the Author

Hunter’s Redoubt, print edition progress report

Posted in Essalieyan, Publication, Hunter's Redoubt.

I am writing from Kansas City, as I am here for my first in person conven­tion since 2019.

Some of you may have noticed that the trade paper­back edition of Hunter’s Redoubt is now avail­able on Amazon & B&N. In theory, the hard­cover should make its way out into the world in a similar fashion.

To be kind to book­sellers, I don’t expect that the print editions will make their way out onto book­store shelves – so walking into a book­store to ask where the print version is will not make their jobs any easier. I do expect that you’ll be able to special order the book from various book­sellers. This is pretty much how BakkaPhoenix handles self-published books. We carry very few as a matter of course, but will order them on request if they’re avail­able from Ingram.

Our store will carry my books because I work there. I had assumed that we would – like any other book­seller – order copies if people ordered them through us. Becca (manager) had other ideas, and felt this plan was…not among my brightest. I imagine if I worked in All The Book­stores, they’d be carried more widely, but I don’t, and I honestly don’t expect it.

But — you knew there was a but, right? — I’m not entirely certain that we’ll have books in the store by the theo­ret­ical publi­ca­tion date of the 30th. They can be ordered, but that’s not quite the same thing as having them on-hand.

Michelle will now digress.


I have self-published stories before. It was my way of making them avail­able when they were mostly in out of print antholo­gies. Some of those stories were West-universe related, and people wanted to read them but could no longer find them.

I have self-published one short story collec­tion – the print version of the afore­men­tioned stories. It was a long time ago, and things in print-on-demand were different. I went through lulu​.com at the time, and reason­ably expected that this would be of interest to few readers – but I wanted the book avail­able to the readers who would care. I didn’t begin in the age of the internet; I didn’t begin in the age of ebooks. Many of my readers there­fore didn’t start reading me during that time; they read print.

In both cases, these stories had already been edited, etc. I was taking finished text and putting it into a different container. The print version of the book required that I hire a type­setter, which I did. I required a second cover – the wrap-around for a print book.

When I found out that DAW would no longer publish the West novels, I felt – with some panic – that I could self-publish these books. I mean, I had to write them first, and there were bumps in that road, because my initial inten­tion was pred­i­cated on DAW’s desire to have a series that could be approached by readers who had never read a West novel.

…I am not good at this.

[Shards of Glass, the upcoming Sagara novel (set in the Cast universe at the Acad­emia) can be read that way – because the editor had never read any other Cast novel, and her queries and frus­tra­tions helped me see more clearly what wouldn’t be obvious to non-Cast readers. (The biggest one: Why does everyone assume that Barrani are deadly and polit­ical? I can’t find any mention of a reason in the text.)]

But I had to try. And when I no longer had to try, I found that the words I’d written no longer meshed with the new first chap­ters. So: bumps.

Of the 200k words that I’d written, there’s 1.5k that can be used — in The Wild Road. Book two.

So: I focused on writing. I approached writing the way I have always approached writing outside of constraints. I finished first draft of book. I sent it out to editors. I cried while revising and arguing. I sent it out to proof­readers, the second unin­ten­tional (my mother). And me. All of this was normal.

The not-normal things: I was the person who was respon­sible for sched­uling the various elements. I was, in theory, the managing editor. If I had been working for a publisher, I would have faced firing squads >.<.

Cover art and cover design are absolutely neces­sary, but they’re not rooted in the actual text of the book the way editing/revision/copyediting are. Jody Lee got the first submis­sion draft at the same time as the copy-editor.

Jody has painted all of my West covers but one — but we’re used to having Sheila as the bridge between us. So building a different bridge was required. Sheila knows how I work; Sheila knows how Jody works. Neither Jody nor I knew how each other work — and we have great respect for each other, so that was a bit of a dance.

She sent me the finished painting.

I sent the painting to the designer, and there was some back and forth with the designer (the first four rounds involved my back cover copy >.<. I did not mind this, and I think she was right).

And I got the copy-edits. And the copy-edits were late to arrive, and I had to go through them (and discuss them with copy-editor) before sending things to the proof­reader and the audio narrator. The proof­reader and the narrator had blocked time to do the work – but as the copy-edits missed the dead­line, their schedule was wrecked, and they had to make time that they hadn’t planned on, which was not in any way their fault. But they did find the time.

The ebook was ready first. I knew how ebooks worked.

What I did not know in this modern age is the para­me­ters of print. But also: I had sort of assumed that I would just let people know as things rolled out and became avail­able, because that’s what I’d done every other time.

… this was not a good idea. I think I caused more anxiety than intended because people went to look for the book online and couldn’t find it at any retailers. This would be because I hadn’t put it up at retailers yet.

So: next time, I’m going to give myself a few more months to make sure that every­thing is working and ready; readers will know when the book will be avail­able — and it will actu­ally be avail­able. At the moment, the book is theo­ret­i­cally avail­able because it has finally passed all checks. But this was iter­a­tive, and there was some trial, error, and reaching out to people who actu­ally knew how to work with, say, IngramSpark.

The audio­book passed its quality tests as of this after­noon, and is now headed out to various distrib­u­tors, so it should be Avail­able Soon.

I have, I think, learned many things about how to proceed going forward. The whole of my focus was on making certain that the book looked – to my biblio­phile eyes – like a book. But it should have also been on the publishing para­digm itself, because had every­thing been in place, no one would have had to ask me ques­tions about formats and avail­ability; that infor­ma­tion would be up at various retailers.

Most of my published novels go live at, say, Amazon or B&N before I’ve actu­ally finished the manu­script. The two processes are sepa­rate. One is writing, one is publishing. Dead­lines I’ve been given fall in line with publishing dates listed on Amazon, and I work towards those. People know that a new book is coming because the publisher (Mira, in this case) has that infor­ma­tion at various retailers well in advance.

If I had been paying more atten­tion to the actual publishing part of the process as a process, I could have in theory done this. I … didn’t really think about it. I thought about writing, revising, editing, and preparing the various elements that consti­tute a book. I didn’t think about getting the infor­ma­tion to readers in the way a publisher does or is supposed to.

Lessons learned. Hope­fully, they stick >.<


18 Responses to Hunter’s Redoubt, print edition progress report

  1. chibipoe says:

    Out of curiosity, is the hard­cover on Amazon the Ingram one? I remember your mention of Amazon’s hard­covers being odd and I want to order one, but I wasn’t sure, given the time­frames you mentioned with submit­ting and inter­minable wait periods.

  2. michelle says:

    @chibipoe: the only hard­cover version is the IngramSpark version. Amazon lists it, but I don’t expect them to keep it in stock; I think they’ll order it if it’s ordered.

  3. Steve Faught says:

    Ack. Amazon Canada only lists ebooks as of right now. Will order what­ever I can, when­ever I can. Even printed on napkins lol.

  4. Laura says:

    I just purchased on Amazon! So looking forward to reading it….

  5. michelle says:

    @Steve: In the what could go wrong cate­gory: Although there *is* an actual, Amazon version of the trade paper­back, for reasons I’m unclear on, the Amazon “detail” page is linking the IngramSpark version of the book by ISBN. On my kindle publishing page, the book is published as the Amazon ISBN, which shows nowhere.

    And the absence of the book on Amazon​.ca is part of that. I am attempting to reach Amazon customer service to try to get this fixed T_T

  6. chibipoe says:

    Michelle, thanks!

  7. Kat Mannix says:

    Here’s another possible avenue for hard­covers– A local author to me in North Carolina, USA, Sylvia Mercedes, has special signed hard­cover copies avail­able with reason­able prices, and the books them­selves look lovely. The company she uses is brand new, less than 2 years old. Would it help at all to look into them? I don’t want to add more cooks in the kitchen, but it might work for Hunter’s Redoubt?

  8. Kat Mannix says:

    I’m sorry, I did not delve deep enough into this to see that that book­shop is the distrib­utor not the manu­fac­turer– the actual publisher is Daphne Press.

  9. Nevada M. says:

    I always appre­ciate how honest you are about the processes, the strug­gles aside from writing, and diffi­cul­ties getting the right words from your head onto the pages.

  10. michelle says:

    @Nevada: Thank you :). I feel that things work better for me — as a person and author — to be up front about diffi­cul­ties. I find people really reason­able when they know what’s happening, because I’m like that.

  11. Marcia says:

    Wow. You are only three hours from me right now. Well have fun.
    Also the cast series is what pulled me into listening to books. I had no interest before. I also read slow, so no interest in books really. However the cast series is my favorite (wish it was in hard­back, but I know).

  12. Jeanine says:

    Sounds like a massive hassle. All I can say is I appre­ciate your doing it, and there is no rush, and I’m looking forward to this book when­ever it comes out, and to all your future ones when­ever they come out.

  13. Chris Carlucci says:

    I’ve found the infor­ma­tion that you’ve shared with us about the process inter­esting, but I would imagine it is actu­ally going to be useful to your readers who also happen to be fellow authors. Like you, most of them have never had to concern them­selves about these issues. Perhaps knowing a bit about what happens on the other side of manu­script will all them to both plan better and be more under­standing when their editor/publisher sounds frustrated.

    Going to Amazon to purchase my copy, now …

  14. Anix says:

    I’ve bought the ebook from Amazon because…that first chapter sample just drew me in. Thanks Michelle for putting out such stun­ning quality.

  15. Taen says:

    Frus­trat­ingly the hard­cover doesn’t seem avail­able in the uk.

  16. michelle says:

    It should be avail­able in the UK T_T. Are you looking on Amazon​.co​.uk?

  17. Veena says:

    I love ré-reading all the series when a new one comes out — where does Hunter’s redoubt fit in on the house war sun sword time arc? Thanks!

  18. michelle says:

    @Veena: It takes place after HOUSE WAR’s conclu­sion. It’s the first book in the final arc :)

Leave a Reply