safe and sound.

Oh, and one other thing this book has besides a name; it also has a page on Goodreads.  If you add it to your shelf, you'll see updates from me as I'm working on it. That way you won't have to ask me what I'm doing...you'll already know!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

New and Improved Store

Hey all, Robin, here. I wanted to let you know that I've made some long overdue changes to our online store. Here are some of the changes:

  • Added The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter: Previously you could only order this title from a "special site," but now you can get copies directly from our store. Due to a non-compete clause this book (in ebook and print) won't be in the retail chins until June 2018, but if you buy direct from our store you can get your copies now!

  • Added the mass market paperback edition of Age of SwordsYesterday was the release of Age of Swords in mass market paperback format which means (a) the price on the ebook has dropped and (b) your can now order either hardcovers or paperbacks directly from us. And of course you can get them signed and/or dedicated if you wish.

  • Grouped the books by series: Previously we grouped the page by the "type" of book: ebook, mass market paperback, trade paperback, hardcover, or limited edition hardcover. That made it easy for creating the page, but it wasn't always intuitive for ordering the books.  We have now broken the page by each series and the books in those series. You'll notice that some books don't have the ability to purchase an ebook, that's because they are traditionally published and the right to sell the digital copy is reserved to the publisher. We can always sell print books for any edition that is in print.

  • Age of War pre-orders: Are not currently in the store, but we will have a "secret page" that you can preorder from once we get closer to release. If you want to be notified when that page goes live, here is a link to the signup page. Once the secret page goes live, we'll email you.

Speaking of "books in print," the hardcover editions of The Death of Dulgath are now officially sold out, and there's less than 100 copies of the trade paperback edition.  There won't be a reprint for the hardcover so once they're gone, they're gone. We do have some copies here, and are selling them on a first come first serve basis. We also are dangerously low on the LIMITED EDITION versions of that book as well, so I expect those to go out of print soon. As for the paperback, we won't be doing another printing, but we will offer the book through print on demand.  This will make it a tad more expensive and the book will be slightly taller than all the other Riyria trade paperbacks.  I know a lot of people like their books in a series to line up perfectly, so if you're one of those people, I'd suggest ordering a copy of those from either our site or your local retailer. 

I hope you'll check out the new store, and if you see something you like go ahead and order a copy. We are through the shipping rush that included a ton of pre-orders and the Kickstarter books, so shipping is going much more smoothly now. And please let me know if you have any problems. I did extensive testing, but that doesn't mean I didn't miss something somewhere.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Get Age of Myth for less than a fin

Audible is having a sale where they are taking every Daily Deal from 2017 and re-running those great prices. As such, you can get Age of Myth for less than $5! And there are plenty of other great books on sale as well. The Hobbit is less than $4!  Here are the fantasy books that I found for sale. Oh, and you have to hurry, Sale ends January 28, 2018 at 11:59 PM PT.

Here's a bit about each title:

  # of Ratings   
   Sale Price   

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Most Anticipated Fantasy of the Season

Audible made their picks for most-anticipated upcoming releases in fantasy and I'm thrilled that Age of War made the list!

Here's a bit about each title:

   Release Date   
  Michel J. Sullivan  
  Tim Gerard Reynolds  
 Kevin Hearne  
  Patricia Briggs  
 Holter Graham 
  Jack Campbell  
  MacLeod Andrews  
  Terry Goodkind  
  Christina Traister  
  Anne Bishop 
  Alexandra Harris  
  Michelle Sagara 
  Khristine Hvam  
  Duncan M. Hamilton 
 Simon Vance  
 Marc Alan Edelheit 
  Alex Hyde-White  
Django Wexler
Richard Poe  
  Karen Marie Moning 
 Amanda Leigh Cobb
& Jim Frangione  
  Michael-Scott Earle
  Xe Sands &
Kevin T. Collins  
 Lois McMaster Bujold 
Grover Gardner 
  Mark Lawrence 
 Seth Skorkowsky
 R. C. Bray  
Richard Phillips
  Caitlin Davies 
Josiah Bancroft 
  John Banks  
   Lois McMaster Bujold    
  R. A. Salvatore 
  Tim Gerard Reynolds  
 Myke Cole  
  Michi Barall  
   Steve McHugh   
    Elizabeth Knowelden 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

In case there was any doubt about my feelings toward Tim Gerard Reynolds

After so many years of singing the praises of Tim Gerard Reynolds (and dedicating one of my most recent books to him), I'm sure most people who know me are already aware that I'm in awe (and constant appreciation) for his talent.  So when Audible.com asked me to pick three books to highlight on their "Front Table," of course I was going to make Tim's narrations my unifying theme.

So, if you've only experience Tim's work through my books, maybe check out some of his other interpretations. I'm confident you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Best of December: Audible's Listener Favorites

There certainly is a sense of pride when being an editor's pick, or hitting a Best-of or Most-anticipated list for a blog site. It shows that people "in the industry" appreciated your work and that you are putting out a quality product. But I must say that making one of the reader's favorites is even sweeter. After all, it's the readers who support the books, and it's the readers who will give a book it's wings (by telling all their friends and family that they MUST read it).

With that said, I'm thrilled that the recently released The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter, was a Listener Favorite for December.

Here are the other books that received this distinction:

And here's some further details about each one:

  # ratings  
Tiffany Haddish
Tiffany Haddish
Nora Roberts
Julia Whelan
Kel Kade
Nick Podehl
 James S. A. Corey
Jefferson Mays
 Michel J. Sullivan
Tim Gerard Reynolds
Rachel Caine
James Rollins
Christian Baskous
Faith Hunter
Khristine Hvam
  Brian Andrews &  Jeffrey Wilson 
Ray Porter
  Ginger Zee 
Ginger Zee
  Mark Tufo & John O'Brien
Sean Runnette
Christina Lauren
K. C. Sheridan  
Laurann Dohner
Savannah Richards
Robin Benway
Julia Whelan
Evan Currie
David deVries
Susan Stoker
Erin Bennett
Meghan March
Grace Grant & Joe Arden
Lili Valente & Lauren Blakely
Andi Arndt & Sebastian York
Mina Baites
Jane Oppenheimer