February: Souldancer, Soul Cycle Book II released
I'd originally planned to launch the sequel to my debut novel Nethereal in time for Christmas 2015. The release was delayed by about eight weeks because I was still figuring out this self-publishing thing.
But the delay proved to be a blessing in disguise. Not only did Souldancer launch day set a (then) high water mark for sales, releasing SD in 2016 made it, unknown to me, eligible for a Dragon Award, which we'll get to shortly.
April: Campbell comes calling
The year's first major development broke in April, when my readers nominated me for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Author.
Courtesy dictates that I say the nomination was a surprise. But the truth is, support from Sad Puppies IV, where I tied with Andy "The Martian" Weir, and Rabid Puppies 2 pretty much made me a shoe-in.
Being nominated for a major literary award was a profound honor sweetened by the fact that fans of fun SFF included me among the many nominations made to save the field from dull message fic.
Unknown to the CHORFs, my Campbell nomination was a landmine set directly at their swollen, flabby feet. More on this momentarily.
May: Larry Correia BOOK BOMB!s Nethereal
Thanks to Larry and the Monster Hunter Nation, Nethereal had the fourth biggest Book Bomb ever, peaking at #418 on all of Amazon, #4 in SFF, and briefly making me the 28th best-selling horror writer on earth. Seriously, Nethereal outsold every Stephen King book that day except for Misery.
Part of the reason that Larry does Book Bombs is to gauge his platform's influence. To put his ability to sway fandom in our own terms, I'd rate his clout at a solid Paul Muad'Dib.
Once again, because I can never say it enough, thank you, Larry!
August: Shadowbanned by Twitter
At the beginning of August, I noticed that Twitter had added me to the distinguished list of people it has shadowbanned.
For those who don't know what a shadowban is, it's when the slouching despots at Twitter single out someone they don't like, but who hasn't broken any of their rules, for passive-aggressive censoring. What happened was that Twitter made all of my followers' accounts treat my account as if it were blocked, and vice-versa. The only way anyone could see my tweets was by manually going to my feed.
Remember when I referred to SJW censors and landmines? Well, Twitter's shadowban of my account ended up being a big one, and they stepped right on it. The initial detonation came when Allum Bokhari of Breitbart News ran a story on my shadowban.
The result? My blog traffic spiked, book sales soared, and best of all, by the time the ban ended my Twitter followers had tripled.
You may have heard the term "antifragility" thrown around recently. Twitter's ill-conceived attempt to censor me is a perfect case study in not just weathering your enemies' attacks, but drawing strength from them.
Also August: Souldancer nominated in the first annual Dragon Awards
|Disclaimer: not the actual Dragon Award trophy|
Earlier I mentioned that not getting Souldancer released until 2016 was a blessing in disguise. Here's where the delay paid off: the CHORFs predictably voted in lock step to make sure that I finished last below No Award in the Campbells. Considering how Twitter's attempt to punish my wrongthink turned out, you can probably guess what's coming.
I didn't care about losing the Campbell, if for no other reason than Andy Weir richly deserved his win. Frankly I was delighted just to serve as an arrow in SP and RP's quivers.
What I do care deeply about is my fans. You told Worldcon that you deemed me award-worthy, and the CHORFs spat in your faces by voting your choice below No Award. Since the SF SJWs had thus begged for a dearly needed lesson in humility, I decided to actively campaign for Dragon Con's freshly minted Dragon Awards.
Thanks to some timely advice by Russell Newquist, I asked my fans to nominate Souldancer (which was eligible thanks to its 2016 release) in the Best Horror Novel category. Since the book features demons, werewolves, and more body horror than David Cronenberg can shake an Existenz controller at, it definitely qualified.
TL; DR: the campaign worked, and you guys nominated Souldancer for the Best Horror Novel Dragon Award.
But even that wasn't enough. To fully avenge your honor from the CHORFs' insult, SD had to win--a feat I accomplished by giving the nominated book away for free shortly before voting closed.
There was some stiff competition. I honestly wasn't sure if we'd pull it off. But judging by the massive number of books I moved (more than the Best Novel Hugo winner), Souldancer became the most-read horror nominee. Readers liked what they saw, and SD took the brass ring (pun intended).
|Pictured: the actual Dragon Award for Best Horror Novel. Credit: Declan Finn|
September: My Trip to SLCCC
It's not a former Eastern Bloc country. It's the Salt Lake City Comic Con. I journeyed from the Midwest to the real West in order to personally thank Larry for all the kind support he's given my career.
Along the way, I got to have lunch with my Geek Gab co-host Daddy Warpig, turning an internet friend into a real-life friend!
December: The Secret Kings, Soul Cycle Book III released
Awards are nice, but pros get product to market. That's why the achievement I'm most proud of in 2016 was setting a pre-Christmas release schedule for my third book and launching The Secret Kings with time to spare.
Once again, thanks to you--and writer friends like John C. Wright, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Vox Day, Jeff Duntemann, Rawle Nyanzi, Jeffro Johnson, Rod Walker, JD Cowan, and lots more I'm probably forgetting (but still love), SK's launch was my biggest yet! Not only did it break past release sales records, it blew away its predecessors for number and quality of launch reviews. As of now, it's sitting at eight reviews with a solid 5-star rating.
And SK's launch festivities are still going on. You can get it here.
2017: A foretaste of what's to comeI can't say much about what 2017 has in store for me and my readers publishing-wise, which is downright agonizing since the stuff that I have slated for this year already makes 2016 look uneventful.
One big project is already wrapped up and will be announced later this month. All I'll say is that someone whom Twitter treated far more shabbily than me is prominently involved.
If you've been keeping up with this and other Puppy-related blogs, you're probably aware of my upcoming collaboration with the fine folks at Castalia House. I'm likewise hesitant to discuss this project in greater detail, but an announcement should be forthcoming soon. What I can tell you is that it marks the start of a new, non-Soul Cycle SF series, and if you liked The Secret Kings--which it looks like everyone does--you're going to love this.
Also, as hinted at in the next book preview at the end of SK, I plan to release the fourth and final book in the Soul Cycle, The Ophian Rising, later this year.
2016 was a wild ride. Thanks to all of my fans and friends--and especially my ever-helpful enemies--for increasing my sales tenfold over 2015 and bringing me the kind of exposure that Big Five publishers have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on Hugo "scholarships" for.
In all sincerity, my author brand has seen more growth in one year than most struggling writers ever enjoy. I self-published Nethereal hoping just to break even. Thanks to all of you, it's returned a 1000% ROI. Your readership and support allows me to make a living pursuing my passion without bending the knee to the gatekeepers. There is no way I can adequately repay you for this rare and priceless gift, so in return I pledge to continue producing fun, Niemeierian fiction that puts my readers first.