Imprinted is Out Today!

Imprinted Cover ArtAs many of you already know, the next chapter in the Magic ex Libris saga is out today. “Imprinted” is a 15,000-word novelette set after the events of Revisionary. It’s told from the perspective of Jeneta Aboderin, the first person in history to perform libriomancy using e-books.

If you remember Jeneta’s project proposal from Revisionary, you’ll have a good idea where this story starts 🙂

I’d love to do more of this kind of thing. There are plenty more stories to tell in this universe, and other characters I’d like to explore. In part, it will depend on how well this one does. (Yes, that was a hint. No, it was not subtle. “Subtle” has never been one of my strong suits.)

Huge thanks to everyone who signal-boosted this one. It’s available electronically at the following links for $2.99:

A print edition is available via Amazon. I feel bad about charging $5.99 for the print edition, but I can’t really price it cheaper, given the self-publishing options there. And I wanted to at least make the option available.

You might notice there’s no link to Barnes & Noble yet. I’ve noticed this too. I’m not happy about it. All of the files and information are there, but have been stuck in processing limbo. I’ll update as soon as the book escapes.

If you feel $2.99 is a bit much for a 15,000-word story (which is totally reasonable), I’m planning to reduce the price to $1.99 in a month or so. But a lot of people had told me $2.99 was a fair price and they’d be happy to pay it. Since it’s the difference between about $2 in royalties vs. about $0.50 per copy, I figured I’d start at the $2.99 price point.

I like Jeneta’s character a lot, and I love the reveal in this story. I can’t wait to see what you all think of it.

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PS, As long as you’re out shopping for books, here are some other cool releases today!

 

2017 Writing Income

I’ve been blogging about my income as a writer for a decade now (taking last year off to explore writing income data from a different angle). We don’t talk much about money, and writing tends to be romanticized more than a lot of other jobs. My goal is to provide a reality-check about writing as a career. You can’t draw broad conclusions from a single data point, but it’s better than nothing, right?

Previous Years: Here are the annual write-ups going back to 2007: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. In 2016, I did a survey of almost 400 novelists about their income.

My Background: I’m a primarily “traditionally published” U.S.-based SF/F author with 13 books in print from major New York publishers. The first of those 13 books came out from DAW in 2006. I’ve also sold about 50 short stories. I’ve never hit the NYT or USA Today bestseller lists, but my last five books have been lead titles for my publisher. In late 2015, I mostly-quit my full-time day job. Since November of 2015, I’ve worked 10 hours a week for the State of Michigan, and spent the rest of my time as a writer and stay-at-home Dad.

2017 Summary: Writing doesn’t always provide the most stable income from month to month or from year to year. 2016 was my best year as a writer, thanks in large part to a three-book deal I signed with DAW. I spent 2017 working on those books, and didn’t sign any new deals. As a result, my gross income (after my agent’s commission but before any of my expenses) for 2017 dropped to $42,652.70, down from $76,777.32 the year before.

Here’s the graph of my writing income since 2002, which is as far back as I have records for.

Annual Income Graph

The three largest checks for 2017 came from the mass market publication of Revisionary, the delivery payment for Terminal Alliance, and the hardcover publication of Terminal Alliance.

I do have another novel on submission, which I’d been hoping to sell last year, but publishing can be a slow creature. Hopefully that will turn into a nice boost for 2018.

2017 Breakdown:

  • Novels (U.S. editions) – $32,512.01
  • Novels (non-U.S. editions) – $6430.08
  • Self-published Work – $1819.48
  • Short Fiction & Nonfiction – $1641.13
  • Other – $250

Breakdown of 2017 income

I didn’t actually sell any nonfiction last year; that $1641 is all from short fiction. I only sold a few stories, but they were to good markets. One anthology (Shadowed Souls) even earned out and paid royalties, which I believe is a first for me with anthologies that pay professional per-word rates.

Expenses: A lot of that income went right back out the door for quarterly estimated tax payments. The joys of self-employment, eh? As always, there will also be at least a few thousand dollars in other expenses, from convention travel costs to postage to other business expenses like website hosting, cellphone business use, and so on.

2018 Goals: I’m going to finish Terminal Uprising, though it’s likely that book won’t see publication until early 2019. I also have that novel manuscript my agent has been shopping around, and I just sent them a pitch for another project that could be a lot of fun.

Next week’s release of “Imprinted” will tell me how much of a market there is for novellette/novella-length stories in my existing worlds. I’m hoping to do more of that in the future.

Ultimately, I don’t have anywhere near as much control over the financial side as I’d like. But I want to refocus a bit, and push myself to try new things as a writer. I also want to remember to have fun with it all.

ETA – Related Links:

New and/or Cheap Books, by Me

This is a shameless self-promotional post, aimed at anyone who may have come into possession of book-related gift cards and is looking for suggestions of what to buy.

Prices are in the U.S. I’m not sure if those prices are matched elsewhere.

Thank you, and we’ll return to your regularly scheduled content soon…

$2.99 for Goblin Quest or The Stepsister Scheme

The first books in my Goblin and Princess series are both available for just $2.99 in ebook form. This is a great way to try out my stuff, if you haven’t already. The goblin books are humorous fantasy/sword & sorcery, and the princess books are fantasy action and adventure about a trio of kick-ass fairy tale princesses.

$2.99 to preorder Imprinted

“Imprinted” is the next chapter in the Magic ex Libris series, and comes out on January 9. It’s a novelette, not a full-length novel, and is set about eight months after the events of Revisionary. Little Red Reviewer just posted the first public review of this one, and called it:

“…a fast paced, fun, and satisfying read. As always, Hines writes characters who leap off the page. I love how he writes character development and their relationships with each other.”

There will be a print edition as well, but for the moment, only the ebook is available for pre-order.

$.99 for “Chupacabra’s Song”

“Chupacabra’s Song” is a short story set in the Magic ex Libris universe. It’s a quick read about Nicola Pallas, set before the books when Pallas was just a teenager. The story shows how Pallas discovered her bardic magic…along with her love of Chupacabras.

Terminal Alliance

Finally, while it’s not on sale, I’d be remiss in not mentioning my latest book. Terminal Alliance is the first in the humorous “Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse” trilogy, and is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats.

Imprinted Cover Art Chupacabra's Song - Cover Terminal Alliance Cover Art by Dan Dos Santos

SPOILERS: The Last Jedi Review and Discussion

I did it! I dodged almost all spoilers for The Last Jedi for more than a week until we were finally able to go see it.

I was a little nervous — reactions seemed really polarized for this one. Some people loved it, others hated it. Some of the hate was from trolls who couldn’t stand the idea of a franchise where white dudes weren’t front and center, but not all.

Personally? I loved it. And after a little spoiler space, I’ll talk about why…

SPOILERS AHEAD

The Last Jedi Cast Poster More

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart, by Stephanie Burgis

Dragon with a Chocolate Heart - Cover ArtEarlier this year, I snagged a copy of The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound], a middle-grade fantasy by the delightful Stephanie Burgis. I wasn’t able to read it right away, because I wanted to read it with my twelve-year-old son Jackson, who’s a big fan of all things draconic. So once we finished the series we’d been reading together, we started in on this one.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Aventurine is a brave young dragon ready to explore the world outside of her family’s mountain cave … if only they’d let her leave it. Her family thinks she’s too young to fly on her own, but she’s determined to prove them wrong by capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human.

But when that human tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, she’s transformed into a puny human without any sharp teeth, fire breath, or claws. Still, she’s the fiercest creature in these mountains — and now she’s found her true passion: chocolate. All she has to do is get to the human city to find herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she’ll be conquering new territory in no time … won’t she?

I asked Jackson a few questions, starting with, What did you think of the book?

“I give it five thumbs up — no, wait — four talons up, because it’s a dragon!”

What was your favorite part?

“I liked the ending, when the dragons were [spoiler] and [spoiler] and everything.”

What did you think of Aventurine?

“I liked her. She was cool. I liked that she tried to go out of her cage even though her parents said she wasn’t ready, and I liked that she tried to [spoiler] at the end even though everyone told her not to.”

Sounds like you like that she made her own choices, and didn’t let anyone else tell her what to do.What did you think of the other characters, like Silke and Marina and the rest?

“I thought Marina was kind of like what Aventurine might be like if she was older, and Silke was pretty cool and pretty nice.”

Did this book ever make you hungry, too?

“Yes! I wanted to eat a chocolate dragon. (Like a chocolate bunny, only a dragon.) I don’t think I’d like the chili chocolate, though.”

There was one part of the book you were upset about. Could you talk about that a little?

“I didn’t like the part when Aventurine had given up, because it made me feel depressed and angry and scared, and all the negative emotions.”

How did you feel when we read the chapter after that?

[Jackson bounced and waved his arms in excitement to answer this one.]

Who would you recommend this book to?

“Everyone! Especially people who like dragons, chocolate, or very exciting and good stories!”

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I tend to agree with Jackson. This was a lot of fun, though perhaps a bit dangerous to my blood sugar. I loved Aventurine’s struggles as a dragon-in-a-human-body, trying to understand and adapt to all of the weirdness that is humanity. I loved her relationships with Silke and Marina.

I saw a twist coming pretty early on, but that didn’t make it any less satisfying. And I suspect it wouldn’t jump out as much to younger readers (or readers who aren’t also authors).

If I had to pick just one word to summarize the book, I’d go with “charming.”

You can read the first chapter on Burgis’ website.

Jim C. Hines