Interview with the Dragon Who Thinks He’s a God (Bhrava Saruth)

| Posted in Cut Scenes and Fun Extras |


For a holiday treat, I decided to bring back my tradition of posting character interviews (with questions submitted by you).

First up, in celebration of my new Beginnings boxed set (with a new adventure featuring the dragon who thinks he’s a god, Bhrava Saruth), I’ll be interviewing the dragon himself. My thanks to all who submitted questions on Facebook (if you’re not already following me there, you can click here to do so).

Oh, and for those who aren’t familiar with Bhrava Saruth, he appears late (far too late for his tastes) in my Dragon Blood series. The first book, Balanced on the Blade’s Edge, is free everywhere. Also, for those interested in checking out the new Bhrava Saruth adventure when it comes out, I’ve got all the links to the boxed set at the end of the interview. Thanks for reading! 

Interview with Bhrava Saruth

Greetings, good dragon. Thank you for deigning to speak to a lowly human such as myself.

I always have time to speak with my worshippers. You didn’t by chance bring me anything, did you?

Of course. I wouldn’t come to your lair without an appropriate offering. Mango tarts are one of your favorites, aren’t they?

They are most excellent. I enjoy eating them while receiving belly rubs. *pointed look*

Uh, I have ink on my hands. Maybe we can do the belly rubs after the interview? And after you shape-shift into something less… large and scaly?

Do you not find my true form magnificent? *narrowing of eyes*

Yes, yes, very much so. Uhm, here, more tarts?


You’re a very busy dragon, so I’ll get right to the questions.



I am a busy dragon god. Will this interview be published all across Iskandia? So that more humans will learn of my existence and flock to worship me?

Oh, I’m certain there will be flocking. Okay, here goes. First question! 

Carole asks: Bhrava, I know you love your belly rubs, any Lady Dragon in your future to rub your belly???

Lady dragon? Female dragons do not rub bellies. They are only interested in intimacy during their mating cycles, which are many years apart. And their idea of intimacy involves clawing and biting. I have heard of fellow male dragons losing limbs during the process. At the least, you can be certain there will be much bloodshed and loss of scales. I usually only visit with female dragons when biological urges require it.

For bonding and belly rubs, I do prefer humans. You have such excellent hands (and your fingers are entirely devoid of sharp claws). Of course, I am always willing to offer a godly blessing in exchange for attention from my worshippers. 

Deanna asks: Bhrava, Other than your dragon form, what is your favorite shape?

My dragon form is most impressive, is it not? But humans sometimes fear it. I don’t know why when it is clearly majestic and beautiful. I have found, though, that humans adore and never fear small, furry animals. They also like to stroke them! This is why I often take such forms when I do not wish to alarm my newer worshippers. And also when I wish to have my belly rubbed. When a small, furry creature rolls onto its back, humans seem to instinctively know what to do. There is no need for mental coercion. 

I like cats and puppies, but the ferret form may be my favorite because it’s easy to ride along on a human’s shoulder or squirm down into a satchel or grocery bag if it’s necessary to hide from non-believers. Also, there are sometimes tasty foodstuffs in those bags.

Kantami asks: Bhrava, when you’re not looking for worshipers what do you do for fun or relaxation?

Flying is the most wondrous thing! You must try it if you haven’t already. I like to soar high over mountains and then plunge down into valley lakes or into the sea. Also, it startles the tarts out of the sea life.

Kim asks: I seek the great god Bhrava Saruth’s wisdom on the best flavor of ice cream.

Anchovy, of course. I do wish one could find more meat-flavored ice creams. Lamb is so delicious. How could lamb ice cream not be wonderful?

Jennifer asks: Bhrava Saruth, what is your goal in life? How do you see yourself fitting in with the human race? What do you want to accomplish?

My goal? To be known to all of the world and have many followers, of course. Also a grand temple would be nice. I’m working on Ridgewalker now to build me a temple. It is a great honor for him.

As far as fitting in, why would a god wish to fit in? A god must change the world so that it fits him!

Richard asks: Bhrava when did you come to realize that you were a god?

It was many centuries ago when an early rider pointed out my fine attributes and how unusually magnificent of a dragon I was. I had not realized it! After a great battle, in which I drove away many enemies, this rider’s people also saw my great worth. Some of them began to worship me as a god. I realized I must be a god. I was destined to protect humans and bless them and be worshipped by them. It is strange that I had not realized it earlier. 

Georgette asks: Bhrava Saruth, I am one of your devoted followers. I have excellent hands and would love to attend your needs. Rubbing your belly, of course. May I ask as to why you chose Sardelle to be your High Priestess?

Sardelle is an excellent high priestess! She doesn’t yet know how good she will be, but she is quite diplomatic and rarely offends anyone. This is an excellent value in a representative, especially when one’s size and long fangs can be a touch intimidating to some. Dragons can be so misunderstood! 

Sardelle’s lippy sword is taking some getting used to, but I believe I shall also sway Jaxi to my side one day. After all, everyone knows how useful dragons can be. And we’re quite handsome, as well! Between you and me, Jaxi has been known to fantasize about dragons in a most… libidinous way. 

If you wish to apply for the position of assistant priestess, I would be happy to have more loyal helpers. In fact, that will be crucial once the temple opens. We’ll be flooded with curious and interested humans. Potential worshippers! 

Jo asks: Bhrava, what do you have to say to your worshippers from another dimension who read of your exploits and worship you from afar?

I am most pleased to accept worshippers from all dimensions and all worlds. It is a pity, however, that you cannot come for a proper blessing. Perhaps I will have my biographer write down my wisdom in a text so that it may touch everyone, everywhere. Yes, a god should have a religious text, shouldn’t he? This is a magnificent idea. Thank you. Also, can you send baked goods to my dimension? 


If you would like to read the story of how Bhrava Saruth became a god (in his eyes), please check out Dragon Rider in the Beginnings boxed set. It will be 99 cents throughout the pre-order and then pop up to $2.99.

Kobo | Barnes & NobleApple

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS


Fallen Empire Reading Order (and Book 8 is out)

| Posted in My Ebooks |


I’ve just released End Game, the 8th and final book in my Fallen Empire series. Now that the series has grown to eight novels and several short stories, some folks have been asking about the best reading order, so here’s the list in chronological order. They can be read this way, but with the prequels, you may enjoy them more after you’ve read a couple of books in the series and know the characters.

Fallen Empire Series in Chronological Order:

Remnants — A short story that takes place 2-3 years before Star Nomad. It’s the adventure where Alisa and Mica first meet, and it’s currently only available in the You Are Here SF/F anthology.

Last Command — A novella that takes place 6 months before Star Nomad. It’s from Leonidas’s point of view and shows him carrying out his last mission before the fall of the empire. It’s currently available as a free bonus to those who sign up for the Fallen Empire newsletter.

Star Nomad — The first book I wrote and where the main adventure begins! The ebook version of the series is currently exclusive with Amazon (but if you’re reading this after Spring of 2017, it should be out everywhere), but the paperbacks can be purchased at Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. Also, the audiobooks are being produced by Podium Publishing and are available through Amazon, Apple, and Audible.

Saranth Three — A short story that takes place between Star Nomad and Book 2, Honor’s Flight. It’s currently a bonus for newsletter subscribers.

Honor’s Flight — Book 2 in the series

Starfall Station — A short story from Leonidas’s point of view. It takes place between Book 2 and Book 3. It’s currently available through the free Star Rebels anthology. (This is available on Kobo, Apple, and Barnes & Noble, as well as Amazon.)

Starseers — Book 3

Relic of Sorrows — Book 4

Cleon Moon — Book 5

Arkadian Skies — Book 6

Perilous Hunt — Book 7

End Game — Book 8

Hope Springs — A honeymoon adventure that takes place after Book 8. It’s currently available in the Beyond the Stars: New Worlds, New Suns anthology.

Cyborg Legacy — This is a stand-alone novel that takes place a few years after the main series. It brings in a new hero, Jasim, but Leonidas also returns to go on the adventure.


New Fallen Empire Story in the You Are Here Anthology

| Posted in Ebook News |


For those of you following along with my Fallen Empire series, you probably already know I’ve done a few extra short stories with the characters.

“Starfall Station” is available in the free Star Rebels anthology (available on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble).

“Saranth Three” is available to newsletter subscribers.

And now a new story, “Remnants” is available in the You Are Here science fiction and fantasy anthology. (Amazon link, Kobo link, Smashwords link). This jumps back in time a couple years before Star Nomad and shows the adventure where Alisa and Mica first met. They got along great, right from the start! (That may be a lie.)

Here’s a preview of the short story:


The cockpit smelled of urine.

Lieutenant Mica Coppervein wrinkled her nose and turned a suspicious squint on the ground-crew sergeant standing on the hangar deck beside the ladder. The middle-aged veteran gazed up at her, a challenging expression on his face. Was this a joke? Some attempt to foist an unpleasant task off on a green officer who didn’t know better?

“There’s a short circuit somewhere,” the sergeant said.

“Because the pilot wet himself?”

“It was the gunner. Tense battle, I heard. And a crazy pilot. As if there’s any other kind.”

Three suns, was that vomit down on the floor under the gunner’s seat? This task was getting more unpleasant by the minute.

“Look, Sergeant,” Mica said. “I’m an engineer, not an electrician. I—”

“Electrician said he didn’t know what the problem was and to get an engineer.”

More likely, the electrician took a sniff and decided it would be fun to foist this unpleasant repair duty off on an officer. The new officer who had only been here a week and kept wondering what insanity had prompted her to join the Alliance army. Just because she wanted to see the empire sucked into a black hole didn’t mean that anything she did could make that happen.

The sergeant waved at the scorched hull of the fleet runner, a converted imperial fighter that had been old long before the war started. “My crew can handle the rest of the repairs, but we don’t know what’s going on inside the cockpit.”

“Besides unauthorized excretions?” Mica eyed what might have been a puddle on the gunner’s seat. It was hard to tell in the poor lighting of the hangar. With the entire base hidden in an asteroid and operating on minimal power, the lighting was poor everywhere. Maybe it was for the best. This wasn’t the first suspicious stain she had come across since being transferred from her hastily completed officer’s training course. It was, however, the first one that was so… fresh.

Sparks and a surprised shout came from a craft near the big doors at the other end of the hangar. Mica sighed wistfully. The rest of her team was examining a mystery ship that had been salvaged earlier in the day. Made from a strange crystal-like material, the two-seater craft had been found floating near the asteroid and pulled into the hangar. She’d heard speculation that it was a centuries-old Starseer ship, but there had been an imperial pilot in it, a freshly dead imperial pilot. Mica would much rather be investigating it with the other engineers.

“You too good to get your hands dirty, Lieutenant?” the sergeant asked, still frowning at her.

Mica lifted her chin. “I grew up on XR-318, one of the ugliest and grimiest mining asteroids in the system. We started digging out tunnels when we were six, as soon as we were old enough to toddle out of the crèche and be of some use. I’ve had dirt wedged so far up under my fingernails for so long that it bought throw rugs and set up furniture.” She had, however, avoided sticking her hands in pee puddles.

“Then this shouldn’t be a problem.” The sergeant waved at the cockpit and turned his back on her.

He grabbed his toolbox and yelled for two privates to come help him with the hull repairs. The younger men nudged each other, glanced at Mica, and snickered as they headed toward the tail of the craft. Once again, she suspected she had been set up.

Grumbling, Mica went off to search for a cleaning robot, though, given the Alliance’s limited resources, she would be lucky to find a mop and bucket. It occurred to her to order a private to wipe down—and thoroughly disinfect—the cockpit for her, but everyone in the hangar was busy working on the other battered ships. “Tense battle” was an understatement. From what those who’d fought to defend the asteroid had said, their armada had been decimated before driving off the imperial attack. Further, the empire now knew where the Alliance base was. An evacuation order would likely come within a day or two.

“How’re the repairs going, L.T.?” one of the privates asked a few minutes later as Mica crouched in the two-seater, finishing cleaning. He could barely hold in his snickers.

“There are bodily fluids everywhere except the pilot’s seat,” Mica said. “How do you think they’re going?”


Stinkily? It was amazing these kids could read. Maybe they couldn’t. She didn’t recall that the Alliance recruiting fliers had listed a lot of requirements.

“Here, Private. Find a laundry basket for this.” Mica tossed a damp towel at him, resulting in a disgusted grunt as the kid reflexively caught it.

He dropped the towel and fled. With luck, he wouldn’t bother her again.

Finally ready to start work—that supposed short circuit had better be real—Mica leaned out of the cockpit to grab her toolbox off the top of the ladder. She paused. A woman was jogging in her direction. She wore a flight suit and a blue-and-gray jacket with a patch that identified her as a combat pilot. Mica curled her lip, wondering if this was the “crazy” person responsible for the damaged craft—and the mess.

Also wearing lieutenant’s tabs, the woman was not deterred by the lip curl. She kept coming and even grinned and waved to Mica.

“Amazing how often I get such looks from the ground crew,” she said, climbing the ladder.

“I’m an engineer.”

“Oh, I get even dirtier looks from them.” The grin grew broader.

Her name tag read MARCHENKO. An attractive woman of about thirty, she wore her reddish-brown hair pulled back in a braided bun and had a curvy figure that plenty of men would like to get their hands on. Some women, too, surely. Not that Mica wanted anything to do with a pilot who couldn’t be bothered to clean out her own cockpit. Besides, she preferred her women—and her men—on the fine-boned and elegant side.

“Don’t mind me,” Marchenko said, leaning into the cockpit. “I lost something.”

“Your bladder control?” Mica didn’t bother to scoot out of the way. The sooner she finished with this, the sooner she could join her team in examining the strange derelict.

“No, that was Sergeant Heathrow.” Marchenko frowned at the control panel, then lowered her head to look under the seat.

“He the one who puked too?”

“Yes,” Marchenko said, her voice muffled. “He promised me he had an iron stomach. Such a lie. He’s the third gunner I’ve gone through in two weeks. It’s amazing how many big, burly men get airsick at the least provocation.”

“I bet.”

“I would have cleaned up, or had him do it, but we got called for a debriefing right away and—oomph, is that it?”

Before Mica could ask what Marchenko was looking for, someone called, “Officer on deck,” from the back of the hangar. The cavernous space fell impressively silent.

Everyone was supposed to stop what they were doing and come to a perfect attention stance, but Marchenko kept rooting around under the seat.

Admiral Banerjee, the base commander, strode into view with his aide. He headed to the front of the hangar, toward the team inspecting the mystery ship. Mica thought about returning to work, but Banerjee only exchanged a few words with the engineering team leader, Captain Brandt, before moving on. Reminiscent of a tank, the stocky, barrel-chested admiral rolled past the shuttles and larger troop transports toward Mica’s corner of the hangar. Wonderful.

While Marchenko muttered to herself, her head still stuffed under the pilot’s seat, Mica climbed out the other side of the cockpit, ignoring the lack of a ladder. She landed and hustled around to the front of the battered craft where the sergeant and privates already stood at attention.

Mica thought about warning Marchenko, but hadn’t decided if she wanted to interact further with the person responsible for her odious duty. Also, Banerjee would likely hear any whispered asides. Nobody else was talking, and all work had stopped.

The admiral’s gaze raked across the ground crew, lingered on Mica, then lingered even longer as it drifted upward to where Marchenko was draped over the side of the cockpit with her butt in the air.

“That looks like a volunteer,” Banerjee said, his deep voice resonating in the quiet hangar.

“Got it,” Alisa said, her own voice barely audible. She pulled out of the cockpit and jumped from the ladder, clenching a ring dangling from a chain necklace. She blinked in surprise when she found herself staring the admiral in the eye. “Oh. Hullo, sir.” She whipped her hand up for a salute, nearly taking the man’s eye out with the chain.

Mica rolled her eyes, starting to feel surprised that the fleet runner had made it back at all.

Definitely a volunteer,” the admiral growled, his eyes narrowing.

“For what, sir?” Marchenko asked brightly, seemingly oblivious to the man’s irritation.

“You see that mystery ship that got brought in last night?”

“Just heard about it, sir.” Marchenko peered toward the front of the hangar. The engineers peered back.

Mica tried to catch her captain’s eye, wondering what was going on, but like most people in the hangar, he was looking at Marchenko and Admiral Banerjee. Waiting to see if she got a dressing down?

“The engineers are making sure it’s fully functional. We need someone to take it out for a test flight.”

“It’s a Starseer ship, isn’t it, sir?” Marchenko asked. “An old one.”

“I wouldn’t care if pink monkeys brought it from Earth a thousand years ago. If it can fly, I’ll paint it with Alliance colors and add it to one of our squadrons. The Blessed Suns Trinity knows we’re short on spacecraft. We need every extra piece of equipment we can find.”

“Er,” Mica said, not realizing she had spoken until the admiral looked over at her.

“You have a problem—” his gaze dipped to her name tag, “—Coppervein?”

Mica had been introduced to the admiral when she and a handful of other graduates from the abbreviated officer “academy” had arrived, but she apparently hadn’t made enough of an impression for him to have remembered her name. Maybe that anonymity was a good thing, something she should strive to maintain.

She could imagine all sorts of problems resulting from adding a centuries-old ship to their squadrons, but all she said was, “No, sir.” One wasn’t supposed to er at admirals, after all. Nobody else had.

“Good,” Banerjee said. “Marchenko?”

“I can fly anything, sir. Does it have weapons? If you give me a new gunner, we can clean up any leftover imperials loitering around outside our asteroid base.”

Mica had no idea how long Marchenko had been here, but she seemed undaunted by the admiral’s rank—or the fact that he hadn’t stopped glowering at her.

“You’ll take an engineer,” Banerjee said. “Captain Brandt said his team found some quirks.”

Quirks? Mica didn’t like the sound of that.

Marchenko looked toward the cockpit of the fleet runner, then lifted her eyebrows in Mica’s direction. “I believe she’s an engineer, sir.”

Mica’s mouth dropped open. She had wanted to examine the ship, not fly somewhere in it. Especially not if it had quirks. What did that mean? That it would blow up as soon as it hit the vacuum of space?

“Take her then,” Banerjee said before Mica could come up with a convincing excuse as to why she couldn’t go. As if going out in a quirky ship wasn’t bad enough, Mica did not want to fly with someone who took it as a challenge to make her colleagues puke. “And be quick about it,” the admiral added. “We’re mustering out of here at 0800 hours in the morning.”

Banerjee walked away before Mica could come up with a tactful way to protest an admiral’s orders. She should have opted for an untactful way and consequences be damned.

Marchenko slapped her arm. “You’re welcome.”

“What?” Mica stared at her.

“I saw you ogling that ship. And cleaning this mess couldn’t be any fun.” Marchenko waved at the fleet runner, but turned the gesture into a head scratch. “I wonder why he picked me. Does he expect trouble out there? Did he deliberately choose one of his more talented pilots, just in case?”

“I think you were deliberately chosen because your ass volunteered you, Lieutenant Talent,” Mica grumbled.

“It is a fine one, isn’t it?” Marchenko patted her backside. “You can call me Alisa, by the way. I don’t insist on Marchenko. Or Lieutenant Talent.”

“This is going to be a long trip, isn’t it?” Mica asked, not offering her own first name.

“It better not be longer than—” Marchenko tapped the blue-beaded earstar draped over her helix, “—eighteen hours. Or we’ll find out if an old Starseer two-seater can fly to the nearest planet.”

Mica eyed the dilapidated mystery ship. “We’ll be lucky if it can clear the hangar.”

“Good thing I’m taking an engineer along, isn’t it?”

Mica grumbled again, not bothering to utter anything articulate this time.

“Don’t worry. It’ll be fun. An adventure.”

“You’ll probably get us killed.”

“Are you always this pessimistic?” Alisa asked. “Most people don’t say such things until after they’ve flown with me.”

Mica eyed the dirty towel slumped on the deck near the ladder, the one she had thrown at the private. “I find that hard to believe.”


Get the rest in the anthology (and check out lots of other authors’ stories too!), We Are Here.


Audiobook Options for Indie Authors (and when it’s worth paying for production yourself)

| Posted in New Author Series, Tips and Tricks |


I’m gradually getting my library of books out in audiobook form. Some of these books are being published through Podium Publishing, some I’m doing through ACX, and some of the older ones were done through an independent production company, Darkfire Productions. For those indie authors who are interested in increasing their income by getting their books out in audiobook format, I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of each of these methods and when it makes sense to pursue them.

1. Getting Picked up by an Audiobook Publisher

star-nomad-audiobookIn the last couple years, I’ve seen more audiobook publishers contacting indie authors who have a series selling well. That’s the catch, of course. Unless you have an agent to shop things around for you, you’ll probably have to wait for these publishers to contact you.

But what if they contact you, and you were planning to do your audiobooks on your own? You have to decide whether the deal sounds like a good one and what the value add is.

Some of the main names out there are Tantor, Podium Publishing (for science fiction and fantasy), and Audible itself. Anywhere from a 10%-35% royalty (this is 10-35% of what they earn, not of the sale price of the audiobook) seems typical with advances from the low hundreds to the low thousands (I’m basing these numbers on what I’ve seen for myself and what a handful of other authors, mostly science fiction and fantasy, have told me). Some publishers won’t offer an advance but will do a higher royalty. They will cover all the production costs, which can be substantial (more on that below).

In addition to covering production costs, what do publishers add?

Publishers usually have some methods of promoting ebooks beyond just hoping for the best. As indies, it’s tough to promo audiobooks the way we can with ebooks, because there aren’t many sites that plug them and we can’t price pulse for sales (we can’t control the price at all). For running sales, the best we can hope for is for Amazon to enable Whispersync and let a listener who already has the ebook buy the audiobook for a significantly lower price. (Right now, I’ve got Star Nomad at 99 cents for the ebook, and people who buy it can pick up the audiobook for $2.99 when it’s usually 1 credit at Audible or $30 without that deal.)

That said, publishers don’t always seem to do much for audiobook promotion. It’s probably going to depend how much they have invested in you and how much potential upside they see in the title.

Publisher usually submit the audiobooks to the various industry places where they might be eligible for awards, which may help create a little buzz. It’s possible that we can submit books as indies, but it’s not something I’ve looked into, so I don’t know (feel free to comment if you know more). It’s nice having someone else handle that, though, in addition to the production.

Are there downsides to going with an audiobook publisher?

As with the print world, you’ll have less control. With my books, Podium Publishing has always asked for the original artwork and based their audiobook covers on that. They’ve done some tweaking, and I’ve been happy with the results, but depending on the publisher, you might not have much say when it comes to cover. Or you may not care for the tweaks they make.

It’s also likely that you’ll have limited input when it comes to the narrator, and finding a good narrator is huge with audiobooks. The publishers work with professionals, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll pick someone who has a voice that you imagine working well with the voice of your book. On the flip side, if you produce your audiobook through ACX (currently only available to U.S. authors), you’ll be able to put a few pages out for auditions and may get as many as a hundred people submitting samples. You should be able to find the perfect person for your work.

dragon-blood-omnibus-audiobookWhether you go with a publisher or go on your own, you probably won’t get rich off audiobook sales, even with an audiobook that sticks for a while and sells well. Not everybody gets a big promo push from their publisher, and I’ve heard from a lot of people that they didn’t even make back their (relatively low) advances. But if you have a few audiobooks out in a series that’s selling moderately well, getting an extra thousand or two a month isn’t out of the question. Typically, your ebook sales will dwarf your audiobook sales and still be your main bread winner since you’re getting a much higher cut of each sale, but there’s nothing wrong with adding some income on the side and being available and discoverable in more places.

Producing an Audiobook on your Own through ACX

As I said, Podium Publishing has done several of my books now, including the first five Dragon Blood books (more coming), my Forgotten Ages omnibus, the first Fallen Empire book (more coming), and they’re also working on an omnibus for my pen name. There’s enough work and time that goes into selecting a narrator, having them produce the chapters, and proofing the chapters that I’ve been happy to give them the rights to books they’ve asked for. Since I’m a prolific author, I know it would take me ages to get all these novels out there.

Publishers, however, are usually going to be more interested in recent releases that are selling well. So, what happens if you have older books or series that you would like to see in audiobook form? Or if you just want to have full control?

torrent-audiobookACX is definitely an option (as I mentioned, you have to be in the U.S. right now, but hopefully, they’ll open up to everyone eventually). You’ll foot all the upfront costs, but you’ll keep a bigger cut on each sale (currently 40% of retail sales if you’re exclusive with them, which means you’ll be in Amazon and Apple and 25% if you’re not exclusive — note, my first three Emperor’s Edge audiobooks were first published on Podiobooks for free, so I get the lower cut on those).

You’ll also be eligible for “bounty payments.” That means: “ACX pays Rights Holder and Producer $50 every time the audiobook is the first audiobook purchased by an AudibleListener™ member on Audible. The $50 payment is split 50-50 between Rights Holder and Producer, amounting to $25 each.”

I just published my third novel and fourth title with ACX, and it’s rare for me to see those bounty payments, so I wouldn’t count on that money.

So, how much does it cost to produce an audiobook through ACX? You’ll pay per finished hour (it may take a narrator and producer 5+ hours to get one finished hour), so the longer the book, the more you’ll pay. I just published my fourth Emperor’s Edge audiobook, after a long gap in production and a narrator switch, and it was about $5,000 for 14-odd hours. My narrator is on the higher end for ACX ($200-$400 per finished hour is typical), but comes with a producer, and they make a really clean book. My proof “listeners” haven’t had to make many notes. Torrent, the first audiobook I did through ACX, wasn’t quite as daunting price-wise, since it was about 9 hours for the complete book. It’s still a big chunk of change, and, here’s the biggie: you really need to consider whether you’re going to earn back your money any time soon.

conspiracy-audiobookAs I mentioned before, audiobook earnings aren’t usually huge, and it’s hard to know how to promote them — there aren’t big lists of sponsorship sites and pricing tricks you can use the way you can with ebooks. Your best bet right now is basically to try to get promos on the ebooks and make sure those keep selling, because some of the people surfing to your Amazon page will be audiobook fans and might pick it up if it’s an option.

When you’re doing an older series, maybe one where you’ve closed things off and completed it years ago, it may be even tougher to earn back the cost of production. My Emperor’s Edge series is the first thing I ever published, and it has some loyal fans, but I’ve already run Book 1 and the boxed set through the various promo sites many times, so it can be a challenge to have a good run with it and get it back into the Top 100s on Amazon. I’m honestly not sure if these audiobooks will earn out. I’ve having new covers made that will debut early next year, and that may help me get some new eyeballs on the series, but I’m also considering doing a limited time Patreon campaign to fund the last few books in the series. I make enough from ebooks that I can afford to lose money producing the audiobooks, but I’d rather not, since that doesn’t make much business sense!

I haven’t mentioned yet that there’s another way to finance the production of your ACX audiobooks: a royalty split with the narrator.

If you don’t have money to use up front, you can put your book out there and hope a good narrator will be interested in the split option. Then you’ll be sharing your 40% earnings with them for the next seven years. The challenge here is that it’s going to be rare for a high quality narrator with a quality setup to want to take on a royalty split gig, considering how much work goes into producing an audiobook. They may do it if you’re a bigger name author or it’s clear that you have a hit on your hands, but if that’s the case, you’re earning enough in ebook sales that you probably don’t need to do a royalty split. (And if your book continues to sell well, you may regret giving away half the royalties as time goes on.)

Another Option: Independent Audiobook Producers

For those who aren’t in the U.S. and can’t do ACX, another option is to find an independent audiobook producer. This (and recording your books yourself) was the main way it was done before ACX came on the scene and before more audiobook publishers started looking for indie authors to work with. With these guys, you’ll pay for the narrator and the production, the same as with ACX, and then they’ll negotiate with Audible to get your books into their store.

I’m afraid I don’t have a big list of producers that I can point you to, but Darkfire Productions did my first three Emperor’s Edge audiobooks several years ago. I would have likely kept going with them, but my narrator got busy and couldn’t continue on, and I decided to put things on pause at that point. Originally, I’d started producing the series so it could go out free on Podiobooks (like a podcast) to help with growing an audience, so I wasn’t making that much from sales.

For those who are interested in this route, it’s going to be just as expensive as ACX, if not more so, so make sure you have your pennies set aside.

My Audiobook Earnings

For those who are curious about such things, this is about how my audiobook earnings broke down for the last year. These series are very different, and some of these books are older and poorer sellers and vice versa (my ACX numbers would surely look very different if I’d done my Dragon Blood or Fallen Empire series there), so there’s not much use in doing an across-the-board earnings comparison, but I’ll share anyway.

Podium Publishing ~ $18,000

The Dragon Blood Omnibus Amazon | Apple

Patterns in the Dark (DB4)

The Blade’s Memory (DB5)

The Forgotten Ages Saga Amazon | Apple

Star Nomad Amazon | Apple

Tantor (hasn’t earned out 2015 advance)

Stars Across Time (pen name stand alone) Amazon | Not on Apple

ACX ~ $3,500

Torrent (Rust & Relics 1) Amazon | Apple

Destiny Unchosen (novella)

Thornfall (R&R2)

Conspiracy (EE4) (just published so doesn’t figure into earnings yet)

Darkfire Productions ~ $1,000 (no new titles since 2012)

The Emperor’s Edge Amazon| Apple

Dark Currents (EE2)

Deadly Games (EE3)

The Final Verdict

Here are my final opinions, now that I’ve done audiobooks three ways:

If an audiobook publisher approaches you, and you’re busy with writing and life and don’t mind giving up some control, it’s worth saying yes and handing over the rights for them to produce the book.

If nobody has approached you or you want full control over the process, then ACX is an option. But, unless you have money to burn, I’d only recommend it for titles that are already selling well in ebook form (probably sub 10,000 overall in the Kindle Store). It’s not impossible for an audiobook to take off even if the ebook didn’t (Torrent actually sells fairly well for me, given that it’s never been a big ebook seller and I haven’t published a new installment in the series for several years), especially if it has a great cover, but chances are, you’re not going to earn back your investment on books that sell less than 100 ebooks a month.

What are your thoughts? Have you done audiobooks? How have they done for you?

Boxed Set Bargains

| Posted in Ebook News |


This weekend, I’m working on the eighth and final Fallen Empire novel while my editor finishes up on Book 7 in the series. We’re shooting for a mid-October release for 7 (Perilous Hunt), which is pretty darned soon!

For the fantasy fans out there, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get the third Chains of Honor book out before Christmas, as I’d hoped, but I am writing a novella set in my Dragon Blood world, so I should have something with magic and dragons for you before too long. This story jumps back in time and shows us how the dragon, erm, the god, Bhrava Saruth got his start.

If you’re looking for something to read right now, I’m in a couple of multi-author boxed sets that released (or will release) this month.

For the science fiction fans, you can check out Star Heroes: nine authors, nine full novels, ninety-nine cents.


Star Heroes is a space opera collection with nine novels of the galactic frontier. Exploration, alien invasions, genetic engineering, and artificial intelligence–it’s all here.

Click on the image or the link above to see all the authors and stories in the set. This one is only available at Amazon (and is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers). Everything else I’ll mention in this post is available everywhere.

Okay, fantasy fans: you’re next!

I know you’ve all read my first Emperor’s Edge novel by now, but if you want to check out a lot of other authors who are writing NobleBright fantasy (as opposed to all that GrimDark stuff), then I’ve got a boxed set for you.

light-in-the-darkness-box-set-fantasyThe Light in the Darkness set includes my first EE novel, as mentioned, and also full-length novels by 11 other up-and-coming fantasy authors. It’s going to sell for $1.99, and you’re getting over a million words of fiction, so that should definitely keep you busy for a while.

It’s available now for pre-order at Amazon and in the other stores (with an October 18th release).

Here are the links to the main stores if you want to take a look:

Kobo | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Smashwords

If you’re dying to get something for free (who isn’t?), and haven’t already downloaded the Star Heroes anthology, this is a collection of science fiction short stories. I’ve got one in the mix, of course: Starfall Station. It takes place between Books 2 and 3 in my Fallen Empire series, but I wrote the story so that it could stand alone. If you haven’t tried any of my space adventure stuff yet, this is an easy (and free) way to take a look.

This one is also available in all of the main stores:


Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Apple

That’s it from me for now. I better get back to writing. I hope you find something fun to read!


\r\n"; } // end function form_reset() Contact";