NEWS: Curse of a Dark God has a release date!

Curse of a Dark God, book 2 of the Dark God series, can now be published!

That’s the short version.

Here’s the long version that will probably not be what you expect.  A little over nine months ago I initiated a contract termination with my publisher Tor Books.  A few days ago Tor reverted the rights. This means I have all the rights to all the books in the series back.

But why would I initiate such a thing? Tor’s like THE publisher of science fiction and fantasy.

There are a couple of factors, but I think the biggest issue is that we had differences in our vision for the story. This meant there were things I didn’t like about where the project was going and how it was progressing. It also meant there were things Tor didn’t like about the project and how it was progressing. This translated into some big delays. 

We could have hung together–Tor never raised the idea of termination. But I saw no benefit in limping along. If things aren’t working, I tend to want them fixed. So after I raised the issue, all involved agreed that a termination of the agreement would be the best option.

And although all of us were disappointed it didn’t work out, this was an amicable parting. Tor went to bat for me with Macmillan, their overlord, to get this thing done. And we ended up with, I feel, a fair agreement. Of course, my agent was a valuable resource every step of the way.

I don’t look at these last years as a loss. The series was introduced to thousands of readers. And I learned a number of valuable things about the business and craft working on this project with the folks at Tor. We’re farther along now that we were, even if we didn’t take the rocket ship to the stars.

Most importantly, the good news is that for those of you who have been waiting, I can now move forward! The series will be published by Blacksword Books, my own imprint. We’ll start with e-book and trade paperback formats. Both will be available online from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other retailers. Once that’s rolling, we’ll look to see if audio is feasible.

I’m very excited about CURSE. My agent loved it. I loved it. My early readers have loved it. I think all of you who enjoyed SERVANT will enjoy this just as much if not more.

Mokad is coming.  And bringing all its might to root out and obliterate the sleth in the New Lands.  And they’re not alone.  You’re going to meet a Guardian of awesome and cunning power who leads Mokad ‘s dreadmen army.  You’re going to meet the Dogmen of Toth.  And sleth who have rallied to Argoth’s call.  And a fearsome ally who lives in the Wilds.  All the main characters are back with Sugar and Talen learning new magic, facing new creatures, and discovering unsettling insights into what’s really going on.

I love this book. I can’t wait to get it into your hands.

But there’s a lot to do to get it out the door.

I need to make some edits to SERVANT. There are a number of maddening typos that crept into the manuscript. I’ll also be changing the sequence of the first eight chapters back to my original sequence, starting with Sugar and Legs and then moving to Talen. I know some readers like the sequence my Tor editors requested that starts the book with Talen sitting around in his under pants, but I structured it for him to follow Sugar for specific reasons, and starting with Talen undermines a number of those things. Finally, because I don’t have a word limit, I’m going to be adding some clarity to the ending that wasn’t in the Tor version. I also need to make some revisions to the last draft of CURSE, which has been done for almost two years, and then put it through a rigorous copy edit. And then there’s cover design, interior formatting for the print versions, and the publishing part.

So lots of work. But I think it’s going to be worth it. At the very least I will satisfy the young woman, soon to be a mother, dining at a pizza place I went to this last week who told me she loved SERVANT, thought it was awesome, and was angry at me because there’s no book two!

I’ll post a schedule soon. My hope is to have both books up sometime in August.

Oh, and when they do come out, please know that both the e-book and trade paper versions will be on sale for two weeks.  I’m going to put SERVANT on for a massive discount so those of you wanting the author’s cut can get it cheap. I don’t want you to have to buy the book twice at full price. And I’m going to put CURSE on sale as well because those of you who have stuck with me deserve a reward.  

Then it’s on to DARK GOD’S GLORY which I’ve already completed the working outline for. There might be another book in the same world about a team of fell-maidens (the female version of dreadmen) given a difficult task. And then there’s a whole other series—different world, different awesome magic—waiting in the wings. The first one in that series is tentatively titled LORD OF BONES.

Get zinged, Baby!  The Dark God is back in action.

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27 Responses to NEWS: Curse of a Dark God has a release date!

  1. Great news, John! Definitely looking forward to it.

    Wishing you the best,
    G

  2. JohnW says:

    Congratulations on publishing your own books! It sounds like a great way to go. I look forward to reading Curse as soon as it is available.

  3. Jim says:

    That’s good news. I’m glad you have control of your story back. I don’t like that a publisher has so much control over the art. That’s probably why so much of today’s music and movies suck so bad, and why so many writers are doing the self pub thing. The business people need to learn that they should stick to the business side of things and allow the artists the freedom to do what they do best. Anyway, good luck with your writing. Looking forward to reading your stories.

  4. Brett says:

    Very cool!

  5. Ryan says:

    It’s is great news! I am very much looking forward to the continuation of this series.

  6. Sylvia says:

    That’s great! Exciting times ahead!

  7. James says:

    I was sure that Curse would end up another big publisher screwing over an author casualty. Glad to hear that isn’t the case!

  8. Jared says:

    I hate to see you part ways with Tor, because they’re kind of my go-to publisher, but this is still great news. Good on you for staying with your vision even though it means uncertainty and more work for you. I respect that.

    Also glad to hear you’re putting it out in paper! Looking forward to August!

  9. John Brown says:

    Thanks, folks! I’m stoked.

  10. Or Raifman says:

    why not go for a Kickstarter like Bradley P. Beaulieu did after leaving nightshade books, and Michael J. Sullivan did for hollow world?

    seems like it could big a good fit

  11. Wait, wait… does that mean I don’t get a hard bound copy to go with my copy of Servant. Well, anyway I look forward to the new version of Servant and the much awaited Curse.

  12. David Walton says:

    Good luck with it, John. I’m sad it was such a long and frustrating road with Tor, but it’s good to see you taking hold of your future with both hands.

  13. Shane says:

    I’m reading about more and more authors who are taking control of the direction of their work, and it’s exciting. I can’t wait to read about your world and characters as they were meant to be!

  14. John Brown says:

    Julie, alas, no. Then again, a fine trade paper is so much better than vaporware 🙂

  15. Marny says:

    So glad you will be able to move forward! It takes a lot of work to self-publish and do it well. Let me know if you need any help with the typesetting (that’s what I do for a living). Good luck!

  16. John Brown says:

    Thanks, Marny! I just might take you up on that. I’m taking a class on interiors. I know, I know, there’s a lot more to it than one class can teach. I hope what I learn will get me most of the way there, but I may want some review. I’ll let you know.

  17. Kevin S says:

    This is really good news.
    I really loved Servant and was sad to hear that there were difficulties with Tor, but I can’t wait to read the “Writer’s Cut” for both books. I’d almost given up hope of seeing Curse, but now…:)

    Kev

  18. John Brown says:

    Kev, I hear you!

  19. Bryce says:

    Super excited for you, John. I’m with the man above. A kickstarter would be a great way to go for the second book. You could time it with the discount price on the ebook of Servant and re-ignite the fanbase. There are plenty of stories that get funded on kickstarter that I don’t feel hold a candle to your first book, so I’m sure you could get it funded. And you know I’d be on full media blitz to help. Add in a Correia book bomb for either the first book OR the kickstarter itself, and you’ll be good to go.

    Man, super excited about this. So many ideas and possibilities. This is going to rock.

  20. John Brown says:

    If anything needs funding, it’s going to be the cover art for both books. Because I want to release them at the same time. The rest of it I can take care of no problem. I’ll look into the kickstarter to see what I think.

  21. N D Melander says:

    This makes me sad that you left Tor. Publishing with a real company is one in a million chance that I can only dream of doing. I do fear that self-publishing won’t bring in the number of fans or the recognition your series deserves. Its hard enough for my own book to be noticed without a label. At least I can look forward to the continuation of the series finally. You had an awesome start. I wish you luck.

  22. John Brown says:

    ND,

    Only time will tell. I can say with 100% confidence that if I sell even one book of CURSE, that will be more than I was selling of that book with Tor. After writing and re-writing and then waiting for four and a half years, it’s time to move on.

    And this doesn’t mean I’ll never work with a traditional publisher again. It just means that for right now I’m not. The situation on the ground will change with time and with later projects.

    I also want you to look at this blog I posted back in 2009.

    http://johndbrown.com/2009/08/how-many-copies-do-average-authors-sell/

    Some books published via traditional publishers do indeed sell tens of thousands of copies. But the vast majority do not. To verify that, look at the annual Publishers Weekly surveys of best-selling books. Count the titles. Only a fraction of what’s published makes it onto those lists.

    The good news is that I still have readers like you interested in my work. For folks who really loved the series, they will soon be able to finish it. And that makes me happy.

    Going indie certainly is a different model. Let’s see what happens over the next 12 to 18 months 🙂

  23. I was just sitting here on my bed and my eyes fell on Servant, sitting on my shelf, and I thought, “Where the heck is book 2?”

    And here I find the answer.

    As an indie-published author, I have mixed feelings about the path you’re taking, but who am I to second guess your decision? I just think you’re an awesome guy and a great story-teller, and I look forward to reading anything you produce. Best of luck!

    Oh, and I have to agree with the guy above who said something about a book bomb with Larry, who mentioned my latest trilogy of book–not really even an endorsement–and it resulted in TONS of traffic that helped my book literally for months. Larry has quite the huge and rabid following.

  24. John Brown says:

    Thanks, Stephen.

    Yes, Larry has already asked when he can plug the books. I’m going to see if I can’t do some bookbub promotion and a few other things. But know that I have mixed feelings too. I wish it would have worked out. But I’ve got to deal with the facts on the ground.

    I know the averages on indie sales. So I know it’s not going to be a cakewalk. But I keep looking at the numbers that I share in my post on going indie and can’t help but want to give this option a go for a short time.

  25. Ryan Nolen says:

    You know when thinking about the body, fire, and soul in SERVANT I always end up thinking about time. How the Fire ( or spirit) is the future, your remaining days, the extent of how long you will live. Then there is the body, the here and now, the physicality of what is happening at this moment to this body. Finally there is the soul the thing that is the past, it has always been there.
    Anyway thanks for the awesome read, and for getting me to work my noodle. (even if I am completely of the mark of what you intended. (^_^))

  26. John Brown says:

    Ryan,

    That’s actually an interesting way to look at it. Shoot, that might show up somewhere in one of the books 🙂