Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Announcing The Labyrinth of Flame's release in print!

Great news! The Labyrinth of Flame's beautiful illustrated physical edition is now available to buy at Seattle Book Company and on Amazon, courtesy of the same company that did the print run for my Kickstarter (Thomson-Shore). I'm really pleased about this, because I thought the quality of their print copies was excellent:

So if you're one of those readers who missed the Kickstarter and have been waiting patiently, go forth! Buy! (I get a slightly better deal from Seattle Book Company purchases, in case that matters to anyone. But honestly I don't care where you buy it as long as you enjoy it. :)

You'll note the book is being sold through Amazon by Thomson-Shore, not direct by Amazon. This is because I chose in the end not to go for wholesale trade distribution, where Thomson-Shore would have sold the book to the big distributors such as Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and Amazon, and then the distributors would fulfill orders from bookstores and vendors. To be honest, I don't expect to sell massive quantities of the print edition; so to cover the fees and costs of wholesale distribution, I would have had to make the book's list price so expensive I felt it wasn't reasonable. This way, the book is available at a decent price ($17.99) to those who wish to buy it, and I don't have to worry about ending up in the red.

Some folks have asked why I didn't go through CreateSpace or Ingram Spark as most self-publishers do, since both of those companies offer wholesale channels for very cheap cost. The biggest reason was quality: I've heard horror stories about CS's 10% defect rate. Ingram is said to be better, but apparently only if you already know what you're doing in terms of book production, as their interfaces are non-intuitive and their customer service apparently non-existent. One thing I've been very pleased with about Thomson-Shore is how responsive and helpful they are--I've had a great experience working with them. That said, if Labyrinth of Flame had not been illustrated, I might've risked CS or IS. But since the illustrations had to be printed on special insert paper for best quality, I wanted to go with a company I knew could offer that and do it well.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Interview, art prints, and buckling down to work

Today's news: I did an interview over at fellow writer Amanda McCrina's blog in which I talk about my influences, my favorite scenes in the Shattered Sigil books, my writing process, and whether or not fantasy has a responsibility to tackle real-world issues. Plus I share a bunch of the books I'm looking forward to in 2016--always one of my favorite discussion topics!

Life continues to be busy at Casa Schafer, but thankfully a little less busy than before. I'm still slowly making my way through the Kickstarter art print orders--turns out packing posters is even more time-consuming and finicky than packing books. But just look at these lovely prints:

When my six year old first saw the prints, he begged me for a set to put up in his room. I'm calling that a parental win. (I'm even more amused that his favorite is the Tainted City cover, because of the ward-lightning. Appropriate, since that's the book I dedicated to him. Not that I'll let him read it for a long, looooooong time. Like maybe when he's 30.)

The best part of life calming down a bit is that I finally feel ready to write seriously again. Oh, I've been mucking about with the short stories for the Kickstarter, laying out plot and writing the occasional few paragraphs here and there when I felt like it, but I hadn't been working with any real consistency. But now I'm rested and energized and ready to buckle down to proper work, not only on the stories, but on my next full-length book. I'm setting myself a nice attainable goal: 1K/day of first draft words, and it doesn't matter how awful and first-drafty the words are, or which project I choose to work on. Just gotta get 1K words and I can call it a good day. So, onward!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Reading round-up, and a note for German Shattered Sigil fans

Upon hearing that a snowstorm was bearing down on Colorado, I made a cunning plan: I'd clear my schedule of all appointments/meetings/etc, beg my husband to do both drop-off and pick-up of 6yo from school, and take Tuesday as a powder day.

It was going to be EPIC. I was sure of it when I woke. Just look at all the snow that accumulated overnight! The ski slopes would have even more.

Then I realized I'd forgotten one very important fact: schools close when it snows this much. But in Colorado, workplaces do not, which means my husband must wallow his way to his office in the 4wd, and I'm on kid duty. Other skiers will understand the agony: there is epic powder, but I cannot ski it! (I considered taking the 6yo up for a ski day...but he can't ski more than blue runs yet. It'd be EXTRA torture to be on the slopes yet unable to ski the steep & deep.)

The agony won't last long. 6yo and I will have a blast sledding and snowball-fighting and building igloos. But in the meantime, while he and my husband shovel our walk (not our driveway; in Colorado nobody bothers with that--that's what a 4wd car is for), I'm catching up on my neglected little blog to post a few tidbits of news:

1) Reading Round-up: January was a crazy busy/stressful month (thanks mostly to day job), but I got some good reading in while on a business trip. On tumblr I posted a summary of my thoughts on my reads; my favorites were books from Janny Wurts and Ilana C. Myer. 

2) Note for German readers: a lot of folks have been asking via email when a German translation of The Labyrinth of Flame will be available. Sadly, a German translation is not yet in the works, but if you'd like to see Labyrinth of Flame auf Deutsch, the best way to get the wheels turning is for German readers to tell all their friends about the series and encourage them to buy Die Chroniken von Ninavel. Nothing gets a publisher's attention like sales!

3) Update on Labyrinth of Flame's print edition: good news! I've worked out a distribution agreement with the company that printed Labyrinth of Flame for the Kickstarter, so a general-relase print edition is coming soon! I will announce the release once it's ready to buy.

4) Note for Kickstarter backers: as I said in my recent update, if your reward included trade paperbacks and you have NOT received them, please contact me at courtney (at) courtneyschafer (dot) com. For those waiting on art prints, I'm hoping to start shipping them this week.

5) Podcast incoming: I had a great time on Saturday recording a podcast with fellow authors Kate Elliott, Helen Lowe, and our excellent host Paul Weimer of the Skiffy & Fanty show. We talked about worldbuilding and characters and the craft of writing series and it was so much fun. Not sure yet when the podcast will air, but I'll announce it here when it does. (By the way, the latest book in Helen Lowe's Wall of Night series, Daughter of Blood, just released--if you are not reading this series, you really really should be! It's epic fantasy with a terrific female lead (and some wonderful secondary characters), plus plenty of magic and wonder and action. Basically, everything I like best in fantasy!)