The Axtara Print Proof is on its way!

Readers! I have fantastic news! The print proof for Axtara – Banking and Finance will be in my hands this weekend!

Yup! It’s ordered and on its way! Which means that I can finally give you guys some solid details! Like, for example, when it might go up for sale.

Yes, I said “might” there. There’s a catch. I’m getting the proof. IE the copy that I have to go through checking for any print mistakes or problems. So hey, I get to read through my book again! This time on paper! If there are errors, like the cover not being trimmer properly or the text being cut off, missing pages, etc etc etc, then I need to track down the source of the issue and fix it, which will mean another proof order.

However, if all is well and I’ve done my job properly, all I have to do is click a button … and Axtara as a trade paperback will be live!

Yes, there will be a post announcing such the moment it happens. But yes, this means that come Monday (or Tuesday), you’ll very likely be able to order a your own hard copy paperback of Axtara – Banking and Finance! As will bookstores, so it’ll be interesting to me to see what happens there. This means that if you don’t have access to Amazon, or want to support your local indie bookstore, they’ll be able to order a copy of Axtara for you and yes, I will still get paid.

For that matter, you’ll also be able to ask your local library to pick up copies of Axtara as well, and they’ll be able to do the same. So if you have no money but a library card, ask your library to grab a copy once it goes live! They’ll be able to!

Now, that’s pretty much it! Oh! Pricing. Yeah, so the final price is $11.99. The final page tally? A little over 300. The cover? Glossy (I can’t wait to see it). I’ll post some pictures for you all to see when it arrives.

So get hyped! We’re only a few days away!

Computer Update

Hey readers! Max here with a quick update on things!

So, this is being written from my computer. And it may be that the source of the problem has been found. Perhaps. Two problems, really.

One was that my thermal paste on the CPU, that critical component responsible for transferring heat to the fans, was dry as a bone. Which means part of the problem may have been that the CPU was overheating. Now that it’s been cleaned and new paste applied, a system check of everything swears it’s all okay. Mem-check went fine too.

Save in one place. My D drive. Yes, it would appear that the D drive, about 15 years old, is failing me. To the point that Windows cannot even repair it and advised when I tried that due to the inability to do so, system instability could result.

So yeah … that seems to be the other culprit. As a result, I’ve moved all valued items off of it to another drive (F), including my music collection (and have set my player to find the library there. I’ve cleared programs using the drive, and already ordered a replacement. Now I just need to wait.

Oh, and during my attempt to copy some stuff off of the drive, the computer crashed again. Which seems … telling, if I do say so myself.

I’ll try and do some work tomorrow, and with luck, there won’t be any issues. If there are well … sands, I don’t know. This should be it. I’ll tiptoe around that drive until the replacement arrives, at which point I’ll open the case up and swap them out. In the end it cost me about $116, but the new replacement is the same size and an SSD (the other option was half the price for the same thing, or the price I paid for 2 TB but old-school SSD. I went for a future-proof.

With luck, this will stop the issue, and things will return to normal. I’ll keep you posted. Being a Better Writer Monday if all goes well.

2020 in Review: A Look Back

Hello readers, and welcome to 2021! That’s right, the calendar has flipped, the months have passed, and we are in a new year once more. Which means, as I tail out of my vacation, that it’s time to take a look back at the last year and take stock. Also, to apologize for the lateness of this post; my staycation has caught up with me. In fact, I feel as though my leaving my warm bed in the afternoon should have been narrated by Attenborough, saying something like “Forced to leave his warm burrow by a dying battery, the creature finally emerges from his hiding place in search of power.”

Anyway, in lieu of a classic Being a Better Writer post today, I thought I’d use today as the perfect time to take a look back at the site and my writing over this last year and see what 2020 ended up as. What came out of 2020. What did I accomplish? What did I achieve? Did I release anything? How did the site perform? How were sales?

You get the picture. So, today, I deliver to you readers a summary of the year past. Writing done, books published, site stats … all of it. Hit the jump, and we’ll get started. It’s time to look at some good from 2020.

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One Week of Axtara!

Hello readers! Max here with a news post about … Well, what else? Axtara – Banking and Finance of course! It’s been one week since Axtara‘s release … so I thought I’d hop on and share with all of you how the book has been doing! As well as drop some other news and then the Axtara background images (yes, at last)!

So, how is Axtara – Banking and Finance performing right now? What’s the reception by the general public? Well … it’s great! Axtara beat Jungle for pre-orders and actually ended up matching Shadow of an Empire, and since release has enjoyed strong sales that have continued to accrue. Before launch, it even made it into the top fifty on Amazon in YA Fantasy for Women! And it’s actually stayed fairly high in that category too!

Of course, this has likely been aided by the strong reaction to the book from the general public. In just seven days Axtara picked up six reviews and ratings from the reading public … all of them Five-Star.

That is an excellent start, if I do say so myself. It would seem that many of you love Axtara as much as I’d hoped you would! If you’ve already grabbed your copy, I hope to see your reaction on Goodreads or Amazon, and if you haven’t yet well … think about it! And maybe click that book cover on the right!

Now, I did say I had a little bit of news. It’s related to Axtara and it’s a bit of an “oops” on my part. Some of you may notice that the prices for Jungle and Shadow of an Empire haven’t dropped yet as promised. And well … that’s because I goofed. I went ahead and put everything on the Christmas Sale to coincide with the Axtara release … and I’m not supposed to alter prices for 14 days after a sale has ended. Whoops. So for now, Jungle and Shadow of an Empire will stay at their current price … but only until that period has elapsed, at which point they’ll drop down to their tail prices. Shadow to its final price point, Jungle to the first step.

Now, about those backgrounds I promised? I’m going to put it past the jump, but yes, here you are. Each of these images will take you to a 4K, full image of the cover for Axtara – Banking and Finance, one with text, the other without, perfect for gracing the background of your desktop or laptop machine. Enjoy, and then don’t forget to pick up a copy of the book!

Images after the jump, and will also now be linked on the Books page.

Have a happy New Year everyone! And a big thank you to all of you that have picked up and enjoyed Axtara!

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Weekly Update

Short and sweet here guys. I’m still pretty tired. And was tested for Covid-19 last night so … yeah. 72 hours until the results come back. Only symptoms fatigue (a lot of it) and the occasional light headache.

But enough of that. Book updates!

Starforge is now at 163,500 words. I’m running a little slow right now, just doing 2,000 a day instead of 3,000-4,000 and I’m tired through it, but I can’t stop. This story is too important.

Axtara updates: I am still trying to find someone to do a cover. Most artists I’ve tried to contact are either busy or not doing art right now because of what I’m guessing are Covid-19 related issues. If any of you readers know of anyone who can do art like this and is looking for commission work, let me know.

That’s it for today. Tired now. Going to rest for a bit.

Just a News Update. Nothing Spectacular.

So … the title says it all. This is an update on things. Nothing big. Mostly Starforge. And why I’ve been quiet this week.

Honestly? I’ve got a little list of non-writing topics I want to throw out some paragraphs on here on the site, but … This week had enough going on, I think.

How bad is it? Well, let me put it this way: Facebook refused to let me run boosts for this week’s Being a Better Writer, because it asked people to go vote.

That’s it. Didn’t say who to vote for. Just to study and vote. And Facebook tagged that as ‘attempting to influence the election’ and refused to let me boost the post.

Yeah … so I figure “Why risk it?” and just didn’t do any more articles this week. I spent my time on Starforge instead.

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It’s Official: Starforge is the Most Stressful Thing I’ve Ever Written

All right, readers. It’s time to come clean. Last night, as I lay trying to sleep at around 4 AM, my mind whirling with questions and maybes and possibilities concerning Starforge, I realized something.

Starforge is officially the most stress-inducing project I’ve worked on in a long time.

Perhaps being kept up until hours like 5 AM thinking “Maybe I need to start over. Redo the entire opening like this?” should be taken as a massive clue.

For the record I’ve not restarted the entire opening. Though … yeah, even at 100,000 words in, I’ve considered completely redoing it from another angle. More than once. Technically I’ve already done it too; earlier in the project I cut 20,000 words and started the opening in a completely different way.

This project is stressing me out.

Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. Starforge is the finale of a trilogy. There are two books before it, both really well received and loved by a lot of people. Further still, those who have read the sequel have ranked it better than the first book, even as it drove things forward toward a finale. So the trend is now I have to deliver a finale that’s the apex of all three, tie everything up, keep everything from almost a million words of prior content straight, reference it, use it …

Yeah … starting to see how I might be a little stressed out? And of course, stress like that makes it harder to work (lack of sleep, etc) which has made me more concerned that the final product could be below the bar, which leads to more stress, which …

Yup. It’s self-enforcing at this point. The worst part is, I’m not quite sure what to do outside of trust my instincts (I had lighter versions of this for previous works and they turned out all right) and keep working forward.

Starforge has to be the best thing I’ve written to date. Full stop. If that means rewriting almost 100,000 words of it, then so be it. That’s only two months worth of work. This is the big finale. The end. Everything the prior two books led up to comes to a head here. This is it.

I can’t stop. One way or another Starforge is going to release. And it will be the next book I release after Axtara. But it has to be the best thing I’ve written. Every bit of character I’ve built up so far, every nuance, every bit of development. All of it needs to peak here.

I’m just praying I can pull this off.

Anyway, I’m about to dive back into it. Wish me luck, folks. This is the mountain of mountains thus far in my career, and that peak has got a lot of obstacles on it.

Now if I could just get some sleep …

Reminder: LTUE Online Event Tonight!

Heads up people! Don’t forget that there’s an LTUE online mini-event starting tonight at 6 PM Mountain Standard Time! There are three different panels running at each hour until nine under a variety of topics, so check it out!

In fact, I’ve got a handy sheet of the topics available, provided by the event! So here’s what’s coming!

To join, just head on over to https://ltue.net/october2020 and be sure to have Discord at the ready (which can be run through your browser, so no worries there about needing to install something). Find a panel you like, and hope to see you there!

Axtara Progress Update!

Yes, I know, I’ve been quite silent this week. Don’t worry. It’s because I’ve been busy with Axtara!

The copy-edit for digital is almost done. Tomorrow I should be able to finalize it. At which point all I need for the digital release is the cover.

Which means that yes, I am planning (cover pending) on having the digital release be this month, the physical one in December. Still haven’t settled on a price yet for the digital version, but I’m thinking $3.99, since it is a normal-sized book instead of one of my usual titans.

Anyway, I know this post isn’t much. I’ll try to have a more substantial post later this week. Oh, and by the way, don’t forget that Being a Better Writer is currently open for suggestions for topics for List #16. If there’s a topic you want to see Being a Better Writer cover, let us all know about it!

Anyway, hope you’re all staying hale and healthy! Max out!

News: Axtara and a Mini-LTUE

Great news! Beta 1 for Axtara is done! And yeah, as a reader said, it was impressively clean. But not perfect. There were some typos and errors fixed, and a few aggressive searches to hunt down really pervasive and hard-to-catch issues, but at the same time … it was remarkedly clean.

No, this doesn’t mean it’s up for pre-order yet. I’m trying to get the cover first so that there’s something to show. Today will be that (if I hear from the artist) and moving into copy-edit.

With that comes something I’m sure most of you are wondering about: Release dates.

So here’s the thing: November is dead. Save maybe at the tail-end.

Why? Well, two reasons. One is that Brandon Sanderson is releasing a new book in November. That’s like a giant that crushes all other news of books, and for those people who buy one book a month, a dedicated sale. Two: It’s an election month, and politics kill book sales. You can actually see the debates, political movements, etc in a bar graph of my book sales. Something political happens … no one is thinking about books.

And yes, I know I launched Colony in November of 2016. I’ve also been told that while the sales were good for me, they were also a lot lower than they should have been because there was an election that month.

So I’d like to avoid November if at all possible. If that’s possible.

Which means what? October? December? Well, if I get the art ball rolling and have a cover in the next week or two, I can open pre-orders, and Axtara will be out before the end of the month. Digitally, at least.

Okay, let me clarify on that. So I’ve already said I expect Axtara to be a print release as well as digital. Don’t worry, that hasn’t changed. What I’m not sure it will be is a simultaneous release.

See, I’ve not done a print book before (something about a print book only being able to be so many pages and most of my titans eclipsing that for now). But I do know a bit about the process and it does still require some extra time the digital edition does not. A digital release is one where I can make instant changes, then drop the title onto my reader and see immediately if everything is working or not.

With a print run, I can’t quite do that. I have to order a sample, wait for it to arrive, and then go through and check to see that everything has held up. I can do a lot of digital work beforehand to minimize the chance of an issue, but the chance is still there.

So depending on how the next few weeks go, it may be that the Ebook version of Axtara drops at the end of October, while the hard copy drops in December.

Maybe not. Some of these tools are new to me, so we’ll see. Also, a lot depends on when I can get finished cover art.

But tentatively hope for Axtara in October!

Now, one more bit of news for after the jump. But a juicy one. News regarding an online Mini-LTUE. On October tenth.

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