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…

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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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The Warhammer 40,000 universe is incredibly vast in terms of its scope and the material it thus covers. From one edge of the galaxy to another, from current events to those ten thousand years ago, there is a lot of potential to explore. That is where Robbie MacNiven’s Carcharadons: Red Tithe is set. This first novel in what is hopefully going to be a series seeks to turn into fact some of the myths of the Carcharadons Astra Chapter of the Space Marines. Robbie’s tale is one of dour heroism matched against cruel barbarity and is a fantastic introduction to one of the most mysterious of the all the Space Marine Chapters.

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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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2016 – A Writing Review

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For developing my writing – in terms of both style and as a profession – 2016 has been the busiest and best year of my life. To that end, I thought it would be worth a review of the past 12 months, if only for my own train of thought, so I can establish where I’ve come from and where I’m going.

January: The new year started with me halfway through writing Legacy of Russ. Whether or not it can be called my first true novel or a collection of short stories, it was certainly fun to write, not least of all because it included characters I’d grown up reading about and who are loved and revered by tens of thousands of fans the world over. For an introduction to writing professionally, I couldn’t have asked for either a better or more intimidating assignment!

February: This month saw me wrap up Legacy and write my first audio drama, Vox Tenebris. It was tricky acclimatising to the differences between standard short stories and audio script writing, but it was a lot of fun to do.

March: Saw the second release of my first Black Library story. Deathwatch 4: Redblade originally appeared online as a Black Library ebook in October 2015. It was now repackaged in a print anthology to support the release of the new Deathwatch board game. It was certainly exciting being involved in another set of stories that linked directly to a miniature release, and all the hype that entails. This was also the first time I got to see my own Black Library work in print. On the writing front, I was given the green light to start Carcharodons: Red Tithe.

April: This month was spent writing Red Tithe. The first of Legacy’s short story serial format came out as well. At the end of the month I also received word that my editors wanted me to write the novelisation of Dawn of War III. As someone who’d been playing the Dawn of War games since the age of twelve, that obviously blew me away.

May: Mostly spent finishing Red Tithe’s edits, and included more of Legacy’s short story releases. These continued, roughly two a month, all the way until August.

June – September: Towards the end of June, and until the first week of September, my time was taken up writing and redrafting Dawn of War III. A lengthy post about the complexities of liaising with a gaming company over script and storyline will likely be forthcoming in the future! In between Dawn of War I also wrote a short story prequel to Red Tithe, entitle The Reaping Time. The start of July also saw the release of Heartwood – my first Age of Sigmar short story, written in November 2015, in the Sylvaneth anthology.

October: saw the release of Vox Tenebris, while I wrote my first Blood Bowl short story, Fixed. It was a lot of fun, in a wacky kinda way, and it was a privileged to get to visit the “Old World,” sort of.

November: was spent starting on The Last Hunt, my first White Scars novel.

December: A glut of releases to coincide with the ongoing Scars work. Firstly Fixed and then The Reaping Time were released as part of Black Library’s advent calendar program, then Red Tithe itself got an early Boxing Day e-premier. It became an Amazon bestseller about 36 hours after release – a fitting end to the year!

Overall I really couldn’t have asked for a more productive or fulfilling 365 days. In that time I wrote four novels, two short stories and an audio drama, a total of an estimate 320,000 words, or 877 words a day. All of it would have been meaningless without the hard work of my editors and everyone else on the Black Library team, the support and understanding of my friends and family and, certainly not least of all, the incredible contributions in time, money and enthusiasm from everyone out there who’s ever read one of my stories or interacted with me, here or elsewhere. Thank you for helping to make this year such a success.

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