One of the most important tasks when publishing a book is to register it with an ISBN number.
Of course, it’s not technically necessary for self-published works. But most indie authors get ISBNs anyway, as they provide a legal paper trail for their book’s existence and makes the volume easier for databases to find. Putting a barcode on physical books also makes them look more professional.
However, when registering your ISBN, it becomes necessary to give your country’s registrar the official title of your book. And when that day comes, there’s little point in trying to keep the title a secret from the general public.
And the Middle Grade novel I’m releasing this year has come a long way. Primary recording for the audiobook has already finished. Chapter heading art exists. Full-page illustrations are underway, and it is finally time to give you a the first peek of what all the fuss is about.
Naming Project S2
The codename for this project has been S2, which is the same as saying s-squared. In other words, the title features two capital “S”s.
Knowing that, you might have guessed that the title of this project is Secret Sky!
That is the name of the entire series, as the story is split across three volumes. The first volume is Secret Sky: The Young Universe.
A Young Universe?
Yes. The world of Secret Sky takes place in the early universe—barely a few billion years after the Big Bang—in a time when all the stars and galaxies are still close together.
There, on one of the very first Earths, an iron age civilization of humans lives their primitive, Medieval lives in a manner little different to how they once lived on our own planet. The shining exception being that when they look up at the night sky, they see a vista blanketed with so many stars that there is scarcely any darkness between them. It’s as if every inch of their sky is as colorful and bright as the band of the Milky Way.
When one boy’s secluded mountain village gets destroyed on the orders of a distant king, his status as the sole survivor of the massacre puts him in terrible danger…until a small group of the king’s knights decide to spirit him out of the valley for mysterious reasons.
Taking the boy back to the capital and giving him a new identity as their captain’s “nephew”, he begins to train as a knight and manages to keep his true origins under wraps.
But strange happenings surround this boy, ever since the destruction of his home. When he goes to sleep at night, he is haunted by strange dreams in which he is not a boy at all! Rather, he is an advanced starship sailing through the universe. Every star he stops to talk to assures him that his family is still alive, and all he has to do to find them is to chart a course from one end of the Young Universe to the other.
Each time he wakes from one of these star dreams, he acquires a new magic power with which to protect himself and the knights who have risked so much to keep him alive. But hiding in plain sight will not be as easy as it sounds. The king is still on the hunt for any survivors of his genocide. And some within the king’s circle are strangely interested in this new boy who has shown up at the capital.
As the mysteries continue to grow around this survivor, his chances of staying alive, and ever seeing his family again, depend on his ability to decipher the Secret Sky inside of him.
Work on Secret Sky: The Young Universe continues across many fronts. As mentioned before, the audiobook is mostly done. And while work on the cover is only barely getting started, we have a polished manuscript and a lot of people working to make this book a success.
This will be the first book I’ve written to have a publicist and a major publicity push, so I want it to have the nicest accoutrements it can get. Physical editions will be hardcover, and there will be a number of surprises with the interior artwork. You’re going to love looking at this book.
The audiobook will also be a delight, though it won’t feature as much nice artwork. I can tell you it is nearly eleven hours long and features a fantastic voice actor: Andrew Eiden.
I cannot give you a cover reveal at the moment, but I can tell you that there will be one.
And while I had originally planned a May release for this, that has been pushed back to the overbroad “Summer of 2024”.
In the meantime, there will be lots of updates. I will not only be posting the final cover art, but also pics of the physical volumes as they arrive. There are also going to be a lot of interior illustrations to show off.
Will There Be a Kickstarter?
Much as I approve of the idea of crowdfunding, my experience attempting to Kickstart Advent 9 demonstrated that I am not yet the kind of professional who can use it effectively. The best Kickstarters are run by people who already have an active fanbase. I could see myself using crowdfunding when—for example—the time comes to launch an Advent 9 graphic novel. But that is many years away, and I will be a lot more famous when it happens.
As such, all three volumes of Secret Sky will be published without any presales from Kickstarter or any other crowdfunding platform. Once the series is complete, I may find a reason to revisit crowdfunding. Until then, the answer is no.
And the Secret Sky Sequels?
The second book is currently in its first draft. I’m afraid I won’t get much writing done this week, as I’ll be doing corrections on the audiobook on Monday and Tuesday, and after that I’ll be at Life, the Universe, and Everything for the remainder of the week!
That’s Right! I Almost Forgot.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. And I am going to be plenty busy at LtUE, but there should be enough downtime for me to meet with people. Here is my schedule:
- Thursday at 5PM: Morally Gray Characters (I’ll be moderating).
- Friday at 7PM: Mass Signing and Book Sale (Come get signed copies of Advent 9!)
- Saturday at 11AM: AI and Art
- Saturday at 4PM: Books for Reluctant Readers
- Saturday at 6PM: Irreverence in Children’s Lit
I will also be attending the banquet on Saturday. As this is LtUE’s 42nd year, I expect there to be one or two surprises, as well, though I am not privy to what the planners have in mind.
If you do find me at any of the events this week, you may find me willing to talk shop with you. I enjoy being a resource for people, and I’m always willing to reveal more about my projects in person than simply through my blog or social media.
I also enjoy having fun for any reason at all. And the best parts of these conferences are usually the impromptu or unscheduled gatherings of likeminded creators.
See you there.
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