2017 – A Writing Year in Review

It’s certainly been a long time since this blog was last updated. I’ve got a few excuses on hand however, most of them relating to it having been a busy 2017. Work-wise (and, indeed, generally) my past twelve months have been pretty great. I’ve written three novels, had three published (all for Games Workshop’s publishing arm, Black Library), and managed to press on with my PhD in-between.

2017 started with a bang – or, more accurately, a rend-and-tear, as my sort-of-but-not-really-first-novel Carcharodons: Red Tithe hit the shelves. People seemed to enjoyed reading it almost as much as I enjoyed writing it, so that bodes well for Carcharodons: Outer Dark!

April rolled round with the release of both Dawn of War III and its accompanying novelisation. Getting to write that book having grown up playing the games was a huge honour, and it was also the first time I ever saw my name on the cover of a book in Waterstones, a childhood dream come true.

The summer was filled up mostly with writing Outer Dark, though I did also find time to write a Carcharodons appetiser, Death Warrant, which acts as a sort-of prequel to Outer Dark.

In November I not only had my fourth novel, The Last Hunt, released, but I also got to attend the Black Library Weekender and meet (and be on a quiz team with) Dan Abnett. Needless to say this was probably the highlight of the year.

It all ended nice and busy too, with two advent calendar stories released in December – my first foray into 30k with a Primarchs audio (which was also a great honour to get to write, especially since Perturabo is one of my favourites) and a prequel short story to my forthcoming Ultramarines Primaris novel Blood of Iax, which I wrote between August and November.

In all it’s been a hugely rewarding and enjoyable year, and if next year is anything like it I’m looking forward to it immensely. I hope everyone has a happy New Year, and would like to thank you all for the immense support that has quite literally made it all possible. I’ll finish off with a promise to keep this blog updated more regularly (my tumblr, Facebook and twitter are all far more prolific), and add a pic of one of my favourite authors, Dan Abnett, who I was lucky enough to meet at the Black Library Weekender.

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Announcing the May Book Cover of the Month!

M.L.S. Weech

The May Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. It was truly an amazing bracket with a record-breaking 6,133 votes total. That crushes the last record, and I have you all to thank for that.  But enough about me and my beaming pride. You all picked a winner, so let’s see it!

The May Book Cover of the Month is…

519oTZj1I2L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_ This image and all associated images are used for review purposes under fair use. The intent is to draw attention to the product.

Dawn of War by Robbie MacNiven! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Dawn of War took the lead about a week into the bracket and never looked back.  He won a total of 81 total…

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Carcharadons: Red Tithe by Robbie MacNiven (Book Review)

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A May Book Cover of the Month Update

M.L.S. Weech

May_Cover_CollagelrGreetings all!

Usually about this time (three days) would be when the Sweet 16 begins.  While we’re not doing a round-by-round bracket, I still think this is a nice time to update everyone on how things are shaking out so far.

First, another explanation on how this structure works.  Brackify says, “Rank results are calculated by how far an entry advances in the bracket based on match results, not total vote count.”

What’s that mean? Well, You can’ have a million votes, but they do you know good if you only get them in one round. What matters is how many voters vote for a certain cover to move on.

What I like about this format: This structure really does make it easy on voters. One vote and done. Also, we’re getting close to breaking the all-time voting record after less than three days. That’s wonderful! The best thing about…

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Bestseller Status: Achieved

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I already mentioned it in passing in my personal review of 2016, but it turns out that plea to download my latest novel and help me on my way up the Amazon sales charts worked out. Thirty six hours after release Carcharodons: Red Tithe beat several hundred thousand other ebooks into the number 74 spot on Amazon UK’s kindle sci-fi chart, officially making it an Amazon bestseller. It also peaked at number 30 on the UK iBooks download chart.

I wasn’t actually expecting to run for bestseller status. Amazon is actually relatively “easy” for authors to break onto, there’s a whole cottage industry behind manufacturing Amazon bestsellers. The basics involve getting a load of people to buy it all at once, usually at some ungodly hour. I was initially going to try this myself before realising it’s now very tricky for Black Library to make bestseller status because the releases are spread out over multiple platforms. So Red Tithe has:

  • Amazon kindle releases (which are in turn spread over regions like UK, US ect).
  • iTunes releases.
  • Hardback releases (which are only via the Black Library site or in Games Workshop stores, so wouldn’t register on any bestseller lists. Likewise with the ebook if it’s downloaded direct from the Black Library website, it “doesn’t count” when it comes to calculating bestsellers).
  • Paperback releases (which are over Amazon and in bookstores like Waterstones, so do count towards bestseller lists, but by then most people have the ebook or the hardback…).

All of which is why I’m both impressed and delighted that so many people have supported me. If I’m right about how this all works, the kindle sales themselves are probably only about 1/3 of the overall sales. I want to thank everyone who pitched in, it was such a monumental effort but it worked. Oh, and a special shout-out to all you crazy kids who’ve bought both the ebook and the hardback, that’s what I call superfans.

A sequel is now looking extremely likely!

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