Of Previews and Paperbacks

Hello, everyone.

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!


23 thoughts on “Of Previews and Paperbacks

    1. I already feel that you spoil us with multiple book releases every year, and I love how much attention you give to us audiobook fans! It’s very interesting how the inner details of publishing work. The only thing that I’m a bit sad about is not being able to preorder super early to show my full support and enthusiasm for your work. I will, however, preorder the print version as soon as it becomes available since I always get those on top of the audiobook to show off on my bookshelf and to search for quick reference when mulling about my theories of what’s to come on your stories. Once that one arrives, it will be hard to contain myself until the audiobook is out, but I’ll try! Having someone as good as Nick Podehl narrate the story is totally worth the extra wait!

  1. Preview chapter typo:

    Chapter 2:
    “When we first got on the train, one of my major goals to figure out my priorities.”
    Should possibly be “…goals was to figure out…”

  2. Hi, I would like to ask you if you are planning to release the Arcane Ascension books in any other digital shop that is not Amazon (Google play? Kobo? ).
    I have a kobo ebook (not a kindle) and I would really like to purchase your books in any digital format compatible with my ebook if it was possible.

    I hope my question doesn’t bother you, maybe you have already answer it a thousand times (I looked at the FAQ but didn’t saw anything related).

    1. It’s a perfectly reasonable question and I absolutely should add it to the FAQ.

      I publish through Kindle Select. This allows me to do things like put my books up for sale at lower prices, occasionally make them free, and allow lending through the Kindle Lending Library or Kindle Unlimited.

      Unfortunately, it requires the book being on Amazon exclusively.

      Thus, I will not have my books up on other platforms unless something changes and I decide to drop out of Kindle Select.

      1. Thank you very much for replying.
        I’ll check again if there is some way I can read them from Amazon somehow or get a paper copy then.

      2. I don’t know if you are allowed by Amazon’s contract, but you can consider releasing books without DRM. Then they can be simply copied from Kindle onto any device.

      3. I was a bit curious about this myself. I can’t speak for cyberaxizh, but in my personal experience, all of your books are DRM-protected. The most recent example is Ten Easy Steps as of early November. Was disabling DRM a recent change? If so, asking Amazon support to “push an update” for the books may fix the problem.

        If not, my guess is that all Kindle Select books — which should be all of your books — automatically have DRM enabled. Regardless of whether or not simultaneous device usage is set to unlimited. I understand that Kindle Select has an exclusivity clause, and that seems like it might come with forced DRM-protection. But admittedly, I don’t know what the Kindle backend looks like for authors and that’s just my guess.

      4. How peculiar then. All I know is that I spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how to DeDRM your books because calibre kept giving me the “This Book is DRM Protected Error” and I wanted them in plaintext. Not sure if it’s Amazon shenanigans or a calibre bug. How very strange.

  3. OOH preview chapter for Soulbrand!!! Those who have read all your books I imagine are most excited for this one (like myself) after the ambiguous ending of The War of Broken Mirrors, and the cliffhanger ending of Diamantine, I NEED ANSWERS!! I hope Lydia is okay 😦

  4. For the people having DRM problems:
    For any reason that I do not understand, if you download the books with the most recent kindle app you get the “This book has DRM and you cannot transform it.” message when trying to read it with calibre. If you use 1.17 version (or maybe other “no new” versions?) to download them, calibre has no problem and lets you transform the book into epub or any other non kindle format without any DRM warning nor DeDRM plugin.

    It took me a while (and to borrow a Windows computer) to discover this, it was So Much Easier to access the paper version book I bought for my friend.

    I hope this will help, and sorry for the offtopic. The books are really good and I hope everyone can read them on any format they chose.

    Tldr: If you use kindle app 1.17 you can transform the books as you like because they do not have DRM. Also, kindle app 1.17 works in Linux via Wine.

    Besis ❤

  5. Jay, Preview! Thanks. I acctually would have found some answers to the little cliffhangers in Diamantine more interessting, maybe because I’m not so much of a fight scene person, but I guess I’ll just wait untill the book comes out.
    The AA3 preview I look forward a lot to though.

  6. Your stuff is awesome and I’m so excited for the new books. I’m a die hard fan of the universe you’ve created. Truly spectacular characters and magic system. Your magic system is definitely one of my favorites. I like being able to understand the magic and visualize what the characters are doing. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving and I hope you have a great Christmas 🙂

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