The Secret Kings Is Free on Amazon

The Secret Kings - Brian Niemeier

A lot of aspiring authors ask me how they can beat the odds and find success as professional writers. One piece of advice I always give is to know your reason for writing.

Do you have one big story that you're driven to get off your chest and onto the page, even if it means writing a full novel and letting it gather dust in a shoe box in your closet? That's fine. Lots of people have trunk novels written for their eyes only. If you're writing a book just to scratch it off your bucket list, more power to you. Get writing!

Are you seeking personal validation? Have unrealistic portrayals of authors in movies, high school lit classes, and on TV convinced you that the only way to be a "real writer" is to get a Big Book Deal™ from one of the Big Five New York publishing houses? You'd better be able to check off the right diversity boxes, or else get used to rejection.

Do you want to earn a full-time income from your writing and quit your day job? Are you prepared not just to write, but to market your work? Then it's time to learn your craft, get writing, and embrace the reality that you should only seek approval from one group of people: your readers.

If you want a pat on the head from editorial interns majoring in gender studies, you can afford to buy your own hype. But if you want to make a living as an author, you need to swallow your pride and give your readers what they want.

The same goes for awards. I've learned from other authors and personal experience that award nominations and wins don't make careers anymore, if they ever did. Not only will winning a Hugo or a Nebula not help your career, it's now a strike against you.

The Dragon Awards are the only exception. Because the Dragon is a pure people's choice award with zero barrier to entry, it's an honest sign of fan appreciation.

Last year, the gatekeepers of legacy science fiction insulted my readers by closing ranks to vote me below No Award at the Hugos. Besides placing me in the august company of Dr. Jerry Pournelle, Worldcon gave my readers cause to mobilize. As a result, Souldancer took home the first-ever Best Horror Novel Dragon Award, and was the first indie novel to win a Dragon--a spectacular win for you, the fans.

I remain deeply grateful that so many readers turned out to show their appreciation for my work, because it shows that people are having fun reading my books. That's what keeps me in business. Once again, thank you!

Honestly, I hadn't planned to campaign for a Dragon Award this year. But then I found out that John Scalzi was up for Best Science Fiction Novel against my book The Secret Kings. Scalzi is emblematic of the rot that destroyed the Hugo Awards. So far he's won four Hugos in twelve years, which is how many Robert Heinlein won in over four decades. If you think a guy who writes Star Trek fanfic is a better author than the Dean of Science Fiction, I've got a bridge to sell you.

I decided to have some fun with Scalzi, using materials he'd previously posted online by his own volition. His epic freakout in response told me one thing: he and the CHORFs who ran the Hugos into the ground and are seeking the same fate for the Dragons are terrified of you guys. They saw what you did last year, and even though Scalzi is a name author with a multimillion dollar contract, they're afraid you'll beat him. MANY of you contacted me personally stating a desire to do just that.

You've unequivocally stated that you want me to beat Scalzi, so that's what we're going to do--not just because he's a favorite of the clique that insulted you; not just because he fed the withdrawal debacle that's already cost Dragon Con some credibility (authors shouldn't get to dictate what's on the ballot of a readers' choice award), and not even because his loss will seriously demoralize the CHORFs; perhaps enough to make them back off until the Dragons' voter base grows sufficiently to keep any one group from dominating.

It's simple. In my book, the readers get what they want.  And as always, I'm  here to help you.

First, we've got the best book. Souldancer won a Dragon last year, and the overwhelming reader consensus is that The Secret Kings is even better.

Second, starting today and running until Tuesday, August 29th, The Secret Kings is free in the Kindle Store.

The Secret Kings - Brian Niemeier

Get it. Read it. Tell your friends. And just as importantly, vote The Secret Kings for Best Science Fiction Novel in this year's Dragon Awards. It's totally free, but registration closes on Monday, August 28th, and voting ends on the 29th, so request your ballot now!

For those who haven't read either of the first two Soul Cycle books yet, you can get all three books in this award-winning series for less than ten bucks. That's less than the Big Five charge for most of their individual eBooks.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier

Again, this isn't about collecting trophies for me. I won't be taking home SK's award anyway, because my lovely and talented editor L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright will be accepting--and keeping--the Dragon. The Secret Kings simply wouldn't be as good as it is without her.

The Dragon Awards offer fans a platform to voice their preferences free of interference from the old, dying fandom found at places like Tor. A win for The Secret Kings will give the Dragons room to grow in size and prestige so that politically motivated groups can't exert undue influence.

Thanks again to all of SK's supporters, especially my fellow authors like Jon Del Arroz, Nick Cole, John C. Wright, Russell Newquist, and Jonathan Moeller.

Thanks also to critics and readers like Alfred Genesson and Jeffro Johnson, and all of my readers. Let's get out there and win!

Where else can you get this much entertainment for free?


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