If you have followed me—here on my blog, on the Fantasy Fiends Podcast, social media, or my reader mail—for more than a few weeks, you'll no doubt have seen some mention of The Last Bucelarii series and/or the bad-ass assassin known as Hunter of Voramis. Blade of the Destroyer (the first in The Last Bucelarii series) was the book that started my career as an author. I was blessed to find an amazing publisher in J. Ellington Ashton, and I have enjoyed every moment of working with them. Over the last 2+ years, they have helped me publish the three first adventures in the Hunter's journey (Blade of the Destroyer, Lament of the Fallen, and Gateway to the Past). But, as I've been learning in the last few months, the book publishing industry is changing. The way people find books, read books, and buy books is vastly different than it was when I released Blade of the Destroyer in August 2015. If I'm to make a proper career as an author, it's imperative I change with it. One of the hardest things for me to learn was that "packaging" is often more important than the quality of the product itself. Specifically, if people weren't interested in the packaging of the product, they'd never give the product a chance. This, unfortunately, begins with the book covers. Let's get one thing straight: I LOVE the original covers for The Last Bucelarii! I love how grim, dark, and gritty they are, the perfect exemplification of what to expect inside.
But while I knew and loved them, a lot of potential buyers looked and thought, "Nah", then went on to buy someone else's book.Another thing I learned is that a lot of readers like to know IMMEDIATELY what to expect when looking at a book. The cover is vital, but the title has a lot to do with it. The title "The Last Bucelarii" was clear in my mind, but for the average reader who doesn't know that the name "Bucelarii" is used to describe half-demon, it was unclear. Many had a hard time pronouncing the name, which led to more confusion. These factors are just a few of the things that prevented the books from seeing the success I wanted. But it's not about the money. Granted, millions of dollars in sales would enable me to focus fully on writing novels. The truth is that only way an author knows that people are reading their books is if people actually buy them. Low sales = not a lot of people buying/reading the book. High sales = more readers. Thus, I have made the decision to unpublish the series as it stands (existing book covers and title), re-package them, and relaunch them with new titles and book covers. This is actually AWESOME news, for a number of reasons:
- I get new covers! Trust me, I've seen the artist's first draft, and after a few minor changes, they are going to be truly spectacular. The covers have a much more "epic" feel to them, which means they will appeal to a broader audience.
- I get to take another go at cracking the Amazon algorithm. Thanks to a lot of helpful resources I've been reading, I've learned a bit more about the data science that drives Amazon's methods of promoting and distributing books. I intend to use that knowledge (and everything else I can acquire) to re-launch the books to hopefully much greater success.
- YOU get the remaining four books more quickly. One of the drawbacks of working with a publisher, even one as awesome as JEA, is that there are other books to be edited, formatted, and published. Thus, books end up being released farther apart. Not so now! The fact that I am publishing them myself means I can deliver you the content you want much more quickly. In fact, you will receive the final three installments in the series before the end of 2018. That's right, you heard me: all SIX books will be written and published before the end of next year.