Happy Book Day! Firebug is now availableImage Not Found.
Firebug, the first entry in a series of epic fantasy novelettes for young adults, is available in paperback and on Kindle. You can find the book on Amazon and in bookstores. For the next week, the Kindle version is on sale for only 99 cents, down from its normal $2.99 price point.
You'll notice that the publication date reads mid-November of last year. I waited to promote Firebug until Amazon allowed me to run a 99-cent sale on the Kindle version. There's stiff competition in the young adult market (to put it mildly), so I thought it best to hold off on flexing my marketing muscle until the book dropped to a must-buy price.
Firebug has been a passion project of mine for over a year. It started as a short story called "Like Lightning" last fall. "LL" had promise, but the characterization, themes, and plot all needed work. I put it back under the knife this summer, renaming it "Firebug" to play to a fire theme for a short story contest I entered. The story made the editor's shortlist, but was ultimately turned down for being a bit off-kilter compared to other stories she wanted to collect in her anthology.
I was disappointed at first, then I realized missing out on the anthology may have been for the best. The more I worked on "Firebug's" characters and setting, the more I saw potential to dig deeper. I didn't want to commit to a novel-sized project (50k words or higher), yet I didn't think a short story would give me enough room to explore some of the new ideas I'd come up with in revisions.
A couple of months ago I submitted "Firebug" to another short story anthology, then pulled it a month later with a note explaining that I wanted to take the story in another direction. That direction is today's announcement: War of the Elementalists (WOTE), a self-published series of novelettes targeting young adults.
One thing I've learned about myself as a writer is that I often procrastinate on starting a new project after finishing a current project. Taking time to rest is important, but if my breather drags on, I have trouble getting back on my regular schedule. WOTE books will be snack-sized stories I can sink my teeth into in between books and long-form articles such as those I write for Shacknews.
I'll be self-publishing WOTE for a couple of reasons. First, there's a market for short stories and novellas, but novelettes are much harder to sell. They tend to be around 10k words at a minimum: longer than short stories but not quite novella sized. That makes them hard for editors to place. Right now I'm thinking that each book's story will weigh in at around 100 pages or less, not including the glossary (every fantasy book needs a glossary!), but if I need to adjust that word count, I can do so without fretting over publisher-imposed word counts.
Second, I am busier than I've ever been these days. At any given moment I'm juggling between two and three deadlines. That's awesome, but I knew that while I could have pounded pavement and found a home for WOTE, selling the series would have meant one more deadline to keep. Maybe WOTE will take off like a rocket. Maybe it won't. Either way, self-publishing this series affords me the flexibility to set my own deadlines. I intend to publish a new installment once every three months or so, but if I get tied up in other work, I can postpone the next WOTE story without a publisher getting (understandably) upset for making them wait.
That, in a nutshell, is the main reason I'm excited for WOTE: I'm writing these for me, at my own pace, on my own terms. And, hey, Firebug turned out pretty great (he said humbly)! I hope you think so, too.
Enjoy the book,