Woah! Three blogposts in a week?!
It’s been that kind of week, I guess.
Today, a new book comes out. You would think on the fifth book in a series, this would get boring. It doesn’t. On this go-round, honestly, I feel like there’s more riding on this title than the previous ones. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, and yet I feel like I have a lot at stake.
I knew that going into it. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel as anxious as I’ve been in the past. I’ve been on edge for well over a year.
The fear started with making the decision. Pip and I could have gone ahead and wrapped everything up with The Diamond Conspiracy, but we stopped and asked ourselves “Are we done?” The answer: We were having way too much fun with this series. We knew we could have wrapped up the story arc beginning at Phoenix Rising. Wellington’s and Eliza’s story? That was a different matter altogether. We knew two more books were in store for the two of them, and we knew if we wanted them to happen then we would have to fund them independently. I could still recall how hard my heart was going when we said “Let’s do this.” It would mean returning to Kickstarter, a whole new level of stress.
No, this was hardly our first go-round with crowdfunding. There is, however, a difference between producing an anthology (which is great fun as you get to work with friends, pay them properly, and work with wickedly talented people to create a banging cover) and producing a novel, especially a novel that is the fifth in a series. We not only had to make certain the story was on par with the previous volumes, we had to make sure the book looked good as well. The plan seemed simple enough: $6000 to cover editing, cover design, and printing for one book. We launched our Kickstarter confident we could make this goal, optimistic we would make a stretch goal of $8000 where we could afford flying in a model to bring Eliza D. Braun to life. We had just over four weeks—31 days—planning to make a hard push for that lofty $8000 in the final week.
On the final day we earned $2500—more than 1/3 of our initial goal—putting us at a grand total of $21,837, funding our project by 363%.
We had hoped people wanted another book. Apparently, people wanted this book, along with Book Six and a novella.
Well, okay then…
With the funds in place, we now had to focus on making that first impression: the book cover. When we met our cover model, Verena Vorsatz, I was getting a little terrified all over again. This young lady didn’t know us from a bar of soap, and here she was, flying in from Bavaria to shoot a cover with us, something Pip and I had never done before. What if we couldn’t pull this off? What if the poses were not what we wanted? And what if Verena had flown all this way only to find we didn’t know what we were doing? I wanted it all to be worth it. Then I got a nod from Michael Ward that the cover was there. Then there was Starla “Yes, I’m gonna get the goddamn light through the fingers” Huchton taking all these various elements and creating a cover that people—writers included—have been calling their favorite of the series so far.
Throughout it all, Pip and I have been working on the story. In Book Four, we set the bar pretty high. Revelations. Resolutions. Giant robots. The hard part of any series, though, is to have all the action, intrigue, and surprises of the previous books, but to have it be completely new and different. That’s the rub of being a D.I.Y. writer—you can have a terrific cover, a sharp-looking layout. All this is set dressing though if your story isn’t there. That’s when you put your faith in editors and your snowbound peer readers who deal you cruel and harsh feedback that only make the story better. Then come the rewrites, seeming to come right up on the deadline, and in the final proofreading comes that nagging self-doubt. Does everything work as I think it does? Will the readers enjoy the story as much as I do? Or am I too close to the story?
This is The Ghost Rebellion, the fifth installment in the award-winning steampunk series featuring Wellington Thornhill Books and Eliza D. Braun of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. We take you to India where Books & Braun are in hot pursuit of Dr Henry Jekyll, following the trail of chaos and despair in his wake. We also take you deep into Russia alongside Ministry agents Bruce Campbell and Brandon Hill, hunting down a rare ingredient to save Queen Victoria’s life. And here’s where you can find it:
In Digital Editions
pending approval from Audible
It’s just another book release, right?
No, this time, it’s all on us. From start to finish, this is the work we put together, bringing in people who are way more talented than us. They’re the people you don’t see, all coming together to give us their best. Honestly, I think they gave us a bit more.
Welcome to The Ghost Rebellion. We hope you enjoy the ride.