Twenty Palaces, the prequel to Child of Fire and the other Twenty Palaces novels has been doing fairly well in online sales, but the numbers are going down, as I expected.
I often have people tell me that the series will become popular once enough people find out about it, but the numbers say otherwise. When I see writers posting about their self-publishing success, the month-by-month numbers always go up. Yeah, I know: December. Also: First month of release of a book with a built-in audience.
Still, January sales are less than half what they were the month before, and they’re slower at the end of the month than the beginning. What’s more, Del Rey still has Child of Fire at the 99 cent price point.
If the series was ever going to take off, it would have happened by now. I’ve decided that is vindication for my decision to move on. We’ll see how the next thing does.
I wish I didn’t have to drop this note on the weekend, but the email came yesterday. I’ll be posting about this again next week when more folks are actually looking at the web.
News: Pat Rothfuss’s Worldbuilder fundraiser has two copies of my SFBC omnibus edition of The Wooden Man–as I mentioned on Twitter, these are the only two copies I’m planning to sign. One is in the general lottery: you donate ten bucks, you have a chance to win one of the items being offered at random. The other is up for auction. I guess several readers sent notes to him asking for a more direct chance to buy it, so thank you!
But once I saw my book was in the auction, I wanted to sweeten the deal. I took the ghost knife prop for the book trailer–the only one I kept–and popped it in an envelope.
So! If you’re the winning bid on this auction, not only will you get a rare signed 20P omnibus, you’ll also get your own ghost knife to use as a bookmark. Best of all, it’s for a really good cause. Here’s a direct link to the auction.
Pat’s a good guy for running this, so I hope we can help bring in a few extra bucks for his favorite cause. The auction ends on the 29th, so don’t wait to make your bid.
1) Bethany Warner at Word Nerd liked Circle of Enemies: “This Connolly [is the] one Best Discovered Author for me from the Word Nerds this year, the series is that good. Check it out.”
2) Marilee J. Layman read all three books in The Wooden Man omnibus and liked them: “I’d really like another book or so of these.”
3) Yaz at Yaz’s Books N Stuff thought Child of Fire was “refreshingly unique”: “An enjoyable read, I look forward to more of Ray’s adventures.”
4) Garrett at Ranting Dragon liked Circle of Enemies: “… a novel of deep insight and character development.”
5) Former SFBC editor Andrew Wheeler at The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent. liked Circle of Enemies very much, and wishes the series could continue: “The Twenty Palaces books come from the world of Jim Thompson and David Goodis, where all choices are bad and all ends are horrible — where just surviving one more day and keeping yourself from getting into more trouble is a major achievement. The magic in these books has the danger and threat of old fairy tales and worse: touching it once marks a person for life.”
6) k reads at So I Read This Book gives Child of Fire an A: “You can probably tell that I really liked this book. The voices of the characters are clear and believable and the plot moves swiftly, with not a moment wasted.”
7) Fritz “Doc” Freakenstein at Guardians of the Genre expected to hate Child of Fire but very much didn’t: “Not much time is spent on either explaining the magical rules or the origins of the Twenty Palace Society that Ray and Annalise work for. This causes a bit more work for the reader than I’m used to, but it works for Child of Fire in that it forces you to focus on the plot at hand and work out the magical rules for yourself.”
Quick note, this is the last review round up post. I may link to one or two reviews in the future, depending, but not every one I see.
I haven’t been posting much because I’m really pushing on this new book. I’m fighting my way through the middle. Also, I’m making #LesserDarths jokes on Twitter. But never mind that! I have some cool news.
A couple of weeks back I signed two copies of The Wooden Man, the SFBC omnibus edition of my three Twenty Palaces books and sent them to Pat Rothfuss’s Worldbuilders Charity Fund Drive. The first is now listed right here.
Now, I’ve made some Pat Rothfuss jokes here in the past, but the truth is a) I don’t know the guy at all and b) he seems really really cool. I could never get my shit together enough to run something like this.
So! These are the only two copies of The Wooden Man I intend to sign, ever. One you can win by entering the lottery (Donate a small amount and you get a chance to win one of the many books being offered, at random).
The second copy will be available for auction in the next couple of weeks. I’ll post about it when it goes live.
Guys, it’s a good cause. Help them out if you can.
1) David Marshall at Thinking About Books didn’t much care for Circle of Enemies: “However, there are so many people who wander in and out of view during this novel that there’s little time to get to know any of them and no incentive to invest any empathy in caring what happens to them. There’s a lot of action, as I said, but although we are advancing steadily towards the end, this book feels less satisfying than the other two.”
2) Martin Sutherland at Legends of the Sun Pig gives positive reviews to the entire series: “I love finding new series, and this was a winner.”
3) Kate Shaw at Skunk Cat Book Reviews liked Twenty Palaces: “Like the other books in the series, this one’s a helluva ride. The action starts fast and doesn’t let up.”
4) Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings liked Twenty Palaces but was unhappy with the typos: “But Twenty Palaces stands right now as the most recent representation of Harry Connolly in the book market. It deserved more care in its presentation. Happily, the story is good enough to make it worth overlooking the vessel’s flaws.”
5) Thomas Galvin at Book Club liked Twenty Palaces: “If you like stories about the world behind the world, Lovecraftian monsters, and the nigh-unstoppable badasses fighting against them, the Twenty Palaces series is for you.”
6) Bethany Warner at Word Nerd has listed me as the 2011 Discovered Author. Thank you!
7) Screenwriter Bill Martell at Sex in a Sub liked Circle of Enemies very much: “Makes a great holiday gift for people who like twisted violent stuff!”
1) Author Nicholas Kaufmann liked Circle of Enemies, but wishes Ray could have a happy fun romp in the hay: “This is a truly special series, and exactly the kind of fantasy that appeals to readers like me who involuntarily shudder when fantasy novels open with a map and end with a glossary.”
2) Maria at Bear Mountain Books liked Child of Fire: “It’s edgy and very fast paced, but the characters display enough emotion and humanity to make it a very good read.”
3) Jeremiah at jbullfrog.net thinks that Circle of Enemies is the “Best book in the series yet. Damn you Harry Connolly for making me stay up so late the past few days.”
4) S. C. Green at The Shadowed Quill liked Child of Fire well enough but wanted there to be more explanation of the background: “Even though the book is subtitled a Twenty Palace Novel, by the last page I still have no idea what or who the Twenty Palace Society is. I get their basic function (to a very small degree), but I want more answers to the “why” of everything.”
5) Stewart at The Flying Turtle gave Circle of Enemies an 8.5: “The stakes are more personal in this book as the victims are all Rays former friends, who are well written enough to make you care about them pretty quickly.”
6) Bethany at Word Nerd likes Child of Fire but thought the ghost knife was overused? “Normally, I would say run right out and start reading, but… sigh… the writing is solid, but if you’re looking for a long-term relationship with a series, know that you’re going to be left hanging here.” (As a quick note, I’ve never read anything by Weis/Hickman.)
7) Andrew at Pleasure for the Empire really enjoyed Child of Fire: “I really can’t say enough how awesome this book is.“
The response to my previous post has been tremendous, both on my main blog and on LiveJournal, not to mention Twitter, G+, PMs, email, and Facebook. People have been very kind and enthusiastic about my upcoming works and hopeful for a return to the series.
I’m hopeful and enthusiastic, too. Thank you all for linking to that post, for commenting, and for general awesomeness. Once again I am humbled.
Now I have a bubbling crock pot, a skillet full of onions in the over, a living room that needs to be vacuumed, and a kid that needs to do some math. Plus, there are even more comments on that post that I haven’t responded to yet. (Which is why I’m turning off comments here.)
Thank you all.
(Update to this post: I’m shutting down comments because it’s been over a week and they’re still coming. What’s more, I don’t really want to keep talking about it. Thank you.)
(Second update: Disabling new comments hid the old comments, which I didn’t want, so comments are back on again.)
(Third update: This cancelled series is sort of uncanceled. Self-published novellas seem like a viable path forward, and that’s what I’m trying. Check out my books page for new entries into the series.)
Yep. It’s true. Based on the sales of Circle of Enemies, Del Rey has decided not to offer me a contract to write more Twenty Palaces books.
Well, Pretend Questioner, let me address that in a very long blog post Continue reading