Today’s the release day for THE INFERNAL HEART, book 9 in my Alastair Stone Chronicles series.
Almost two years to the day ago, I released book 1, STONE AND A HARD PLACE, with a lot of excitement, anticipation, and, to be honest, mostly trepidation. I knew most self-published books never went anywhere, never selling more than a few copies to family and friends before sinking into the obscurity of million-plus Amazon sales ranks. While I knew I had a pretty decent book that I thought people would enjoy reading, I was also realistic: there are a lot of pretty decent books out there (both indie and trad-published) that never find a readership. I fully expected mine to be among them.
And then something wonderful happened.
The book started to sell.
It wasn’t anything earth-shattering. We’re not talking bestseller territory here. But it did start to sell respectably…and it didn’t stop. People were buying the book! I got some good reviews, a few not-so-great ones, but overall people who were reading and reviewing it appeared to be enjoying it.
I was kind of stunned, to be honest.
But then I did what every self-respecting indie author did when they find out their book is selling: I released another one.
And that one sold too.
It wasn’t a fluke! Once again, it wasn’t a bestseller situation (though it, like the first one, did hit Amazon top-ten bestseller status in some of its categories) but the numbers were respectable and added to the first one.
I started to think maybe I had something here. So I kept writing books, shooting for one release every three months (ambitious, yes, but I did have a backlog so I had time to write ahead). I created a box set out of the first four and sold it at a discount (one of the best decisions I ever made, by the way). I landed a BookBub deal, and then another one. I started a mailing list. I started a Facebook group for the series, and started running Facebook ads.
And slowly but steadily, the fanbase grew. I banked the profits each month, saving up until at last, at the beginning of this year and with the help of a supportive spouse, I was finally able to realize a lifetime dream: leave my day job and become a full-time writer. Now, with book 9 releasing and book 10 heading off to editing at the end of this month, I look back on these past two years with a lot of happiness, pride, and not a small amount of amazement. I’m not where I want to be yet–I still need to focus more on promotion so I can get the word out and bring in more readers–but I think I’m on my way. And that’s pretty darn cool.
Thanks to my supportive spouse, Dan, who’s never been anything but encouraging and helpful (I think he’s kinda proud of me!)
Thanks to my editor, John Helfers, and my cover designer, Glendon at Streetlight Graphics, who’ve been with me all the way.
And special thanks to everybody who’s bought, read, enjoyed, and reviewed the Stone books. I can’t do it without you, and I’m grateful for your support every single day. Looking forward to sharing Dr. Stone’s adventures with you for many years to come!
By the way: You might have noticed there are ten books in the graphic above, not nine. The first one, SHADOWS AND STONE, is a novella, and it’s exclusively available to those who join the mailing list at alastairstonechronicles.com. If you want it (along with a free ebook copy of STONE AND A HARD PLACE, and updates on upcoming releases) all you need to do is sign up! No spam, and your email address won’t be sold to or shared with anyone, I promise!
Ms. Stone, hope you are well. I am presently reading book 8 of the Stone series and am experiencing a sense of deja vu. Can’t tell if I have already read it or not. One of the characters in it has been introduced as a new one, when I am sure he was already in one of your previous books. Since senility is a possibility at this end, I am going to continue reading until the end. Loving your books, never stop writing, can’t wait to read book 9. Sincerely, N.C.
Book 8 is a prequel, kind of an “origin story” that explains Stone’s reasons for originally coming to the US and deciding to stay on teaching at Stanford. Some of the characters who are introduced here appear in other books during a later period of Stone’s life.
Book 9 returns to the regular timeline and takes place in Stone’s present day.
Hope this helps!
Starting book 3. Love the first 2. Leave the*F* alone. ?
Thanks! And I will. 🙂
I have started reading your books and have really enjoyed them I hope this series will continue with more books to come. It seems most authors get you hooked on a series and just when you start to get invested in the characters the start writing a totally new series with different characters and expect you to fall in love with them.
Hi Jo–don’t worry, I have no plans to abandon this series! I’ve got ideas for many more books to come, with more coming in all the time. And thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you’re enjoying the books!
When do these books take place? I’m up to book four, and it seems a pre-00’s world, with all the talk of actual maps and home based answering machines getting forwarded calls. Oh, and the reading of actual newspapers at libraries!
I get that a lot! So often, in fact, that I wrote a blog post about it a while back:
That should answer your questions. 🙂
Hi! I just joined your newsletter, but I’ve been reading this series from the very beginning. I’m pleased you have no plans to move to a different story or character because Alistair Stone is one of my favourites. I read voraciously and book 9 took me 2 days, between working and dealing with life in general.
When I am searching for a book or new author I frequently see what I consider to be knock offs of other authors. This series is one that I measure others against, and mostly they fail. So thank you for letting my imagination soar along with yours.
And also, thank you for finally getting Stone a cell phone. I thought we were in Elizabethan England for a while there…
Thank you so much for the kind words! You made my day. 🙂
And yeah, we’re moving our tech level into the twenty-first century, slowly but surely. Next stop: Google! 🙂
I am on Book 2 and loving it! Thank you for all the enjoyment you have given us. Please continue to write Alastair Stone books and he is a great character to read!
I just finished book 8, loved it but I missed Jason and Verity. Yes, I understand it is Stone’s first year as a Stanford professor that predates the introduction of Verity and Jason. I do hope you bring back his mundane friend and mage sister. I’ve come to look forward to the delightful interplay between these characters. Truth be known, I’ve a fantasy that adult Verity, even though she prefers women, will cast a wistful eye towards Alistair!!
Glad you enjoyed book 8! Don’t worry–Jason and Verity will be back! They have brief cameos in book 9, and a huge presence in book 10.
I just finished the first four books and I was drawn into the story, and stayed there, kudos! I will continue to read your books, and thank you for writing them
Thanks, Rhonda! I’m glad you’re enjoying the books. 🙂
Hey, just recently discovered your books, and have generally been enjoying the series. I have one or two minor grumps, but the characters are great, and the stories thus far have been compelling enough that my minor grumps can be ignored (just about to finish book 5 in fact). One not so minor grump I have though, is the fact that the audio book versions stop at book 6 currently. I travel for a living, and tend to do a lot of walking and gym work while away, so audio books are my preferred reading medium. Please, please, PLEASE tell me the remaining books are in progress!! I see them in Audible as not available at present, so I have hope.
Glad you’ve been enjoying the series. I’d love to hear what the grumps are, if you want to tell me (if you do, you can email me at r@t (at) m@gesp@cepress (dot) com (replace the “@”s with “a”s).
As for the audiobooks, I can give you good news! We’re putting them out as fast as we can (my wonderful narrator, Will Watt, is very fast!) Book 7 is in Amazon’s approval process now, and book 8 recording is starting this week. So figure if all goes well they’ll be coming out at the rate of about one a month until we’re caught up, and then shortly after the new release after that.
So I just started the series a few days ago, and I’m in the middle of book 4. Just one thing I keep coming back to: jul gur urpx qbrfa’g Fgbar gryy bgure Zntrf nobhg gur Rivy? Vg’f n fgnttrevat qnatre gung ur whfg xrrcf vg haqre uvf ung! Rira whfg n fubeg CFN gb gur Zntrf ur’f va pbagnpg jvgu naq ng gur frzvane; “Gurer’er bgurejbeyqyl orvat vainqvat bhe qvzrafvba naq obqlfangpuvat gur abezf” jbhyq fbyir fbb znal ceboyrzf. They’re wizards, it’s not like it’s outside the realm of possibility for them.(Rot13 for spoilers.)
Yeah, it’s a fair point, naq ur qrsvavgryl ntbavmrq bire qbvat vg. Gur ernfba ur qvqa’g qb vg sbe n ybat gvzr jnf orpnhfr ur jnf nsenvq gung gur crbcyr ur gbyq zvtug or cbffrffrq. Ur qvq npghnyyl yrg gurz xabj va Gur Guerfubyq, tvivat gurz rabhtu vasbezngvba gb cebgrpg gurzfryirf jvgubhg tvivat gurz qrgnvyf.
Cyhf, ur unf guvf graqrapl gb guvax ur pna unaqyr guvatf ba uvf bja. 🙂 Ur trgf zber pbzsbegnoyr jvgu yrggvat bguref va nf gur frevrf cebterffrf.
Also, I haven’t seen anything in Rot13 in years! Takes me back to my early days as a tech writer. Thanks for the nostalgia trip. 🙂
Hah! Literally 2 chapters after I posted that, you addressed the issue in the book! So, kudos for drawing the issue out just long enough to drive me nuts and onto the internet. Well done! 🙂
Oh, sorry I didn’t say in my previous comment, but I’m really digging the books. Keep them coming!
Hey! A few years ago I listened to the first book on audible and was disappointed that the others weren’t on audio yet as I really enjoyed listening to the first book on my long commute to work. Flash forward a few years and I’ve just recently discovered –and have been greatly enjoying– the 9 books now on audible and am going through them for a second time while waiting for the last few to come out. I’m sure you get asked this often but haven’t seen it, is there a timeline as to when the next books (even the novella you offered for free on Kindle) will be on audible? I’ve little time to read. But lots of time to listen and eagerly await their completion! Thank you for keeping my commute to work entertaining!
Thanks for the kind words, and glad you’re enjoying the audiobooks! Book 10 should be out any day now (it’s in approval from Amazon), and we’ll be starting the next one in a few days. I plan to get them all out (not sure about the novella yet, we’ll see) within the next couple of months, and try to have each subsequent one available shortly after the ebook version.
Congrats on your anniversary. I spoke with you recently at a writer’s meeting (thanks for your encouraging words) and just sent for your free books. Looking forward to plunging into the world of Stone!