(BLOGGER’S NOTE: Here’s the press release that went out via my publisher, Sharkflight Publishing.)

— For immediate release. ACE Promo Cover

DURHAM, N.C. – In 2013, science fiction fans welcomed the release of MAKO, the debut novel from author Ian J. Malone about five college friends, dubbed “The Renegades,” who become intergalactic war heroes by way of a videogame. The book met immediate success, rising to fourth on Kindle’s Military Science Fiction list, and eventually spawned a sequel, 2015’s RED SKY DAWNING.

Now, one year later, the curtain falls on sci-fi’s most beloved band of bar buddies in AT CIRCLE’S END, the third and final stanza of Malone’s MAKO SAGA.

Story Synopsis — (spoilers ahead for Red Sky Dawning)

In the months since his disappearance, Danny Tucker has retreated to the darkest corners of Alystierian space in search of intelligence on the empire’s new chancellor, Alec Masterson. Backed by a crew of outcasts and fighting from the shadows as the enigmatic Rogue centurion, Danny will stop at nothing to achieve his mission: absolute vengeance for Masterson’s now infamous “Return to Fear” demonstration.

Still, try as he might, Danny can’t remain underground, and with sightings of the Rogue growing more frequent, Lee Summerston won’t rest until the lost Renegade is found. Meanwhile, in the core, Aura stands on the brink of annihilation as imperial forces, aided by an ancient enemy, draw ever closer to her shores.

In the end, scores will be settled, and brothers will rise united… or they’ll all burn together.

“This is very much a story about loyalty,” said Malone, a native Floridian now living in Durham, North Carolina. “At their core, these books have always been about family. That’s why book two was so hard to write, because in a lot of ways it saw that spirit fractured. In this story, we see the family come back to each other, and that was a really cool ride to take.”

While THE MAKO SAGA is unquestionably sci-fi, evidenced by soaring starfighter battles and high-precision tech, fans of the series laud its use of other genre elements such as romance and political intrigue to tell its story. Even still, its success is and has always been irrevocably tied to its six main characters.

“There’s a lot of nostalgia in this one,” Malone said of the saga’s finale, “for the characters, the fans, and for me as a writer. This time we all got to go home.”

AT CIRCLE’S END is now available in ebook and paperback on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore. The audiobook will arrive in early-summer on Audible and iTunes.

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SHOW YOUR SUPPORT, REVIEW AN IJM BOOK TODAY!

Customer reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others are vital to the success of independently published works like those of Ian J. Malone. As such, if you enjoy his books, please consider leaving them a brief review on the retailer of your choice. (One or two sentences will do wonderfully.)

Please Note: Clicking “yes” on the “Did you find this review helpful?” line for other four and five-star reviews is also extremely helpful.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter. It is much, much appreciated.

Greetings, people! Welcome back to the Manifesto!

My, oh, my is stuff going on. Let’s get to it.

At Circle’s End to arrive early

ACE Promo Cover

The third and final chapter of THE MAKO SAGA is officially in the can and ready to roll — early, in fact. My crew over at Streetlight Graphics did me a solid and got my files ready on the double. As such, I was able to bump up launch day from April 12 to April 8. That will coincide with a book blogger blitz I’ve got planned (try saying that one five times fast) and a Kindle promotion which I’ll get to in a minute.

Everything in the way of books drops April 8 on all sales channels. That’s the e-book and paperback on Amazon, as well as the e-book on various other platforms, including B&N, Kobo, and the iBookstore.

Haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet? Do so now!

Sadly, fans of the MAKO audiobooks will have to wait a bit longer for theirs. Andy Wherlen (my narrator/producer) is a busy man these days. Factor that in with the usual 60-90 day turnaround time for sound editing and production, and you can expect the AT CIRCLE’S END audiobook to arrive sometime by early-summer.

Amazon giveaway for Mako

Up until now, I’ve been running a promotion on my website whereby those who sign up for my mailing list get an e-copy of MAKO for free. Beginning on April 8, however, readers will be able to download it directly from Amazon — for five straight days. This is to help usher in the release of AT Circle’s End, and hopefully attract new fans to the series.

So what’s the takeaway here? If you know someone who’s been toying with the notion of giving the Renegades a shot, tell them here’s their chance to do it.

Evil Movie Review: The Summer of 2016

Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune of getting to know the crew over at The Brotherhood of the Evil Geeks blog. Good people, those geeks (see my recent guest appearance on their Transmissions from the Evil Lair podcast).

In any event, I conned them into letting me spin up a guest post, in which I got to preview my Top 10 list for the Must-See movies of summer 2016.

Here are a few of the highlights:

On Batman v Superman — This is the film that, cinematically speaking, will either catapult DC into true rival status with Marvel or potentially cripple their brand to a point not even salvageable by the Batman franchise.

On Captain America: Civil War — Story: check. Top-level acting talent: check. Effects: check. Directors with a proven track-record of being able to weave it all together into the perfect tapestry of motion picture excellence: CHECK.

On Warcraft — This film is primed to be one of, if not the best big-budget fantasy film we’ve seen since Return of the King.

On Suicide Squad — If DC does intend to hedge their bets on Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad looks to be the perfect picture with which to do it.

You can check out the entire blog here.

Okay, guys, I gotta jet. I’ve still got tons of prep work to do for the launch, plus another guest blog to write for Bull Spec and at least two press releases.

Ah, the joys of being an author AND a publisher. LOL

Stay groovy, everybody. As always, you know I’m grateful for the support.

RUAH!!!

IJM

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SHOW YOUR SUPPORT, REVIEW AN IJM BOOK TODAY!

Customer reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others are vital to the success of independently published works like those of Ian J. Malone. As such, if you enjoy his books, please consider leaving them a brief review on the retailer of your choice. (One or two sentences will do wonderfully.)

Please Note: Clicking “yes” on the “Did you find this review helpful?” line for other four and five-star reviews is also extremely helpful.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter. It is much, much appreciated.

Hey guys, hope the holidays were great to you and yours, and 2016 finds you well.

Lots to get to in this one and not much time for blogging so let’s dive in.

Brown Bags & Books

In an effort to read more in 2016, I’m launching a new post series on social media called “Brown Bags & Books.” At least once a month, I’ll post up links to the books I’m reading during my lunch break at work (a favorite reading time of mine). Sometimes it’ll be sci-fi but not always. I’ve also been known to pick up a western from time to time, as well as a good urban fantasy, a crime drama, a suspense thriller… you get the idea. Any of this could make the list, so expect the unexpected.

FYI, I’m always up for recommendations so feel free to drop those in the comment section. If, on the other hand, you choose to critique one of the books I’ve read, that’s cool, too. I’d only ask that you keep it clean… HONEST, but clean.

Update on AT CIRCLE’S END

Last week was a big deal as I finally got the content notes back from my editor for AT CIRCLE’S END (the forthcoming final book in THE MAKO SAGA). Great news… it doesn’t suck!!!

I say that only partially in gest. I didn’t think it would be bad. However as the author and someone who is totally biased toward the characters, I wanted to see them have the best possible, and while I thought I’d achieved that, I couldn’t know for sure until someone else with a neutral/professional eye had taken a gander at it.

As it happens, my editor really liked the book. That’s enormous praise coming from her because like all good editors, she’s subtle as a sledgehammer when stuff’s wrong. Do I still have tons of work to do? Sure. That’s always the case coming off a beta draft. But I don’t have much in the way of re-writes, and that’s no small thing when it comes to hitting deadlines.

Now it’s on to my line edit, due Feb. 19. After that comes proofreading then it’s off to post-production formatting.

In all, I’m on target to have AT CIRCLE’S END on shelves by the end of spring. Stay tuned before then, however, as I’ve still got the cover reveal to do and the pre-order run.

A NOTE FOR MY EMAIL LISTERS: As always, you’ll totally get the hookup first. That’s how this works.

NOTE TO THOSE NOT ON MY EMAIL LIST: You might want to join my email list. Just sayin’. 😉

Illoigocn 2016 wrap-up

Without fail, I always have a blast at Raleigh’s annual illogicon, and this year’s edition was no different.

Among the panels I got to be involved in:

  • The Economics of Indie Publishing
  • The Sporting Geek
  • The History of Sci-Fi
  • Sci-Fi in modern TV
  • NSFW: Balancing the Writing Life and the Work Life for Success

I also got to moderate my first panel, “State of the Wars: A Chronological Discussion of Star Wars through the Decades.” We had a ball, too, picking apart every aspect of the franchise from the original trilogy to the Clone Wars to the Expanded Universe, and of course, The Force Awakens.  Good times and spoilers were had by all, and I can’t wait to do it again next year once Rogue One has hit theaters.

Big thanks to Gerty and the programming staff for having me, as well as all of my fellow panelists: Chris Kennedy, Margaret McGraw, Josh Leone, Gail Z Martin, Susan Griffith, and others. Hanging out in your sandbox was a treat, and I really appreciate the opportunity to do so.

Okay, gang. That’s gonna do it for now. Take care in the New Year, stay warm wherever you are, and please don’t forget to drop my books a review on Amazon if you haven’t already (MAKO, READ SKY DAWNING). In addition to sales, those really are vital to the success of indie works — mine included.

Until next time… RUAH and GO NOLES!!!

IJM

PS – I write this on the day after the world lost Glenn Frey, legendary sing/songwriter and co-founder of The Eagles. I, like millions of others, grew up on Frey’s music. Be it Hotel California from my dad’s old vinyl collection (which I still own) or his occasional stints on Miami Vice, Frey had a huge impact on my listening tastes as a kid and still does to this day.

“Take it easy,” my friend. You will be missed

In the months since his disappearance, Danny Tucker has retreated to the darkest corners of Alystierian space in search of intelligence on the empire’s new chancellor, Alec Masterson. Backed by a crew of outcasts and fighting from the shadows as the enigmatic Rogue centurion, Danny will stop at nothing to achieve his mission — absolute vengeance for Masterson’s now infamous “Return to Fear” demonstration.

Still, try as he might, Danny can’t remain underground, and with sightings of the Rogue growing more frequent, Lee Summerston won’t rest until the lost Renegade is found. Meanwhile back in the core, Aura stands on the brink of annihilation as imperial forces, aided by an ancient enemy, draw ever closer to her shores.

In the end, scores will be settled and brothers will rise united…or they’ll all burn together.

AT CIRCLE’S END is the soaring climax to Ian J. Malone’s epic space opera series, THE MAKO SAGA, and a heartfelt sendoff to scifi’s most beloved band of bar buddies turned intergalactic heroes of war.

Hey guys, welcome to fall and another edition of the Mako Manifesto!

As you’ve no doubt guessed from my snazzy new website, I’ve had tons going on lately. I’m right, smack dab in the middle of wring the next MAKO book, I’ve got HonorCon coming up and, oh by the way, there’s that whole day job and family stuff to squeeze in as well. Like I said, busy, busy.

Nevertheless, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these and I wanted to bring you up to speed on all of this and more, plus offer details on how you can win a chance to name a character in my next novel.

So, without further ado *claps hands like Mister Miyagi* let’s do this!

Work continues on MAKO 3

AT CIRCLE’S END, the direct sequel to RED SKY DAWNING and the final book in THE MAKO SAGA, is coming along nicely. I wrapped the first draft last month and am well underway with edits for draft two. This is the “flesh out” portion of my process. Whereas draft one is a rocket-ship of typing for the sole purpose of getting the story onto paper, draft two is where I go back in and flesh out the story which hadn’t yet crystalized on the first pass.

In total candor, I did try my hand at an outline for this one, but it just didn’t stick. I heard it said once that there are two types of writers: architects and gardeners. I guess I’m somewhere in between. I love the structure of an outline and the time it saves with editing. But when my brain takes off—writers, you know exactly what I’m talking about—I can’t not drop the reins and let the horse run. In my experience, those are the moments when the story and the characters come to life, and to handcuff that with an ironclad outline just feels wrong.

Full disclosure: That happened a lot in this book, particularly toward the end, and I think it made for some really special stuff that fans of this series will truly enjoy.

Right now, my plan is to have AT CIECLE’S END ready for submission to my editor by Christmas, which puts it on track for a Spring 2016 release.

Help me name a character!

Ever wanted to name a character in a book? Now’s your chance! All you have to do is sign up for the IJM mailing list via the form on this page and you’re in! The winner will be drawn on December 11 and notified via email, at which time he or she can name a hero or a villain in AT CIRCLE’S END.

Results will be announced on social media.

(If you’re already on my mailing list, you’re already in the drawing.)

Halloween at HonorCon

Lastly, for those of you running around the Triangle this Halloween, be sure to stop by the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown (3415 Wake Forest Road). See, there’s this guy named David Weber… he writes stuff… and that’s where he’ll be holding his second annual military science fiction convention. Activities start on Friday, Oct. 31, and run through Sunday afternoon, Nov. 1.

Jokes aside, I can’t tell you what a treat it is for me to be returning to this event. I had a ball there last year, and the staff was incredible to work with.

This year, I’ll be expanding my role at HonorCon by serving alongside my good friend and colleague, Chris Kennedy, as a panelist on the following sessions:

  • Genre Blending: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and More
  • Alien Worlds and Races
  • The Economics of Self-Publishing

Please Note: I’ll also have an Author Table set up on site, so feel free to stop in and say hello.

For more information on HonorCon, including program schedules, guest lists, registration information, and more, please visit the convention online at www.honorcon.org.

Okay gang, that’s gonna do it for now. As always, drop me a line via email if you have any questions. Also, please don’t forget to show your support for my series by posting a review for MAKO or RED SKY DAWNING. Those are always much appreciated.

Ruah, and see you at HonorCon!

IJM

Hey folks. Welcome to another edition of the Mako Manifesto!

First things first, I want to give a big, hearty THANK YOU to everyone who’s purchased and or reviewed Red Sky Dawning on Amazon. Speaking as both the author of the book and a guy running a business, you have no idea how much I appreciate that. Those are the things that keep this series going, and afford me the chance to pay for stuff like quality editing and cover design.

Next up: At Circle’s End. That’s the tentative title for the third and final book of The Mako Saga, and I’m happy to report that I’m already well into writing the first draft.  With any luck, I’ll have the beta manuscript ready for edit by the end of this year.

Okay, so now that the housekeeping is done, let’s have some fun, shall we?

Lots of people have asked me what this saga would look like as a film series. Whether it’s for the characters, the action, or the overall tempo of the books, folks seem to think these stories would translate well to that medium — and I, for one, tend to agree!

I’ve made no secret of my love for movies over the years, and I can hardly think of anything that would geek me out more than to see my little slice of the sci-fi genre on the silver screen. But what would that look like?

The following is my dream list for a Mako cast and crew. Coincidentally, it’s also a fairly telling exposition on my at-home viewing habits, so no judging! 😉

(Links go to IMDB pages)

Director: Jon Favreau

So, has anyone reading this blog NOT seen Iron Man or Iron Man 2? If there were ever a director to nail a Mako movie, it’s Favreau. He just gets it. Beyond the fact that he makes an awesome action film, he’s also extremely adept at showcasing the unique charms of each member of an ensemble cast — a necessity in a Mako film. Otherwise, all you’re left with is another SF-themed explosion fest with pancake-flat characters that no one remembers after they leave the theater, and honestly, who needs more of those?

Screenplay Writer: Eric Kripke

Fans of the CW’s Supernatural (a Kripke creation) know exactly where I’m headed with this. For all of the series’ action, horror, suspense, and gore, it’s Supernatural’s emphasis on family, togetherness, and loyalty that’s kept it on the air for eleven seasons. To quote one of the series’ stars, Mark Sheppard, “After all this time, we still care about the Winchesters.” That’s a testament to the characters this show (and its writers) have built, and thematically speaking, it’s exactly the kind of approach I’d want in a Mako screenplay. Oh, and the kickass, classic rock soundtrack. That’s a must, too. 😉

(Visions of an SF-13 Mako Starfighter streaking through space to Van Halen’s “Aftershock”… Hell yeah!!!)

Cast

Lee Summerston: Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) Okay, so I’ll admit it. I’m a total mark for Dean Winchester. Having conceded that, Ackles is perfect for Lee. He looks the part, he knows his way around a sidearm in an action sequence, and he’s a Texan, which gives him the requisite “country boy swagger” for the role. Moreover, he plays “conflicted” better than most give him credit. To this day, I still don’t know why he hasn’t made the jump to big-screen action star, but I’d be thrilled to give him the shot with Mako.

Danny Tucker: Stephen Amell (Arrow) Another CW mainstay, Amell would rock the part of Danny. He can do “pretty boy,” i.e. Oliver Queen, but he can also go full-on darkside like a champ when the chips are down. Pair that with the story told in Red Sky Dawning, and I think most would agree Amell would be ideal for this character.

Evelyn “Mac” McKinsey: Rosario Dawson (Daredevil) Candidly, I’m just an all-around Dawson fan. Whether it’s for her dramatic work on Netflix’s Daredevil or her comedy in Clerks 2, she’s just a wonderful actress to watch. On a related note, few do “snarky tomboy with a twist of demure” better than Dawson (kinda crucial for Mac), plus her native-New Yorker status means she’d rock a Yankees cap.

Hamish Lunley: (Unknown Actor) Mako needs an actor every bit as unique as the character he’ll be playing. To date, I’ve seen plenty with Hamish’s charisma and personality, but none with that AND the necessary physical stature. I’d probably go to the theatrical ranks for this one.

Link Baxter: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) Seriously, does anyone in Hollywood do “hot-headed, punk-ass good guy” better than Jesse Pinkman? No one else would even read for this part if I could get him.

Madisyn Reynolds:: Rachel McAdams (True Detective, Wedding Crashers) McAdams has shown a lot of range in her career, and as any reader of both books will attest, that’s fairly key for Madisyn (a character who evolves quite a bit from books one to two).

Katie Summerston: Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) Any chance to put ‘Starbuck’ back in space is fine by me. However, my love of Ron Moore’s BSG reboot notwithstanding, Sackhoff would make a fine Katie. She’s sassy and quick-witted, but she’s also a very cerebral actress who conveys a lot of confidence on-screen. Katie has to be funny and charming, sure, but she’s also got to take command in a crisis. Sackhoff does all of that and then some.

Chief Engineer Kris Wyatt: Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise, 24) Mild-mannered gentleman with humble origins and the engineering IQ of a savant… Trip Tucker, maybe? Trinneer would nail Kris Wyatt. Furthermore it’d just be nice to see him in more than a bit role outside of Enterprise. He’s a solid actor, really solid, and it’d be great to see him on this kind stage.

ASC Fleet Admiral Markus Katahl: Dennis Haysbert (The Unit) Okay, go ahead and get the “you’re in good hands” jokes out now. Long before Haysbert was the spokesperson for All State, he was (and still is) a fine actor. His portrayal of Jonas Blane in TV’s The Unit was out of this world. Combine that with his physical stature and presence on-screen, and he’d be phenomenal as Katahl.

Commandant Alec Masterson: Ian McShane (Deadwood) McShane is a world-class actor, period. However, it was his portrayal of Al Swearengen, the sleezebag bar owner with the sliver tongue in HBO’s Deadwood that earns him the role of Mako’s top villain. Alec Masterson has to ooze evil from every aspect of his character, from the manner in which he carries himself to the way in which he annunciates his speech. He should crawl up your skin like a disease, and McShane would deliver that in spades.

Alystierian High Chancellor Lucius Zier: Timothy Dalton (Penny Dreadful) The former 007 is regal and proper, though he’s also got a down-to-Earth charm about him that’s essential to the character. Zier’s a grizzled old dog with a lot of moxie, and he’s not afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone in parliament when the occasion calls for it. At the same time, he’ll kick back a shot of Smithson’s with any grunt at the bar, and Dalton has the chops to deliver all of this with ease.

Sgt. Major Keith Noll: David Ramsey (Arrow) ‘Diggle’ would kill as a drill sergeant, plus he’s already got an obvious rapport with Stephen Amell on-screen.

Capt. Shannon “Layla” Baxter: Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast & the Furious, Lost) Admittedly, this feels like a bit of a copout on my part since Rodriguez played a character eerily similar to Layla in 2009’s Avatar. In my defense, however, I’d like to state for the record that I penned the early draft of my character in the summer before Avatar hit theaters, so there. I call dibs.

Dr. Jon Reiser: Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) Like most genre fans my age, I was a huge Herc fan back in the day. But Sorbo’s come a long way since then, as an actor and a person. I just finished his autobiography, True Strength (great read), and there was a lot about Kevin’s story that resonated with me, especially since strokes run in my family. He’s a tough guy, and those experiences combined with his already affable personality would translate well to the role of mentor that is Mimic Project founder Jon Reiser.

Capt. Nathan Briggs: Matt Smith (Doctor Who) I remember when Smith was cast in the titular role of the hit BBC series, and the uproar that ensued from a lot of old-school fans who thought he was too young and “pretty-boy looking” for the part. But then he hit the screen and it was all over. Smith’s portrayal of the eleventh (later the twelfth) doctor was not only good, it was one for the ages on a show that’s been around for nearly a half-century. True, he played the character with all of the quirky panache that fans know and love, but there was an unmistakable gravitas to Smith’s Doctor that hadn’t always been there. Despite all of his charms and flamboyance, you always got the impression that there was A LOT going on this character’s head. He had a history, a long one, and it hadn’t always been kind to him. Thus, no matter how light or campy the stories got, it was Smith’s ability to bring that ever-present, “man out of time” weight to this iconic character that made his version of it… well, timeless. It’s also Nathan Briggs to a tee.

Other notable cast:

Auran President Rick Wylon: Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) NO JUDGING!!!  😉

Capt. Vince Ryan: Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) Cocky fighter-jock commander with spiky black hair.

Capt. Jeff “Blazer” Hastings: John Cena (WWE Raw) Aside from the fact that he just looks the part of Hastings, Cena’s an amazing guy in real life, and it’d be my pleasure to have him in my film. Read this article about his involvement with the Make-A-Wish Foundation if you want to know why.

Lt. Victor “Scar” Mann: Terry Crews (The Expendables) Again, Crews looks the part of Scar (minus the shaved head), and I’m just a fan.

Lt. Marshall “Tino” Weller: Zachary Levi (Chuck) Much like John Cena, there will always be a place in my movies for the original nerd-herder himself, Chuck Bartowski. Love that guy.

“Bartender” Bruce: Bruce Campbell (Army of Darkness) Be honest: with a line like “you primitive screw-head,” would you want anyone else? Plus, I’d totally write a demigod reference into the Praetorian OC scene if Sorbo took the Reiser part.

In closing, you’ve probably noticed the absence of any bigtime, A-list movie stars on this roster, and there’s reason for that. For starters, I’ve always envisioned the cast of a Mako film as being only modestly familiar to a lot of mainstream movie-goers. Perhaps the biggest reason, though, is because in many ways, Mako has always been an homage to the stuff I grew up with as a kid (movies, TV shows, etc.). So what better way to draw that out on-screen in a Mako film than to cast a lot of those actors and actresses in the very roles they inspired?

Okay, gang, that’s gonna do it for this edition of the Manifesto. Have a great week, enjoy the new book, and as always… keep on rockin’ in the free world!

RUAH!!!

IJM

RSD 2500x1563-Amazon-Smashwords-Kobo-Apple

Arrives exclusively on Amazon April 30, 2015.

PROMOTIONAL NOTE: Book one in the series, titled MAKO, is currently available for free download from Amazon. Offer expires Tuesday, March 31, at 11:59 pm EST.

RSD Story Synopsis

Five years after the historic Battle of Dulaston, Danny Tucker, Lee Summerston, and the Renegades have settled nicely into life on Aura — yet none more so than Tucker.  Fueled by a rising career as an ASC staff sergeant and a love unlike any he’s ever known, Danny is in the prime of his life and at last free of the demons that have stalked him for years.

Some demons never die, though, and when an old enemy beckons to settle a personal score, Danny soon finds himself swept up in the backlash of a climaxing civil war, and straight into the crosshairs of a father’s bloodlust for revenge.

RED SKY DAWNING is the much-anticipated sequel to 2013’s MAKO, and the tale of one man’s quest to bury his past and protect those dearest to him as the fate of billions hangs in the balance.

Hey guys, Ian J. Malone here.

Well, it’s official: RED SKY DAWNING (the direct sequel to MAKO and book two in THE MAKO SAGA) arrives for sale in e-book and paperback on Amazon, April 30, 2015. The audiobook will follow shortly thereafter on Audible and iTunes.

I know it’s been a long time coming, gang, but I think you’re really gonna like this one. 😉 As always, thanks for your support of the series, and hit me up anytime via my website (ianjmalone.com) if you’ve got questions.

Cheers, and hope you’re staying warm.

IJM

Hey guys, keeping this one brief since most of us still have tons to do before Thursday. That said, I didn’t feel right about closing down 2014 without giving you at least a taste of what’s to come this spring.

So, without further ado…

************

RED SKY DAWNING Official Synopsis

Five years after the historic Battle of Dulaston, Danny Tucker, Lee Summerston, and the Renegades have settled nicely into life on Aura — yet none more so than Tucker.  Fueled by a rising career as an ASC staff sergeant and a love unlike any he’s ever known, Danny is in the prime of his life and at last free of the demons that’ve stalked him for years.

Some demons never die, though, and when an old enemy beckons to settle a personal score, Danny soon finds himself swept up in the backlash of a climaxing civil war, and straight into the crosshairs of a father’s bloodlust for revenge.

RED SKY DAWNING is the much-anticipated sequel to 2013’s MAKO, and the tale of one man’s quest to bury his past and protect those dearest to him as the fate of billions hangs in the balance.

************

Merry Christmas, everyone. Thanks as always for your support, and God bless you and yours this holiday season.

Cheers,

IJM

Hello again, everyone! Welcome to fall and the Halloween edition of the Manifesto!

Today we’re discussing what has long since been the great unicorn for most indie authors- — brick and mortar book sales. I use that metaphor because, like the unicorn, most indie authors have heard that bookstore sales exist, but few if any have every actually seen them.

Before we get started, though, I did want to take a sec to remind all of my Carolina peeps that this weekend marks the return of HonorCon to the Hilton North Raleigh-Midtown, Friday, Oct. 31, though Sunday, Nov. 2.

HonorCon is a science fiction convention held annually in Raleigh to celebrate achievements in the genre of military scifi. Guests this year include the likes of David Weber (THE HONOR HARRINGTON SERIES) and Timothy Zahn (STAR WARS: THE THRAWN TRILOGY) among others.

I myself will be doing a panel on indie publishing with my colleague, Chris Kennedy (THE THEOGONY) in Room D on Friday at 5pm, so hope to see you all there!

FYI, for those who can’t attend, you can view the slides from our presentation on my website’s For Writers page.

Okay, let’s get on to the meat n’ taters of this puppy, shall we?

The Backdrop

Like many indies, I knew when I started out that I wanted to offer my book in paperback. And why not? For one, it’s just one more platform to make money on, and for another, what author DOESN’T want to see his or her work in printed form?

I was also quite cognizant, however, that sans the help of a major publisher, I’d never have the resources to print a thousand copies of my work for the purposes of trying to flip them for profit.

… Enter the world of Print On Demand (POD) Publishing!!!

How does POD work?

POD is a glorious thing because it gives your readers the option to purchase your work in paperback form—albeit at a few bucks more per unit—but in a way that precludes you, the publisher, from paying any overhead. In a nutshell, if a reader wants a paperback, he or she simply logs onto Amazon, B&N, etc. and clicks the “buy” button, at which time the company prints a single unit, mails it out to the customer, then deducts that order’s production and royalty costs from the retail price before sending you the rest.

As POD services go, there are tons to choose from, but only two that really matter:

CreateSpace: A subsidiary of Amazon
Ingram Spark via Lightning Source

I know some might say that Lulu and or BookBaby are good ways to go, but I’ve never dealt with either, nor have I ever heard a good story about their services from those who have. Just sayin’…

Which POD service is better?

CreateSpace is pretty much a must. Now I know there’s a lot of hate out there for Amazon these days, but frankly there’s a reason why they’re the 800-poud gorilla where sales are concerned. Thus, as an indie, you can’t afford to not be on Amazon. There’s just one problem with that… outside of Amazon, and in some case B&N, no one else will order from CreaseSpace BECAUSE it’s owned by the aforementioned gorilla that seeks to put them all out of business.

Enter Ingram Spark via Lightning Source whom EVERYONE ELSE orders from.

NOTE: It also bears mentioning that both companies give authors the option of selling their works at a discounted rate to bookstores and venders — a must if you hope to get carried. Before you reach that point, though, you’ll want to purchase your own ISBN from Bowker and make sure NOT to utilize Amazon’s expanded distribution feature.

So… now that you’ve gone through all of that work (and financial investment if you had your books professionally formatted), you’re good to go, right? You’re on Amazon; you’ve opened a Spark account for your local bookstore on the corner; you’ve offered all at a discount to make them as cheap as possible for everyone involved… now it’s all about building business relationships with your local venders, right?

Well, as my buddy, Lee Corso of EPSN’s College Gameday would say, “Not so fast, my friend!”

See, there’s just one little problem: Bookstore owners, and rightfully so, want the option to return books that don’t sell to the publishers who printed them… publishers, which in this case, means you. Not Amazon/CreateSpace or Ingram Spark/Lightning Source… you.

Example: let’s say John Smith Bookstore in Raleigh wanted to stock 10 copies of my book, MAKO, in their store using the $10 discounted purchase price I offered them through Ingram Spark — a price that netted me somewhere around 15 cents per book after Spark’s production and royalty fees were deducted. (Gotta spend money to make money, right?)

Fast-forward three months, and Smith has only sold 1 copy of MAKO, at which time the store opts to return the other nine for a total value of $90. I, not Ingram Spark, am obligated to repay that amount, even though I made less than $1 on the entire transaction.

See where this gets sticky if you’re an indie?

Of course, the simple solution would be to set up your Spark account with non-returnable books, which authors are certainly entitled to do. However, as one local vender told me, 95% of most bookstores won’t even look at you, much less consider stocking your books because you’re name isn’t a proven sales brand and they don’t want to get left holding the bag for unsold units.

So what’s the answer?

Sadly, right now there isn’t one, which, sad to say, means that as an indie, seeing your book on physical shelves should in no way be a priority to you. Offer a non-returnable POD option then concentrate all of your efforts on selling e and audio books since those will bring in 95-99% of your revenue. That sucks, I know, because like a lot of you, it really does mean something to me to support, and be supported by, my local stores. But if they won’t work with me, then I, as a business person, need to focus on working with those who will… and that, dear brick and mortar stores with your endless tales of falling fiscal skies, is Amazon.

Bloggers Note: I have seen where some bookstores are beginning to stock “local author sections,” and I’d definitely encourage any author who can get in on that to take full advantage of it where possible. Even if it only means they purchased one copy of your book, they still PURCHASED one copy of your book. So reward that. Throw them the occasional tweet or Facebook post, and take the extra second to plug in their corresponding handle or hashtag so people can find them straight out of your text. Con-goers, let fans know that they can find your work on shelves at those locations. Anything that shows the vender, “Hey, thanks for supporting me. Now let me return the favor as best I can.”

It’s all about mutuality, folks.

Ta ta for now! Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Halloween this weekend, and can’t wait to see a lot of you at HonorCon!

RUAH!

IJM

PS – Should have my first round of editor feedback on RED SKY DAWNING within the next couple of weeks. From there, it’s on to line edit then to a proofread then to formatting. All told, the second book in the #MakoSaga is set for an early 2015 release.