I’m one of the few authors who has successfully published through all three routes: small press, self, and big five. My Riyria Revelations series has been translated into fifteen foreign language markets, including German, Russian, French, and Japanese. I have been named to io9’s Most Successful Self-Published Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors list, and as of January 2013, my books have been nominated for a few awards and have appeared on more than sixty-five “best of” or “most anticipated” lists including:
- 2013 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fantasy
- 2013 Audie Award for Fantasy
- Fantasy Book Review’s Most Anticipated of 2013
- Fantasy Faction’s Top 10 Anticipated Reads of 2013
- Goodreads Choice Award Nominees for Fantasy in 2010 and 2012
- Audible’s 2012 5-star The Best of Everything List
- Library Journal’s 2011 Best Books for Fantasy/Sci-Fi
- Barnes & Noble Blog’s Best Fantasy Releases of 2011
- Fantasy Book Critic’s #1 Indie Fantasy for 2010
Like many authors, my journey to publication was a long one. In my twenties I became a stay-at-home dad and wrote while his kids were napping or at school. I completed twelve novels over the course of a decade, and after finding no traction, I quit writing altogether. During the next decade, stories continued to form, but I never put any of them down on paper. I finally relented and started writing again, but only on the condition that I wouldn’t seek publication. Instead, I decided to write the stories that I wanted to read and expected to share them only with my family and close friends. My wife, Robin, had other plans.
After reading the first three books of the Riyria Revelations, she became dedicated to getting them “out there.” Since I refused to jump back on the query-go-round, she took the task upon herself and after more than one hundred query rejections, she finally landed an agent. After a year of submissions without any interest, she switched to querying small presses and The Crown Conspiracy was signed to Aspirations Media Inc. They later signed the second book, Avempartha, but when they lacked the funds for the print run, the rights reverted and Robin started releasing the books through her own imprint. When foreign language deals started to come in, she hired Teri Tobias to pick the right publishers and negotiate the deals. By the publication of the fifth book, Robin asked Teri to try New York again and the series received a much different reception. Out of the seventeen publishers they approached, almost half expressed interest and in less than a month, a deal was signed with Orbit (fantasy imprint of big five publisher Hachette Book Group).
After finishing the Riyria Revelations, and while waiting to evaluate the reaction to the series, I wrote two stand-alone novels: Hollow World (a science-fiction novel) and Antithesis (an urban fantasy). Work on these novels was temporarily suspended because of the public’s demand for more Royce and Hadrian stories. In response, I wrote the two prequel novels (the Riyria Chronicles), which have been sold to Orbit. The Crown Tower released in August 2013 and The Rose and the Thorn in September 2013.
Hollow World will be released in April 2014, and it’s path to publication was just as sorted as my Riyria books, maybe more. It involved a Kickstarter, turning down a five-figure offer, and finally selling off the print and audio versions while retaining the ebook rights.
Currently, I’m working on The First Empire a trilogy that explores the differences between myth and reality. Set in Elan (the same world as my Riyria series) it occurs thousands of years in the past and explores the details of the first war with the elves and how the demi-god Novron saved mankind and formed the first empire. The first book is completed, and I hope to have the entire series ready for submission in April 2014. At that time, I hope to have reader feedback on The Riyria Chronicles and determine if I should write more stories in that franchise. If you would like to weigh in, you can use this poll.
To find out more about me you can checkout my blog at www.riyria.com.