Arcane Ascension 3 – The Torch that Ignites the Stars – is just over three weeks away from launching. Or, at least, the Kindle edition is. The other editions will, as usual, take a bit longer.
So, let’s talk about why things work that way, as well as estimated release dates.
I’m generally able to launch the paperback for any given book about two weeks after the Kindle edition.
The reason for the delay is because in order to create a paperback version of a book, my graphic designer (who handles the design of the paperback cover) needs to know the final page count of the book. This is because the page count is necessary in order to compute the width of the spine of the book, and the width of the spine influences the dimensions of the image file that is used for the cover.
This final page count cannot be determined until every change to the book has been made, since even changing a sentence or two can end up altering the page count. I tend to make changes to the book right up until before launch day, generally due to either late beta reader feedback or typos that I find toward the end of the process.
(Notably, I also fix typos post-launch. When I do this for a paperback, this means that I sometimes have to make format adjustments to make sure the page count remains the same, since the cover is already done. This can lead to things like weird spacing issues, so I try to keep post-launch changes to the paperbacks to a minimum.)
Audio takes even longer after the Kindle launch, for similar reasons: the audio book cannot be recorded until the book is final. Making changes post-launch to an audio book is even messier (to the extent that it usually isn’t done at all), and thus, my policy is to try to schedule audio recording with my publisher for a window a little bit after the Kindle launch, which gives us a small window for readers to find issues and for me to correct them before recording occurs.
In an ideal scenario, the recording would start just a few weeks after the Kindle launch in every case. In reality, audio book narrators have schedules of their own to worry about, and even when we schedule things far in advance, it’s often difficult to find a time slot at a perfect time. Someone as amazing as Nick Podehl is often booked a year or more in advance – meaning we have to guess at when the book is going to be done well ahead of time and hope we get it right. If I estimate too early and the book isn’t ready yet, that makes problems for both Nick and my publisher, and thus we tend to give “safe” estimates. If I happen to get a book done early, the publisher tries to get Nick to record the book earlier if a slot opens in his schedule, but that’s rare for someone of his talent.
Once the narrator begins recording, there’s still a considerable wait: narration takes time, especially for longer books like Arcane Ascension novels. (AA3 is thus far the shortest of the bunch, but the current draft is still around 180k words – about twice the “average” fantasy novel, which are about 80k-120k words.)
And then after that, there’s the necessary time for sound editing, production, and getting Audible’s approval.
As a result of all this, there’s usually a delay of at least a few months before the audio version is available. The average wait time for my own books seems to be around 6 months or so. My audio publisher (Podium) and I would love to cut this wait time down as much as possible – everyone benefits from the books being available faster – but it’s just a matter of scheduling.
In this particular book’s case, my understanding is that recording is set to begin sometime early next year, but I don’t have a hard date for that or a set release date. My best guess is sometime in the spring. Hopefully, as time goes on, we’ll be able to refine this process further and get the audio books to launch closer to the Kindle edition – but I wouldn’t expect any drastic changes.
There are authors that wait until all the versions of the book are ready to launch to put any of them online, and I think that’s a valid strategy – but I’d much rather get any edition out in the wild as quickly as possible for readers to enjoy.
I hope that this helps give a little bit of insight into the publishing process, as well as the reasons why there are longer wait times for some formats than others.
Now, if you aren’t completely bored by all my publishing talk, I’ve put together a couple more preview chapters for readers to enjoy.
The first is another preview for The Torch that Ignites the Stars. It’s the entirety of Chapter II. There’s a lot of content here (much more than I’d typically put in a preview), but I know people are excited about the book and I’d like to give everyone a little bit of a reward for waiting this long for the launch. Of course, you’ll want to read the first preview chapter before this one if you haven’t already done so.
Next, a preview chapter for Soulbrand, the third Weapons & Wielders book.
Don’t read this if you haven’t read Diamantine yet.
This one is a little bit strange: it’s not from right at the start of the book. The intro scenes for Soulbrand are more emotionally and politically focused as a result of how Diamantine ended.
I didn’t think that sort of content would make for a good preview, so this takes place a bit later in the book, and you’ll be missing a little bit of context. There are some minor spoilers in there as a result, but I don’t think they’re *too* serious. Mostly, this is the start of a fun, action-focused section, which I think serves as a better snippet than the book’s beginning.
And by the way, if you haven’t read Six Sacred Swords and Diamantine yet, this is a good time to do it if you need something to read before AA3 comes out. They’re not required reading, but there are elements from the two of them that play into some of the things in The Torch that Ignites the Stars.
Thanks for reading, everyone, and I hope you enjoy AA3 when it comes out!