Friday, April 24

For those inquiring minds out there . . .

Caine Black Knife has sold pretty well, considering that it's the third book in a series that last saw an entry eight years ago. It has not, however, sold well enough that I can reasonably entertain even a fantasy of supporting my family by writing about Caine, if you see what I mean.

Other projects proceed in Macbeth-ish fashion: creeping in their petty pace from day to day, tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.


Michael said...

Hey Matt,

I'm glad CBK is doing well. Im sorry to hear that you can't solely live off Caine money. I buy more then one copy each and I'll buy 5 of the next book if it helps. I do have a question, how much does a Star Wars best seller generally net? I ask because I recently heard of Aaron Alliston's finance troubles following his surgery and i know he's had 10 SW bestsellers and im just trying to understand how much an author really makes, because i know most people's minds spring to J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer rich when they think about bestsellers.


PS I know this kind of ruins the point, but are you still writing your Chicago crime novels under a pseudonym?

Michael said...

One last thing, I didn't mean to sound heartless about Aaron, I've talked with him a few times and I think he is a wonderful person and author.

MWS said...

First: Aaron Allston is a terrific writer and an all-around swell human being. I was very sorry to learn of his illness, and sorrier still to hear that it's giving him financial troubles.

Second: I can't offer any details about the payments for Star Wars -- that is, in fact, proprietary information that is covered by the confidentiality agreement all us SW writers sign.

I can tell you, however, that SW pays better than any other media franchise I know of; this, however, ain't sayin' much.

REVENGE OF THE SITH, for example, was on the NYTimes Bestsellers List for 10 weeks, and I still have to work a day job.

And yes, I'm still working on the crime story and the historical adventure, each of which will be published under different names.

Matt Hughes said...


This might be of interest to you. I found this link over at Absolute Write a few days ago. Lynn Viehl promised to release information about her advance, royalties, etc if she made the NYT Bestseller list. Hit #19 so she did.

Shane said...

What names are these going to be, exactly?

Joe said...

I still find opportunities to give away Heroes Die as a gift to people. But it's not something I'd normally do with CBK because most of my friends are not the type of people who could take a look at the Caine/Ma'elKoth psychic interaction and just go with it. I'm sure to mention there are sequels when I give Heroes Die, but a more stand-alone Overworld story, now that I could pimp aggressively.

That said, we're still gonna get His Father's Fist, right?

Anonymous said...

Will there be a way for your current fans to check out whatever you write using a pseud?

Michael said...

Wow, this has really been eye opening. I didn't realize how naive I've been about authors. I just always assumed best seller = handsome reward. Thank you Mr. Hughs for that link, it was really informative. As for you Matt, I would never have guessed you worked a day job outside of writing. I just kind of figured that once someone wrote an SW novel, life jumped to easy street.

Also, I saw on Wikipedia that His Father's Fist is scheduled for a 2011 release. Can we get a sneak peek sometime before then?

Anonymous said...

Anyone have Stover's public e-mail? I have some stuff I'd like to write to him, but it's a bit long and off topic to be posted here.

- Adam

WarlordGrego said...

Have your agent get Caine onto the big screen. You should make enough to never have to work again :D

I actually met Aaron Allston at a book signing (the very first kickng of LOTF). He really is a great human being. I wish I could donate money, but I'm pretty broke these days too.

I'm more worried about what a Star Wars cover artist makes. I'm a shitty writer, but an OK artist :)

Charles/Mummolus said...

Well, I've wondered for what, six or seven years when I would finally see this one!

It was a worthy follow-up to Blade...very different though. Some way through it I realized everything was gonna happen in just one city, and I thought "he's trying to sneak up on us with a play!" A play with, you know, a whole lot of ass-kicking. Like Hamlet.

Of course, right when I figured this was a taut little theatrical novel that would have some quick resolution where everybody dies - like Hamlet - you leave us hanging. I suppose everybody will just have to die in the sequel.

I'd go and recommend a few good (new) sf/fantasy reads, but I've looked in vain for them myself (except for our hometown boy Scott, he's a hell of a writer). 90% of everything seems to be vampire novels nowadays - I mean, I like Buffy as much as the next guy, I thought Near Dark was a classic, I even watched that thing with Hugh Jackman when I was really bored, but damn.

As for the other 10% - 1% - I just don't see anything FUN. Unless you think Terry Pratchett is really that hilarious. Or hilarious at all....

Charles said...

Well, I just realized your request for recommendations was about six months ago - yeah. What you call timely. Anyway, congrats on the new novel and get us that sequel before 2016, huh?

MWS said...

Thanks, Senator. It's been too long. Your commentary is always welcome here (or anywhere else, as far as I'm concerned). Thanks for stopping by. Really.

Being (as you probably remember) a recovering actor, I cannot resist observing that the play's the thing, wherein we'll catch the conscience of the king.

The Aristotelian unities were much on my mind while conceiving and producing CBK, for in-universe reasons that I hope were at least murkily visible by the end; HFF promises to be, ah, a bit more literary, I believe, while still retaining that recursively self-aware theatricality that is Caine's stock in trade.

And by the way, for anyone who has not yet heard my opinion on this, the home-town boy Charles is talking about is Scott Lynch, who is indeed a hell of a writer -- arguably the best writer of fantastic adventure working today, who has a new Gentlemen Bastards book due to release at the begining of 2010 . . . which will give you all something to tide you over till HFF comes out the following year.

Danny said...

Hey Matt,

First time posting on here, I love the Caine series and Shatterpoint. Haven't gotten to any of your other Star wars books yet, but I was wondering (and I'm sure this is asked a ton on here) what you would recommend from other authors. I really like your style when it comes to fighting in particular...I hate when people who know nothing about fighting try to make it a big part of their books.

Hope all is well, I can't wait for HFF.

PS - Anyone know where to get a copy of Blade of Tyshalle for under $35? Mine was victim to a coffee spill, and I'm looking to replace it.

Charles said...

Yeah, I've been out of the loop too long. Couldn't seem to get a steady job for a long time, so I got kind of gloomy and withdrawn. Now I have a steady job and I'm doing okay, I just don't have TIME. But fuck it, nobody has time, that's no excuse.

"The Aristotelian unities were much on my mind while conceiving and producing CBK, for in-universe reasons that I hope were at least murkily visible by the end; HFF promises to be, ah, a bit more literary, I believe, while still retaining that recursively self-aware theatricality that is Caine's stock in trade."

Yeah the unities of place and (not quite) time really jumped out at me - not sure about those "in-universe reasons" except, um, this city is like, really important. Deep analysis.

That "recursive self-awareness" was also really striking in CBK; I think after Heroes and Blade I still kind of thought of Caine as just a swaggering punk who loved kicking everybody's ass. A smart punk, but still basically a punk. I dunno if I'm older, or if CBK made it clearer, but now I see that he's not "basically" anything, he's something really murky, like any obsessively introspective person - which he is, even though he keeps pretending to be a straightforward guy, quoting Tolstoy to explain how he's not an intellectual, and using Conrad to illustrate how he's really just a street punk, etc.

The other thing I realized: he LOVES this Cainist crap. Eats it up. I can't believe I was fooled by all his, "oh I hate those fuckheads, I'd kill them all if I cared enough to bother" shuck and jive. The way he kept threatening T'Passe, you can tell she just warmed the cockles of his black little heart.

Btw, that scene near the end where he's all concussed and the soapies grab him, and (being sort of a hero and all) he whips up some mojo and breaks free...and then kills the ONLY GUY IN THE ROOM WHO MIGHT BE HERE TO SAVE HIS ASS...that's what makes Caine Caine. Classic.

Chris said...

I really should get that Frameshift replacement done someday, shouldn't I.

Looking forward to reading anything new you churn out, Matt!

n' Greg... I am still getting Heroes Die on any film radars I can - but as I don't work in film exclusively anymore it seems to happen more rarely. It's a shame, because it's only getting more relevant (which shows what an insightful bit of nineties literature it was).

Michael said...

do you play COD4 Matt?

WarlordGrego said...

Hey Chris, good to see you about.

If you get frameshift back up, make sure you post here.

Eric said...

Mr. Stover,

If you'll forgive the interjection, I've got a burning question (and oh, man, is that ever a terrible pun...) that I just need to ask - how old was Berne at the end of Heroes Die?

(It's weird, because he's one of the biggest bastards I've ever met in fantasy- the equal of Gregor Clegane and Gothmog in pretty much every respect- and yet I just love his scenes in that book.)

Thanks so much! Keep writing and I'll keep buying.

- Eric

Sam said...

Hey Matt,

I apologize if this sounds like a rant, but it's something that has been bothering me for a while. In our culture, it is far too difficult for an artist to support him or herself. Producers can't do the TV shows they like, movies are made based on bottom dollar projections, and (my biggest pet peeve) authors can't get by. Medieval Europe managed to support artists through patrons, and in the 21st century we can't match that in some way? I don't see an easy solution, but I hope there is a solution of some sort.

In short, I will miss Caine. I haven't found a work yet that matched the visceral fighting scenes with the Greek and Existential thought.

MWS said...

Well, y'know, if you've got a few million dollars not currently serving any useful purpose, you know where to find me.

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noaxark said...

I am currently thoroughly engaged in Heroes Die, and I am glad to hear that the third part is doing well. I am a slow reader, but already the pages of Heroes Die are dwindling, so today I went on a quest to find the sequel in good time.

It appears Tyshalle is nigh impossible to find new or reasonably priced outside of the ebook format, which really doesn't agree with my eyes. Are there any plans of re-releasing it in print?

Steve said...

Matt, even if it takes the rest of my life, I will wait for the next Caine novel eagerly, cash in hand. Hell, anything with your name on it is an instant buy for me, even if it is something such as the day to day life of a bathroom attendant.

It does, as others have said here, bring into sharp reality just how difficult it is to support yourself solely through your writing.

gamecreator said...

Makes me wonder how Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie's sales are doing. Joe is cranking out books and Scott had some huge deal up front (a contract for 7 books, I think).

Anonymous said...

I spent 4 hours today in my garage going through about 20 boxes of books which I'm finally in the process of unpacking after getting a house with an actual library after several years of moving around.

I actually whooped in joy when I found my copies of Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle. It felt like I'd found a couple of old friends at last (I'd been thinking of them fondly for a while and missed them terribly).

I bought Caine Black Knife when it came out and re-read it recently - I realized just how much I loved the Caine series and how truly different it is from any other series I've enjoyed. In fact, I can't think of many other books that would have motivated me to spend 4 hours in a stifling, dark garage hefting, shifting, unpacking, and repacking that many boxes of books.

Caine is magnificent.

And so, I google a bit, hoping to find out when the next ones are due, and find this site. I'm sitting here in utter shock right now after reading that you're not going to be doing any more Caine books beyond what you're currently contracted for. In fact, if I'm reading your blog correctly, you're not even going to be writing any more books at all under this pseudonym.

I have to admit that this has really brought home to me just how broken our current publishing industry is. As a game programmer, I'm well aware of the realities of the business world and how many brilliant games never get made because the publishers only want games with a "mass appeal". But I guess I was hoping that the book industry was a bit better. The Caine books certainly had me thinking that.

I am greatly saddened at this news. I hope that whatever you end up writing (or doing at your "day job" if you end up giving up writing) allows you to buy that ranch for you and Fabulous Robyn. You've brought much enjoyment into my life, and, I suspect, the lives of many others. It's a very sad commentary on our society that your talent is not better rewarded such that you can continue to change the world into a better place by USING your talent.

Maybe the Soapies have won, after all.