I’m not going to beat around the bush. I’ve signed a three book deal with 47North, Amazon Publishing’s speculative fiction imprint. That means that there will be a second edition of Off to Be the Wizard, followed by at least two more Off to Be the Wizard books, all of which are currently scheduled to come out within the next two years.
The trilogy will be available to libraries and bookstores, we’re looking at producing audiobooks, and the e-books will be DRM free.
Below I’ve attempted to anticipate and answer some of your questions:
When will the new books be coming out?
The second edition of Off to Be the Wizard should be out in January of 2014. I’ll have more detail on the release dates of the second and third books as we get closer to them.
Will the new edition and the new books be available on Nook/Kobo/iBooks/Smashwords/Google Play/as a PDF?
No. Once the second edition of Off to Be the Wizard comes out, the e-book edition will be a Kindle exclusive, as will the second and third books.
Does this mean that you have to pull Off to Be the Wizard off of the market until the second edition comes out?
No! Surprisingly, in the time between now and the second edition’s release date, the first edition will continue to be available on the Nook, in Smashwords, and should soon pop up in the Google Play store (ironically). The self-published first edition dead-tree version will also stick around until just before the second edition drops.
What will happen with my existing Kindle version?
It will continue to work after the second edition comes out. I actually built up quite a head of steam over this point and was prepared to walk away from the deal if this wasn’t the case. Getting worked up was unnecessary, as it turns out, because the first time I brought it up, 47North’s response was something like, Of course the old Kindle file will still work just fine. We’d have to be monsters to try to turn it off and force people to rebuy the book. That’s not a quote, but it’s pretty much what they said.
If you want the second edition, you’ll have to buy it separately when it comes out, but if you’re happy with the first edition, it won’t stop working (on Kindle or any of the other platforms).
Will the new edition have the same price?
Pricing won’t be my decision anymore, but it will be comparable to the current pricing, and there will be occasional deals, specials, and promotions.
Does this mean Off to Be the Wizard will finally be available at the library and/or bookstore?
Yes, all three books will be available to public libraries and to any bookstore that wants to carry them. That said, many bookstores won’t carry books published by Amazon Publishing as a form of protest, which is their right.
What with all of these novels, will you be putting Basic Instructions on the back burner?
A THOUSAND TIMES NO!! I intend to put out a fourth Basic Instructions collection between now and Christmas, and production of the strip will continue at the current pace (Although I am going to skip a comic this week, because of the Fourth of July).
What are the next two novels about?
I can’t get into much detail there, but I can tell you that I’ve written over 50,000 words for the first draft of the second book, and that it takes place mostly in Atlantis.
How did Off to Be the Wizard do as an independent book?
In a word, “well.” In the last three months, the book has sold thousands of copies. Sales have slowed with time, but that’s to be expected. If any of you have a novel you’ve written, I can heartily endorse self-publishing it as an e-book. You don’t need anybody’s permission to be an author anymore. That said, I have a huge advantage over most self-published authors, and that advantage is you. I have a reader base with whom I can communicate on a regular basis. I was able to tell you about my book, and many of you bought a copy. Many of those who did so left positive reviews on Amazon or their told friends about it, and that is the best advertising possible. I am still the luckiest guy any of you know, and the fact that you know me is the reason why.
If the book was doing well independently, why sign on with a publisher?
There are certain things I can’t do, or am not good at. 47North will be able to help me with those things. So far, I’ve written 1.33333 novels. I have a lot to learn and much room for improvement. I figure working with professionals on what will turn out to be my first three novels will be good for me. Also, while I can’t get into any specifics, the deal I got with them is quite fair, and they have a great reputation for being a pleasure for authors to deal with.
I’ll also say that as the author of a humorous science fiction novel, having a marketing partner that has the e-mail addresses of every person who’s ever bought a humorous science fiction novel from Amazon.com seems like a good thing.
Why do you hate people who don’t own a Kindle?
I don’t, but to be honest, making multiple files that work flawlessly on multiple services, then managing those services, has been sort of a time sink. In the last two months, all of my non-Amazon outlets combined have accounted for 3.2% of my sales.
If you don’t own a Kindle, or don’t want to use a Kindle app on your phone/tablet/computer, you’ll still have the ability to read the books on paper. (Now you might even be able to do it through your public library!) If you just hate the idea of Amazon making a dime off of you, well, that’s your right. There are certainly companies I feel that way about as well. All I can say is that Amazon has created a set of tools that has allowed me to create what I wanted to create, publish it easily and profitably, and now Amazon publishing has made me a deal that I believe is more fair than any of the traditional publishers would have even considered.
If you have any questions that I didn’t cover, please send them in. Thanks again!
Signed, the luckiest man you know,
Here’s what I want. Say I have a few boxes of old documents I want shredded. (Easy to say. I do, in fact have four full boxes of documents of which I want rid.) Now, I can use my personal shredder, which will take many hours and destroy the shredder, forcing me to buy a new one, which I will then destroy. I can use a service, which costs a dollar a pound. For four boxes that’s over one hundred dollars, and all the shredding is done by strangers, out of my field of vision.
I don’t like either of these options.
Here’s what I suggest. If you happen to be an executive at any chain office supply store, feel free to use this idea. All I ask is free shredding for life. I should be able to take my boxes of documents into an office store. Upon hearing that I want documents shredded the cashier would hit a big red button. Yes, it can be marked “easy” if it must. Sirens would go off. A recording of Annie Potts yelling “We got one!” would reverberate around the store. On one side of the sales floor a curtain would part, revealing this machine.
Okay, not THAT machine. A smaller machine. And while I have an aside going here, why try to be funny at the beginning of a video of a piano being shredded? It’s just gilding the lily.
Anyhoo, I would then be given safety goggles, walked up some stairs and directed to slide my boxes down a chute into the machine. A mirror would let the spectators see the action, and I would personally see the tiny bits of paper coming out of the machine. Thus, I would know the documents are destroyed.
I would GLADLY pay thirty-five dollars a box for this service. Heck, give me a ten dollar store credit and I’ll probably buy another thirty bucks worth of paper on my way out, which, seven years from now, I will need to shred.
Good news ... I hope.
Starting September 19th, I will be changing the posting schedule for Basic Instructions. Instead of posting on Monday and Thursday (Really the night before, if you wanna get technical) I will be posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Yes, as the math implies, I am upping production of the strip to three a week. Between ad revenue (thanks for putting up with the ads, btw) book sales (thanks for buying books as well) and now my deal with Cracked.com, I’ve been able to cut back on my hours at ye olde day job, and I’m putting the time to use getting back to my original three-strip-a-week schedule.
First of all, I'm sorry that I haven't posted here in so long.
There are two reasons for the lack of posting. One is that I've learned that
if I really want to get the word out about something, posting it here
doesn't work nearly as well as posting it as a postscript at the
bottom of a comic. The other reason is that I’ve been making more of an effort to
turn any funny ideas I have into comics, where in the past there were
some ideas where I just went "eh" and posted them here or to Twitter.
Now that my customary "apology from nowhere" is out of the way, I can
get on the real reason for this post. As you may be aware, some of
my comics are now running on Cracked.com. This has caused some
confusion as to which of my comics are new and which are reruns. I
figured I'd just publicly state my posting schedule so everyone will
know what's going on.
I create two comics a week.
One goes to print papers. It can’t legally be posted online for thirty
days, so it gets scheduled for posting on a Sunday five weeks after I sent it to the papers.
Every Sunday and Wednesday I post to my site, but Cracked.com now gets
first shot at all the comics. They are not going to run all of them.
(In theory they could, but I really don't see that happening). Anyway,
I send Cracked.com a comic every Sunday and Wednesday. (on Sundays, it's
the comic that ran in the papers a month ago)
A week after I've sent a comic to Cracked.com, it becomes available for me
to post on my site, which I do.
Hopefully my posting schedule makes sense to you now. If it does,
please explain it to me, 'cause it confuses the he'll out of me every
time I post a comic.