Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of when I got the offer for Renegade X! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years, or all the crazy stuff that’s happened in between. Nothing’s gone how I thought it would, lol.
I believed the book was going to be a huge success and that I’d always be under contract and have a great career as a traditionally published author (except I didn’t think the “traditionally” part because indie wasn’t a thing then). Ha! Didn’t happen.
Years later, after it had gone out of print and I re-published it, along with the sequel, I believed I’d only sell a few copies. My grand hope was to sell 20 copies of book 2 a month. That also didn’t happen, but in a good way, because sales WAY exceeded that.
Both these stories make me laugh now.
And I remember before I was published how BADLY I wanted it and how sometimes–most of the time–it felt like I would never get there. And now that seems ridiculous.
I also remember the years when it felt like my career was over before it had really even started and how it felt like nothing was ever going to change. And now that feels ridiculous, too.
And in a few more years, I’ll probably look back at all the things I’m worrying about and struggling with right now and think lol, what was I worried about? Of course it all worked out!
But if someone had told me back in the day not to worry about getting published, that of course I was going to get there, of course I was going to be good enough and get noticed enough someday… I don’t think I could have gotten past my anxiety enough to listen. I would have thought that published authors always say that, because it’s easy for them, now that they’re not struggling. (Lol.) Maybe that’s true, and maybe that worry is important, to some extent.
But to all the aspiring writers out there, I’d like to say this: someday it will happen for you. Someday you’ll get that contract or that bump in sales that snowballs and changes everything.
And someday something else will go wrong, and you’ll think you screwed up your one chance at success, and it’s over.
But it’s not.
Unless you’re a mega bestseller, it’s really hard to make a living through writing in traditional publishing. Self-publishing makes it much easier for the average author (or “midlister”) to earn a real income. Self-publishing also pays monthly (with an initial two-month delay after publication), and you can see all of your sales numbers. In traditional publishing, on the other hand, you have no idea when you’ll get paid. When a publisher buys your book, they give you an advance on royalties (and these numbers range wildly–could be $5,000, could be $500,000, theoretically depending on how many copies they think they can sell in the first year, but honestly it feels pretty random, and different publishers will make completely different offers on the same books).
How many reviews you have–especially positive reviews, meaning four and five stars–also influences how the algorithms promote your book. One thing that The Rise of Renegade X had going for it when I republished it is it counted as a new release, since it had a new publisher, but it kept the reviews it had accumulated from its original publication. Meaning that the algorithms saw it as a “new book” that had a bunch of positive reviews from day one. That’s just my speculation, though, so take it with a grain of salt. Book 2 also did pretty well, and it didn’t start with any advantages, other than being the next book in the series. It also helped that I ended up releasing them at almost the same time, meaning they both ended up in Amazon’s Hot New Releases, and readers who enjoyed book 1 could just pick up book 2 and keep reading.
I was looking at some earlier posts, and apparently back in September I thought I was going to write ALL THE BOOKS this winter. I mean, I knew that was unrealistic, so I said I’d probably not have the next Renegade X book done until the end of this year. But what actually happened was I felt super burnt out on writing novels, after working crazy hard to get Phobia and Torment done, so I just didn’t.
Actually, I wrote a radio play. I knew audiobooks were a thing, but I only discovered audio dramas about a year and a half ago (thank you, Home Front), and it turns out I freaking love audio dramas.
I’m also working on a visual novel (it’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, but with pictures, if you’ve never played one). It’s pretty hilarious, if I do say so myself. (Which I do. Obviously.)
And another Dragonbound book and the next Renegade X book are in the works, plus something new I’ve been playing with.
I always thought I’d be the kind of author who could just do whatever was needed at any given time, but it turns out I’m not. Not being able to wrangle myself makes me feel like a bad writer, so I try not to think about it, because it’s not how I pictured myself when I dreamed of doing this as a career. But creativity is often hard to wrangle! (And adding health issues and energy problems into the mix just complicates things.) And the more I think about it, the more I think it probably doesn’t mean anything bad about my abilities as a writer. But it does mean that I don’t always work on the intended projects at the intended times, despite the fact that it feels like every other writer in the world is getting everything done when they say they will no matter what. (Even though I know they’re not. Well, maybe some of them are, but not all of them. Probably.)
So, yes, delays all around. Including a delay on the next audiobook, which I thought would also be out by now, though that one is for a completely different reason. Everyone involved is ready to go, but I have to wait for contracts (read: payment) from another project (one that will make Renegade X fans very happy, though I can’t reveal it yet), and I really thought they’d be done months ago, but they’re taking forever. But once all that gets sorted out, production will begin on the audiobook for book three. And once production begins, it really shouldn’t take very long for everything to get done and for it to come out.
I’ve also got some writing- and publishing-related posts coming up soon, too. People sometimes email me vague writing or publishing questions, and then I write them back with overwhelming emails containing everything I know on the subject. So I thought I’d comb through my emails and actually make some posts.
First off, paperback and hardcover copies of The Phobia of Renegade X are now available!
And if you missed it, The Torment of Renegade X is also available in paperback.
Now, onto upcoming book announcements:
Book 2 in the Dragonbound series is called Honorbound. (You can add it on Goodreads here.) It’s not done yet, but I’m aiming for a late 2017/early 2018 release. Watch here for pre-order info or sign up for the newsletter (top of the left column on my website) to be notified when it goes up.
Virginia St. George thinks she’s finally found where she belongs. She’s been living with Amelrik and the other dragons of Hawthorne clan for the last few months, learning their language and traditions, and has become a useful part of the community. Or so she thinks.
But when Amelrik’s father announces that he’s arranged a marriage for him, and it turns out the general populace sees her as nothing more than a human leech taking advantage of their prince, Virginia realizes she wasn’t fitting in as much as she thought, and her place at Hawthorne clan is more tenuous than ever.
If she wants to keep the love of her life and the only place that’s ever really felt like home, Virginia will have to thwart an arranged marriage, stop a war, and prove that she’s just as worthy as the next dragon. Er, human. And she’ll have to do it fast, before time runs out and she’s forced to leave the dragon world forever.
There will also be a book 5 in the Renegade X series. It’s called The Rivalry of Renegade X. (You can add it on Goodreads, too.) While I don’t have a blurb for it yet, I can tell you that Damien’s “good twin” from another dimension shows up and makes Damien’s life more difficult. >:) I’m hoping to have this out sometime next year (probably late next year), but it’s way too early to say.
It’s out! The Phobia of Renegade X is finally here! It’s currently available in ebook format, with paperback and hardcover coming soon (like, hopefully within the next week), and audiobook coming… eventually (but realistically probably sometime next year–I’ll keep you posted). This book has been a long time coming, and I’m so excited to finally get to share it with you guys.
And if you missed the news, I had to change cover artists for this one, but I LOVE how it turned out!
Damien’s always been afraid of heights, but he’s never been afraid of fieldwork or of being in the spotlight. At least, he wasn’t before the gala—the one where his grandpa nearly caused a massacre and heroes from the League almost killed his best friend. Now he finds himself dreading the very things he used to love, and all he wants is to skate by in school, avoid fieldwork, and keep a low profile.
But avoiding his fears isn’t as easy as he hopes, especially when the school decides to send him and his best friend to hunt down a dangerous criminal. And as if that isn’t bad enough, it turns out he also has to pass a flying test if he wants to make it through the school year, even though his debilitating fear of heights means it’s pretty much impossible.
In order to pass the test and catch a criminal, Damien accepts help from unlikely allies. But when his mission goes south and he accidentally lets a terrible weapon fall into the wrong hands, he’ll have to overcome his doubts and save his friends from a psychotic killer bent on using his worst fears against him.
For those of you who have been waiting, The Torment of Renegade X is now out in paperback! (It’s been up for a few days, but they haven’t merged the listing yet with the ebook, so I didn’t notice. Oops.)
And I have some good news and some bad news about the cover for book 4. The bad news is, Raul Allen is no longer going to be able to do the covers for the series, which is unfortunate, since I know many of us loved his covers and were looking forward to the new one. But the good news is that I have an amazing new cover artist lined up, and since I’m switching to photomanipulation covers (instead of the current covers, which are illustrated), this means it will also be done much sooner, and everyone can look forward to reading Phobia in mid August. Maybe even more like early August. (I so can’t wait for everyone to read this book. I love it so much, and it meant so much to me while I was working on it, and now you guys are finally going to be able to read it, too.)
I will eventually have all the covers redone to match the new style (eventually as in sometime this fall), and the new cover style will mean less delays and faster publication timelines in the future.
The next installment in the Renegade X saga is here!!! The Torment of Renegade X is a 94-page novella that takes place between books 3 and 4, and the ebook is available now with the print version coming very soon (should be within the next week).
The annual first-year camping trip is supposed to be the bonding experience of a lifetime. At least, it is as long as you’re not the only half villain going to an all-hero school. Damien knows he’s more likely to make new enemies than new friends on this trip, and he’s dreading spending a week in the woods with people who hate him. But he also knows that the school and his classmates would love nothing more than for him to stay home, and he’s not going to give them the satisfaction.
At camp, his cabin mates turn out to be douchebags—big surprise—but what Damien wasn’t counting on is that they not only hate him, but they have powers they can use on him without getting caught. Which they do. A lot. And Damien can’t fight back without risking getting kicked out of camp, if not out of school completely. As the week drags on and Damien’s life becomes a living hell, he starts to question whether it’s worth putting up with all this just to prove a point or if he should call it quits and go home. But going home means giving in, and if Damien wants to show his cabin mates that they can’t win, he’ll need to pull himself together and figure out a way to get revenge without using his powers.
First things first, The Phobia of Renegade X, book 4 in the Renegade X series, is complete! It finished at 116k, which is just shy of book 3’s 118k. I’m hoping to have it out by the end of August, but that will depend on when the cover art is finished, so it might be more like early September.
In the meantime, I’m writing another novella, this one set between books 3 and 4. So you won’t have to read it to read book 4, but it is technically what comes next. It’s called The Torment of Renegade X and is about Damien and Riley (and Amelia) spending a mandatory week at superhero camp, much to Damien’s dismay. My goal is to have it out by the end of this month, so expect that soon!
And I set up the newsletter so that new subscribers now get a copy of Damien Locke’s Guide to Golden City, a fun travel guide I originally wrote as part of the Kickstarter for book 3. It’s 18 pages of all-new anecdotes with snarky commentary between Damien and Riley, along with a few drawings. If you’d like to get a copy, there’s a subscription form in the upper left of the sidebar (though if you’re reading this from a different site, go to www.chelseamcampbell.com first), and you can unsubscribe at any time. (I am totally that person who subscribes for the free gift and then immediately cancels, so who am I to judge?) If you’re already a subscriber, I’ve sent out a newsletter with a link to the file, so it should show up in your inbox very soon!
And if you’re a Dragonbound fan, yes, there will be more Dragonbound! It’s too early for me to promise any dates (I mean, I’d like to, but I’m always wrong, so maybe it’s better if I don’t), but for now just know that I’m working on it and you will have more Virginia and Amelrik. :)
Oh, and since I’m covering all the bases here, yes, there will be more audiobooks. I’m hoping to get at least one Renegade X audiobook out next February, but this is super tentative right now because it depends on some factors I don’t really have control of. BUT if you are one of the people waiting for them, take heart, because the audiobooks are very important to me, too, and more will be coming.
That’s right, I have a new book coming out! In, like, three weeks-ish. I’m pretty damn proud of this one, and I think if you’re a Renegade X fan, you’ll love Dragonbound, too. It’s not about superheroes (obviously) but it does have a similar tone and humor.
Virginia St. George has never been good at following the rules. After all, she’s supposed to be a paladin. She’s supposed to have inherited magic, like her older sister, that can bind a dragon’s powers. She’s supposed to be able to wield a sword, like her best friend, and chop a dragon’s head off in one blow. And she’s supposed to be able to leave the safety of the barracks, like everybody else, but watching a dragon rip her mother apart years ago ruined that option, leaving her with an intense fear of the outside world.
And, above all things, she’s most certainly not supposed to talk to Amelrik, the shapeshifting dragon boy her family’s keeping locked up in the dungeon. Even if he saved her life. But if there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that he’s a dangerous criminal who can’t be trusted, and that she should stay as far away from him as possible.
But when dragons kidnap her sister during a routine hunting mission, Amelrik offers up insider information that just might save her. That is, if anyone would listen. Now Virginia must make a choice: heed her family’s warnings and play it safe, or confront her worst fears and put her trust in a dangerous enemy.
Though all you really need to know about it is the first line:
I want to punch everyone at this party in the face.
And I got my author copies of the audiobook, and HOLY CRAP, it’s amazing. Like, I don’t think I’m ever going to bother reading it myself now, because the narrator, Fiona Hardingham, does such an amazing job acting it all out and doing the voices and accents and stuff. So I highly recommend snagging a copy of the audiobook, which should be part of Whispersync, since it’s a Skyscape book, which I believe means you can get the audiobook for only $1.99 when you buy the ebook, which is $3.99, which is pretty good for an audiobook. I think by itself it’s around $7 or something.
I am pretty picky about narrators, and I had absolutely nothing to do with this audiobook and had no idea who was doing it or how it would turn out (completely unlike with Renegade X, where I am in charge), and I admit I was kind of… worried. But to no avail! Because it turns out it’s awesome!
I’ve had a lot of hangups the past couple years (during the worst of the chronic illness that is thankfully no longer quite so chronic) with being able to tell if what I’m writing is good at all. I mean, I know it is, but sometimes I just feel so cruddy from illness that I can’t tell, because all I feel is cruddiness, and that’s not how it’s supposed to feel when I write something awesome. But hearing my books in audio format makes me forget about all the stupid crap I was worried about that doesn’t actually matter (read: problems made up in my head) and makes me experience it how it really is. So I’m doubly glad to have such amazing narrators for my work!
And I know this post is about Dragonbound, but since I post so sporadically (I couldn’t remember the opposite word for “often,” and then I thought of that scene in Clueless), I’ll include some Renegade X update info.
So, what is happening with book 4, you ask? Lots of cool stuff! But while I’m a lot better health-wise than I was last year or even six months ago, I’m still slow. I hate admitting that, both to you and to myself, but it’s true. (I used to be a fast writer. Sometimes I still am. But probably not today.) So… I’m still working on it. I’m really hoping to have it out sometime this fall, but I can’t really say (and I’m usually wrong, so take that prediction with a grain of salt).
But speaking of amazing audiobooks, when is the audiobook for book 3 coming out?! I know, I know, it’s been, like, a year since the last audiobook came out. But it’s all dependent on when I get the next book out (because audiobooks are expensive and I have to, like, pay for it), and when my narrator is available to work on it. So take whenever I get book 4 out and add a few months to it. But it will exist! Eventually!
Is Book 4 the last one? Please say no, please say no. Nope, not the last one! I’m taking this one book at a time, I don’t have, like, some grand plan or anything, but I do know that this isn’t the end. So, yay for not having grand plans, I guess. I’ll admit I’m not very good at planning ahead, but I am good at making the current book awesome and the series continuable, so there you go.
P.S. I forgot to mention that there’s a Goodreads giveaway going on for Dragonbound right now. Skyscape is giving away 100 ebook copies, and you can go here and enter.
This novella takes place between books 2 and 3.
Damien doesn’t believe in ghosts, even when he hears the voice of his ex-best friend Pete calling to him from the Banking and Finances building, the scene of his death. His new friend Riley doesn’t believe in ghosts, either, but when Damien confides in him about what he thinks he heard, the two of them decide to investigate. On Halloween night.
A decision they come to regret as soon as Pete’s ghost traps them inside the building. It turns out Pete’s got unfinished business with Damien concerning the collapse of their friendship. Damien’s always blamed Pete for how it ended, but now Pete forces him to acknowledge the part he played in it. In order to survive the night, Damien will not only have to figure out how to fight a ghost, but he’ll have to tell the truth about his past–even when that truth threatens to destroy his new friendship with Riley.