Let's get this out of the way immediately — we're not talking about 2020.
2021 has arrived, and as you've probably noticed already things are back in full swing in the Armadaverse.
This post is a round-up of the plans for this year. Don't forget that there are two mailing lists for the Armadaverse. It's recommended to subscribe to one of these, because there's a good chance that the Armada Wars brand will abandon mainstream social media in the near future.
Releases Planned for 2021
I am now resuming my original plan of interleaving the novel releases with the novella releases, albeit with the following changes:
My aim this year is to knuckle down and keep up a steady pace. I Dream of Damastion is already available for Kindle, with the paperback proof on its way to me even as I type. I am planning to have A Storm to the Savage ready for a release in the first half of 2021, then all efforts will be focused into Whom Gods Shall Fear.
You may have noticed the artwork for IDOD changed in the past week, and the same iconography and cover design has been used for ASTTS. It will also be used for Forge Ruinous, although I have not yet chosen an image for the central glyph of FR's cover. Feel free to suggest your thoughts in the comments below.
Steal from the Devil — the Redux
I've said before that there are aspects of Steal from the Devil which I now find embarrassing and or problematic. As a debut novel, although many readers do enjoy it, one can only really say that it was released way before it was ready.
I've previously floated the idea of making some quite large changes. On those occasions I have received mostly negative responses, with people saying they would rather it was left just the way it is.
I've decided to split the difference. As well as being generally tidied up (see below), SFTD is going to get some enhancements, clarifications, and — of course — a thorough stylistic edit. I want to be very clear that nothing will change substantially as far as the plot goes. What will happen is that characters and situations will get expanded text, so that it is clearer what is happening, and the consequences further down the line are more understandable. I will try to bring the style of the book into line with the sequels, without losing any of its weird atmosphere.
I also aim to trim just a little fat — this means the teasers and references that ultimately went unused as the story found its own way through the sequels.
If you have strong feelings about this, then please do say so in the comments.
Over the years, with me having to update the same stories in various alternate files, discontinuities have crept into the published materials. These include vanishing custom fonts, different typographic conventions, and in some cases even material differences in the actual words of the books.
There is also the MAGA-cap wearing elephant in the room. A poll was conducted across Twitter and Facebook, and the overwhelming majority favoured a retrospective change to the lore where that acronym is concerned. The conventional air and ground assault forces will have to be called something different. Perhaps I just solved it there, and CAGA will be the replacement*. The point is that I've had it up to the eyeballs with people assuming that 'MAGA' is a nod to Trump, despite it obviously having nothing to do with him, so I'm just going to change it.
"AGRO" won the polls (standing for 'Air and GRound Operations'), but I think I will save that label for a team of specialists in a future story :o)
For all of those reasons, every single Kindle edition and paperback is going to be overhauled over the next couple of months. With the exception of I Dream of Damastion, which from today has the latest typography, corrections, and defined lore, all the updated versions will be released together. I will do my best to convince Amazon to push the Kindle updates out to existing customers, but only the changes to Steal from the Devil are likely to be considered significant enough to justify doing that.
Over the past couple of weeks, the paperback editions have been quietly migrated from Createspace to Kindle Direct Publishing. This means faster and simpler delivery (now fulfilled by normal Amazon means), and full Prime availability. The opportunity was also taken to make some tiny tweaks to the content and covers.
Additionally, the paperback edition of the Armada Wars Books 1–3 Omnibus is now live on Amazon! This 3 lb monster of a book contains Steal from the Devil, List of the Dead, and The Ravening Deep, and comes with a cost saving of about 20% over the individual copies. The second omnibus will be printed to the same dimensions, for those of you who like your books to line up properly.
As you may have gathered from a previous post, the current paperbacks of the Armada Wars novels are undergoing a slight evolution.
For one thing, the matte effect covers are being replaced by traditional glossy covers. The proofs have arrived today and I have to say they look much better — colours are rendered more accurately and consistently, text layout and appearance has been improved, the "Armada Wars" title from the Kindle editions has been added, and they generally just look smashing.
Those paperbacks are populating to Amazon right now.
The other big news is that Steal from the Devil will be entering its third edition with this iteration. Unlike previous revisions, this one will add some new text: some dialogue, some prose, some inner thoughts. And a few minor tweaks and corrections of course. This update will also be issued to Kindle customers.
Finally, as was mentioned in the previous post, this update marks the end for the larger and more expensive "standard editions".
The cover art for the imminent novella I Dream of Damastion is here at last! Behold.
Thanks to a lot of input from yourselves — and between this blog and the brand's Facebook pages, that was the best bit of teamwork we've had for a while — the refreshed covers for the Armada Wars novels have now been selected.
They've all been uploaded to Amazon, and will populate throughout their regional sites over the next day or two. The paperback covers will be refreshed after The Ravening Deep is released (since the "also by the author" bit will need updating anyway.)
For those of you who have only just joined this mission, you missed all the fun. Here's what the rest of us decided on in your absence (the images below are clicky-make-big):
The poll is now closed! Thanks to everyone who voted and commented, both here and on social media.
The purpose of this refresh is to match the text alignment between covers, make the covers less monotone, and help increase the visibility of the text in thumbnail versions of the covers.
You can click on the images below to enlarge them. In gallery view, use the left and right cursor keys to flick quickly between covers.
NOTE: A third set of images has now been added in response to negative feedback about the proposed text layout. These latest images are in the middle column, and labelled as the "compromise" covers.